We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.
"The Eighth Wonder of the World" Andre the Giant’s prolific in-ring career speaks for itself. Andre Roussimoff, better known as Andre the Giant, made a name for himself around the world not only as a special attraction, but as a professional wrestling unicorn who could do things thought to be impossible for a man his size. Billed at 7’4 and 520 pounds at his heaviest, Andre could completely dominate his opponents, all while showcasing his unique breed of agility, athleticism, and footwork. However, he was also known for his giving nature in the ring. While he won more than 90 percent of his matches, Andre’s selling ability could make good wrestlers look great. As a result, Andre wound up elevating an eclectic group of wrestlers all around the world over his illustrious 28-year career. Andre is now best known for his WrestleMania III match with Hulk Hogan, when Hogan did the unthinkable and body slammed the giant in front of a capacity crowd at the Pontiac Silverdome.
The wrestling landscape in the late ’80s differed greatly from today. In the pre-internet age, information traveled very slowly. In some cases, it didn’t travel at all. As a result, only the most invested wrestling fan would have known that prior to WrestleMania III, Andre had been body slammed more than 13 times, including once by Hogan himself under the World Wrestling Federation banner, no less. Perhaps of greater note, Hogan’s slam of Andre would actually be the second-to-last known time Andre would be lifted off the ground and planted on his back.
Read on for the definitive list of every known wrestler to have received the prestigious honor of having body slammed Andre the Giant, in chronological order.
The first known wrestler to have planted Andre on his back is Strong Kobayashi. Living up to his moniker, Kobayashi got into professional wrestling after being discovered at a bodybuilding event in 1966 when he was 25. A 25-year career in the wrestling business ensued, and Kobayashi made a name for himself all over the world with stints in New Japan Pro Wrestling, the World Wide Wrestling Federation, Championship Wrestling from Florida, and the American Wrestling Alliance, just to name a few. By 1974, Kobayashi had cemented himself as one of the top Japanese wrestlers in the world, winning the Tokyo Sports Puroresu Match of the Year award for his match with Antonio Inoki, which Inoki called (per Sports Hochi) the best of his career.
Kobayashi’s slam of Andre would occur in a Best Two-Out-Of-Three Falls match for the International Wrestling Enterprise (IWE) on May 6, 1972 in Morioka, Japan. The match, which spans nearly 45 minutes, is a tour de force of strength and stamina, and Kobayashi is even able to snapmare Andre during the first fall of the match. Not to be outdone, Andre has a huge moment in the match when he hits Kobayashi with a jumping tombstone piledriver, which came just seconds after Kobayashi’s body slam. Kobayashi would go on to win the match to great fanfare, though the body slam feels like an afterthought in the grand scope of the contest.
A member of the famed Vachon wrestling dynasty, Paul "The Butcher" Vachon led a tremendous in-ring career in his own right. He followed his older brother of eight years, Maurice "Mad Dog" Vachon into the business in 1957 and never looked back, making a name for himself as a tag team specialist. He would go on to hold tag team championships across seven different promotions, including the AWA World Tag Team Championship with his brother Maurice. Later, Vachon would pick up "The Spoiler" gimmick from the originator, Don Jardine, in Jim Crockett Promotions before retiring from the ring in 1985. Outside the ring Vachon would run for public office on three different occasions as a member of Canada’s New Democratic Party. He also self-published an autobiography titled "When Wrestling Was Real."
As a tag team specialist, Vachon’s slam of Andre naturally occurred in a tag team setting of sorts. Vachon teamed with Larry "The Axe" Hennig to face the Giant on September 1, 1972 in Chicago, Illinois for an AWA event. Though some tag teams would tandem slam Andre, Vachon managed to accomplish the feat without any assistance from his partner. However, Andre would not sell the slam. In a similar fashion to the Kobayashi match, Andre would retaliate with a body slam of his own before picking up the win minutes later with a pair of back body drops.
Bobby "The Brain" Heenan once claimed (per the Post and Courier) that there were only two men Andre the Giant feared: Meng and Harley Race. The recently deceased Race is an example of a wrestler who received universal acclaim and respect from his peers. CM Punk mentioned in his now-infamous pair of podcasts with Colt Cabana the magnitude of influence Race had on his professional career, and later told reporters in a post-show scrum at AEW’s "The First Dance" show that he wants to help out younger talent the same way Harley Race helped him. A career-long fixture in the NWA, AWA, and WWF, Race held the NWA World Heavyweight Championship seven times over a career spanning 33 years. He was a legitimate tough guy and a man of integrity who managed to keep a clean reputation while outside-the-ring scandals plagued his contemporaries.
