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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Encore -- Fight Night with Larry: WWE In King's Ring!
Aired January 1, 2009 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST, LARRY KING LIVE: Tonight, there's nothing bigger, nothing badder, nothing more brutal -- and 16 million people a week can't get enough of it. It is the business that dominates TV in 100 countries all over the world. Meet the muscle behind the mayhem -- Triple H, John Cena and Big Joe, who aims to put the big hurt on boxing champ Floyd Mayweather.
We go behind-the-scenes with the WWE mastermind Vince McMahon and his cast of in your face heavyweights, next on LARRY KING LIVE.
We've got a terrific show for you tonight -- a salute to WWE, the World Wrestling Federation Entertainment group. They're, in fact -- they're a multimedia group. They are everything.
Here comes my man, Vince McMahon. We are old friends. We go back a long way. I remember Vince when he just had one little television operation for wrestling. And now he's a veritable empire.
And coming in right behind him is Triple Have, the 11-time world champion -- Vince McMahon's son-in-law, in fact. He's married to Stephanie, Vince's daughter. And they're expecting their second child. He's going to fight John Cena and Randy Orton in WrestleMania 24 Triple Threat!.
You have -- are you conscious of all you have?
VINCE MCMAHON, CHAIRMAN, WWE: Conscious?
KING: Well, you have WWE, the media empire. You have "Monday Night RAW" on USA Network. You have "SmackDown" on the C.W. And Extreme Championship on Sci-Fi.
MCMAHON: Five hours of primetime here in the States.
KING: Did you envision this?
MCMAHON: Yes, actually, I did. I envisioned it. There's no reason why this form of entertainment should not have actually be where it is a long time ago.
KING: Wasn't wrestling always television's mainstay...
MCMAHON: It was.
KING: ...when television began at the (INAUDIBLE) Rocker?
MCMAHON: Absolutely. As far as entertainment is concerned, yes. KING: And did you buy out Ted Turner?
KING: No, I just want to get all the facts straight...
KING: Because Ted had his own little wrestling on TROUBLES, right?
MCMAHON: Yes, he did.
KING: Why do we like it?
MCMAHON: Because it's a variety show and there's something here, I think, for everyone. And we have extraordinary athleticism. There's some drama, there's some comedy. It's rock show elements, soap opera elements. It's really a variety show.
KING: How did you get the name Triple H?
TRIPLE H, WWE WRESTLER: When I first started with the company, the business was a little bit different and everybody kind of had to have a gimmick, so to speak, or be another character. They had to be a fireman or a cop or something. And I was a Greenwich blue blood snob -- I think mostly to make fun of his neighbors -- named Hunter Hearst Helmsley.
KING: Hunter Hearst Helmsley?
TRIPLE H: Yes, sir.
KING: So that was Triple H.
TRIPLE H: Yes. And evolved into -- as the business changed and we became more reality-based, we morphed it into a nickname, you know?
KING: Did you fight like a snob?
TRIPLE H: Oh, I did.
KING: Did you come into the ring like a snob?
TRIPLE H: I came to the ring in the jacket with tails and the, you know, fluffy shirt and the whole spray bottle and the whole thing, you know?
KING: Where are you from?
TRIPLE H: Originally, New Hampshire -- a small town, Nashua, New Hampshire.
KING: I know it. Know it well.
TRIPLE H: Yes. KING: Go there every four years for the pre-election.
TRIPLE H: Yes, it's a beautiful place.
KING: Vince, by the way, recently gave me a tour behind-the- scenes at one of their events.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCMAHON: Look at this!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) the Intercontinental (INAUDIBLE)!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. McMahon!
KING: If you've got a crowd...
KING: You've got wrestlers, you've got ring and you've got cameras.
MCMAHON: It's state-of-the-art. You feel the buzz. The day of a live event is nothing short of extraordinary. And we do it so many times a year.
KING: But how many wrestlers?
MCMAHON: Probably a total of 700, something like that.
KING: And some become stars?
MCMAHON: Some do and some don't. You know, it depends, really, on how the public accepts them more than anything else.
So we're transforming this arena into what it's going to be tonight. And it's going to be jam packed later tonight. You can see the WrestleMania logo in the background, which is our big event that's coming up.
KING: Where will you be physically?
MCMAHON: Well, tonight -- it's unusual, because tonight I'm going to be all over the place. I wear many hats. I'm actually going to be "rustling in the ring" tonight.
KING: You're going to wrestle?
MCMAHON: So to speak.
KING: Is this the same size as a boxing ring?
MCMAHON: Generally. Yes. This is a 20 by 20 foot ring. It's a little hard on the body.
KING: Yes. This isn't soft.
MCMAHON: No. That's hard and it hurts.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the scrappy Chris Jericho showing a lot of guts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Who determines the bits, like what character will do what -- how -- because we know it's staged.
MCMAHON: Sure. It's entertainment. Years ago, it was sold as a pseudo sport. We came along and said wait a minute, let's just say what this is. It's entertainment. So we coined the phrase sports entertainment.
