Big men have been a part of professional wrestling for many years. Some of these big wrestlers have been very successful and have been respected by wrestling fans, while others have been more of a laughingstock and were never able to accomplish much.
During the 1950s and 1960s a wrestler by the name of Happy Humphrey competed. Humphrey was the heaviest professional wrestler of all time. Although his weight was sometimes disputed, he averaged about 750 pounds, sometimes weighing in at more than 800, or even going above 900 pounds. Happy Humphrey once wrestled a bear for 28 minutes and was a frequent opponent for Haystacks Calhoun. In fact, he had a modified 1951 Pontiac to transport him around, and that car was once driven by a young Harley Race.
Several big men did not make this list because they fell shy of the 400 pound requirement. All of these men managed to win championships, even if it was not in the WWE. Their size and strength helped make them feared in the eyes of their opponents and immortalized them as some of the best, and especially heaviest, wrestlers in recent memory.
11 One Man Gang
George Gray actually had two separate gimmicks during his time in the WWF: the One Man Gang, and Akeem, the African Dream. At 6’9” and close to 500 pounds, he wrestled for about 10 years before finally making it to the big leagues. One Man Gang was a rule breaker under the tutelage of his manager Slick. In a strange turn of events, Gang embraced his supposed African roots and changed his character to that of Akeem, where he became known as one half of the Twin Towers with the Big Boss Man. Although he did not hold any titles in the WWF, One Man Gang won the WCW United States Championship in 1995 as part of the Dungeon of Doom.
10 Big Daddy V
Nelson Frazier Jr. wrestled under several gimmicks including Big Daddy V, Viscera, and Mabel. As Mabel, the 6’9” 487 pounder won the 1995 King of the Ring and was part of the tag team Men On a Mission, who won the WWF Tag Team Championship. Viscera also won the WWF Hardcore Championship and was a part of the new ECW. During his career he was both a fan favorite and a hated rule breaker. Viscera passed away early at 43 years old and had his final match in Qatar in 2013.
One of the things that Earthquake was best known for was making all of the little Hulkamanics cry when he crushed Hulk Hogan’s ribcage with an Earthquake splash. At 6’7” and 500 pounds, the man known as Earthquake started out as a successful sumo wrestler. Earthquake teamed up with Typhoon as The Natural Disasters and won the WWF Tag Team Championship. In addition to squashing Hogan, Earthquake was also known for crushing Jake Robert’s python Damien. He would wrestle in WCW as Avalanche and The Shark, and came back to the WWF as Golga as part of The Oddities faction.
8 King Kong Bundy
King Kong Bundy was so big at 6’4” and 445 pounds that Gorilla Monsoon often referred to him as the “walking condominium”. Bundy’s timing was right for a big man because he was around at the beginning of the WrestleMania era, pinning S.D. Jones at the first WrestleMania and headlining WrestleMania 2 in a steel cage match against Hulk Hogan for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship. Bundy was also one of the victims of The Undertaker’s WrestleMania undefeated streak in 1995. Bundy did not hold any titles in the WWF, but he did win the NWA American Heavyweight Championship twice and the NWA American Tag Team Championship twice in World Class Championship Wrestling. He officially retired from wrestling in 2006.
7 Haystacks Calhoun
Haystacks Calhoun was instrumental in helping big men earn respect in professional wrestling. True to his name, Haystacks came to the ring in blue overalls and a white T-shirt with a horseshoe necklace. Coming in at 6’4” and 640 pounds, he competed in the World Wide Wrestling Federation where he won the WWWF World Tag Team Championship with Tony Garea. Calhoun also won the NWA Canadian Tag Team Championship twice with Don Leo Jonathan and the NWA United States Tag Team Championship with Jack Brisco. Calhoun was a big draw in the 1950s and 1960s and paved the way for both big men as well as the “country bumpkin” type a la Hillbilly Jim.
Rikishi was one of those big men who could really move well despite his size. The 6’1” 425 pounds Samoan started off as part of The Samoan Swat Team before becoming one half of The Headshrinkers as Fatu in the early 1990s. He became a singles wrestler and changed his name to Rikishi and was associated with Too Cool. During his time in the WWF/E, Rikishi held the WWF Intercontinental Championship, the WWF/E Tag Team Championship twice, and the WWE Tag Team Championship. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2015 and is the father of WWE superstars Jimmy and Jey Uso.
5 Gorilla Monsoon
The younger generation of wrestling fans may not remember Gorilla Monsoon at all, but some will remember him as only being an announcer. Before commentating and even being the WWF President, Monsoon was quite the wrestler and was 6’5” and 401 pounds. Gorilla held the WWWF United States Tag Team Championship with both Killer Kowalski and Bill Watts and was inducted into the WWF Hall of Fame in 1994. He was known as the voice of the WWF for the 1980s and 1990s but terrorized rings in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1976 he was even involved in a scuffle with Muhammad Ali and delivered an airplane spin to “The Greatest”.
Yokozuna took his name from the term given to those achieving the highest rank in sumo wrestling. At 6’4” and 589 pounds, Yokozuna was actually a Samoan American wrestler who was billed as being from Japan. Yoko captured the WWF Championship from both Bret “Hitman” Hart and Hulk Hogan. He also held the WWF Tag Team Championship twice with Owen Hart. Yokozuna only lived to be 34 years old and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame posthumously. He was a member of the Anoa’I wrestling family which also includes the likes of Rikishi, The Rock, Umaga, and Roman Reigns.
3 Big Show
By now the Big Show has become somewhat overrated, and many fans have been heard chanting for him to retire. At 7 feet tall and 441 pounds, he started out in the WCW as The Giant, and won the WCW Championship in his very first match. The Big Show has been a WWF Champion twice, a World Heavyweight Champion twice, an ECW Heavyweight Champion, a WWE Intercontinental Champion, a WWE United States Champion, and an eight time Tag Team Champion. Even though he is not as impressive as he once was, the Big Show is still very worthy of being named one of the best big men of all time.
At 60 years old, it is almost unheard of for a big man like Vader to still be wrestling. At 6’5” and 450 pounds, Big Van Vader ruled WCW and the WWF during the 1990s. During his career this big man managed to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship three times and the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship as well. Vader also wrestled in Japan and held the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship and World Tag Team Championship in All Japan Pro Wrestling and the IWGP Heavyweight Championship three times and IWGP Tag Team Championship (with Bam Bam Bigelow) in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Vader even played for the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams before having to retire early due to injury concerns.
1 Andre the Giant
Andre the Giant was one of the best known wrestlers of the 1970s and 1980s. Andre really was a giant who weighed 520 pounds and was 7’4”. Andre was so big that he could tolerate lots of alcohol, and was known to drink cases of wine or even up to 120 beers in one sitting! He was known as “The Eighth Wonder of the World” and was so big because of gigantism from an excess of growth hormones. Andre the Giant held the WWF World Heavyweight Championship and the WWF Tag Team Championship with Haku. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1993. Andre had big matches against the likes of Hulk Hogan and Big John Studd during his career and will be remembered for being the best of the biggest.