Giant. By definition, the word means "A person or thing of great size." In an industry like pro wrestling, full of large men, there were some whose size still made them stand out from the crowd. Names like Andre The Giant have reached almost mythical status among sports entertainment fans.
On the surface, being larger than most may seem to have its advantages. However, being an extremely massive individual can often make ordinary tasks quite difficult. Imagine trying to write when your hand is too big to grip a pen properly. Think about how frustrating it must be to travel by plane when you're too large to fit into a standard passenger seat. For those who were able to achieve significant fame and fortune, the trade-offs may have been worth it. Though it's important to remember, that for some of these men, being a "giant" came with significant health issues. Sadly, many of these larger than life athletes never made it to their 60th birthday, with some tragically perishing far sooner. Here is a list of some the largest men to have ever set foot in a professional wrestling ring. While their names may not be familiar, many of their stories are certainly worth remembering.
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20 Happy Humphrey
Humphrey was just 6-foot-1, which by pro wrestling standards isn't exceptionally tall. However, he weighed in at 800 pounds on numerous occasions. His weight even reached as high as 900 pounds at one point. Humphrey was quite the attraction in the 1950s. He even performed at a sold-out Madison Square Garden in the main event against Haystacks Calhoun. Humphrey's great size often made life difficult. He once got stuck in a phone booth, which required 8 police officers to help get him out. The super heavyweight was unable to fit into a regular shower and would need to lie naked on the ground and have someone hose him off. Harley Race, who Humphrey helped train, remembered him as a kind man who would make time for his fans. While Happy Humphrey did lose 570 pounds at one point, he eventually gained most of it back. He would go on to suffer a fatal heart attack at the age of 62.
19 Reese aka The Yeti
This poor guy was given some pretty bad gimmicks during his career with WCW. You may remember him as the Yeti. The Yeti was basically a giant mummy that looked nothing short of ridiculous on screen. The 7-foot-2 Ron Reis would then go on to portray The Super Giant Ninja, a character that sounds like it was created by a 3-year-old. He was likely relieved when he became Big Ron Studd, who was basically just a tall guy that lost a lot of matches. The big man later became Reese and joined Ravens flock, which was probably the high point of his career. After having to portray so many ill-conceived characters, it's easy to see how Ron Reis has become a forgotten giant.
18 Haystacks Calhoun
Haystacks Calhoun was billed as being 6-foot-4 inches tall and weighing in at 663 pounds. Calhoun was one of the first wrestlers to incorporate the "Hillbilly" gimmick. He wore a white t-shirt, overalls, and carried a horseshoe to the ring. Calhoun was a major attraction in the 1950's and 60's. He helped sell out many large venues and held numerous world titles. He was also the inspiration for characters like The Godwinns and Hillbilly Jim. Even today, Haystack Calhoun remains one of wrestling's all-time box office attractions. Despite his accolades, the relatively agile giant is seldom mentioned among the all-time greats in wrestling history. In fact, many modern wrestling fans have never even heard the name.
17 Giant Silva
The 7-foot-2 Brazilian Giant Silva appeared briefly in WWE as a member of the Oddities. He wrestled in a Handicap Match at SummerSlam 1998, which was the highlight of his WWE run. While most fans in the U.S. barely remember the giant, he had a nice run in Japan. He also competed in mixed martial arts, where he accumulated a record of 2-6, in the now defunct Japanese promotion Pride. Silva was also a professional basketball player, in the 1980s. He is believed to be the sixth tallest professional wrestler of all time.
16 Silo Sam
The man known as Silo Sam was promoted as being 7-foot-7, although his real height was actually closer to 7-foot-3. Still, Sam was certainly a monster of a man. We wrestled briefly for several promotions in the late 80's and even appeared in WWE for a few matches. Despite his impressive height, Sam failed to make much of an impact in wrestling. He didn't really have any particularly notable feuds. Silo Sam, is probably better know for his appearance as the jealous boyfriend in the hit movie Pee Wee's Big Adventure. Details regarding Sam's exploits after his retirement are scarce and his post-wrestling life remains a bit of a mystery. He passed away on April 19, 2005 at the age of 52.
15 Giant Gonzalez
He only wrestled in WWE for about a year and is best remembered for his match with The Undertaker at WrestleMania IX. He was billed as being 8 feet tall. However, in reality, he was actually 7-foot-7, which still makes him the tallest wrestler to have ever competed in WWE. He towered over the Undertaker, who is a giant in his own right. His massive size made it difficult for him to do much in the ring. The body suit he wore as a costume looked at bit silly also. If not for his match at WrestleMania, it's possible Gonzalez may have been completely forgotten by wrestling fans. He died at 44 years of age, due to heart issues and complications from diabetes.
