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Andre the Giant
In the 1980s, as the WWF was beginning its rise to national recognition, Vince McMahon brought in a group of superstars to fuel the growth of the company in the US. Among these superstars was Andre The Giant, who if only for his size, he was a talent that was sure to draw huge crowds no matter where he went, as no one had seen a man of this size in professional wrestling before this time. Although Hogan was touted as the leading superstar in the company, Andre has undoubtedly attracted a large number of fans.
Andre was discovered by Lord Alfred Hayes, a former English wrestler who later took on non-wrestling roles in the WWF after discovering Andre. Andre then left home as a teenager to become a wrestler in Paris, but wrestlers willing to take him on were few and far between, due to his great size and strength. He made a name for himself in these arenas, and after moving to Canada to continue his wrestling career, he soon began talking to two Vince McMahons, both senior and junior, and they helped launch him into an industry that was ripe for the welcome. to Andre. with open arms.
DID YOU KNOW? Andre The Giant was listed at 7ft 4 by the WWF, and while Jim Duggan and Bobby Heenan insist this was correct, there are claims that his height is a wide range of different figures, from 6ft 9 to 7ft 4. that the WWF were claiming.
Andre made his WWF debut as a face, and during this time he temporarily became the company’s biggest superstar, as in 1984 Andre appeared in the Guinness World Records for being the highest-paid wrestler in history, earning $400,000. in a single year. Andre’s first major match involved him and Big John Studd, as the two men went around the world, fighting to decide who was the biggest giant in professional wrestling. Eventually, at the first Wrestlemania, this feud came to a conclusive end when Andre defeated Studd in a body slam challenge, reinforcing the claim most people already believed, that Andre The Giant was the biggest giant in the world. wrestling, not just at the time, but better than any giant that has come before him.
The WWF continued to portray Andre as a colossus who was nearly unstoppable, until the following year, when he engaged in a battle royal with the top superstars, as well as the top players in the NFL. Already well-established names like Bruno Sammartino were involved in this battle royale and yet the WWF was so interested in showcasing Andre that they had him defeat these big names. Of course, they didn’t increase in size any more than Andre did, and by the end of the match, it all came down to him and the Hart Foundation. In another display of Andre’s dominance in the ring, he then proceeded to eliminate Jim Neidhart and Bret Hart alone, cementing his position as a true powerhouse who was dominant.
DID YOU KNOW? Andre The Giant actually fell asleep during a match with Big John Studd once.
Prior to Wrestlemania III, Andre went through a 15-year stint where he only lost via pinfall or submission on two occasions. Canek beat him via pinfall in 1984, and Antonio Inoki beat Andre via submission in 1986. Plus, he led Harley Race and Nick Bockwinkle to a time-limit draw, proving that his incredible size didn’t make him a sloppy performer. as time progressed during a match. With this in mind, it is incredible to think how well cared for Andre must have been, with his physical condition allowing him to fight for an hour against the two great world champions of the time, in Race and Bockwinkle.
Andre then turned heel in 1987, after being awarded a trophy for being “undefeated for 15 years”, which was only true inside a WWF ring, and he scrapped a handful of countout losses. In one of the most famous editions of Piper’s Pit, Andre went to rip Hogan’s shirt off before challenging him to a match at Wrestlemania III. It is unknown if Andre would have won the match, but he agreed to lose to Hogan due to health issues, as he weighed 525 pounds at the time. Even so, Hogan claims Andre felt closer to 700 pounds. This was the match that put Wrestlemania on the map and got the whole world talking.
DID YOU KNOW? Such was Andre’s sheer size at Wrestlemania III, that Hulk Hogan tore his latissimus dorsi while he was punching Andre.
This feud continued through the following year, with Andre and Hogan eventually going on to captain the rival Survivor Series teams, in the inaugural event. Andre’s team emerged victorious this time as Andre landed the winning fall on Bam Bam Bigelow. However, this was not the last time Hogan and Andre competed for the WWF Championship in the ring, as when Ted DiBiase was unable to persuade Hogan to sell him the title, he then turned to Andre, who won the Championship. of the WWF. , and this was the only time Andre would hold the prestigious title. Andre then sold the title to DiBiase, but DiBiase is not credited with a championship reign due to Jack Tunney vacating the title when this happened.
DID YOU KNOW? In 1993, the WWF Hall of Fame was created, and in that year, Andre was the only superstar inducted.
Andre’s health was now severely failing, so after teaming with Haku for a while, once winning the World Tag Team Championship as The Colossal Connection, he then faded from the professional wrestling picture and finally announced his official retirement in 1992. Andre passed away. less than a year later, in his hotel room in Paris. Ironically, Andre was only in Paris to attend his father’s funeral. As he wished, Andre was cremated and his ashes were scattered at his ranch in North Carolina. There is no doubt that the legacy of the first great giant in professional wrestling history will never be forgotten. I’ve been James D, and you’ve been reading about the first man who made the giants of pro wrestling famous. RIP Andre “The Giant” Roussimoff 1946-1993.
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