There are a number of producers, writers, people who have a lot of say in terms of what we do.
KING: This is show business?
TRIPLE H: It goes back to something you said earlier about what is the attraction in what we do. We're almost -- it's a sport, but we control the outcome. So you're always going to get a great show. The game is not going to be a blow away. Your favorite star is not -- you know, not going to be there. I mean we can...
MCMAHON: No first round knockouts.
TRIPLE H: Yes. No first round knockout or a 12-round bore fest. But you know what I mean?
KING: Once in their history the Harlem Globetrotters lost. Does it ever happen in wrestling, where the winner loses?
TRIPLE H: I mean I suppose it probably has happened...
KING: How many?
TRIPLE H: ...maybe because of an injury or something like that. Actually, it did happen years ago with Grant Harvey.
TRIPLE H: Yes, you know. I mean...
KING: He fell at the three count? TRIPLE H: Well, yes. I mean, you know, yes. He didn't want to go along with the way things were supposed to go, so it went another way.
KING: In the ring, by the way, Vince is the ruthless, foul- mouthed Mr. McMahon.
Let's take a look at his wrestling character. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, there's the power walk, J.R. (ph)
MCMAHON: From the bottom of my heart, you're fired.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my.
MCMAHON: Am I supposed to believe the B.S. Spewing out of your mouth?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) drop. (INAUDIBLE). Oh, my god! Oh my god!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The hostile takeover of Donald Trump on Vince McMahon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: How did that come up? How did that get -- how did you plan that?
MCMAHON: The Donald Trump?
MCMAHON: It just seemed like a logical thing to do. Donald and I are friends from way back and everyone always talks about his hair. So it just seemed like it would be logical to do a hair match and this it's -- you know, at last year's WrestleMania. And, of course, I lost.
KING: I know.
KING: Do you ever get...
MCMAHON: I never win, no.
KING: Are you acting all the time there or do you get stirred up?
MCMAHON: Oh, you get stirred up. There is no question about that. You know, when you have that adrenaline pumping and things of that nature, sometimes we get a little carried away.
TRIPLE H: You have 70,000 people going crazy screaming behind you and sometimes it's hard not to get carried away. KING: And you get hurt, don't you?
TRIPLE H: We do definitely get hurt, yes. I mean it's a -- you know, I mean it's a physical business. You know, what we do on stage -- I compare it to like the Ice Capades or something like that. It doesn't mean it's any less physical, but it's not a contest. But that doesn't mean it's any less physical.
TRIPLE H: So we do definitely take the risks.
KING: Vince McMahon and Triple H are with us.
John Cena will muscle his way onto this panel when LARRY KING LIVE returns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And (INAUDIBLE) Newbury, Massachusetts, weighing in at 240 pounds, John Cena.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) John Cena is looking down (INAUDIBLE) raw unmitigated talent.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look out!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey! He's coming up -- whoa! What a leg drop from the top. The STF -- the Submission Maneuver.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: WrestleMania 24 will take place Sunday, March 30 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.
Vince McMahon and Triple H. remain here with us. Also participating in that major event is John Cena, the WWE champion and superstar.
And, John -- there's that handsome fellow. He joins us from New Orleans.
What's WrestleMania like, John?
JOHN CENA, WWE WRESTLER: WrestleMania is certainly the biggest extravaganza that WWE has all year. For those who don't know about our product or may be a little bit ignorant about what we do, I urge them to tune in on March 30 on Pay-Per-View. It is a fantastic event. WWE really rolls out the red carpet in all aspects. It is entertainment personified.
KING: Does everything go on, I mean tag team wrestling?
CENA: It can -- it's not -- yes, as far as wrestling, Larry, it's not just wrestling. We have celebrity involvement. We have all the hype, all the pyrotechnics, all the gala. It's unbelievable showmanship and it truly is. Not only do you get wrestling, but you truly get the best for your entertainment dollar. It is -- it's a spectacular.
KING: Did you come up with this, Vince?
MCMAHON: Again, it's a joint effort. You know, when you have someone as creative as Triple H or John Cena or, you know, the other stars, it's -- everyone throws in their creativity.
KING: But whose idea was it to do WrestleMania?
MCMAHON: That was mine. But, again, it's common sense, I mean, the Super Bowl, you know, the Emmys. I mean, come on.
It's like why not have annual event?
KING: I even know you -- are you discouraged that the sports pages don't cover it?
MCMAHON: Well, it's difficult because it's entertainment and, you know, but it's athletic performances, as well. So it's sort of in between. So the entertainment folks don't know whether or not they should cover us or sometimes sport does, as well.
Certainly with Floyd Mayweather, Jr. , the sportspeople are covering us this year.
KING: Triple H, do you feel you deserve more attention?
TRIPLE H: Yes, I mean, you know what, it's funny, Larry, though. Everywhere outside of the United States we're covered in both the entertainment and the sports section. We're covered in both. We get double the coverage on everything. And it's just here that we don't get it.
