10 Things About Andre the Giant You Didn’t Know

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Andre the Giant is amongst the most gifted wrestlers the world has ever seen. Not only are his professional achievements highly commendable, his persona and character also deserves appreciation. He is known to have been an extremely gentle and generous human being, who loved to wine, dine and entertain people, expecting nothing in return. It is then not surprising that his legacy lives on decades after his demise as well. But here are some facts about Andre the Giant you may not have known – read on to dig deeper into his fascinating life and personality.

15-Years’ Running Champion

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It may come as a surprise to you but in his prime wrestling years in the ‘70s to early ‘80s, Andre never lost a match in the WWF! Never! It was only in WrestleMania III that he was finally defeated. This is not to say that he wasn’t competing outside of WWF – he did, and lost by both submission and pinfall on a few occasions.

A Man of Firsts

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Given his stature of a 15 Years’ undefeated pro at the WWF, this one-time WWF Champion and one-time WWF World Tag Team Champion was a man of firsts’. Most importantly, he was the WWF Hall of Fame’s first inductee. Almost two months after his death, a tribute video of Andre was played in an episode of WWF Monday Night Raw followed by the announcement of his induction. Interestingly, he was the sole inductee and matching his legacy would indeed be tough.

What’s Wrestling Without a Little Bit of Embarrassment?

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Andre the Giant was awarded the title for “The Most Embarrassing Wrestler” in 1989 by Wrestling Observers Newsletter. He is known to have defeated his competitors in the most humiliating manner, and we can give you one shining example. Once, he was signing autographs for children ringside when The Black Demon attacked him. Andre head-butted the masked wrestler, belted him across the ring and even tore off his mask. The Black Demon then had to flee the ring, hiding his face with a towel!

For the Love of Alcohol

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Andre was known for being very fond of his liquor and when we say “very”, it might yet be an understatement. Varied accounts by his close ones suggest that he had once consumed over 41 litres of beer in 6 hours, about 156, 16-US-fluid-ounce (470 ml) beers in another instance and also passed out in a hotel lobby after having 127 beers. When undergoing surgery in 1987, it is rumoured that surgeons estimated the anaesthesia dosage based on his levels of alcohol tolerance.

His Defeat Was Also Record-Breaking

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Here we are referring to his first WWF defeat after 15 years of reign. He lost to Hulk Hogan in a match that had a record audience of 93,173 spectators. The body-slam that paved the way for Andre’s downfall has been dubbed “the body-slam heard around the world”. While fighting that match, this wrestling legend weighed 520lbs, had recently undergone back surgery and still caused Hulk Hogan’s Latissimus dorsi muscle to rupture on slamming him.

Minting the Money Too

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Andre the Giant was also famous for the big bucks he earned. He was included in The Guinness Book of World Records (1974) as the highest paid wrestler ever. In the prime of his career, his wrestling stints and acting job(s) together garnered almost $1 million a year! And he was one who enjoyed spending his money too – he lived at a 200-acre ranch in North Carolina and had the most astoundingly huge bar bills! Best part is, he was generous with his money and treated his friends and family to a lavish lifestyle too.

Andre the Giant Memorial Trophy

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On 10th March, 2014, Hulk Hogan announced the institution of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal in WrestleMania XXX. Since then, two such tournaments have taken place with Cesaro and Big Show having won the first and second Andre the Giant Memorial Trophies respectively. It is safe to say that as long as his fans and peers remain active, Andre’s legacy as a professional wrestler will not die.

More Than Just a Strong Body

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Andre was not just a wrestler – he dabbled in television and cinema too. His most famous role was that of Fezzik, the gentle giant in The Princess Bride. He was also spotted in movies like Micki and Maude, and television series including B.J. and the Bear and The Greatest American Hero. According to his directors, Andre was a natural actor who took to the camera without much training or practice. Clearly, there was more to him that just his body.

Such An Accomplished Wrestler

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Giving an account of his many professional successes may take a while. Let it suffice to say that Andre the Giant won numerous accolades in his time, the ones at WWF being the most prestigious. Other than those, he also won a twenty-man battle royal in 1986, alongside earning the top PWI ranking for The Most Popular Wrestler of the Year in 1977 and 1982.

Happily Unmarried

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With regard to his personal life too, Andre the Giant took the road less travelled. He never got married claiming that too many women wanted him and he “wasn’t ready”. He did have one daughter though, who was born in 1979. Other than her, Andre enjoyed the company of the work staff and friends/family who frequented the ranches he owned and stayed at when not on tour.

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