The 8-Ball 11.30.12: Top 8 Badass Pictures of Andre the Giant
Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the 8-Ball. I am your party host, Ryan Byers, the self-proclaimed greatest 8-Ball writer of all the 8-Ball writers.
Except for when I prepare a column in which I barely write anything.
Like this one.
Because I don’t have a lot of free time this week.
Yet these columns remain inexplicably very popular.
So who am I to question it?
There’s no denying that Andre the Giant is one of the single most recognizable professional wrestlers to ever set foot into a ring. In addition to his unique facial features and body type, he was captured in popular media such as The Princess Bride and The Six Million Dollar Man, and even later still his likeness was spread throughout urban landscapes as part of the “Obey” campaign.
Because of who he was and how he looked, there are all kinds of awesome pictures of the Giant out there, and, when you view them together, you quickly come to the conclusion that this man, though he died young, had to have lived one of the most interesting lives a human being has ever lived. Were he still alive today, Dos Equis would be doing beer commercials featuring Andre as opposed to some random character actor.
So, this week, we pay tribute to the life and times of history’s largest Frenchman by taking a look at eight of his most badass pictures . . .
One of the more widely distributed images of Andre features him cramming ten women underneath his massive wingspan. Impressive? Yes, but in some ways I prefer this shot of the Giant lifting a random woman up on one forearm and carrying her around like a small child. It’s almost as though he’s saving her for later, carrying her around the room until he’s ready to have his way with the lass.
As awesome of a human being as he may have been, you have to realize that there were some aspects of Andre’s life that were just outright uncomfortable due to his great size. You can catch a glimpse of that here, as the Eighth Wonder of the World attempts to cram his girth into an airplane seat in what appears to be the 1980’s. The look on Andre’s face here makes it appear as though he is meditating and attempting him to will himself through the remainder of this flight.
Here, Andre the Giant poses in front of a giant mural of Red Fox and Desmond Wilson, portraying their characters from the sitcom Sanford and Son.
Just take a minute and count the awesome things about that sentence. Hint: There are 75 of them.
Andre the Giant hanging out with a mural of celebrities is one thing, but Andre the Giant hanging out with actual celebrities is a whole different level of greatness. Here, Andre cuts up with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain backstage during filming of Conan: The Destroyer, the sequel to Arnold’s breakout film Conan: The Barbarian. Seeing Andre palling around with these two men and having a good time brings a smile to my face, just because you know he was starting to live in tremendous pain at this point. Yet, on the other hand, this photograph destroys a bit of Andre’s mystique, as it demonstrates that he is shorter than the 7’1″ Chamberlain, killing his 7’4″ billed height by several inches.
Andre the Giant is legendary not just as a professional wrestler but also as a drinker, which makes sense when you consider the fact that he was a huge man in a profession that caused him a lot of physical pain and also had a huge party scene associated with it. (Keep in mind that this was decades ago, before wrestlers were all just huge nerds who spent their time after shows playing their Xtreme Boxes or whatever video games are called these days.) ANYWAY, this picture demonstrates perfectly why Andre drank so much, because a standard can of beer looks like a shotglass in his gargantuan hand.
If you thought Andre looked uncomfortable while he was flying, just take a look at him here getting out of this old school, Model T-looking (car nuts, please don’t correct me) automobile. The shot almost has to be set up for promotional purposes, because I see no actual way the cab of that vehicle could have possibility contained the 500 pounds of Alpine grappler shown exiting it. However, even if the picture is a setup, it still retains its awesomeness because it depicts Andre the Giant in a suit, and there are few things more badass than Andre the Giant in a suit.
Well, I guess that there at least two of them, because . . .
In the only photograph on this countdown that actually features our favorite professional wrestler, you know, wrestling, Andre takes a double dropkick from two opponents and, though he has clearly flinched, it appears as though the move will have little to no effect on the whole. But wait . . . those aren’t just any normal professional wrestlers. Those are two of the most revered, iconic, and intimidating professional wrestlers of the 1990s, namely Toshiaki Kawada and Mitsuharu Misawa. When you’re so well respected that Misawa and Kawada will bounce of you with almost no effect, you know you’ve made it to the top of the industry.
Here we see a young Andre the Giant heading down to the ring during what I am told is his first wrestling tour of Japan, when he was known as Monster Roussimoff as opposed to his more famous moniker. The locals look on awestruck in the background, and Andre just looks so . . . powerful . . . compared to how he would appear in later years. He always appeared to be a scary man, but you just don’t realize HOW scary he could be when you see Andre in his twenties as he appears here.
That’s it for this week’s 8-Ball. If you can’t get enough of Ryan, follow him on Twitter here.