Wrestlers We Would Have Loved To See Andre The Giant Match Up Against

There are few wrestlers more iconic than Andre the Giant. Books have been written about him, he was the subject of an HBO documentary, and he's in a litany of pro wrestling halls of fame. He's crossed over into pop culture, be it with his legendary supporting role in cult classic film "The Princess Bride," or as the subject of Shepard Fairey's "OBEY" street art, seen all over the world. Most importantly, he was one of the biggest wrestling stars of his era, a major attraction all over the world. Andre transcended location, his legend has sustained over decades, and his legacy lives on even to this day.

There are big men in today's wrestling, there are charismatic characters, but there's no one quite like Andre. Maybe that's why it's so fun to imagine him in dream matches with the wrestlers who came after him. Just the size alone makes for interesting scenarios, but if your only memories of Andre are the last years of his career, you may be surprised to hear Andre was a quality worker in his youth as well. Be it just a clash of characters or a chance to see prime Andre put to the test against great modern wrestlers, we've come up with our top 12 dream matches for our favorite giant.

Paul Wight

One of the most natural dream matches for Andre would have to be against our second favorite giant, Paul Wight. In fact, before he was ever "The Big Show," Wight was introduced to wrestling fans in WCW as simply "The Giant," and he was briefly billed as Andre's son. While there is no truth to that billing in reality, Wight would go on to be one of the definitive big men of the generation following Andre's. Both of them would have high-profile feuds with Hulk Hogan. They were also both surprisingly athletic for their size in the earlier years of their careers.

We think it would've been pretty awesome for the new giant to take on the original article. Just the sheer size would be enough, but if we got each guy at the right age, we also think we could have one of the most exciting instances of tall-on-tall violence in wrestling history. Could Wight chokeslam Andre? Could the ring hold up? How much would any referee that's between the two look like an ant by comparison? The questions are endless and we'd love to see the answers. Heck, maybe both could unite afterward to make Hogan's life really complicated.

Claudio Castagnoli

How about something a little closer to home? Andre is a hero of France, so what better dream match than the top star from a border country in the "Swiss Superman," Claudio Castagnoli? Sometimes in wrestling you have to choose between good size and great workers, but with Claudio, you have it all. He is a great base for small high flyers, but he can run around the ring very well for a larger than average wrestler. Against Andre, we can easily see Claudio zipping around, bouncing off of Andre, bumping big, and jumping off the top with a flying European Uppercut.

We'll admit it though, there's one big reason why Claudio is on this list: We would really like to see if he could put Andre in the Giant Swing. We wouldn't expect Claudio to do a 50-count rotation or anything, but we've been shocked before at just what Claudio is capable of when it comes to who he can put in that move and how long he can do it for. Often when Andre wrestled other titans, like a Big John Studd, the in-ring results were mixed to say the least. Claudio is a guy who can scratch that size itch while also delivering bell to bell. Plus there's always something fun about a little bit of a nationalistic rivalry.

Steve Austin

When a legend's career ends, some of the most natural dream matches are the stars from the very next generation. With Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant got to wrestle the biggest wrestling star of the '80s and the result was one of the biggest wrestling events of all time at WrestleMania III. It makes you wonder why the ceiling could have been if a peak Andre was around to challenge the biggest star of the '90s, Steve Austin. It certainly would've been a completely different character dynamic, as Austin is anything but the clean-cut American hero Hogan was presented as.

It's easy to imagine the kind of insults Stone Cold would have for Andre, but it's hard to imagine how he'd respond. That's part of the fun. Austin never really had a rival quite like Andre, a mammoth with such a unique aura, with the Undertaker probably coming closest. So often the drama in Austin's matches came from wondering who would interfere and what nefarious plan Vince McMahon would hatch this time to screw Steve. You put Andre against Austin, you get a fun new dynamic. The threat wouldn't be outside the ring, it'd be right in front of him. And of course, after the feud, if there's anybody who'd be down for a beer bash with the Texas Rattlesnake, it's Andre.

CM Punk

Of course, Andre's love of a frosty alcoholic beverage is very well known, so that makes him a natural opponent for the king of Straight Edge, CM Punk. Over his career, Punk used his real-life abstinence from drugs and alcohol as the spark for multiple feuds, most notably against Raven in ROH and Jeff Hardy in WWE, two wrestlers who have grappled with substance abuse. Punk's heelish puritan character was always a great foil for wrestlers like them, and resulted in some of Punk's best long-term storylines. Andre's ability to put away a massive amount of alcohol is fabled, so it's easy to imagine Punk taking issue with him.

