Posts Tagged ‘WWF’

I don’t know how big he was when he was born, and reports vary as to his actual measurements when he was fully grown, but there’s no question that André the Giant was a mountain of a man.  Born in France on May 19, 1946, he was discovered as a teenager by wrestling manager Lord Alfred Hayes.  His wrestling career began in Europe in the 1960’s and was a well-established star when he arrived in the United States from Japan in the early 1970’s.

The WWF made him a household name in the States, though as a kid, I only heard rumors about him…I watched the old Georgia Championship Wrestling (featuring Gordon Solie), and the “Eighth Wonder of the World” didn’t wrestle there.  I did get to see him wrestle on TV a few times, mostly in the 2-on-1 or 3-on-1 matches where these little child-like guys wrapped themselves around André’s legs while he walked around the ring.  I hear he had great matches with Hulk Hogan, but I never saw them.

So you’re probably wondering…why write about a guy you never really paid any attention to?  I can answer that in three simple words…”The Princess Bride“.  I thought that movie was hilarious, and André the Giant played the fairly prominent (in more ways than one) poet Fezzik.  He carries the captured Princess Buttercup (and his 2 cohorts) up the Cliffs of Insanity, he engages in an honorable wrestling match with our hero (which he surprisingly loses to the sleeper hold), and he helps rescue the Princess from Prince Humperdinck.

André’s large size was due to acromegaly, a condition in which the pituitary gland secretes excessive amounts of growth hormone.  Discovered while he was wrestling in Japan, the Giant refused treatment for his condition.  It would later cost him his life, as it led to congestive heart failure in January of 1993.

There have been men who were larger.  There have been men who were stronger.  And there have been men who were taller.  But I don’t think a one of them could come up with a line that rhymed with “No more rhymes, now, I mean it!!” any quicker than André the Giant.

Happy Birthday, André the Giant!!

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