JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – One of the biggest names in sports is heading to Jacksonville to compete Wednesday in a professional wrestling match.
Shaquille O’Neal is slated to compete in a match for All Elite Wrestling (AEW) at Daily’s Place where the wrestling promotion tapes Dynamite, its weekly wrestling show that airs on TNT on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on TNT.
O’Neal will be starring in what’s called a mixed tag team match, or a match when there’s a man and woman on each team.
The basketball star’s partner is Jade Cargill, a former basketball standout at Jacksonville University. Cargill, who was named to the Atlantic Sun Preseason First Team for the 2012-2013 season during her senior year at JU, joined AEW in November. Almost immediately, she has been thrust into the spotlight by teaming up with O’Neal. The duo will take on Cody Rhodes, an AEW executive, and Red Velvet.
Jim Ross, the lead commentator for AEW, said the organization expects to see media from across the country descend on Daily’s Place for Wednesday’s match to watch Shaq wrestle.
“Shaq’s a part our family there on TNT, of course doing NBA basketball,” Ross told News4Jax. “You find out that Shaq’s a wrestling fan, then you find out that Shaq is kind of mentoring Jade Cargill.”
Ross said Shaq’s mentorship of Cargill will propel her wrestling career very quickly.
“She had an interest in using her athleticism and her skills to do something else,” Ross said. “What are you going to do? Well, you’re not going to go to the WNBA, she’s past basketball. But she’s a wrestling fan, which is great.”
And O’Neal isn’t the only high-profile celebrity AEW has attracted to Jacksonville in recent months. In just the past few months, rap legend Snoop Dogg and boxing icon Mike Tyson have both appeared at Daily’s Place for AEW tapings. Famed movie director Kevin Smith has also made an appearance. Ross credited Tony Khan, son of Jaguars owner Shad Khan, with attracting all that star power.
“It’s just his vision. He’s young, he’s intelligent and he’s got great creativity,” Ross said. “He’s a true entrepreneur.”
AEW Dynamite airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on TNT. At last check, tickets are still available but limited due to COVID-19 guidelines.