Andre Roussimoff (1946-1993) aka Andre the Giant was called the 8th Wonder of the World for a reason (Fun Fact: Chyna was the 9th Wonder of the World). There never was and never will be anyone like him ever. Now, Andre actually suffered from Giantism, an actual medical condition that caused him to grow continuously. His massive frame was both a blessing and a curse. He died in his sleep from congestive heart failure in 1993.
It’s now been 25 years since the death of the original giant but since then, others have stepped over the ropes in WWE. Here’s a look at some of them.
Paul White aka The Big Show is 7’0″ and 385 lbs. but he weighed over 400 lbs until very recently.
The Big Show was in some regards The Second Coming of Andre The Giant when he first came to WWE in the late 90s. He was on the new defunct WCW before signing with WWE at the close of the Monday Night Wars. The World’s Largest Athlete is a Grand Slam Champion, holding all of the current titles at some point during his 20+ year career as well as the WCW, ECW and Hardcore Championships.
WWE took lessons learned from Andre the Giant’s condition to help The Big Show have a long career. Like Andre, The Big Show grew very fast from a young age and has some of the same challenges as well. Fortunately in his case it’s not life-threatening and he is clearly going to retire soon.
Despite his size, there are a handful of superstars who can deadlift him. The Big Show candidly revealed on an episode of Table for 3 (On WWE Network) John Cena, Kane and Mark Henry are 3 of the 4 Superstars he feels 100% comfortable being lifted by (The 4th now being Braun Strowman). To lift someone as big as he is, you have to have not just the strength but the stamina to do it.
The World’s Strongest Man was a part of the 2018 WWE Hall of Fame Class. He stands at 6’4″ and weighs 360 lbs but weighed a little over 400 lbs. 10 years ago. Mark Henry spent most of his year putting over other superstars but his years of dedication was rewarded in 2011 when he won the WWE Championship at Night of Champions.
Before he signed with WWE in 1996, Mark Henry was a professional bodybuilder and competed in Strong Man competitions. That’s where he earned the title “World’s Strongest Man”. One of his favorite party tricks: Crushing an apple with one hand. You can see him do it on two episodes of Ride Along (On WWE Network).
Dalip Singh Rana, known in WWE as The Great Khali stands at 7″1″ and weighs 347 lbs. His tenure with WWE was repeatedly stalled due to injuries and other health problems that are actually pretty common in tall people. His appearance at Battleground last year fueled speculation he was going to make another WWE appearance but that appeared to be a one-time thing.
The Great Khali, along with Jinder Mahal have helped open Pro Wrestling in India. They are the most accomplished Indian-born wrestlers and while Mahal is an active superstar, Khali has been working for indie promotions since he left WWE a few years ago. He also runs a wrestling school in India.
Glenn Jacobs aka Kane stands at 7’0″ and weighs 323 lbs. Kane has wreaked a path of destruction eclipsed only by his brother The Undertaker. Kane has held almost every title there is and has had several Championship runs.
I kept getting this wrong but Glenn Jacobs is expected to retire from wrestling should he win the mayoral election in his hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee. The election will be next month and he is the favorite to win. He obviously learned lessons from Linda McMahon’s failed attempts to run for a Senate seat in Connecticuit and has used his fame and recognition from WWE to push his campaign. Jacobs is a Republican and is actually well spoken and smart as was demonstrated by his Corporate Kane Persona.
Kane’s absences in the last two years have been due to his focus on the mayoral election in his hometown. If he wins the election–and he is leading in the polls–he will likely announce his retirement. It was pretty cool some superstars have been helping him with his campaign from time to time as well.
As you can see, Adam Scherr aka Braun Strowman isn’t the only giant in his family. He’s 6’8″ and weighs 385 lbs. Here he is pictured with his younger sister Hannah. His father Rick Scherr is actually in the Softball Hall of Fame. Mark Henry recruited him after seeing him at a Strong Man Competition.