If Andre truly did fear Race out of deep respect for the smaller man, then Race makes complete sense as one of the select few men to body slam him. In fact, Race is known for slamming Andre on at least two different occasions with the first occurring at an October 1978 house show in Greensboro, North Carolina for Race’s NWA Championship. The more known instance of Race slamming Andre went down in Paul Boesch’s Houston promotion in 1979. Unlike the first two instances of wrestlers slamming the giant, Race’s slam occurred on the concrete floor outside the ring, and for the first time ever, Andre sold the maneuver, perhaps indicative of his respect, and perhaps fear of the seven-time world champion.
Hulk Hogan may be responsible for the "slam heard ’round the world," but it is perhaps not as well known that he is actually one of three men to have slammed the giant more than once. Hogan, of course, stands out as the biggest star to have slammed Andre, and has the WrestleMania III match with Andre to thank for that. Hogan is a 13-time world champion counting six reigns in the WWF, six in WCW, and one lone reign as the IWGP heavyweight champion. Hogan’s popularity in the WWF, dubbed "Hulkamania," spawned the professional wrestling boom throughout the ’80s and his later arrival in WCW stoked the flames of the "Monday Night Wars" that took the industry to new heights throughout the mid-late ’90s. Without his match with Andre at WrestleMania III, it is possible that none of these events would be viewed the same way, particularly without the key moment where Hogan held Andre over his head and deposited him on the mat.
While the moment may not have been rehearsed, Hogan did have some practice slamming Andre, with the original slam having occurred at the WWF’s "Showdown at Shea" on August 22, 1980, with some role reversal in tow. After all, the "Showdown at Shea" occurred during the pre-Hulkamania era — before Andre was under the spell of Ted DiBiase while Hogan played a heel managed by "Classy" Freddie Blassie. The match is truly a sight to behold, and Hogan’s slam of Andre is worth the watch as it shook the ring with a sickening thud. The match ends with Andre defeating the pre-Hulkster Hogan with a running splash, while the heel Hogan got his heat back with a cheap shot post-match.
Despite being tailor-made for a territory promotion like Memphis or Mid South Wrestling, Stan Hansen made his name and money wrestling primarily in the top Japanese promotions, NJPW and All Japan Pro Wrestling. Hansen’s southern disposition and stiff in-ring style made him a fast star in Japan, and Andre the Giant would prove to be a frequent opponent of his. Hansen wrestled for nearly 30 years following a college football career at West Texas State. Although he spent the majority of his career overseas, he did pick up the AWA World Heavyweight Championship on one occasion, though he would eventually vacate the title following disagreements with management. He retired from the ring in 2001, and penned his memoir, "The Last Outlaw," 10 years later.
Hansen’s matches with Andre are not for the faint of heart, with physicality reigning supreme in each of their encounters. After all, for as tall as Andre stood, Hansen was no slouch himself at 6-foot-4, 321 pounds. Hansen’s eventual slam of Andre occurred in the midst of a match on the NJPW Bloody Fight Series on September 23, 1981, in Tokyo, Japan. This slam of Andre served as one of a small handful of high spots in a match where the combatants largely utilized strikes with their hands and heads, as well as a few rest holds. After all, Hansen’s slamming of Andre was not the first time the Japanese audience had seen Andre lifted in the air and grounded to his back, nor would it be the last.
The first tag team to collectively slam the giant, The Wild Samoans fit the bill as worthy adversaries to Andre. With both wrestlers weighing upwards of 300 pounds, both Afa and Sika could bring the fight to Andre and together match him with their combined weight. The Samoans spent a handful of years wrestling for the WWF with stints Mid-South Wrestling and Georgia Championship Wrestling sandwiched between WWF runs. "Captain" Lou Albano managed the duo, who went on to become three-time tag team champions in the industry-leader before both men made a lasting impact on the wrestling world outside the ring. While Afa ran the Wild Samoan Training Center in Minneola, Florida, Sika played a special role in helping his son, Roman Reigns, break into the wrestling business.
