Shaquille O’Neal is one of the NBA’s all-time great personalities and showmen, so it’s no surprise he fits right into the wacky and wonderful world of professional wrestling.
The Basketball Hall of Famer returned to the wrestling ring again Wednesday night as part of the “AEW Dynamite” show, the promotion’s weekly program that airs on TNT — where Shaq also stars as a panelist on “Inside the NBA.”
O’Neal, who was listed as 7-foot-1 throughout his NBA career, took part in a tag team match with Jade Cargill against Cody Rhodes and Red Velvet.
“Oh, I’m winning,” O’Neal told The Associated Press days before the match. “Guaranteed.”
“I’m the type, I can never back down from a challenge,” O’Neal added. “I’m not a professional wrestler, but I’ve been in a match before. I’ve got a lot of moves in my arsenal. When you step inside somebody’s world, you have to stick to what you’re masterful at. I’m not acrobatic. I’m not going to be jumping off the ropes. I’m coming with the power game. When I get hands on him, I’m going to display this power.”
Though now 48 years old, “The Diesel” — who was billed Wednesday at 365 pounds — did indeed show the AEW audience plenty of the power and athleticism that made him one of the most unguardable players in NBA history.
The highlight of the night, though, was Rhodes sending Shaq through a ringside table.
Though Shaq was “knocked out” by the hit — he was put on a stretcher and loaded into an ambulance … which he disappeared from — Cargill secured the victory for the duo.
O’Neal came through on his guarantee. Sort of.
Contributing: Associated Press