Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Performer Analysis: Andre the Giant

The Boss. The Man. The Eigth Wonder of the World. The King of the Battle Royal. He has so many names and they all spell out one thing: respect. This is his analysis.

1) Innovation- 10/10-
Andre is a one of a kind in the wrestling world. His height alone made him an instant superstar, but it was his ability to use it effectively that made him possibly the most popular wrestler in the 70's. Andre didn't just rely on his size to be a giant evil heel; he played to the crowd and had stamina and could throw a dropkick and took time out to be with the fans. He found new crazy ways to show his strength during matches, some of which has never been duplicated. He was Frankenstein before our very eyes, but he warmed everyone's hearts and became a cultural icon wherever he was. Andre changed the mold for what a big man could accomplish in the business.

2) Conditioning- 5/10-
Andre, due to his size alone, did not have the stamina most wrestlers had and he never would. He never worked long matches and he never worked the mat in a physical way during matches. But, for what he could do was amazing enough. He was a good athlete, having played soccer in his native country of France, and hell, he could have played for any pro basketball team in the NBA, if he had wanted to. Andre, from what I've read, did have an alcohol problem and a over eating problem, but to keep a man his size in good health, I'm sure it was necessary to eat a lot. Most fans probably remember him, as I do, as the guy who wrestled Hulk Hogan and had a huge belly, but he only put that weight on when he came back to wrestling for that angle.

3) Skill- 5/10-
Again, not the most technically proficient guy that ever laced up a pair of boots, but he didn't need to. Andre was so big, he could do anything and the people would pop for it. In the 70's, he worked all the greatest talent in the world and had world class matches with them, but they were never long and usually Andre was the one in charge.

4) Psychology- 10/10-
If you go back to the Hogan match alone, the psych used in that carried it on to become one of the most recognizable matches that has ever happened. The promotion of it was brilliant, but it was the psychology, which registers with fans and they don't even know it, that got that thing so hyped. Andre had a unique position of being a much larger opponent for some men and he never played around with it. He used his height to bring forth the most real reactions and actions from him to make a match memorable and he was very proficient at it.

5) Interviews- 5/10-
Although his voice was very heavyily accented, Andre always had a sweet nature to his tone. He rarely ever cut a money promo, but the camera and microphone loved him in interviews. He had a great presence in front of the camera. Regardless of his size, he never seemed to overshadow other people if he cut a group interview. And sometimes, being a team player and not always the main event counts for something.

6) Character- 10/10-
Andre's character was himself. He was a giant of a man. He was the 8th wonder of the world, and even if they rename the 7 wonders, his place will never change for me. If you look at it, it was a really unique character that has never been duplicated and that's just because there's no one near his size,(I don't care how they promote Khali, or Big Show.) Andre had something the other giants didn't; a smile. Even when he was a bad guy, you just couldn't hate him.

7) Basics- 5/10-
Andre had a grasp of the basic tools for wrestling. Rarely did he employ them due to factors already named in this article, but in his early stuff, he did quite a bit of scientific wrestling. I'd call him an expert by no means; also, he wasn't a transition wrestler, he didn't work a lot of spots, and his punches, while devastating, lacked any technique.

8) Fans- 10/10-
It's been said here already, and everywhere else, the people loved Andre. He will always hold an endearing spot in most every true wrestling fan's heart. Andre was loved worldwide during the height of his face run from the late 60's through the 70's and halfway through the 80's. The man could get a pop by simply stepping through the curtain. Granted, it was due to his size, but he carried himself very well and the fans loved to watch him in the ring.

9) Matches/ Feuds- 10/10-
Anybody who came up through the ranks has a story about how they got to do a job for Andre at one point in their career. It was almost like a passing of the torch. Andre was so large and unstoppable, it's hard to imagine anyone standing a chance against him, but he did have quite a few legendary feuds in his career against some of the greatest of our time. He feuded w/ Antonio Inoki in Japan, with Killer Khan in a stretcher match, against Ken Patera for cutting his hair, against some other giants, "Big Cat" Ernie Ladd & Big John Studd, and of course, the Hulkster himself in probably Andre's most courageous time.

10) Gutcheck- 10/10-
Andre the Giant had his prime in wrestling. He made promoters rich. He made himself rich. He helped build multiple territories around the US and he was a big part of the franchise that WWE has now become. But, I don't think you could take the love of the sport away from him. That's why he stayed in the business( as most veterans do) longer than he should have, but it was for a good cause. Coming back, in awful health, to face Hogan at Wrestlemania 3( WWE's largest drawing show) cemented both of them in the upper echelon of wrestling for eternity. Andre "passed the torch" to the new flag bearer of the WWE and he did for the love of the business that allowed him to be a star and an inspiration to so many people around the world. I have nothing but good words for Andre in this category because as big as the man himself was, it seemed his heart was even bigger.

Final Score: 80
Ranking: Legend
PO: Thumbs Up

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