"That right there is one of the most basic moves in the history of wrestling but when it's applied by The Big Show it could be a finishing move."
"It was dark. I couldn’t see the linebackers. I couldn’t see the goalposts. It was like being locked in a closet."
— Boston Patriot Jon Morris, on Ernie Ladd.
In your basic Professional Wrestling
promotion, there's one guy who's much
bigger than everyone else. Usually at least a head taller than the next-tallest man on the roster, and a mountain of muscle (and fat) to boot. So, of course, the promoters advertise him as an unstoppable killing machine, regardless of the big man's (lack of) talent.
Such men are almost universally introduced and pushed the same way as "monster" heels
, sometimes mixed with an Foreign Wrestling Heel
vibe. Because of their billing, they will usually be pushed straight to the top to face off with the top Face
, whom they'll generally squash
in their first meeting, to give you an idea of how Herculean an effort will be required to defeat them.
An important distinction between The Giant and just being large is that The Giant will have sheer immovability and too often a noticeable lack in the talent department, having a very small repertoire of basic strikes and throws or being slow/not possessing Wrestling Psychology
. While some with the Giant gimmick will disprove some of the stereotypes by showing a more diverse range of moves along with decent fitness and mobility, their in ring style and psychology are still built almost entirely around being large and immovable. Jim Ross
used to refer to these types of wrestlers as 'Hoss'es, after Hoss Cartwright from Bonanza.
If the angle goes on long enough, The Giant might get a Heel-Face Turn
, rebelling on the manager who brought him in and going his own way. This usually results in them no longer being unstoppable
Muscles Are Meaningful
is a related trope. Comparable to Smash Mook
. For mythical giants, see Our Giants Are Bigger
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- The most famous, of course, is André the Giant, billed by WWE as the Eighth Wonder of the World. His most famous match was against Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania 3.
- Paul Wight, billed as The Giant in WCW and The Big Show in WWE. Injuries and weight troubles kept him from reaching his fullest potential, and many fans began calling him "The Big Slow" (a moniker either given to him or made canon by The Rock). However, his most recent return to WWE sees him a good fifty pounds lighter than when he left, and he's moving a little better; on top of that, at least in comparison with The Great Khali (see below), the fans love him. He also epitomizes the giant being pushed to the top, as his first ever match was in the main event of a WCW pay-per-view for the world championship. However, he has put his generally basic repertoire to good use; a chest slap has become one of his signature moves—he shushes the audience, and then smacks the guy, allowing the crack of a hand the size of a frying pan to echo throughout the arena. He had a wide variety of moves in the WCW, including the kip-up and athletic slams. He was so unique, he is the only wrestler that won PWI's Rookie of the Year and Wrestler of the Year in his debut. There was even rumors that, during his days in WCW, he was even training to do a moonsault.
- Those weren't rumours. Paul Wight has confirmed it, in fact he claims that he actually used it in several matches, though obviously whenever he did the opponent moved out of the way.
- Early on in his WCW run, Wight was billed as being the son of André the Giant, despite not being related to Andre in any way. This was dropped after a while, though.
- Jorge Gonzales, billed as El Gigante in WCW and Giant Gonzalez in WWE. May be more well-known for the "naked" bodysuit he was required to wear as the latter. He feuded with The Undertaker while "The Deadman" was in his prime. He is a former member of the Argentinean nation basketball team. Gonzales would have competed in the 1988 Olympics, but he was drafted by the Hawks two month before the games.
- The Great Khali, who at 7'1" is (slightly) taller than the Undertaker, Kane, and the Big Show, and the biggest wrestler currently employed by the WWE.
- One example that only concerns the wrestler's weight and not height was Yokozuna, who combined this trope with the Foreign Wrestling Heel angle (He was born in the American territory of Samoa, but was only billed as being from the Polynesian Islands.).
- British wrestler Giant Haystacks, also known as the Loch Ness Monster in Stampede Wrestling and as just Loch Ness during his brief run in WCW in February-March 1996. He debuted before the WCW SuperBrawl VI PPV as the newest member of the Dungeon of Doom, but left the group in time to lose to the Giant (Big Show) at WCW Uncensored 96 in March.
- Big Daddy, a thirty-stone Yorkshireman christened Shirley Crabtree by a father who had listened to a lot of Johnny Cash and approved of the principles underlying the naming of sons.