And I wish they would. I think, you know, in Orlando, there will be 75,000 fans there and more than a million will buy it on Pay-Per- View. That's something that a lot of people have an interest in. I think they deserve to get it reported on.
KING: You're not kidding.
We have an e-mail question from Brittany in South Carolina for John Cena: "How are you doing since the surgery and what are your plans after WrestleMania?"
CENA: I'm doing absolutely fine since the surgery. I'm 100 percent. Triple H. better watch his back going into WrestleMania. And I'm currently down here in New Orleans filming a movie. It's a WWE Films/Fox Atomic release called "12 Rounds". So I'll be finishing that up after WrestleMania and hopefully you'll see me on the big screen this winter.
KING: You're doing movies, Vince? MCMAHON: Yes, we are.
KING: What's left, Vince?
You're conquering the world.
KING: Vince and I, by the way, recently stepped into the ring together. Watch this.
That was unbelievable. VHQ did that, right?
MCMAHON: You're quite the athlete (INAUDIBLE).
KING: They do those games, right?
MCMAHON: Yes, they do.
KING: That was really something. I had a lot of fun watching it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You (INAUDIBLE).
KING: I'm a killer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
KING: All right, what about -- we have to deal with it, Vince -- a steroid drug testing policy? How is it managed? How -- what's the policy?
MCMAHON: Ours is great, actually. Ours compares to anything that's the equivalent of sport, whether NFL or any others. But we're entertainment. So it's very unusual for entertainers to be tested. And, again, ours measures up with anyone's.
TRIPLE H: Going off that footage we just saw, Larry, I'm -- we might need you to take a test...
KING: I think I -- I think I'd better give you blood and urine.
TRIPLE H: Yes.
KING: We announced last year, in the wake of the Chris Benoit tragedy, that you would pay for rehab treatment for any wrestler that came forward and said they had a problem.
MCMAHON: Yes. That... KING: Did that...
MCMAHON: Yes. And we have had a number of them take us up on that.
KING: So you do come through with this?
MCMAHON: Yes, we do.
KING: Are you very concerned about that problem, John?
CENA: No, not at all. I think as far as, you know, performance enhancing or any drugs go, it doesn't come down to what you do for a living. It's all a matter of personal choice. And I think the WWE does a fantastic job maintaining the integrity of the company and helping the talent if they do come forth with a problem, whether -- if they're active or non-active.
KING: Do you take painkillers Triple H?
TRIPLE H: No, I don't. When I took painkillers -- I've torn both my quads before. I think I took painkillers for about two days afterwards. I can't stand them. And that goes to what John said to me. Anybody that talks about -- you know, I've heard other guys say oh, the wrestling industry, you have to do it to make it through it. It's a load of crap, because I know more guys that don't take anything than do take stuff. You know, it's a personal choice.
KING: How is the business since the death of Chris?
MCMAHON: Business wise it's excellent.
KING: Really? You weren't affected at all?
MCMAHON: No. Not -- certainly not in the short-term. You know, it's one of those things that will live with you forever, you know what I mean?
And it could have happened to any company. It could have happened to any sports team. It certainly happens, you know, in the post office a lot or whatever. And it's really, really...
MCMAHON: Ron, it does. But it -- and that's only to point, you know, that it can happen to anyone. And you live with it. And you just have to. Business wise, though, it hasn't hurt.
KING: Was the complete scenario investigated?
MCMAHON: Only recently was it brought out that they had a lot of marital problems and it's suspected that that, more than anything else, is the reason why the murder/suicide.
KING: Is that -- could you believe that story, Triple H? TRIPLE H: No. I mean, you know, I've known Chris for quite a few years. And when I heard that he and his family were found dead, I thought for sure somebody broke in and killed them all. I mean I couldn't imagine it the other way. And as those facts started to come out, it was just -- I couldn't imagine it. You know, Chris was a unique guy, but he was a very good guy -- I mean, seemingly.
TRIPLE H: And, I mean, I agree with Vince. I think that thing can happen, you know, to anybody. Who knows why that happens, but, you know, it was a complete shock to all of us.
KING: Vince McMahon, Triple H. and John Cena remain with us.
The hits just keep on coming. Chris Jericho will be here right after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need (INAUDIBLE) Chris Jericho!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To the head of JBL. And Chris Jericho continues to build the momentum.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) side!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the scrappy Chris Jericho is showing a lot of guts and fortitude here tonight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: And now entering our bevy of stars, looking forward to WrestleMania on March 30, Chris Jericho, the WWE intercontinental champion, author of the book "A Lion's Tale: Around the World in Spandex".
Do you get excited about WrestleMania?
CHRIS JERICHO, WWE WRESTLER: Oh, absolutely. Very much. As the guys were saying, it is the Super Bowl of wrestling -- the biggest show of the year. And it's exciting. I mean it was like watching that clip of you and Vince on the THQ. I mean the best part about that is everybody now knows that you actually have a set of legs.
