Last updated on May 8th, 2022 at 11:23 am
In retrospect, the Golden, Generation, and Transition Eras were undeniably one of the most exciting eras in the WWE. While the Attitude Era, New Generation Era, and the Ruthless Aggression Era brought a whole new meaning to wrestling, the three previous eras helped professional wrestling gain some credibility.
Let us be honest, wrestling in the early years was quite boring. However, wrestling fans seemed to enjoy this new unorthodox sport that was slowly gaining recognition throughout the world.
To give the sport some credibility, many promoters often elevated strong shooters into the main event scene.
While shooting (going off-scrip) remains illegal in pro wrestling, fans loved unexpected twists and turns during wrestling events and straight shooters often brought this to the table. Another way to give these matches some credibility was through the regular use of towering behemoths and bodybuilders.
Many of these giants were not only a breath of fresh air for wrestling promotions but also helped these companies generate some serious revenue.
Wrestlers like Giant Gonzales, Giant Silva, Andre the Giant, and Do Reis were worldwide icons who filled arenas with ease. In turn, wrestling fans from other regions such as Japan were more than willing to pay whatever it takes to see these giants in action.
While the popularity of giants declined along the line, they still remained an integral part of professional wrestling and thus, we will definitely get to see them in the years to come.
10. Big Cass: 7’0
For many years, average-sized athletes stalked the plains of the WWE and from the look of things, it was the end of the era for giant-sized athletes. However, later in the 2010s, Big Cass and Braun Strowman step into the main event scene and put everyone in the locker room on notice.
The new generation of behemoths did not only have the physical advantage but also had the wrestling skills and the superstar appeal to back it up.
This new combination made them more lethal in comparison to the giants of the ’80s and ’90s. While Big Cass entered into the WWE as part of the stable FreeAgents alongside Enzo Amore. However, along the way, the WWE released Enzo and Big Cass began to receive the push as a singles wrestler.
While everything was going right for the 7-foot wrestler, a series of mistakes by the wrestler led to his ultimate release from the promotion.
During one of the weekly Smackdown segments, Big Cass went off-script and attacked a little person from the crowd. In his short stint with the company, Big Cass showed that he had what it takes to not only be a main event wrestler but also the face of the company.
Although things turned out they did, many wrestling fans do hope that they shall get to see one of the greatest duos back in the squared circle soon.
9. Kurrgan: 7’0“
From the early years, many wrestling promotions have been quite obsessed with size and thus it did not come as a surprise when the WWE signed Kurrgan (Robert Maillet). While the WWE hoped that Kurrgan’s career would be successful, considering he has the size to back it up, the wrestler proved to be a horrid wrestler.
Kurrgan signed with the WWF back in 1997, becoming a member of the stable The Truth Commission.
Before making it to the main roster, the WWF sent the group into the developmental territories to horn their crafts. After a rather short stint in the territories, the group would receive a promotion to the main roaster, with Maillet this time around picking another name, The Interrogator.
From time to time, the WWE would occasionally refer to Maillet as Kurrgan the Interrogator. Under the tutelage of The Jackyl, Kurrgan the Interrogator became a heel who became popular due to his finishing move the Iron Claw.
Kurrgan would often use the Iron Claw on opponents and would only break the hold once The Jackyl slapped him on the face. Maillet would continue briefly as a singles wrestler after his group broke up before ultimately joining The Oddities. The Oddities ultimately turned face and a fan favorite.
While his wrestling career did not work out as he had hoped for, Kurrgan/Maillet would find reprieve in the film industry.
In 2006, Maillet made his film debut in the film 300, where he played Uber Immortal. Two years later, Maillet would yet again appear in another box office blockbuster, Sherlock Holmes. While shooting a fighting scene, Maillet accidentally punched Robert Downey Jr. in the face, which not only knocked out the actor but also resulted in bleeding.
Maillet would go on to appear in several other movies such as The Big Bang, Monster Brawl, Percy Jackson’s: Sea of Monsters, and Deadpool 2.
8. Big Show: 7’0“
There has been a series of debates as to why The Big Show failed as a monster/wrestling giant. On many occasions, The Big Show appeared like a normal guy with a massive build. When compared to other monsters such as Andre the Giant, Kane even Great Khali, The Big Show simply does not fit that list.
Many wrestling fans blame this on WCW and WWE’s creative team. While Big Show had the height and size to back it up, many at times he was made to appear somewhat dumb. This angle not only took away from his gimmick but also made him appear somewhat less of a threat.