There'd probably be no Go 2 Sleeps in an Andre/Punk match, but it would be interesting to see how Punk, someone known for his promo work, would build a feud with someone for whom English is a second language. What if this is Straight Edge Society era Punk and he successfully shaved Andre's head? The mind boggles. Many of the matches here are interesting from a between the ropes standpoint, but this one is fascinating in the sense that you would be glued to the TV to see how these two personalities could possibly co-exist. They seem not just from different times, but different worlds, and bringing people like that together is what wrestling is all about.

Bryan Danielson

Let's be honest, we think Bryan Danielson is a dream opponent for pretty much everybody. He has the ability, like few people in the history of wrestling, to get at least a good match out of almost everyone he meets in the ring. With Danielson, we don't think we have to give a disclaimer about needing a certain era of Andre to make this match pop, Bryan could work with him in any condition. Physically hurting, later years Andre? Bryan would still find a way to get something fun out of him. He could adapt his offense, he'd figure out a story that he could tell. No matter the opponent, Bryan always finds a way.

Andre's huge mass would be able to absorb Bryan's blistering arsenal of kicks. Bryan has also shown that against big men he can take a vicious attack and just come back better, more intense. We could see a match that takes a few elements of Danielson's classic series in ROH against the big and beefy Takeshi Morishima, matches where the size difference did nothing but add to the proceedings and in some ways, became one of their biggest selling points. Andre the Giant vs. Bryan Danielson is the kind of match WWE probably would've never booked in their size-obsessed '80s, but we would've loved to have seen it.

Bill Goldberg

During his career-defining winning streak in WCW, Bill Goldberg faced a lot of challenges, but he never faced one like Andre the Giant. As the streak went on, one of the problems became finding opponents that fans actually still believed could be a threat to Bill. We think Andre would solve those problems, at least for one night. A big part of the magic of Hulk Hogan's feud with Andre was the idea that Andre had never lost, never been slammed. None of that was actually true, but many fans bought that build. Imagine if you did the same against Goldberg, and put one streak against another.

One does wonder how the match would go. Goldberg's matches were usually short and pretty similar and ended with the Jackhammer. We don't know if Goldberg could've gotten Andre up for the ride, but if he did, we imagine everyone in any building it happened in would be on their feet. If Hogan vs Andre filled the Pontiac Silverdome and Hogan vs. Goldberg filled the Georgia Dome, we imagine Andre vs. Goldberg would've been a huge dome event in itself if done right, but unfortunately, we'll never get to know for sure.

Zack Sabre Jr.

This is another "What would a match between these two even look like?" entry on our list. Zack Sabre Jr., beyond being an excellent in-ring technician, has one of the leanest, lankiest figures of any major wrestler today. Andre the Giant looks like he could eat him as a snack. If you've ever seen those pictures of people comparing their hands to Andre's, imagine the total body comparison between him and Zack. Watching a match between Sabre and Andre would be like a live-action version of Jack fighting the giant at The Magic Beanstalk ... except Jack probably never would cut the hilarious snarky promos that Sabre would after he felled the wicked beast.

The match itself is also a really tantalizing "What if?" to imagine. Sabre's offense is all about twisting his opponent into pretzels. How in the world could he do that with someone as thick and strong as Andre? We have a feeling he'd still try, but it might be like watching him try to armbar a tree trunk. If he could find a few holds that would work on a man of that stature, the match would also have a good shot at just outright being very good. Any mobility issues Andre exhibited as he got older could be easily worked around because Zack makes just grappling in the middle of the ring super fun to watch. This would be no exception.

Brock Lesnar

If there's anyone on this list that could make Andre feel like the underdog, it's Brock Lesnar. "The Best Incarnate" is one of the most intimidating wrestlers to have lived, and frequently has managed to make even monsters of men feel dainty by comparison. People were shocked when Lesnar threw around and dominated John Cena at SummerSlam 2014 — imagine if Andre was in Cena's spot? Of course, we're sure Andre would have had something to say about that, those german suplexes and F5's being harder earned against him.

Sometimes wrestling is pretty easy. You take two intimidating physical specimens, the kind of people that just so rarely exist, and you put them in a ring and let them go to war. Andre's chances against Brock in the world of MMA likely wouldn't be great, but the magic of wrestling is you can craft the fight you imagine, not the one that you would probably end up seeing. One of the great moments in Brock history is when he superplexed Big Show and caused the ring to actually collapse. We could see a repeat of that moment here, Brock and Andre turning that from a ring break into a ring flattening.

