Andre the Giant - article

From the world of Sports entertainment comes this ditty. The guy Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase and his partner Big John Studdderisively called "Andraya the Giant" - until they had to face him in the ring - at that point they basically lost hope and all the Trumpisms in the world couldn't save them . . . . . nice article, some stuff unbelievable!

I noticed they left out the part where Andre was in Japan and unable to properly use the bathroom because he was too large to fit in the inside, so he spread out some newspapers on the bed and went dookie on them and then cleaned himself with the shower curtain

As a child from 12 to (ok, still a child) I followed some of the wrestling - it had regular spots on TV - now I don't even subscribe to the service airing the McMahon channel.

One regret is I never saw Andre live - he was a floating roadshow . . . . never allying himself very long with a particular promotion - as Andre was bigger than any little tiny Vern Gagne, Wally Karbo, Vince McMahon or Jerry Memphis promotion.

He toured the world - as a showcase act. . . . the local promoters would bid on his services and fit him into their various promotions - often getting him to do some standup interviews prior to his matches - usually against a local star heel - and Andre knew the game - he better not squash the local star (like he was fully capable of) and often let the heel kick the crap out of him (eye gouges, foreign objects, extra help, etc.) before mounting a typical Andre comeback and taking the heel out.

Andre was billed at 7'4" but most height in wrestling were exaggerated by inches.

For instance - I'm a tad under 6'2" and have met many guys in the industry. Here's some accurate estimate of guys I've met over the years.

Mad Dog Vachon - 5'7 to 5'8"
Hulk Hogan - 6'4" to 6'5" (billed at 6'8" when he first came out of the chute)
Jesse Venture - 6'3", (fairly honest Jess was billed at 6'4")
Big John Studd - billed at 6'11", more like 6'6" to 6'7")
Black Jack Lanza - when he first started as a rookie he was 6'3, but when heeled up he suddenly became 6'7"
Don Leo Jonathan - the Mormon giant was traditionally billed at 6'7", 305, he was a bigun, but more like 6'5", 275
Killer Kowalski - billed at 6'7", 275, very lanky guy - real height around 6'5", 6'6" so the lie wasn't that bad - weight was way overstated - Killer was never more than 240
The Sheik - about 5'10"
Ric Flair - billed at 6'1" or 6'2" thru most of his career, wasn't even 6'0", MAYBE 5'11"
Chris Benoit - the Canadian crippler has been erased from wrestling record books - billed at 5'11", probably 5'9 or so.
Cyrus - aka Don Callis, from Winnipeg, billed at 6'2", was actually 6'2"
Chris Jericho (aka Chris Irvine)- billed at 5'11", maybe 5'9"

Andre's actual height varied as he dealt with diseases like giantism - he was probably 7'1" at his peak - maybe 6'10" when he hung it up.

The one picture of Andre on big he actual was, is of him holding a regular sized can of Molson Canadian in his hand... the can looked like a miniature one fitting into his palm. It was fun to watch him wrestle, one of the very few that I liked. The only wrestling event I went to in my life was when Stampede Wrestling came to town... a wrestler name Mr. Hito was the one I remember because of a fan that shouted "Hito, shave your *******!", at the time the funniest thing I had ever heard... after the match another kid went up to him to ask him for an autograph and hand him a pen... big mistake... Hito just broke the pen into tiny pieces. I loved Stampede wrestling, was a great way to kill an hour on a Saturday.

I have Stu Hart's biography in my library. Fascinating book on his personal history, Stampede wrestling, his basement of horrors (where 6'7", 280 lb. strongmen were brought to tears by Stu putting them in an excrutiating arm bar or other type of submissions. The purpose was to show the guys who thought wrestling was only a work was illustrating how real pressure effected the human body and its pain defense systems.
Lots of family turmoil - particularly how Vince McMahon bribed a couple of the more feeble-minded Hart family in-laws after "killing" Owen Hart at a PPV. Some Hart family members needed jobs - and Vince got them to sign off on a major lawsuit for Owen's death.
I saw some of Stampede on TV in Brandon and in Saskatchewan. Lots of Stu's guys went to big things including the best there ever was . . . . but my favourites were always quasi-heels like Archie "The Stomper" Gouldie, Wayne Ferris the Elvis imitator and Chris Benoit - who gained infamy later as a mass murderer while working for the McMahon WWE promotion.