JERICHO: Sometimes they wonder if it's just a torso sitting on a chair behind you.
KING: You're a wise guy, Chris.
JERICHO: Yes. But WrestleMania is the biggest event for us all for the whole year. KING: Vince tells me it's four hours.
JERICHO: It's a four hour show. But the thing about it is...
KING: That's some bargain.
JERICHO: It's a bargain, but it goes by so fast. And the thing about it is everybody basically focuses their whole year on WrestleMania -- all of the story lines. Everybody is out to steal the show and have the best mash possible. So those four hours goes by in a flash, especially when you're out there in the ring.
KING: For want a better term, Vince, where do you rehearse it?
MCMAHON: We don't. That's one of the wonderful things about our business.
KING: What do you do, you -- story boards? What do you do?
MCMAHON: No, we don't do story boards.
JERICHO: It's like being a jazz musician or an improv comedian. You have a certain mindset of what you want to do. But you go out there and follow each other, like a good jazz band will do.
A good drummer will follow a good bass player. When you have professionals at this level, everybody works together. But we follow each other and listen to what the crowd says and just kind of go with it.
TRIPLE H: That's basically it. I'm like the flute guy and Chris is...
KING: OK, Triple H., tonight it will take about 20 minutes and you will defeat him.
TRIPLE H: Yes. And...
KING: That's all you know?
JERICHO: That's usually the way it goes.
TRIPLE H: Yes. And he...
TRIPLE H: And he and I have been in the ring enough together enough and have enough experience that that would be about all we would have. They would say this -- go 20 minutes, this is what we want you to do in the end and we -- he and I would just go out there and do it and hopefully blow the roof off the place.
KING: Last year, as part of WrestleMania, a surprise hit included the battle of the billionaires, in which our guest Vince McMahon took on the irresistible Donald Trump, who now joins us on the phone as a surprise guest.
Are you there, Donald?
DONALD TRUMP, BILLIONAIRE, REAL ESTATE ENTREPRENEUR: I am there.
KING: Are you here to challenge him again?
TRUMP: No, I wouldn't want to challenge him. He's a pretty tough cookie, I'll tell you. I hit him hard. I hit him really hard. It didn't have much of an impact -- although I did give him a black eye, Vince, right?
MCMAHON: Yes, you did.
TRUMP: I hit him a little lower than I was supposed to by accident, but one of those things. But I did...
MCMAHON: I'm not so...
TRUMP: But I did go after him, Larry.
MCMAHON: I'm not so sure that was by accident.
TRUMP: I don't think so. Maybe not. You're right.
KING: What was it like for you, Donald?
TRUMP: Well, it was amazing. I mean we had 83,000 people. I think we broke every record in wrestling history in terms of ratings, in terms of Pay-Per-View, in terms of attendance. And I think it's going to be very, very tough for Floyd top us this year, Vince, I must tell you. But it's a good challenge.
MCMAHON: Thank you.
KING: It's a good idea, the boxer and the wrestler.
KING: Donald, what do you -- as a major entrepreneur, what do you think of McMahon?
TRUMP: Well, you know, there's really nobody like him. And I've said this many times before, not because he happens to be listening. I say it when he's not listening. There's nobody like this guy. He's a special guy. He's one of the great promoters of all time. But, you know, people know that.
He's also a great manager. Very rarely, I find, in business do you have -- I've met numerous great promoters, I've met many great managers, but very rarely do you meet them together as one person. And Vince is a great manager and a great promoter -- one person. And it's just so seldom that you see this, Larry.
You know, when I was a big part of that show last year, I got to see him behind-the-scenes and the way he manages the trucks, the cameras, the equipment, the quality of the equipment, the quality of his staff. It's an amazing -- really an amazing -- it's the greatest show on Earth. It really is. To me, it's the greatest show on Earth.
KING: What a compliment, Vince.
MCMAHON: Coming from Donald Trump, it's a tremendous compliment.
KING: Thank you, Donald. Thanks for joining us.
TRUMP: Thank you very much. So long, Vince.
KING: Always great having you with us.
Donald Trump. He beat you, huh?
MCMAHON: Oh, yes.
MCMAHON: Badly, yes. My hair still hasn't grown all the way back.
KING: We all know this is a very profitable business for Vince, obviously.
How profitable is it for the wrestlers? Let's see what Chris. How do you make out?
I don't have to know (INAUDIBLE)...
MCMAHON: Let me just say -- I'll answer that question. Too profitable for him, but...
JERICHO: I'm overachieving.
KING: Do you do well?
JERICHO: It's one of those things, the higher you are on the ladder and the bigger of a personality you are, the more tickets you sell and the better you do. And like Vince said earlier, this is entertainment, first and foremost. You have to connect with the crowd. You have to have some kind of a reason for them to want to tune in to see you, to watch you as a good guy, as a bad guy, to win or lose or whatever.
