You Can’t Teach That: A Sizable Ranking Of Pro Wrestling’s Seven Footers

Seven feet has always been a magical measurement in wrestling. Once a man is over seven feet tall, he can properly be called a giant, and promoters have been eager to make money off giants since pro wrestling’s infancy. Some of these seven-foot behemoths have been hugely successful, but for every André the Giant, there’s a guy who definitively proves size isn’t everything.

Given the recent ascent of WWE’s latest seven-footer, Colin Cassady, now seems like a good time to look back at wrestling’s handful of great Goliaths and the many other monsters that failed to measure up…

Note: Wrestler heights are, of course, subject to the regular exaggeration, kayfabe and outright bullsh*t, so there’s a chance some of these guys wouldn’t actually be seven feet tall if you snuck up on them with a tape measure. That said, there’s really no way to know for sure, and what a guy’s promoted as is what matters most in the end, so we’re strictly going by billed heights here. Like most things wrestling-related, this article will be more fun if you suspend your disbelief a bit.

12) Jackson Andrews

Billed Height: 7 ft 0 in

Jackson who? Don’t worry, until I started writing this article, I’d completely forgotten this guy, too. Jackson Andrews was the dude who came out with Tyson Kidd for, like, two weeks in 2010 before being released. After watching some of Andrews’ FCW stuff, I can confirm we didn’t miss out much. His wrestling was strictly of the “stand in the middle of the ring while guys bounce off you” school, and he lacked any sort of presence.

Oh, and after his release, Andrews was charged with assaulting and threatening his then-fiancé Rosa Mendes, which in turn led to the revelation that this guy was secretly engaged to Rosa and another woman at the same time. Enjoy your spot at the bottom of the barrel, pal. You certainly earned it.

11) Eli Cottonwood

Billed Height: 7 ft 2 in

As mentioned in the previous entry, height doesn’t mean much if you don’t have the presence to go along with it, and Eli Cottonwood had all the intimidating aura of a shirtless Elijah Wood in ill-fitting leather pants. Cottonwood’s only claim to fame was a short 2010 run on the reality show version of NXT, during which he was the least-protected seven footer in wrestling history. Dude was frequently referred to as “Rottenwood” by Michael Cole, lost clean to a Curtis Axel swinging neckbreaker, and today is mostly remembered for boasting about a mustache that didn’t exist. I wonder if he boasts about his career that doesn’t exist, too?

10) Nathan Jones

Billed Height: 7 ft 0 in

THE COLOSSUS OF BOGGO ROAD! If you were looking for proof that different rules apply to big guys in WWE, look no further than Nathan Jones, a guy who was on Australia’s most wanted list for a string of armed robberies before beginning his wrestling career. To be fair, the movie industry has also given him plenty of opportunities since he hung up his wrestling boots, with him landing roles in everything from Conan the Barbarian to Mad Max: Fury Road.

No doubt, Jones is a scary-looking guy, but his WWE run was boring as hell. He started as the protege of a super-unmotivated Undertaker, which was supposed to lead to a tag match against A-Train and Big Show at WrestleMania. At the last second, WWE decided Jones wasn’t ready for the big stage, pulling him from the match, and he never really recovered from the humiliation. He kicked around for a few more months, doing nothing much of note, then quit in late 2003.

9) Giant Gonzalez

Billed Height: 7 ft 7 in

Giant Gonzalez is a legit astonishing sight to see. This is a man who was at least a head taller than The Undertaker and at least twice as beefy. And did I mention he wrestled in a naked Sasquatch suit? With an airbrushed thatch of Big Foot pubes covering his junk? Few wrestlers have been quite as amazing/ridiculous-looking as Giant Gonzalez. Few have been as terrible in the ring, either.

I mean, Gonzalez probably isn’t the worst wrestler of all time. He moved around okay for a guy his size, but his selling was awful. He reacted to everything by shaking his head, looking annoyed and puffing his cheeks out like a bug just flew in his mouth. I dunno, Giant Gonzalez was memorable mostly for the wrong reasons, but at least he was memorable. Also, the dude totally beat Undertaker at ‘Mania IX. Believe it.

8) The Yeti

Billed Height: 7 ft 2 in

The Yeti is one of the most delightfully absurd wrestling cartoon characters of all time. See, despite his name, The Yeti was a giant mummy WCW’s dastardly Dungeon of Doom found in an ice block on the slopes of Mt. Everest. The Dungeon thawed him out so him and The Giant can give Hulk Hogan a deadly double bearhug, and then, well, that was about it. The Yeti appeared in a couple more multi-man matches, this time dressed as a ninja, then beat a hasty retreat back to the Himalayas.

Well, actually he didn’t. The Yeti was played by a regular (albeit very large) man named Ron Reis, who WCW re-branded as the jobber Big Ron Studd, and then Reese, one of the less-successful members of Raven’s flock. Ron Reis’ career ended on kind of a down note, but then it’s tough to top playing a reanimated ninja/mummy/abominable snowman.