14 Billy McGuire
Billy McGuire was one-half of the tag team known as the McGurie Twins. The Twins each weighted over 700 pounds. Billy McGuire, the lighter of the twins, was listed as weighing 723 pounds. The two men were featured in the Guinness Book of World Records as the "Worlds Heaviest Twins". There is even a famous photograph of the men sitting on motorcycles. Billy and his brother were both trained by Gory Guerrero, of the famous Guerrero wrestling family. In truth, their size severely limited their in-ring work and Guerrero created a routine for them that didn't require them to take bumps like regular wrestlers. Billy died in a motorcycle accident on his way to Ripley's Believe It or Not!. He was 32 years old.
One of the tallest men to set foot in the ring during WWE's Attitude Era, Kurrgan's height was listed at an impressive 6-foot-10. He debuted in WWE as Kurrgan The Interrogator and was known for applying the Iron Claw and often refusing to release the hold. The gimmick was relatively short lived and didn't really get over with the crowd. The giant is arguably best know for his stint as a member of The Oddities. The Oddities portrayed a group of carnival performers who were led to the ring by rap duo the Insane Clown Posse. Kurrgan kind of got lost in the shuffle as a member of the group. He would go on the be released from the company in 1999. While he didn't have much success in wrestling, Kurrgan would go on to appear in several major motion pictures. He can be seen in such films as 300, Sherlock Holmes, and even Hercules.
12 Benny McGuire
Benny was the heavier of the famous duo and weighed 745 pounds. When his brother Billy passed away in 1979, Benny went on to team with other wrestlers. In fact, at one point he even teamed with WWE Hall of Famer Andre The Giant. After he retired from wrestling Benny went on to own a pawn shop in Hendersonville, North Carolina. McGuire stated in an interview, that the twins massive size were a result of their pituitary glands having been altered by German measles. The record holder passed away in 2001, due to heart failure. He was 54 years of age.
10 Uncle Elmer
Uncle Elmer portrayed a lovable Hillbilly during his brief tenure with the WWE, in the 1980's. He was billed as being 6-foot-10 inches tall and weighing 450 pounds. He is probably best remembered for getting legally married on Saturday Night's Main Event while being heckled by Jesse Ventura. Uncle Elmer's most high profile match was at WrestleMania 2 against Adrian Adonis. After his wrestling career ended, he went on to sell replica watches and ran a shoe store. Uncle Elmer was overweight and suffered from diabetes, this eventually led to kidney failure. He was just 54 years of age when he died.
9 Giant Haystacks
While the name may not be familiar to wrestling fans in the United States, Giant Haystacks was a major draw in the UK. He was listed as being 6-foot-10 and weighed a whopping 685 pounds. He also wrestled as the "Loch Ness Monster" in the U.S. and Canada. His most notable feud in the United States was against Hulk Hogan in WCW. Unfortunately, the feud was cut short when Haystacks had to return home to England for cancer treatment. Sadly, in 1998 he died of lymphoma. Giant Haystacks was just 51 years of age when he passed.
Here is a blast from the past. Gargantua truly lived up to his name. He was promoted as being 8-foot-4 and weighing roughly 700 pounds. Gargantua, who's real name was Kurt Zehe, was actually closer to 7-foot-2. He was born in Germany but wrestled in the UK following World War II. Being that Gargantua wrestled so long ago, there is little detail available regarding his wrestling career. However, we do know that he was certainly a giant. Zehe passed away in 1969.
6 Paul Bunyan
Paul Bunyan is considered to be the 2nd tallest wrestler to ever set foot in the ring. He is one of the few wrestlers who's billed height, 7-foot-7, may not have been exaggerated. He had a brief career as an actor in the early 1950s prior to becoming a professional wrestler. After his wrestling career was over Bunyan, or Max Palmer as he was known to family and friends, went on the become a preacher. Palmer referred to himself as the "Goliath for Christ". He died of heart failure at the age of 56. When he was measured for his coffin, he was said to have measured in at well over 8 feet tall.
2 Man Mountain Mike
Man Mountain Mike, whose real name was Gary Fletcher, weighed in at 623 pounds. He had a series of matches against Japanese Legend Antoni Inoki in the 1970s. Fletcher also competed in the World Wide Wrestling Federation, which is known today as World Wrestling Entertainment. He was a fairly well-known wrestler in the late 1960s and early 1970s. After he retired from wrestling he started his own business, known as Man Mountain Mike's dry cleaners. He would also go on to work as a school bus driver. He passed away in 1988, due to blood clots. Fletcher was 47 years old when he died.
1 The Wall
The Wall is best remembered for his time wrestling in WCW, just before the company was purchased by Vince McMahon. He was a member of the WCW stable, Misfits In Action. The Wall was said to be 6-fooot-1o. He was signed to a WWE developmental contract but left citing "personal issues." In 2002, he resurfaced in TNA under the ring name Malice. Following his stint with TNA, he went on to wrestle in Japan. In 2003, he was found dead in his Tokyo hotel room, the cause of death was determined to be a heart attack.
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