"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."
— Jerry Lawler, on the side headlock take down.
"It was dark. I couldn’t see the linebackers. I couldn’t see the goalposts. It was like being locked in a closet."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 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 hard to budge, as it is the easiest/most credible way to build matches with guys like them. And they will rarely be in a hurry either which, when worked well, can go a long towards making them seem that much larger. Jim Ross used to refer to these types of wrestlers as 'Hoss'es, after Hoss Cartwright from Bonanza. Giants typically have a typical moveset associated with them, with the chokeslam being the obligatory move to show their raw power and simple approach to wrestling. It also includes clawholds if the wrestler has particularly huge hands, and the classic big boot or stationary kick right to the face of a running, puny opponent. And, ultimately, if the Giant has a big belly or otherwise a heavy torso, a big splash is the most adequate finishing move. 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. Related to Muscles Are Meaningful (large means slow and strong). Comparable to Smash Mook. For mythical giants, see Our Giants Are Bigger
— Boston Patriot Jon Morris, on Ernie Ladd.
open/close all folders
- 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. Although Andre wasn't an example of this trope due to lack of talent, rather it was because he was talented. As he got older, his disease left him in too much pain to do most of his moves, so he had to develop a different kind of psychology to keep his matches interesting.
- 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. He even claims he did a moonsault once or twice at house shows during his WCW tenure.
- 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. His height was also exaggerated — he's closer to 6'10" than 7', but was consistently billed around 7'4" by WCW.
- 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. His profile at the wwe.com Alumni Gallery lists his height as 8 feet, but it was actually more like 7'6". Incidentally, he was a member of the Argentinean national basketball team; he would have competed in the 1988 Olympics, but he was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks two months before the games.
- Starting in All Pro Wrestling, moving to CMLL, New Japan and finally winding up as the biggest man in WWE, The Great Khali, who at 7'1" is (slightly) taller than the Undertaker, Kane, and the Big Show. He's also one of the least mobile examples in wrestling history, due to the strain his gigantism puts on his body. His WWE run will likely be his last.
- 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.
- Also in the Dungeon of Doom was Ron Reis as The Yeti. His being visibly (if only slightly) taller than his stablemate The Giant sort of took the air out of The Giant's gimmick. Especially since he was later repackaged as the Super Giant Ninja — who sounds better, The Giant or the Super Giant Ninja who is taller than the Giant? A few years later Reis showed up again as Reese, the Giant Mook of Raven's Flock.
- 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.
- Diesel's entire run as WWF champion could be described as kick and throw throw smaller guy around, eventually pin him, repeat. In his later WCW run he became legendarily lazy and endeavored to do as little work as possible in the ring. It's often joked that Kevin Nash knows about 4 moves, 5 if you count the Hair Flip.
- The 658 lbs Maximum Capacity, Future of Wrestling's 2001 rookie of the year. To a lesser extent, their "next biggest guy" at the time was the 6'11, 302 lbs Punisher. That's right Max was pretty much twice the size of what would be the go to giant of most promotions, though a car accident unfortunately forced him to take a break from the promotion so Punisher ended up getting more exposure.
- Just try to stop WWE from using these. In addition to Big Show, everyone else in that picture has been on their television programming at one time or another. They've currently still got Big Show along with Mark Henry, 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.
- Notice that the wrestlers listed above are among the longest-tenured in WWE — this is because the "giant" style doesn't take much of a toll on the body (mostly due to taking few bumps), meaning giant wrestlers can keep working well past the age others might retire at.
- 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.
- Eli Cottonwood, one of the rookies in WWE NXT season 2. He was bad, but he was about 6'10". In vignettes about him the other pros struggled to have anything nice to say about him other than "He's tall." He managed to stick around WWE's developmental league FCW (and later the revamped NXT) for a couple years, based entirely on being large and having no other upside.
- 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. In a different induction, Midnight was described as "better than Stevie Ray", though.
