Former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal will be taking to the ring on Wednesday night in his first appearance for All Elite Wresting. Shaq will be participating in a mixed tag fight where he will be wrestling on a tag team with Jade Cargill, a former college basketball player and current professional wrestler signed with All Elite. The duo will take on Cody Rhodes and Red Velvet on Wednesday night on the show “Dynamite” at Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida.
The challenge began in November when Cargill appeared on “Dynamite,” telling Rhodes that “O’Neal was the real giant-killer of pro wrestling.” Shaq responded to this on Inside the NBA, telling Rhodes to name a time and place. “Cody Rhodes, you little punk,” he said. “You want to battle? You just name the time and date. I’ll be there. You little punk, with your blonde hair. You look like a little girl. You want some of the Shaq Attack, name the place. Matter of fact let’s do it in March. How about that?”
Shaq told reporters he “guarantees” that he will be victorious and, despite his limited experience, has all the confidence in the world in him and his partner. “I’m the type, I can never back down from a challenge,” he told the AP. “I’m not a professional wrestler, but I’ve been in a match before. I’ve got a lot of moves in my arsenal.” Shaq talked a little about his strategy and how he plans to play to his strengths, or in this case, strength. “I’m not acrobatic. I’m not going to be jumping off the ropes. I’m coming with the power game,” he said. “When I get my hands on him, I’m going to display this power.”
O’Neal has reportedly been visiting the Nightmare Factory, a wrestling training facility, in Norcross, Georgia but, other than that, has limited experience in professional wrestling. However, he told reporters that he has the ability to learn moves by watching and understanding. He does have a history with pro wrestlers though, and was “crushed” as a teen when he saw Hulk Hogan defeat Andre the Giant in WrestleMania III. Later, when Shaq was a professional NBA player he apparently told Hogan about the experience, saying, “you broke my heart when you body-slammed Andre the Giant. I cried as a kid. I really did.”