I’ve been talking about The Monster Among Men alot lately but he is one of the top guys along with Roman Reigns. He technically won the Tag Team Championships by himself at Wrestlemania 34 but was forced to vacate the titles the following night on RAW since his partner was still in grade school.
Mark Calloway aka The Undertaker rounds out my list of giants in WWE. He’s 6’8″ and weighs 309 lbs. Everyone knows his many accomplishments over his nearly 30 year career so…yeah. The Legend of The Phenom is headlined by his 24-2 Wrestlemania Record and his 21-0 Wrestlemania Streak before it was broken by Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 30. He beat Bray Wyatt (WM31) and Shane McMahon (WM32) before losing for the second time at Wrestlemania 33 vs. Roman Reigns. After being called out for weeks, he returned to beat John Cena in a squash match at Wrestlemania 34.
Wrestlemania aside, ‘Taker introduced Casket Matches to WWE and it is his speciality (despite having lost two big ones for storyline reasons). ‘Taker was involved in the first two Hell in a Cell Matches (against Shawn Michaels and Mick Foley respectively) before the Pay Per View of the same name was introduced.
WWE is VERY protective of The Undertaker’s character and more than anyone else including Brock Lesnar or John Cena. The Deadman is intentionally kept out of sight during emotional moments involving the whole locker room (such as honoring someone who passed away or moments of silence). The two exceptions was when ‘Taker broke character and came out for Ric Flair’s farewell the RAW after he was retired by Shawn Michaels at WM24 (‘Taker won the WWE title the same night). The other instance was after his match last year at WM33, he went over the to barricade to hug and kiss his wife before exiting. By the way his wife is former WWE Superstar Michelle McCool.
Images and footage of ‘Taker both out of gear and out of character are pretty rare though WWE has started including video footage of him talking in his normal voice (not as The Undertaker but as Mark Calloway) in backstage footage taken behind the scenes at big events. Images of him looking 10 to 20 years older (he’s 52 years old now) posing with fans can be found online.
‘Taker obviously dyed his hair, which has turned white in recent years. Unlike Shane McMahon (has gray hair despite being in his mid-40s), he has to dye his hair to stay in character. As you can see in the above photograph, he’s started just going to public places as The Undertaker because of how recognizable he is.
…Come on, did you think I wasn’t gonna mention women?
Savelina “Lina” Fanene aka Nia Jax stands at 6’0″ (The weight of Female Superstars is not shown on WWE.’com’s website), putting her three inches above her cousin and fellow WWE Superstar Tamina Snuka. Nia won her first title since coming to WWE at Wrestlemania 34 when she beat Alexa Bliss for the RAW Women’s Championship.
Nia was a Heel during most of her WWE career but after she name-dropped her cousin Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in a closed door meeting, her Face Turn on The Road to Wrestlemania was set up. Speaking of her famous cousin, she decided to try out for NXT after watching her cousin live at Wrestlemania 28.
In her inclusion in the latest season of Total Divas, Nia opened up about her insecurity because of her size. Like I mentioned earlier the only other superstar who is as big as she is also happens to be her cousin, Tamina. The body shaming storyline WWE ran with leading up to her match at Wrestlemania 34 was an important one as well as powerful. Nevermind the fact Nia and Alexa are actually friends in real life (Alexa clearly broke character when she went backstage to console Nia, who’d just lost to Asuka for a spot at Wrestlemania).
Sarona Snuka aka Tamina Snuka stands at 5’9″ and is of course, the daughter of the late WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka. She is also the only one of The Rock’s cousins on the active roster–the others being Roman Reigns, The Usos and Nia Jax–who hasn’t won a title yet but that could change between the Superstar Shakeup and the Women’s Tag Team titles to come later this year.
In closing, it would be fair to say Andre The Giant left a lasting legacy and responsability for WWE. A responsability WWE has taken on in earnest. I’m talking about making sure their larger Superstars are treated with respect and dignity. They are more than their gait. They’re someone’s son, daughter, father, uncle, brother, sister, aunt, cousin or uncle.
Hopefully they will all be around long after they retire for good.