- Just try to stop WWE from using these. In addition to Big Show, everyone else in that picture has been on they're television programming at one time or another. They've currently still got Big Show along with Mark Henry, The Great Khali, Undertaker, and Kane. Relative to the WWE's size, that number's fairly conservative though. Of course, The Undertaker is arguably one of the very best big man wrestlers ever, Kane has always been solid—in his prime he could do hurricanranas, and Mark Henry was pretty mobile in the 90s and worked to improve in 2005.
- Team Lesnar, in Survivor Series 2003, was built on this trope. It featured Brock Lesnar, A-Train, Matt Morgan, Nathan Jones and the Big Show together as the largest team in the history of the pay per view. Two had just surfaced on TV and 3/5ths of them were gone by next year.
- Chyna, the "Ninth Wonder of the World", who actually held the WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Title and was built up over a period of months specifically so they wouldn't get in trouble for having men fighting a woman.
- WCW had Midnight (real name Ann Marie Crooks). She was a face and accompanied Booker T, but was only around for a few months. WrestleCrap would also like to remind you of one of her opponents, Asya, who was bigger than Chyna.
- Joey Styles had already made a similar joke about Nicole Bass, a massive female bodybuilder who gained a degree of fame for her appearances on The Howard Stern Show and later spent time in ECW and WWE, saying that she should be named "Russia" because she's bigger than Chyna.
- The unstoppable, 275-pound Awesome Kong in TNA and SHIMMER now Kharma (WWE), who is talented, but not above playing a standard giant.
- The late Rhonda Singh, who played former WWF Women's Champion Bertha Faye, and Monster Ripper in Japan. She briefly worked in WCW under her own name as well
- The 6 ft 9 Isis the Amazon, of the American indie scene.
- From GLOW, there was Foreign Wrestling Heel Matilda the Hun (aka Queen Kong) billed at 280 pounds and her rival, Mountain Fiji, billed at 350 pounds. The face, Mountain Fiji, played the roll much straighter. All the heels of that season had to work together just to take her off of her feet and even then Mountain Fiji was never knocked to the mat in a match.
- Linda Miles, also known as Shaniqua. Tall and muscular but was clearly not ready when she was put on television(just like everyone else from Tough Enough 2).
- Parodied by CHIKARA wrestler Hydra, who does the whole Giant schtick despite being 5' 6" and 140 pounds.
- Giant Baba of Japan, who was close to 7 feet tall (which is even more unusual in Japan than it is in the West). Unlike many Giants, Baba was actually quite a talented pro wrestler.
- The late John Tenta had a good run at a giant archetype as Earthquake in the WWE, feuding with Hulk Hogan at the height of his career, eventually alongside the similarly gigantic Fred "Typhoon" Ottman. They called themselves the Natural Disasters.
- Tenta later joined The Oddities, an entire stable of giant men managed by the much smaller Luna Vachon, the Insane Clown Posse, and briefly Sable.
- Kurrgan, previously The Interrogator of the Truth Commission and later Kurrgan The Interrogator during an attempted singles monster push, was around 7 feet tall and in the mid 300s in weight.
- Paulo "Giant" Silva was actually bigger than The Big Show, and was actually released to make sure he didn't overshadow the soon-to-arrive Show. Nonetheless, Silva was an awesomely agile giant, and could perform top rope moves, hurricanranas and sunset flips during his later stay in Japan and Mexico.
- King Mabel, Viscera, Big Daddy V and all his other gimmicks were this. Six Foot nine, five hundred pounds, not a lot of mobility by wrestler standards and the large majority of his matches revolved around how someone could manage to do anything to him.
- Kamala was billed as the Ugandan giant but was shorter and more nimble than most examples. His weight was really what put him in this trope's territory - he was billed at as much as 450 lbs.
- Jeep Swenson, better known for playing Bane in Batman & Robin than for wrestling, was 6 ft 4 but weighed 450 lbs. And it was all muscle.
- Ernie Ladd, who was a skilled collegiate wrestler and not the biggest guy in the Territories anyway. Subverted in wrestling anyway, played completely straight in his professional football career as a defensive tackle, where he was prized on his size and strength alone. He was part of a foursome largely credited for the Chargers AFL title win.
- Happy Humphrey, who weighed a whopping 800 pounds! He was somewhat immobile, especially compared to his quicker moving contemporary rival Haystacks Calhoun, who was still something of an example simply for weighing 600 pounds which still too much for most wrestlers to slam.
- The McGuire Twins, best known for being photographed while riding motorcycles, weighed over 700 lbs each and were close to 7 feet tall.
