We all know Shaquille O’Neal is capable of great things on the basketball court. But what about the wrestling ring? Tonight’s your chance to find out: O’Neal will perform in his first competitive All Elite Wrestling match—teaming up with Jade Cargill in a mixed tag against Cody Rhodes and Red Velvet—on the AEW show Dynamite. And he’s nothing but confident.
“Oh, I’m winning,” O’Neal told The Associated Press. “Guaranteed.”
Appearing in a wrestling match might sound like a strange move for an accomplished basketball player like Shaquille O’Neal, but keep in mind this isn’t the first time an NBA star has crossed over into wrestling. Dennis Rodman and Karl Malone appeared in WCW matches in the ’90s, and other pro athletes have made the leap too.
More importantly, this AEW match lines up with O’Neal’s own interest in wrestling. He’s long been a fan of the sport: Growing up, he loved Andre the Giant, and was heartbroken when Andre was defeated by Hulk Hogan. Even as an adult, he never left wrestling behind. He’s made multiple appearances with Hogan at wrestling events, and even stepped into the ring himself for an appearance at WrestleMania in 2016.
The fight will take place at Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL. O’Neal doesn’t have a long career in wrestling, but that’s not stopping him—he plans to be an imposing presence in the ring.
“I’ve got a lot of moves in my arsenal,” he told The AP. “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.”
Is this the beginning of Shaq’s new career as a wrestler? We’ll see how he does tonight. Dynamite airs at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on TNT.
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