INFLUENCE: The First Great Big Man/International Star
Somehow I compiled a list of the most influential performers in the history of pro wrestling and, as countless commentators informed me, I somehow managed to forget about Andre the Giant.
Andre the Giant was arguably the biggest star in the formative years of WWE, both in terms of size and of impact; he was 7'4" and stayed at around 500 pounds for whole career, and he was also responsible for arguably the most iconic moment in early WWE history (Hogan vs. Andre at WrestleMania III).
Andre was never the best in-ring performer, nor did he cut the best promos, but his immense size created a mystique and an aura that has really never been matched. He went undefeated for over 15 years on WWE TV (though he did lose here and there off-camera), and his main claim to fame was that he never lost a battle royal.
Truly, Andre was pretty much the best-booked big man in WWE history, with one exception: he never was the world champion. OK, well, technically he did win the WWE title in a schmoz ending on The Main Event (which, with a 15.2 rating, is still the highest rated wrestling show ever), but he gave it away right afterwards and was stripped of the belt.
Andre deserved a title run, and whoever beat him deserved the honor of knocking off the biggest star in the history of the sport (which Hogan sort of did anyway).
In addition, Andre was the only pro wrestler to have a major role in an actual quality movie, with a wonderfully charming turn as Fezzik in The Princess Bride (where he infamously almost killed Mandy Patinkin and Cary Elwes when they tried to keep up with his drinking).
Oh yeah, and, speaking of drinking: check out this article on Andre's legendary boozing habits. Probably the greatest drinker of all time too....I can't even fathom drinking 100 beers in one sitting.