And when you can figure out a way to do that, you do very well in this business, because it is one of the top entertainment companies in the world.
KING: How do you do, John?
CENA: I'm doing all right. It's -- I enjoy the way that the company sets up their scale. They encourage you to work hard. They -- like Chris said, you do have to have a connection with the crowd. But I relate it oftentimes to sports -- if you're a superstar that's hitting a ton of home runs or you really work hard to do the best you can during the entire season, you are surely compensated for your efforts.
And I dig the concept of being rewarded for hard work. Nobody just coasts through. You have to really show up. We do 300 shows a year. You really have to give it your all the whole year, not just at an event like WrestleMania. But you are rewarded if you want to work hard.
KING: Do you feel that you're treated fairly Triple H?
TRIPLE H: I mean, I do. I think -- you know, I don't think...
MCMAHON: He's my son-in-law.
TRIPLE H: Yes.
JERICHO: What else can he say?
TRIPLE H: Yes. I mean, yes -- you know, that scene earlier of him punching guys, that's basically our house at the holidays so...
TRIPLE H: Yes. But, you know, I look at our business and I think for a lot of the guys, you know, the up side is limitless. You know, and that's how -- what John was alluding to, is that the pay structure is scaled so that the more you're getting over with the fans and the more fans are accepting you, the sky is the limit on what you can do and what you make when -- you know, I'm sure when John first got in the business, he didn't think that however many years later he'd be making millions of dollars and making movies in Hollywood and doing all the things that he's doing -- a rap album and all that stuff.
I mean the sky is the limit. And John is one of the hardest working guys we've ever had in this company and that's why he's as successful as he is.
KING: Well, you must feel good, Vince that a lot of -- not only have you done well, but a lot of people have carried along.
MCMAHON: Absolutely. And those who own stock in our public company do well, as, also.
KING: Vince McMahon, Triple H. John Cena.
Our thanks to John Cena. Be well, John. We're going to see you soon.
Thank for joining us.
CENA: Larry, thank you. KING: There is a big WWE event coming up and boxer Floyd Mayweather is a huge part of it. We'll fill you in on what's going to happen, right after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The greatest fighter in the world versus the largest athlete in the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Now about to join our august group, the undefeated Welterweight Champion of the World, the brilliant Floyd Mayweather. He is 39-0. He's going to battle Big Show in Wrestlemania 24 on March 30. He is considered by many the best pound for pound fighter in the world.
And why are you going to fight a humongous wrestler in the ring?
FLOYD MAYWEATHER, WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD: Why not? I mean, you know, I always like big challenges and doing something different, stepping outside the box. You know, I've done "Dancing With the Stars." I dominated in the field of boxing. Now it's time to move on to something bigger and better. There's nothing bigger than the WWE.
KING: And none bigger than the guy you are going to fight.
MAYWEATHER: Absolutely not, The Big Show, a huge guy.
KING: This is a boxing match, right?
KING: What is it?
MCMAHON: Whatever it is we're going to figure out. It's boxing. It's a fight.
KING: He can fall on top of him?
MCMAHON: Absolutely he could.
MAYWEATHER: He can do what he wants to do.
KING: Why would you risk that?
MAYWEATHER: It's worth it. Of course, you know --
TRIPLE H: Why do you climb Mt. Everest? Because it's there.
MAYWEATHER: Mr. McMahon can answer that question. WWE is full of entertainment. I feel that I am a great entertainer, one of the best. KING: Yes, you are.
MAYWEATHER: I'm versatile.
TRIPLE H: You also said you grew up as a big wrestling fan.
MAYWEATHER: Yes, crazy about wrestling, my whole life.
KING: No kidding, so even while boxing, you watch wrestling?
MAYWEATHER: Always as a kid, yes, absolutely. I never knew I was going to be in Wrestlemania. I hoped and wish -- of course, when you are a kid. But now I'm here in Wrestlemania. And I heard Donald Trump say -- talking about the numbers. He must realize I hold the record for Pay-Per-View. Mr. McMahon is a very, very smart businessman, I should say.
KING: Where did you get the idea, Vince, to pull this off?
MCMAHON: Well again, Floyd is so flashy. He's beyond boxing. He's much like Muhammad Ali was years and years ago. You know, and on top of it, he's a real regular guy. He's a great guy. And I like to do business with good people. He's good people. And, again, from an attraction standpoint, he's extraordinary.
KING: He's going to fight -- we'll meet him in a couple of minutes -- Big Show. How will he do, do you think, Triple H?
TRIPLE H: It's going to be interesting. Floyd is fast. He's got fast hands. And Big Show is not quite as fast, but he's seven- foot and he's 450 pounds. So that's a pretty big advantage.
KING: Do you make him the favorite?
TRIPLE H: Not with Floyd here, I won't. But Floyd already --
MCMAHON: Floyd was not the favorite.
