There perhaps, has been no one better than Andre. Billed from the French Alps in Grenoble, France. This extremely large individual possessed a lot of talent, and one of those talents was wrestling. He was born Andre Rene Roussimoff, in Coulommiers, France.
Andre was a good student in school, was involved in his father’s farm in Molien, France. He had an apprenticeship in woodworking. At the age of 18, Andre moved to Paris, France. Where he was taught pro wrestling, by the promoter, Obert Lageat. Andre soon would wrestle all around the World.
He would perform in countries like Africa, Germany, and the UK. He made his debut in Japan in the 1970s. He also wrestled for the territory in Montreal, Quebec Canada. This is when he was noticed by Vince McMahon Sr, the founder of the WWWF.
Andre took on a who’s who list of the greatest wrestlers. He feuded with Buddy Wolfe in Madison Square Garden and defeated him. He then took on Gorilla Monsoon and Antonio Inoki. At the beginning of the 80s, Andre and Hulk Hogan would square off at Shea Stadium the old home of The New York Mets.
He had an impressive stint in AWA as well. When Vince McMahon Jr., bought the WWF from his father, he brought Andre in and the Giant would go on to face Big John Studd and King Kong Bundy. Andre would headline several Wrestlemania Matches. Most notably the one, that would change everything. WrestleMania III, Andre with manager Bobby The Brain Heenan faced Hulk Hogan, at the Pontiac Silverdome. In Pontiac, Michigan located in metro Detroit.
The year was 1987 and the match had been set up by Andre turning heel on Hogan on a famous Pipers Pit Segment. Their match was for the WWF Title. The match will always be known as the slam heard from around the world. This match, in particular, featured the two biggest megastars in wrestling at the time.
Andre would continue to face top end opponents. From the Macho Man Randy Savage to Jake The Snake Roberts and Demolition, Andre consistently put on entertaining feuds.
In 1987, Andre The Giant was featured in the film Princess Bride. Directed by Carl Reiner, Andre played the role of Fezzik. Andre was truly a larger than life character, in every way. Standing at 7 ft 4, he was a Giant of a Man, respected and revered by his peers. With that being said let’s not forget about those legendary drinking stories. One account Hogan recalled Andre drank an amazing, 108 12 ounce beers!
As a fan of the wrestling, Andre was special, and there will be no one else like him. Andre will be remembered as the boss, for a reason. Because if he liked you, it was a good day in the ring. If he didn’t, get ready for a long night in the ring. Not only was he an attraction, but he was ahead of the times.
He was so much more, his depth and natural talent were incredible. Now, sure there have been comparisons with other big giant wrestlers but even with his health declining, Andre gave back to his fans and the business of wrestling. Andre The Giant is and will forever be, the Eighth Wonder Of The World!
He was and is my favorite big man of all time. He left us moments and images that I will never forget.
Thank you and much respect to Andre The Giant.
Although he hasn’t been with us since 1993 his legacy will live with us forever.