Kevin Owens

While Andre is from France, he has strong roots in another locale with a significant French-speaking population, Montreal, Canada. Montreal was said to be Andre's "Home away from home" and it's easy to see why. His '70s feud with Don Leo Jonathan in Montreal put Andre on the map in North America, drawing tens of thousands and turning him into a major in-demand attraction all over Canada and the United States. It goes further than that, with Andre actually helping launch a new promotion in the city years later. It makes total sense, Andre would be a superstar anywhere, but for a city with strong French ties, Andre was a little taste of the homeland, a hometown hero that was somehow from another nation.

With Kevin Owens, Andre could face a modern hero of the area. It's always fun when fans' loyalties are divided and it would be fascinating to see how a Montreal crowd would be split if we could combine fans from Andre's heyday with fans of today's WWE. To top it off, we know Owens is a wrestler who, when it comes to having a good match, will do whatever it takes to get the job done. If it took someone falling from a high place or taking a hellacious bump on chairs or stairs to ensure Montreal fans went home happy, Kevin would make the sacrifice.

Kazuchika Okada

Andre was a star in so many regions of the world, but Japan was another country that had a special relationship with the man. He was a regular fixture there for the majority of his career, in particular with New Japan for over a decade. Sadly, the march of time means that while Andre could share rings with the New Japan legends of his day, men like Antonio Inoki and Tatsumi Fujinami, he never got a chance to work with their modern masters, chief among them, "The Rainmaker" Kazuchika Okada. It's undeniable that by so many metrics, he is the biggest star the promotion has seen in many a year, the new ace of this generation.

Many of the dream matches on this list feel crazy, foreign, almost impossible. In this case though, it would be simply continuing a tradition. It's very easy to imagine Andre working Okada if he came up today, not just one match, but possibly dozens over a long period of time. Okada is also one of the most praised wrestlers of all time, so in terms of matches on this list that could cause Dave Meltzer to go star crazy, this one probably is the frontrunner. One last benefit from this matchup? The Tokyo Dome, one of Japan's most legendary wrestling venues, was opened very late in Andre's career, in 1988. A modern series of matches with Okada and a prime Andre would let the latter put his mark on the building like he never really got to do in reality.

The Undertaker

Just for being one of the most legendary figures in WWE history, The Undertaker deserves to be on this list. 'Taker has an epic aura to rival Andre's. In addition, he has a ton of experience being matched up with outlandishly large men, as the '90s were a decade where Undertaker spent the majority of his time battling one super tall or super round threat after another. Andre also would've been a perfect opponent once 'Taker's WrestleMania winning streak really got rolling, the kind of wrestler that seems unbeatable taking on someone that for so many years kind of was.

There's another special reason for this selection, on top of all of the already great ones we just listed. In a 2018 interview with Pastor Ed Young, Undertaker stated that Andre had expressed a desire to work with Taker, going as far as to personally tell the new "kid" he wanted to make it happen, only for his declining health to prevent that. Out of all the dream matches on this list, this was probably the closest to actually happening, with one all-time wrestling hall of famer ending his career just as another was really starting theirs. Briefly existing in the same promotion but never getting to collide, this is one of the classic wrestling cases of two ships passing in the night.

Rey Mysterio

We started with the battle of the tallest and now we end with one of the largest size contrasts we can imagine. If we go just by billed heights, Andre is almost two feet taller than Rey at 7'4" to 5'6", respectively. Wrestling tends to exaggerate so the reality is probably a little different, but the point remains, it'd be the kind of size difference rarely seen in this business. It's more than just height though — imagine how Andre's legendarily huge hands could probably palm Rey's head like a kid's mini-basketball. It's equally wild to try to imagine where their eyes would line up if Rey was standing on the top turnbuckle and Andre was just, well, standing. And how far could Andre throw Rey? Are we talking three-quarters of the way across the ring?

There are some matches on this list we can really picture in our heads. This match is on the list because we can't. Try as we might, while we can imagine the size and strength difference, we just can't conceive how a match between two men so different in size and style would go. There's one thing we're confident in: if anyone could make a match like this work, it's Rey, one of the best high flyers of all time and someone with an extensive history of working around big body differences. Could Andre take some of Rey's Lucha offense, like his hurricanranas? Who knows, but we have a hunch the match would be memorable regardless.

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