During his WWE debut, the Big Show threw Stone Cold Steve Austin over the cage, only for Austin to win the match.
One can only wonder whether The Big Show was familiar with WWE’s rule book or the rules of a steel cage match. Looking at Big Show’s gimmick, there was so much that WWE’s creative team would have done with such a wrestler to make him an iconic figure.
Apart from dominating matches, the WWE would also have eliminated some of the angles and storylines that made him appear somewhat weak, especially the crying scenes.
7. Kane: 7’0“
At his peak, the Big Red Machine was undeniably one of the most revered and respected wrestlers. Kane’s dedication to his gimmick and ability to dominate matches saw him become one of the greatest wrestlers of the 90s. Apart from being the first-ever wrestler to pose a serious threat to The Undertaker’s dominance in the WWE, Kane also became a staple and key figure for the WWE.
Just like his on-screen brother, The Undertaker, Kane often found himself in some bizarre and over-the-top situations.
During the Attitude Era, Kane got hitched to reluctant brides and in some cases put fellow superstars on fire. On another occasion, he even buried his onscreen brother as a way of pushing his sadistic tendencies.
Although the man we later came to see in the 2010s was a shell of the dominant hell-bent wrestler we encountered during the Attitude Era, Kane’s WWE legacy remains intact.
While Kane’s gimmick underwent a series of changes over the years, Kane always gave more than 100% every time he stepped into the squared circle. Just like any other all-time great, Kane gave us some classic matches that we can all look back at and say that was one hell of a performance.
6. The Great Khali: 7’1“
Standing at 7’1 foot The Punjabi Playboy was an unstoppable force in the WWE during his peak. While the great Khali never came close to putting forward classic matches, he was simply a man that was unbeatable and this is what made him special.
Over his illustrious wrestling career, The Great Khali was able to register some impressive wins, with the highlight of his career coming at the 20-man battle royal.
During the event, he not only won but also became the new world heavyweight champion. Apart from winning the World Heavyweight Champion, The Great Khali is also among the few who can safely say that they defeated the Undertaker in under 10 minutes.
In the months that followed The Great Khali would get involved in a long-running feud with John Cena. Although his feud with Cena was worth every minute, it is his on-and-off feud with Mysterio that really stood out.
Apart from the disparities in size, their unique approach to wrestling is what made their encounters quite interesting. Rey Mysterio would spend a bigger part of this match trying to bring The Great Khali to the ground.
While he was successful on certain occasions, there were some instances when The Great Khali proved to be too powerful. In the long run, the WWE ultimately turned The Great Khali not only face but also into a comical figure, which undeniably made him a contender for the worst wrestlers of all-time list.
From this point onwards, The Great Khali’s wrestling career took a rather steep decline and ultimately came to a premature end.
5. Ron Reis/The Yeti: 7’2“
Widely known for his signature move, the two-handed chokeslam, Ron Reis was one of the main event wrestlers at WCW. While WCW did all it could to make Ron Reis an iconic figure in the company, any of his gimmicks did not simply take off.
Apart from trying to make Ron Reis appear all than The Giant, WCW also tried to alter his gimmick by changing his in-ring attire to that of a ninja. As expected, the new gimmick did not sit well with the fans and was dropped after only three appearances.
Reis would later be rebranded to Big Ron Studd, a gimmick that was in many ways like that of his trainer, Big Ron Studd. This new character was not only accepted by the fans but also did not sit well with Bobby Heenan, Big John Studd’s former manager who was quick to express disdain over this new gimmick.
After staying with WCW for three years, the promotion eventually released Ron Reis. From this point onwards, Ron Reis entered the Indie scene and toured Japan under the gimmick Big Bomb Jones, which was a character that drew inspiration from Big John Studd.
In 2003, Don Reis would return to the US signing with TCW.
4. Giant Silva: 7’2“
A jack of all trades, Giant Silva has tried all there is to try including professional basketball, professional wrestling, and mixed martial arts. Standing at 7’2, Giant Gonzalez first started out as a professional basketball player, playing for his home country Brazil.
In 1997, Gonzalez became a professional wrestler and a year later signed with the WWF.
With the WWF, Giant Gonzalez became a member of the stable The Oddities, with his role being limited to that of a cornerman. Like Giant Gonzalez, Giant Silva’s wrestling career did not bear any fruit and in 1999, the WWE released him.