The tandem slam occurred in Mid-South/Universal Wrestling Federation. The special match saw the Samoans team up with "Big Cat" Ernie Ladd to take on Andre, along with Dusty Rhodes and Junkyard Dog, and the slam itself made for one of the coolest looking slams ever performed on the Giant. As opposed to performing an assisted scoop slam, the Samoans instead opted to flip Andre over off his feet, like an elevated somersault. Despite JYD’s best efforts to stop the slam, the Samoans became the first duo to slam Andre on January 16, 1982.
Ken Patera & Bobby Duncam Sr.
The second pair of wrestlers to slam the Giant were Ken Patera and Bobby Duncam Sr. Patera, like many wrestlers recruited to the WWF in the late ’70s, came from a weightlifting background. However, he got his start in the AWA, where he teamed with Duncam, who entered the business following a brief stint in the NFL. Together, the duo would eventually make their way to the WWF, where Patera would find some singles success as the second man to hold the prestigious WWF Intercontinental Championship. Duncam, meanwhile, would later find his way back to the territories where he held tag team championships in several of the top promotions of the era.
Patera told the "Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling" podcast that he has slammed Andre the Giant "seven, eight, [or] nine times," many of which were against the Giant’s will. No photo or video evidence exists of Patera accomplishing such a feat on his own, though there is video evidence of Patera and Duncam slamming Andre in an AWA match on November 7, 1982. Andre teamed with Hulk Hogan to take on Patera, Duncam, and AWA mainstay Nick Bockwinkel. Patera attempts to lift Andre in the match but is unable to do so, having to settle on slamming him with the aid of Duncam in a similar fashion to how the Wild Samoans slammed the Giant earlier in the year.
Some of Andre’s best feuds came against fellow monsters, and the "Ugandan Giant" known as Kamala could certainly provide some opposition to the giant’s dominance inside the ropes. Kamala, real name James Harris, debuted under the name "Sugar Bear" Harris, but, with the help of Jerry Lawler and Jerry Jarrett, developed a new character that came to be known as "Kamala" in the Continental Wrestling Association. Kamala was a vicious, Ugandan headhunter who was supposedly a bodyguard to the former Ugandan president. Kamala donned face and body paint and the character went so deep that Harris refused to speak English in Memphis. Kamala logged stints in some of the most prominent territories of the era and eventually found his way to the WWF. His character was a perfect for the company’s more cartoony style of presentation.
Kamala’s slam of Andre occurred at a co-promoted house show between Boesch’s Houston promotion and "Cowboy" Bill Watts’ Mid-South Wrestling in Shreveport, Louisiana on February 12, 1983. However, unlike previous wrestlers to have slammed the giant before him, Kamala’s slam did not occur in a match, but rather in a post-match angle where he and Jim Duggan interfered in a match involving Andre, Matt Borne, Tony Atlas and Ted DiBiase. As pairs of wrestlers began to break off from the fray, Kamala slammed Andre to the mat before slapping his belly and making a funny face like nothing happened.
Antonio Inoki was to Japanese wrestling what Vince McMahon, Ric Flair, and Muhammad Ali would have been to American wrestling were they all to be rolled into one being. Trained by Rikidōzan and Karl Gotch, Inoki is largely responsible for cultivating the style of Puroresu fans all over the world know and love today. He founded NJPW in 1972 and as a figurehead and wrestler helped elevate it to the top of the Japanese wrestling food chain. A 1976 fight with American boxing icon Muhammad Ali only served to bolster his popularity and served as an early predecessor for what would become known as mixed martial arts. Later in life, Inoki would dabble in politics before his retirement in 2019.
Inoki is known as the only man to body slam Andre as both a singles wrestler and as part of a tandem. One of the known instances of him slamming the giant occurred on December 2, 1983. Following a wild flurry, Inoki hit Andre with an enziguri, then followed up immediately with a brutal slam that got a rise out of the typically reserved Japanese audience. At 6’3 and 224 pounds, Inoki is known as one of the slightest men to slam Andre without assistance, though his protégé is the slightest man to ever accomplish the feat with or without help.
Tatsumi Fujinami & Antonio Inoki
While there is no known video of Tatsumi Fujinami and Antonio Inoki working together to slam Andre in a match, the three have worked in the same ring on numerous occasions and there is a photo of the two doing just that in a Puroresu magazine from the ’80s. Judging by Andre’s physique and hairstyle, the photo was likely taken some time in the early ’80s, perhaps during the NJPW Madison Square Garden Tag League in 1981. Andre teamed with Rene Goulet and faced off against Inoki and Fujinami at least once with Andre spending the majority of the time in the ring during this run.