TRIPLE H: And Floyd already broke Big Show's nose a few weeks ago, so --
KING: What was the occasion?
TRIPLE H: They were in the ring together and Floyd ran in there and punched him in the face about four times and shattered his nose.
KING: You beat him?
MAYWEATHER: He invited me in for a punch. He pushed me and I punched him in the nose and here I am today.
JERICHO: Last week, he picked you up over his head and threw you over the ring.
MAYWEATHER: Monday Night Raw.
KING: Threw you 20 feet in the air.
MAYWEATHER: On top his --
JERICHO: Like a piece of garbage, Larry. He was yapping all the way down. I've got the Pay-Per-View record.
KING: Chris, like other planned things, is this planned?
JERICHO: This is a strange one because you've seen some things, like when Mayweather hit Show in the nose at No Way Out that was not planned. If it was planned, Show got a broken nose. I don't know that anyone would go into a planned situation and say, break my nose. This is stepping outside of the box a little bit, which happens sometimes.
MAYWEATHER: This one is not planned. That's why whoever is watching, they must watch Wrestlemania 24, because you can't miss this one. This one is not planned.
KING: When do you fight again?
MAYWEATHER: Probably sometime in September.
KING: Wouldn't this take away from that? If you were training, wouldn't this interrupt training?
MAYWEATHER: There's nothing bigger than the WWE, nothing.
MCMAHON: The boxing world is very upset about this whole thing. They are upset because Floyd is willing to take this kind of risk. If he fights again in September, that's great if he's 100 percent. But if there's even an accident, you know, and a 450-pound man falls on top of you, you can break a bone. You could get messed up.
Again, the whole boxing world is really upset because Floyd is an independent thinker, and is willing to take a risk, which is one of the things you'll not find in any athlete today.
MAYWEATHER: I think it's more like with boxing, they must realize, I made the sport of boxing huge. Not just big, huge. And last year, 3.5 million in two fights, 3.5 million homes. At gates, I grossed in over 30 million. And so total -- with the total pot grossing last year, with the network, which is Time Warner/HBO, grossed probably 300 million.
KING: In view of all of that, aren't you the least bit worried, career worried, about taking a risk like this?
MAYWEATHER: Is the risk worth the reward? Absolutely. Absolutely.
KING: What are they paying you?
MAYWEATHER: Twenty million.
KING: You are paying him 20 million dollars. MCMAHON: I wouldn't be surprised if he gets 20 million dollars. But it will be worth every nickel of it. Again, he's an extraordinary athlete. And this is tremendous. It's David and Goliath. Anyone can understand that, even if you aren't from the boxing community or the wrestling community. You have to watch this. Not knowing what's going to happen, you have to watch David versus Goliath.
MAYWEATHER: It's possible I could be here to stay. I may not go back to boxing. It all depends.
KING: You're kidding.
JERICHO: It's part of the great tradition the WWE has had with some of the greatest boxers of the world, from Mike Tyson, Ali and now Floyd Mayweather.
KING: We're going to take a break. When we come back, maybe the biggest person you've ever seen is waiting in the wings. He's called Big Show for a reason. I don't even think he'll fit on the desk here. Stay with us and find out.
KING: Joining Vince McMahon and Welterweight Champion Floyd Mayweather is Big Show. Here he comes. This humongous man will fight Floyd Mayweather in a wrestling/boxing match during Wrestlemania 24 on March 30.
BIG SHOW, WWE WRESTLER: You know that's coming, right?
KING: Didn't even bother you. How big are you, Big?
BIG SHOW: Seven foot, 441 pounds, as of last week.
KING: Why did you agree to this boxing/wrestling exhibition here?
BIG SHOW: Well, obviously, it's a great chance for me to be a part of Wrestlemania, the biggest event ever, be in the ring with a great boxing champion like Floyd Mayweather. Pound for pound, he's the greatest fighter on the planet. It's a good opportunity for me to squash the greatest fighter on the planet, and, therefore, become the greatest on the planet.
KING: That would be the truth. You would become the greatest.
BIG SHOW: It was a good opportunity for me. I didn't expect to get my nose broke, but, you know, after all, it's been good for my comeback, my return.
KING: Do you have a strategy?
BIG SHOW: A strategy? I've never been in the ring with a guy that's worth half a billion dollars before. So it's a two-fold strategy. He's 150 pounds. I am not going to get on one knee like I did before when he broke my nose. I think I'm going to have fun and embarrass him. I had to walk around with two black eyes for a couple of weeks and deal with that embarrassment.
It's OK for a smaller guy when you've got black eyes. People understand. When you are as big as I am and you have two black eyes, people don't understand.
KING: Floyd, you are an intelligent person. What worries you about this match. Look at him.
MAYWEATHER: Of course, we know anything is possible. He can grab me with one hand, like he said, and squash me like a bug. But, you know, only the strong survive. And I feel that I'm one of the last strong ones that's out there.
KING: What's your strategy?
MAYWEATHER: Can't hit what you can't see. Smart.