Giant Silva headed to Mexico signing with CMLL and this time around picked a new gimmick, Gigante Silva.
A few years later, Giant Silva signed with New Japan Pro Wrestling, where he stayed for several years, before finally signing with Hustle. In 2008, Giant Silva decided to hang his wrestling boots and finally decided to take on yet another challenge, Mixed Martial Arts.
In 2003, Silva signed with Dream Stage Entertainment and competed in the now-defunct PFC. As UFC fighter, Giant Silva competed in only 8 matches, winning two via submission and losing 6 via submission and knockout.
3. Omos: 7’3“
Standing at 7’3 inches, Omos is not only the third tallest wrestler of all time but also the only New Age wrestler and youngest WWE wrestler to make into the top 5 list of all time. Born in Lagos Nigeria, Omos began his career as a basketball star before ultimately switching to pro wrestling.
In 2019, Omos signed with the WWE alongside other six wrestlers and would spend several months in the company’s Performance Center.
Omos would spend a bigger part of his early months horning his skills and craft before ultimately making his in-ring debut in July during a house show.
In June 2020, Omos ultimately made his television debut on Monday Night Raw as a surprise member of the Akira Tozawa Ninja faction. During the match, the WWE commentary referred to Omos only as of the big ninja in a tag team match against The Viking Raiders and The Street Profits.
The WWE would later repackage Omos as a bouncer and doorman for Raw Underground. After the WWE canceled Raw Underground, Omos would begin his association with AJ Styles, which automatically tuned him heel in the process.
Teaming up with AJ Styles would help Omos not only elevate his in-ring skills but also take his WWE career to newer heights. Throughout the months that followed, Omos found his way into several main event matches including the WWE Championship match at TLC.
In April, Omos made his Wrestlemania debut alongside AJ Styles in a tag team championship match against The New Day.
2. Andre the Giant: 7’4“
Widely known as the eighth wonder of the world, Andre the Giant was a towering behemoth, who became a fan favorite mainly due to his height and weight. To date, Andre the Giant is still considered as one of the heaviest wrestlers of all time.
At a very early age, Andre the Giant suffered from gigantism which later turned to acromegaly. By the time he turned 12 years old, Andre the giant stood at 6’3.
Rousimoff would begin his professional wrestling career in his home country of France and while wrestling in Paris, he would meet a Canadian Promoter Frank Valois who later became his manager.
Andre the Giant began wrestling in Japan, before moving to Canada. Although Andre the Giant became a sensation hit while wrestling in Canada, many of the promotions would run out of opponents to face this behemoth. Valois would ultimately approach Vince McMahon for advice.
Vince McMahon suggested several changes that included promoting Andre the Giant as an immovable monster.
He also suggested a name change for Rousimoff to Andre the Giant. Other changes that McMahon proposed included the abandonment of various moves such as the drop kick that made Andre the Giant appear small.
Under the management of Vince McMahon, Sr., Andre the Giant’s demand increase and he began traveling across the world for several months, before making his WWF debut.
With the WWE, Andre the Giant became a force and one of the most beloved babyfaces of the 1970s and 1980s. During the 1987 Wrestlemania, Andre the Giant headlined the event alongside Hulk Hogan. Andre the Giant would get the upper hand, winning his first and only World Heavyweight title.
1. Giant Gonzales: 8″
Billed at 8 feet, Giant Gonzales also known as El Gigante is the tallest WWE wrestler of all time. A seasoned professional wrestler and former basketball player Giant Gonzales made his pro wrestling debut for ECW under the moniker El Gigante in 1990.
With ECW, Giant Gonzales proved to be a force to reckon with, getting into the main event scene, after a few months with the company.
The reception of EL Gigante by the fans was quite impressive mainly because this was a point in time when towering behemoths were the order of the day. After a brief stint with WCW, Giant Gonzales signed with the WWE.
With the WWE, Gonzalez took a heel turn and was placed under the tutelage of Harvey Wippleman, one of the most despised managers at the time.
Giant Gonzalez would make his official WWE debut at the 1993 Royal Rumble where he eliminated The Undertaker. This would immediately set Gonzalez on a feud with The Undertaker. The two wrestlers would meet on two occasions, with Gonzalez taking the loss.
In 1993, Gonzalez’s contract with the WWE came to an end, and was released from the promotion.