The Mike O’Hearn Show: Pro Wrestlers Billy Gunn and Big Show On How Passion Keeps Them Relevant

In the ring, Wight and Gunn believe ensuring those around you look good is the way to advance yourself too.

Episode 34 of The Mike O’Hearn Show, published on Generation Iron‘s YouTube channel on Feb. 24, 2023, was a change of pace for the bodybuilding training and nutrition interview series. Pro wrestlers Paul Wight and Monty “Kip” Sopp, better known by their in-ring personas “Big Show” and “Billy Gunn” during their careers at World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), joined O’Hearn to talk about their experience in the wrestling business.

This is not the first time that O’Hearn and Wight have crossed paths. The 7-foot-tall wrestling legend was previously featured on O’Hearn’s YouTube channel for a biceps workout, wherein O’Hearn guided Wight on training around Wight’s nagging shoulder injuries. Check out their full interview on The Mike O’Hearn Show below:

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The cold open of the interview is Wight recounting how Mark Calaway, better known by his wrestling persona “The Undertaker,” told Wight to quit the business when Wight was early in his career after Wight requested feedback for his in-ring work.
 
The interview began with a topic routinely featured on O’Hearn’s show: social media. Wight and Sopp have portrayed their wrestling personas as alter egos for most of their professional life. Pro wrestling is a perpetual story where wrestlers are expected to be their manufactured personas at all times in public life.
 
Wight and Sopp had to sift through navigating living that dual life in real life and online.

You have to save space for yourself.

The methodology of pro wrestling has had to evolve as more attention was gained by the sport throughout the 80s into the 90s and the turn of the millennium into the modern day. Pro wrestling today is higher-paced and more fantastical, with bigger stunts and flashier finishes. While that added entertainment and physical prowess is impressive, Wight and Sopp don’t think it is necessarily better than when they were in the primes of their careers.

Work from the finish backward.

The psychology of wrestling has had to evolve as the action in the ring grew to those new heights. The logic of leaving an opponent in the ring to climb to the top turnbuckle and perform a stunt on them feels absent from Wight’s point-of-view, but he understands why the sport has gone in the direction it has.

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They wrestle now for Instagram and likes.

Social media’s influence on the sport has accelerated how wrestlers have to work because every move in-ring could be turned into a clip for social media and help build the brand for both the wrestling promotion and the wrestlers performing the stunts.
 

Staying Relevant

Sopp’s strategy to build his ongoing career as a relevant wrestler was to capture the audience’s intrigue before he did any wrestling rather than wrestling to capture the audience’s intrigue. By focusing on the experience of the crowd, he didn’t need to put himself in dangerous situations of over-the-top spots to draw a crowd’s reaction.

Wight and Sopp recognize that although they aren’t as spry as they were early in their career, they are still excited to work in the ring. They believe that passing on their knowledge to younger athletes and lifting those around them will continue to increase their stocks.

It’s never about just you.

Sopp and Wight maintain training routines that allow them to continue working effectively to make themselves and those in the ring with them look good.

Make sure to watch the entire interview that dives further into the mindset of Sopp and Wight about how they’ve achieved all the accolades they have in wrestling and the physiques that keep them “built different.”
 
Featured image: @realbillygunn on Instagram