KING: You're going to move around.
MAYWEATHER: Intelligent. A little bit.
KING: Embarrass him?
MAYWEATHER: I can't give up my game plan right now.
BIG SHOW: Please do, give it up.
MAYWEATHER: Not at all.
KING: What do you expect, Vince?
MCMAHON: Floyd did say one thing, and it could happen, and that is he's going to break Big Show's jaw. He broke his nose. He said he's going to break Big Show's jaw. I'm looking forward to --
KING: He could because he has a lethal punch.
MCMAHON: He does.
BIG SHOW: He's got a pretty good punch. I spent the last year, when I took a year off from wrestling, I spent a year boxing in Miami.
KING: You boxed?
BIG SHOW: Yes, training to box. So I can throw a punch, too. So if there's a big cloud of dust and Floyd Mayweather disappears, we know I caught him with a good shot.
KING: We took our King Cam on to the streets to get the thoughts on this match. Let's look at what the folks had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just want to know what Maywhether is thinking challenging the Big Show.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mayweather is going knock him out, break his jaw.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mayweather, he talks a lot of trash, but Big Show knows how to back it up when it comes to it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know Floyd Money Mayweather is going to kick Big Show butt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Big Show all the way. He's going to dominate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What kind of style of a match is it going to be. Is it going to be boxer/wrestler or straight up boxing?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: How big is this going to get, Vince?
MCMAHON: I don't know. It's one of those things that you presented to the public. Right now, there's a tremendous ground swell of rank and file individuals you just saw who were really into this. Again, it's not just boxer/wrestler. It's the personalities involved, and it's David and Goliath. So I --
BIG SHOW: We'll rewrite the story, though.
MCMAHON: I don't know whether or not Jack is going to be able to cut down the bean stock. I guess we'll have to see.
MAYWEATHER: I'm ready to break that record.
KING: The big fear is that he falls on you.
MAYWEATHER: Anything can happen.
KING: Wrestlers pin people down.
MAYWEATHER: But is it worth it, absolutely.
KING: It's worth it to you?
MAYWEATHER: We take a risk every day we walk outside our doors at our home.
KING: Floyd, I have this weird feeling that you want to be pinned. You want to feel what it's like. You are a wrestling fan all your life. What would it be like to be pinned?
MCMAHON: I don't see failure in his future.
KING: He gets up.
MAYWEATHER: I feel I'm built on winning. I love to win. I have been blessed with a talent just to be one of the best entertainers that's out, and just to be with the WWE, which is the biggest company that's on television, is truly a blessing.
KING: Are you a fan of Floyd's?
BIG SHOW: Absolutely. You know, unequivocally, without a doubt. I have watched him fight, checked out his Pay Per Views. He's a great, tough fighter. And, you know, we can joke and make lighthearted about the size difference. But the truth of the matter is Floyd Mayweather is a fighter. You see how he applies his boxing knowledge in the ring. He uses his elbows to keep opponents off of him. He gets in. He does his damage and gets out.
He's a great fighter, great psychologist in the ring, as far as knowing how to frustrate his opponents. These are all things I have to take in account when I'm working with him.
KING: And he's a crowd pleaser.
BIG SHOW: He's a crowd pleaser or he's a crowd instigator, one of the two. He always makes an impression. They either love him or they want to run over him with a taxi cab. One of the two.
KING: Thanks, Floyd. Thank for joining us. We wish you the best of luck. We're all going to watch. Continue to stay undefeated all the way.
We'll be right back with the other guys right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The chairman of world wrestling entertainment, Mr. McMahon!
MCMAHON: Shut up, you'll get one. Most importantly, I'd like to thank me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIA KANELLIS, WWE DIVA: What's up, Larry? Thank you so much for coming to my Playboy signing at the Virgin Mega-Store.
I was a huge fan of wrestling. I always grew up watching it, watching it with my father. And then I saw the diva search. When I saw the diva search, I'm like, you know what? I would really like to do that. And I'll see what happens with it.
Well, my finisher, because that means it's over with, and that means I'm winning, the Beautiful Bulldog. And it's a head lock and I kind of drop to my butt and land them on their face. Then it's done. I get to pin them, one, two, three.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's one of a kind and she's a total lady.
KANELLIS: Definitely getting into the ring. Have you seen Beth Phoenix? She's pretty scary sometimes. So I'd say getting into the ring.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maria is definitely my favorite diva. I'm thrilled that she finally posed for Playboy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're here for Maria. We love her. Go Maria! You rule, girl.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maria? We thought it was the Macho Man. We were here to see Macho Man. It's Maria? Well, then let's get out of here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That was Maria Kanellis. Maria is one of the divas. What does a diva do on the WWE?
MCMAHON: We're having a diva bunny match actually.
KING: A diva bunny match.
MCMAHON: I don't know what that means myself, except it's going to be interesting.
KING: We have an e-mail from Jennifer in Ohio; "how do the wrestlers balance their personal lives with their hectic work schedules at the WWE?" Start with you, Big.
