Andre The Giant

Description: He thrilled wrestling fans all over the world and captivated audiences with his unmatched size and freakish strength. He had one of wrestling's most successful careers and led a remarkable and legendary life. He's the Eighth Wonder of the World, Andre the Giant, and his name is synonymous with professional wrestling. His DVD, simply titled Andre the Giant, spans the middle of Andre's career from the mid 1970s up until the classic $15,000 bodyslam match with rival giant Big John Studd. Although copyrighted in 2004, the disk does not cover any of Andre's career past Wrestlemania, but it is a must-have for any classic wrestling fan.

Perhaps the best aspect of this DVD is it contains the infamous 'Haircut' match. Ironically, I remember watching this match when it happened on December 15, 1984, and I was shocked and amazed at how Big John Studd and Ken Patera manhandled Andre and how Bobby "the Brain" Heenan masterminded the plan to cut Andre's long hair as S.D. Jones, Andre's tag team partner, was knocked unconscious. I personally had not seen this match in years, so it was great to see it again in its entirety. The disk also includes Andre's revenge matches against Patera and Studd respectively. The disk culminates with the Wrestlemania showdown.
Another perk is Andre and Superfly Snuka against the Wild Samoans, a classic match from 1983. What's hysterical is watching Mean Gene Okerlund conduct an interview with Andre and Snuka, two of wrestling's not-so-great speakers. Their comments are somewhat funny, although I couldn't understand a lot of what they were saying or what they meant. You'll have to see for yourself.

Another great aspect of this DVD is that it contains a lot of the original commentary, so you get to hear Gorilla Monsoon, Pat Patterson, and Vince McMahon, some of the old-school announcers. The disk features some of Andre's vintage handicap matches, which don't feature five-star wrestling but are fun to watch. We're also treated to a Battle Royal that includes Andre and such stars as Hulk Hogan, The Iron Sheik, Sgt. Slaughter, and more. Guess who wins.

What's arguably most interesting about the DVD is how it details Andre's physical changes over the years. His disease, agromegaly, really took a toll on Andre, and the various matches over the years really display Andre's physical demise. If you've never seen a young Andre perform, you have to check out this DVD. His arsenal once included more than chops and headbutts, and you can see some of that here.

While the DVD offers a lot of positives, there are some aspects of the video that leave a lot to be desired. First off, the video is hosted by Lord Alfred Hayes. While Hayes is always good for a laugh or two, his voice is superimposed over the beginnings of the matches, and most of his comments are less than interesting. He does, though, provide some good insight about Andre since he knew Andre since the Giant was 17. Also, some of the matches are of poor quality, specifically Andre vs. Gorilla Monsoon. While Hayes apologizes for the lack of clarity since video of the match is obscure, the match itself doesn't offer anything special enough to make up for the poor quality. Some other matches on the DVD, like Andre vs. Moondog Rex, are nothing more than squash matches, which really don't belong on a highlight video. Although many of Andre's matches are one-sided, I'm sure they could've found something a little more competitive and entertaining to put on the DVD.

Since Hayes is hosting the video, it is safe to assume that this is a re-release since it doesn't cover a large portion of Andre's career. As a Hall of Famer, Andre deserves a DVD similar to Flair, Hogan, etc. I'm sure that Andre's three-disk compilation is in the works; if it's not, it should be. Andre had one of wrestling's most prolific careers, and viewers need to see it chronicled properly and thoroughly with matches, interviews, and extras.

A viewer can't help marvel at Andre's size and power. He truly was in a class by himself and garnered attention, both in and out of the ring, all over the world. While Andre the Giant only offers a glimpse into Andre's astounding career, it is definitely worth a peek. After all, how often do you get to see a true-to-life Giant?

Rating: 8/10

Reviewed by Mason Raige on July 21, 2005. ( )

Eric Anderson wrote in with his review:
I owned this on WWF VHS a few years ago, I'm not sure what happened to it. Anyway, the DVD is along the same lines. It includes interviews and footage of the 8th Wonder of the World. It is definitly great for new wrestling fans who want to know what all the hype was about. Andre was definitely a legend, and one of a kind. 7.5/10.

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