Shaquille O’Neal is a better wrestler than he is a TV analyst.
That’s not really much of a statement, as a good number of times this season there have been many pointing out how Shaq doesn’t really know how the NBA game is played today, doesn’t really know who’s playing it, and doesn’t care that he doesn’t know.
Shaq showed up on AEW’s Dynamite on Wednesday night, and I gotta be honest with you, as a fan, I’d been waiting to hate his appearance ever since it was announced weeks ago. It smacked of Dennis Rodman or Steve McMichael showing up in WCW (there is a genius Twitter feed dedicated to the latter). A desperate clawing for ratings is what it looked like. Just more of the bullshit AEW has gotten a little too deeply into of late. Shaq would either be completely disinterested or completely helpless in the ring.
And you know what? I didn’t hate it. Not even close. For one, Shaq looked like he was having the time of his life. As much of a chore as he makes being on TNT’s basketball coverage look, this was the opposite. They didn’t have him do much, which is fine, but what he got to do he leaned into, including taking a pretty nasty-looking table spot.
But most of all, he was used as a vehicle to showcase two new(ish) women on the show in Jade Cargill and Red Velvet. They were in the spotlight for the match, and AEW’s biggest problem has been its women’s division. They both looked like stars, especially Cargill, and having whatever eyes were curious enough to see Shaq was up to see that is only a benefit. It ended up not being about Shaq at all, which was perfect.