BIG SHOW: I leave work at work. When I come home, I give my time to my wife and my dogs. And when I come back to work, I can concentrate on work.
KING: Where is home?
BIG SHOW: Home for me is Miami, Florida.
KING: Know it well. Chris?
JERICHO: My wife is very understanding, which is what you have to have. I also spend my time at home with my children and leave work at work. But you still have that passion, that fire that burns inside of you at all times.
You want to leave it at work, but you are still always thinking about ideas and concepts, and things along those lines. Basically, it boils down to you have to have somebody who really understands what you do as your significant other.
KING: Where do you live?
JERICHO: I live in Tampa.
KING: Triple H?
TRIPLE H: I'm a little different in that the four days I'm on the road wrestling I'm involved in wrestling business, and the three days a week that I'm at home, I'm in the wrestling business. So -- KING: What do you mean?
TRIPLE H: I'm married to his daughter, who is vice president of creative at our company and --
KING: So it never leaves you.
TRIPLE H: If I go over to his house, he's got me doing something. And he's always got me going somewhere, doing something.
KING: Where do you live?
TRIPLE H: I live in Connecticut.
KING: Vince, on another note, you do a lot of work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. You're on their advisory council. They do fantastic things.
MCMAHON: They really do. We've been doing that 20 years. As a matter of fact, John Cena just who got an award for making his 100th wish come true, which is a record.
KING: You also do a lot with troops. You've been to Iraq?
MCMAHON: For five years we all go over.
KING: You all go over?
MCMAHON: It's one of the biggest thrills.
TRIPLE H: I want to say something on that. With all the things he's does -- not just because he's my father-in-law -- he goes with us. He's the first guy out there. When we're there, if we're not going to some base on the front line somewhere, where people are almost shooting at us, he's angry. He wants -- he's right out there with us.
JERICHO: Go over there specifically for the troops, just for them. I just went my first time this past year. It was one of the greatest experiences I've ever had, not only in this business, but in my entire life. It was very rewarding.
KING: We'll take a break and we've got one more segment to go. In that segment, the four guests and yours truly will be standing at the big board. We'll show you how after this.
KING: We're back with Vince McMahon and his troupe of wrestling stars. First a video question for you. Let's take a look at the big board.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, my name is Rain Cruz (ph) and I'm from Las Vegas, Nevada. This question is for Mr. McMahon: what do you think will make this year's Wrestlemania memorable?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCMAHON: I think the Mayweather/Big Show, certainly from the grand scheme, is going to be memorable. Then again, the triple threat match, the world championship match, Rick Flair could have his last match against Sean Michaels. Just about anything for everyone, I think.
KING: Where do you feature the Mayweather fight, where in the event?
MCMAHON: I haven't figured that out yet.
KING: You haven't programmed it?
KING: How many injuries have you had, Triple H.?
TRIPLE H: Quite a few. I've torn both my quads off the bone. You know, it's -- yes, elbow surgery. It's a physical business.
TRIPLE H: Lobotomy was a big one.
TRIPLE H: Still recovering from that.
KING: You've had a lot of injuries?
JERICHO: I've been either too lucky or too stupid to get hurt. It's one of the two. I'm not sure.
TRIPLE H: He's like teflon man.
JERICHO: I'm from Canada. I'm like a hockey puck. I just keep bouncing around off everybody.
KING: What about you? You haven't been hurt?
BIG SHOW: Just my feelings. That's it, just my feelings. I mean, how can you hurt something like that? Really?
KING: I want to ask you something. In your wrestling career, have you ever lost?
BIG SHOW: Have I lost? I've been wrestling over 11 years, probably had over 3,000 matches. I'm sure I've lost one or two in there somewhere.
KING: That's all, though? Or have you lost some? BIG SHOW: Oh, yes, I've lost.
KING: How do they beat you? Have you fought him?
TRIPLE H: I hit him with a sledgehammer.
JERICHO: I dropped a set of stairs on his head.
BIG SHOW: He dropped a set of stairs on my head.
JERICHO: That's about it.
MCMAHON: Get a house to fall on him or park a vehicle on him.
KING: Do the fans root for you or against you? Are you evil or good?
BIG SHOW: I'm in that tough situation where some like me and some don't, and I stay right down the middle. Some people don't like me because I'm big. Some people do like me because I'm big. I just go out there and do the best I can, do stuff that nobody else can do.
KING: How many events before you get to Wrestlemania?
MCMAHON: About 15 more events.
KING: So you don't wait to get to this?
MCMAHON: No, it's every week. It's 52 weeks a year.
KING: Thank you all very much, Vince McMahon, Triple H, Chris Jericho and the Big Show. All this is coming March 30 on Pay Per View. If you're in Orlando, you can see it right there.
Check out CNN's number one show page, CNN.com/LarryKing. You can email upcoming guests, send us an I Ask question or download our latest podcast.
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