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A tribute to Andre the Giant, first WWE Hall of Famer

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Andre the Giant
A tribute to Andre the Giant, first WWE Hall of Famer. Photo/ WWE.
  • Andre the Giant was a professional wrestler who competed in several promotions winning titles.
  • His achievements include NWA Florida Tag Team Championship, World Heavyweight Championship and IWA World Tag Team Championship.
  • Besides wrestling, Andre the Giant also pursued an acting career and featured in several films, such as Les Brilliant and The Greatest American Hero.

Andre the Giant, nicknamed ‘The Eighth Wonder of the World’, is in history as the first WWE Hall of Famer.

Andre the Giant was a professional wrestler who competed in several promotions winning titles. He is one of the most recognizable figures in wrestling history.

Andre the Giant

Andre the Giant. Photo/ WWE.

His achievements as a wrestler include NWA Florida Tag Team Championship with Dusty Rhodes, World Heavyweight Championship and IWA World Tag Team Championship.

At WWF (now known as WWE), Andre the Giant won the WWF Tag Team Championship and WWF World Heavyweight Championship.

Besides being the first WWE Hall of Famer, Andre the Giant is also an inductee of the International Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame (2021) and Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum (2002). He was also inducted into the Stampede Wrestling Hall of Fame (Class of 1995).

Besides wrestling, Andre the Giant also pursued an acting career. Before his demise in 1993, the Frenchman featured in several films such as The Six Million Dollar Man, The Fall Guy, Les Brilliant and The Greatest American Hero.

Early Life 

Andre the Giant was born on May 19, 1946, in Coulommiers, Seine-et-Marne. The name his parents gave him at birth was Andre Rene Roussimoff.

He is the son of Boris Roussimoff (father) and Mariann Roussimoff (mother). Andre’s parents were immigrants.

At birth, he weighed 6 kg, which is almost twice the weight of a normal newborn baby. Andre showed signs of gigantism, a very rare condition that happens when a child or adolescent has high growth hormone levels.

Twelve-year-old Andre was 6 ft 3 in tall. He finished school at 14 and began work as he saw no need to continue with higher education.

He worked on his father’s farm and could do the work of three men, as per one of his brothers. Andre later worked in a factory manufacturing engines.

He moved to Paris at the age of 18 and learnt wrestling under the guidance of Robert Lageat. He soon began wrestling in Paris and made a name for himself in the wrestling world.

Career 

Andre the Giant, the first WWE Hall of Famer, got in touch with a Canadian promoter, Frank Valois, in the mid-1960s.

Frank became Andre’s representative, and the two began travelling around the world, wrestling in Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Africa.

Andre the Giant became an icon in Japanese wrestling in the 1970s. He won several matches until he emerged as a tag team champion.

The legendary wrestler soon began feuding with Hulk Hogan in 1980. He was seen as the hero, while Hogan was portrayed as the villain.

In 1982, Andre the Giant became one of the first wrestlers Vince McMahon signed in his newly acquired promotion, WWF.

Andre the Giant

Andre the Giant. Photo/ Sky Sports.

Vince McMahon offered Andre the Giant a professional contract in 1984 and allowed him to fight in the New Japan Wrestling matches.

Killer Khan and Big John Studd were the wrestlers Andre the Giant mostly feuded with.

Andre won a ‘Battle Royal’ after defeating 20 men in 1986. Some of the men were very strong National Football League (NFL) players.

The Frenchman soon began experiencing health problems, which made him lose a WWF World Heavyweight Championship match against Hulk Hogan. Andre would later defeat Hogan in February 1988 to win the title.

Before leaving WWF, Andre the Giant feuded with several wrestlers like Jim Duggan, Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts and The Mega Powers.

Andre spent the last few years of his life wrestling in Japan.

Death 

Andre the Giant passed away on January 27, 1993, at the age of 46. He met his death while in Paris, attending his father’s funeral.

Andre the Giant

Andre the Giant. Photo/ Radio Monte Carlo.

The 7 ft 4 in tall wrestler died of congestive heart failure while in his hotel room at night. The hotel staff and his chauffeur found his body the next day in the afternoon.

In 1994, Andre became the first WWE Hall of Famer. He was the sole inductee that year.

Abraham Odhiambo is an avid sports fan who loves to write about football, boxing and wrestling. He's a big supporter of Manchester United. He's pursuing a bachelor's degree in Communication and Media at Egerton University.

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