- Akebono when he was a professional wrestler, who was built up as being so heavy not even Brock Lesnar could lift him. (He was only 16 pounds heavier than the Big Show so Brock should have been able to do it).
- Super Pro K.O. has the Mighty Monolith, a 7 foot tall behemoth weighing in at a frightening 350 lbs. He also exemplifies the "heavily pushed" facet of giant wrestlers; after his first match, he nearly cracks the top ten of SPKO's Power Rankings. His opponent, cruiserweight fellow-rookie Joe Somiano, easily ran rings around him, but couldn't stand up to his physical might.
- Slightly shorter but even heavier is Prince Swagger, 6'9" and 375 lbs of pure punching power. Management is trying to get him over, but other SPKO wrestlers are afraid to fight him — not because they're intimidated by his size and strength, but because he has extremely poor in-ring ability. He's downright clumsy and moves laughably slow.
- Ernie Ladd - the same one mentioned above under Pro Wrestling - was a successful football player as well. One of the page quotes comes from an opponent on the football field describing being lined up against him.
- The NBA has also had its share of giants on the basketball court. Effective big men are hard to come by, though, and misfires like Gheorge Muresan, Jake Vohskul, and Wang Zhizhi are all too common. 7 footers and up are always in demand, based on the reasoning that if the 7'0" guy needs polishing, you can teach him to be better, whereas you can't teach a guy who's already good to be 7 feet tall.
- Greg Ostertag was a notable shot blocker, setting a school record at the University of Kansas that stands to this day and leading the NBA in block percentage twice. He was also notable for being bad at virtually every other aspect of the game.
- Manute Bol was literally the tallest man to ever play in the NBA, and while he was a dominant blocker and good three point shooter, he was also dangerously underweight for his size — 7'7" and just 200 lbs.
- Yao Ming is a most notable example, as he was extremely talented, and when on top of his game, was capable of dominating the lane with an iron fist.
- Shaquille O'Neal is another prominent example, at least as far as his lane presence is concerned. His free throw ability, not so much—famously so.
- In the NHL by Zdeno Chara, the tallest player ever to play in the league, who is considered one of the top defensemen playing at the moment. Ironically, some thought that his height was the only reason he even had a job during his rookie season, disregarding his actual skill. On the flip side, the second tallest NH Ler of all time, Steve McKenna, was not very good at all, and found himself a frequent healthy scratch before going to Australia to become the coach of their national team.
- That all said, the idea that bigger is automatically better in hockey is becoming increasingly discredited. While it may seem counter intuitive, you should go with the shorter goalie every time. (The puck rarely goes far above the ice, and since hockey goals aren't very large, you want shorter goalies, who can drop to the ground faster to stop the puck.)
- Several villains in Kinnikuman and Kinnikuman Nisei get by mostly on superior size and strength. Perhaps most emblematic is the Mountain, one of the largest and heaviest wrestlers in either series. His ultimate finishing move is a simple frog splash (with the Name Of Power "Mountain Drop"), but it's absolutely devastating because of how massive he is.
- Hong Man Choi has an MMA career almost solely because of this trope in gimmick matches. His opponents have included baseball's Jose Canseco and sumo legend Akebono (3 times).
- While his MMA matches are pretty much gimmicks, Choi actually is a decent kickboxer and holds a respectable record in K-1 (9-6 not counting the three wins against Akebono).
- Hugo Andore, standing at 8 feet and being a near-Expy of Heel-era André, exhibits next to no finesse in his attacks compared to other grapplers. The same thing can be seen on Raiden from Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters.
- Zigzagged with Zangief, who has some elements of this (Mighty Glacier and specially in the earlier games, Hussky Russkie, really freaking big, several grapple and piledriving-based moves) but often ends up subverting the trope (much friendlier and boisterous than the average giant personality-wise, and wasn't that much of an asshole beforehand)
- Titanic Tim from the Saturday Night Slam Masters games is a 7'9" goliath whose fighting style is even listed as "giant wrestling"... but he's actually pretty good at grappling and such anyway. Still, in a league where other fighters can throw grenades or turn into meteors, a lunging karate chop is pretty basic.
- Titanic Tim was based on Japanese wrestling legend Giant Baba, who despite being extremely tall did not have a limited or basic repertoire of moves.
- The Giant, a call name and the heavy template you can choose for your CAW in the WWE Day Of Reckoning games, is essentially this wrestling style. It has the most simplistic moves of the "big man" choices.
- Tommy "Tiny" Lister, the actor who played Zeus from No Holds Barred, had a short wrestling career almost solely because of this trope.