NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal is used to starring on TNT’s primetime programming, just not in this way.
The “Inside the NBA” analyst took part in a mixed tag-team match, performing alongside women's wrestling star Jade Cargill, a former fitness model and college basketball player.
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O’Neal and Cargill faced Cody Rhodes and Red Velvet in the All Elite Wrestling (AEW) bout, which lasted roughly 12 minutes and kicked off AEW’s “Dynamite” television show.
O’Neal and Rhodes began the match, with the NBA analyst showing off some of the skills he picked up during visits to Rhodes' “Nightmare Factory” wrestling school.
Shaq tied up with Rhodes using a collar and elbow grapple, multiple chops and a back-body drop early in the match.
However, the four-time NBA champion's night came to a dramatic end when Rhodes leaped over the ropes, forcing both him and O’Neal through two tables set up ringside earlier in the bout.
The tables smashed to pieces under the sheer size and weight of the NBA Hall of Fame, who was subsequently put out of action for the remainder of the match.
After the match — as a part of the show — O'Neal was eventually loaded into an ambulance on the premises at Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida.
AEW commentator Tony Schiavone went to speak with Shaq moments later but the back of the ambulance was empty.
However, a video later emerged on social media showing the great difficulty ambulance staff had in loading the big man into the back of the van.
Seven-foot NBA legend too tall for ambulance van
Shaq - all 216cm or roughly seven-feet of him - was so tall that he had to bend his knees just so the back of the ambulance door could close.
Cargill and Red Velvet dominated most of the action, taking advantage of the spotlight and their biggest opportunities of their pro wrestling careers thus far. The rules of the match stipulated that the male competitors can only share the ring with each other and vice versa for the women.
The second spurt of action between Rhodes and O’Neal saw the former Lakers center execute a powerbomb on Rhodes. Prior to the maneuver, O’Neal appeared to pay tribute to the late Jon Huber, known as Brodie Lee in AEW, who passed away suddenly late last year.
Rhodes quickly rebounded, landing a body slam on O’Neal reminiscent of the iconic "WrestleMania III" match where Hulk Hogan body slammed Andre the Giant. It was a fitting moment as O’Neal told the Associated Press that moment was seminal in his professional wrestling fandom.
Despite her tag-team partner's mishap, Cargill eventually scored the win for her and Shaq.
The female wrestling star hit a stunning finishing move and pinned Red Velvet to settle the contest in style.
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