- 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
- La Chacala has a long, successful run in this role for LLF. For those of you with no grasp of Spanish, most of the roster has a given name or fancy moniker, she's just "the big one" (and still was even when April Hunter was with them)
- The unstoppable, 275-pound Awesome Kong in TNA and SHIMMER now Kharma (WWE), who is talented, but not above playing a standard giant.
- The 6'1, 316 lbs Betsy Ruth or Rosie Lottalove to TNA viewers. However, she went to the Diana promotion in Japan in 2011 and fell off the radar by mid 2012 before resurfacing in late 2014, 127 lbs lighter(still much larger than most but the giant gimmick's been shredded, mostly)
- 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, though he didn't age well.
- 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.
- 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 was a legendary sumo who turned to professional wrestling after he retired. He's very fat, but also quite tall at 6'8". He was built up as being so heavy not even Brock Lesnar could lift him. (He was only 16 pounds heavier than the Big Show, whom Brock could lift, so he should have been able to do it).
- Ryota Hama also became a pro wrestler after sumo, and he's almost an exaggeration of the "guy who isn't really that tall but is incredibly fat" version of the trope — 5'9" (a little over average height for an adult Japanese man) and nearly 500 lbs.
- Bishop Cross, previously known as Giant Magnum, Giant Titan, Tower, Colossus, Gigante Extassis and Dementus is a proud modern example of this trope, describing his wrestling style as all around power.
- Every last faction in Kaiju Big Battel has their own giant - namely Slo Feng of the Heroes, Mota Naru of the Swarm, Napalean of Dr. Cube's Posse, and Vegetius of the Rogues. Napalean is noted on the website to be the single largest kaiju in competition.
- Jerry Tuite, best known as The Wall in WCW. Unusually for this trope he never had much of a singles push beyond the midcard, and mostly played the role of a bodyguard or the enforcer in a stable.
- Tommy "Tiny" Lister, the actor who played Zeus from No Holds Barred, had a short wrestling career almost solely because of this trope.
- Bob Sapp was tall and heavy enough to fit the trope, even more in Japan.
- Super Pro K.O.
- 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 — his size and strength, coupled with his lack of experience in the ring, makes facing him very dangerous, especially in a setting where Pro Wrestling Is Real.
- The first volume also featured Yoko Nono, who was an Expy of the above-mentioned Yokozuna.
- 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 (tied with Muresan, technically), 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.
- Emmanuel Yarborough is a little-known sumo wrestler and MMA fighter, but his main claim to fame is as the holder of the Guinness World Record for World's Largest Athlete, at 6'8" tall and over 800 pounds. Interestingly, although he is a shoot fighter he resembles a Giant pro wrestler very strongly, with a moveset that mostly consists of basic punches and trying to crush his opponent under his weight, and his fairly limited MMA record consists mostly of losses to scrappy, much smaller underdogs.
- 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 the previously-descibed 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).
- Another MMA Example, even among the UFC Heavyweights, Stefan "Skyscraper" Struve stands out at 6'11 and 260. His tallest opponent was 4 inches shorter. His shortest, a full foot shorter than him. However, he owns a 25-6 record and is very accomplished on the ground.
- 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.
- HOLY CRAP, Az is HUGE at 9 feet. Subverted due to that he is quite soft and kind.
- Fire Pro Wrestling and its immediate sequel for the GBA feature fighting styles in the wrestler editor/CAW creator. The Giant style has poor Affinity ratings in everything except for punching and dirty attacks; it doesn't even feature high ratings in the Power category. One assumes this is to reflect the extremely limited movesets of most real-life 'giant' wrestlers, especially since low Affinity rating for a move causes it to drain a lot of stamina. The lack of beneficial offensive stats leaves a lot of points to put into defense for Create-A-Wrestlers, though. "Giant" is also a defensive style you can select, whereby you can't be thrown by even the most basic grapples until you've been sufficiently worn down with strikes and submissions.