Fujinami, a six-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion, is perhaps best known for his silky-smooth in-ring style as well as being the innovator of moves such as the Dragon Sleeper and Dragon Suplex. He and Inoki were voted "Best Tag Team" by Tokyo Sports Newspaper in 1981, though the duo never held the gold in NJPW.
Perhaps the least known man in the United States to have slammed Andre, El Canek spent the majority of his career wrestling for the Universal Wrestling Association in Mexico. He held the promotion’s world championship a whopping 15 times and became known for his matches in the promotion against non-Mexican wrestlers such as Andre along with Big Van Vader, Konnan, and King Haku. Canek also spent some time in AAA and CMLL, where he wrestled the who’s-who of talent south of the border. He also took a mixed martial arts fight on one occasion in 2001, winning the fight via first-round TKO. Though he had to disclose his real name to compete, he fought with his mask on and his physical identity remains a secret to this very day.
Canek’s match with Andre "El Gigante" occurred on February 4, 1984, still three years out from the "slam heard ’round the world." The match took on a slower, more methodical pace than people were used to seeing of Andre in previous years, particularly as it relates to his work in Japan. After Andre ripped his mask, Canek went on to deliver far and away the worst-looking body slam to the big man to this point, barely lifting him over his shoulders before dropping him to the mat below on his second attempt. The ripped mask suggests Andre probably wasn’t in a mood to be doing any favors on this particular night.
Like Fujinami and Inoki, Riki Choshu is another NJPW mainstay known. Choshu is an innovator, popularizing moves such as the Scorpion Deathlock that would go on to be used by North American stars such as Bret Hart and Sting. Choshu officially retired from the ring at 68 years old and over his time in NJPW won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and IWGP World Tag Team Championship three times each.
Choshu is known for one of the coolest-looking slams of Andre for which there is video evidence. Similar to Inoki, Choshu uses a rush-based style to catch the giant off guard, stopping himself from falling victim to Andre’s back body drop and instead countering with a straight kick to the face. With Andre groggy, Choshu proceeds to lift Andre up all the way over his head, and while his knees quickly begin to buckle from the sheer weight on his shoulders, he is able to safely slam the giant to the mat where he soon finds himself out of sheer muscle fatigue.
The second-to-last instance of Andre the Giant being slammed belongs to Austrian strongman Otto Wanz. Wanz took an interesting path to wrestling, first becoming a nationally-renowned boxer in his native Austria. Wanz is known for his barrel-chested figure and rode his unique look and athleticism to stardom overseas before logging a meaningful stint in the AWA. This was followed by a handful of years at the top of cards in the Catch Wrestling Association, a promotion he founded. He even defeated AWA stalwart Nick Bockwinkel for the world championship, putting himself firmly on the map as an international superstar throughout the late ’80s and early ’90s.
Wanz booked Andre for a CWA event in Austria in 1986, and while most of the athleticism that made Andre special had left him by this point, the two delivered a highly physical, believable match in front of local promotions’ fans. Wanz’s slam of Andre, which he made look relatively easy, played an important role in the finish of the match. Following the slam, Wanz tried to follow up with a cartwheel senton and Andre’s patented running splash, but the giant countered with a boot to the face followed by his own running splash to notch the three-count.
The last known man to have body slammed Andre is notable for how much Andre apparently disliked him. Bobby "The Brain" Heenan noted in the WWE-produced "Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior" DVD that Andre had a strong distaste for Warrior’s ring work, particularly when it came to how stiff he could be and his aloofness. However, this did not prevent Andre from doing business for the Warrior.
By 1989, Andre’s acromegaly had advanced to the point that he had become a shell of his old self in the ring. With his days in the ring clearly numbered by this point, Vince McMahon asked Andre to put over the Warrior on September 30, 1989, at Madison Square Garden. If Andre had a strong dislike for the Warrior, one wouldn’t have been able to tell based on their match, as Andre, despite weighing more than 500 pounds to this point, enabled the Warrior to deliver arguably the most picture-perfect slam of all the slams mentioned in this list (despite the camera angle being subpar at best). The big moment gave Warrior all the steam he could have possibly asked for heading into his WrestleMania VI match with Hogan, where he would capture the WWF Championship for the first and only time.