7) Giant Silva

Billed Height: 7 ft 2 in

It’s the other South American wrestling giant! The better one! You might question that if you only know Giant Silva from his WWE run, which consisted of a few tag matches with The Oddities in 1998, but he went onto a varied, relatively noteworthy career in other parts of the world after that. He had a brief, but successful run in Mexico’s CMLL, then teamed up with a young, spry Great Khali in New Japan. He even had a slightly unfortunate 2-6 run in PRIDE, although he did manage to beat Akebono. Granted, most people beat Akebono later in his career, but it puts Giant Silva one up on Big Show.

6) Matt Morgan

Billed Height: 7 ft 0 in

Matt Morgan has been consistently middle-of-the-road okay throughout his career, so hey, let’s stick him in the middle of the list. Morgan’s WWE run was brief, and ended with an embarrassing stuttering gimmick, but he went on to have a long, thoroughly okay-ish run with TNA Wrestling. Morgan was a good hand in the ring for a guy his size, but he just never really put the pieces together or managed to find a character other than “I deserve things because I’m big.”

5) The Great Khali

Billed Height: 7 ft 1 in

The Great Khali had a lot of strikes against him. He could barely speak English, usually seemed baffled by what was going on around him and could hardly move on his terrifyingly fragile balsa wood legs, and yet, somehow, it’s hard not to like the man.

His promos provided plenty of laughs (of both the intentional and unintentional variety) and he seemed like a genuinely nice guy, who took a lot of pride in repping Indian culture in WWE. He was also a physical beast – no seven-footer has ever been as ripped as Khali was in his prime. He wasn’t even that bad in the ring early on. Hell, he was downright agile during his time in Japan and Mexico, and had a few solid matches with Cena and Undertaker early in his WWE run. Khali’s decade with WWE was a long, strange trip, but surprisingly, I look back on it with a certain amount of nostalgia today.

4) Colin Cassady

Billed Height: 7 ft 0 in

Yeah, Colin Cassady may be a rookie with barely a month of main roster experience under his belt, but I already feel confident placing him in the upper third of this list. The guy has charisma, mic skills, a successful catchphrase, a well-defined, unique character and rock solid in ring skills. You know how many other guys on this list can say all that? None of them. What was André the Giant’s chant-along catchphrase? What is Big Show’s character aside from “I’m tall and unreliable”? I can’t rank Big Cass any higher on account of his greenness, but sky’s the limit with this guy.

3) Big Show

Billed Height: 7 ft 0 in

Strictly looking at the record books, Big Show is the most successful giant of all time. A seven-time World Champion! 15 WrestleMania matches! More Monday Night Raw appearances than you could possibly count! He’s also probably the best seven-foot entertainer we’ve ever seen. Show’s a legitimately great actor, knows how to tell a wrestling story inside and out, and has participated in some great matches.

That said, Big Show could’ve been so much more. He’s wrestling’s most inconsistently-booked man, flipping on a dime from heel to face, from unstoppable monster to diaper-wearing clown. WWE’s approach to using Big Show has basically been “eh, he’s seven feet tall, he’ll be fine,” and for the most part, a lot of potential has been left on the table.

2) Kane

Billed Height: 7 ft 0 in

Placing Kane above Big Show on this list was a tough decision. In terms of basic skills, the two are pretty evenly matched – if Big Show is one of the better actors in WWE, Kane isn’t far behind, and the two have a pretty similar ratio of good to bad matches.

What places Kane ever so slightly above Big Show is that he’s able to take the inconsistent, hackneyed WWE writing and somehow make it work. Well, sometimes. A small part of Big Show still seems to be ashamed by the things WWE makes him do, but Kane revels in the bullsh*t they serve him. Whether he’s embroiled in a love rectangle with Lita, Matt Hardy and Gene Snitsky, going to therapy with Daniel Bryan or issuing orders in faded slacks, Kane has a way of making things more perversely entertaining than they have any right to be. Okay, so he couldn’t save the Katie Vick angle, but even the power of Hell has its limits.

1) André the Giant

Billed Height: 7 ft 4 in

Well, I’m sure you saw this coming. André the Giant is still the prototypical seven-footer and ultimate example of how to handle a giant. André was flawlessly promoted by Vince McMahon Sr., and easily the most popular and financially successful pro wrestler in the world for a solid 15-year streak.

Of course, promotional stuff aside, he was also a once-in-a-lifetime performer. He defined larger than life, seeming to tower far taller than his 7-foot-and-change frame. He could play the monster or gentle giant equally well, and before the side effects of his gigantism slowed him down, he was a smart, surprisingly agile worker. Forget wrestling, André is simply the most successful, beloved giant of all time. If that doesn’t qualify him for the number one spot on this list, I don’t know what does.

It was a tall order (pun intended), but there’s your ranking of wrestling’s biggest behemoths. Who are your favorite seven footers? Object strenuously to my placement of Eli Cottonwood? Bicker about big men, below.