WWE's 25 Best Big Man Matches of All Time

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterJanuary 29, 2013

WWE's 25 Best Big Man Matches of All Time

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    WWE's rings have rattled from the weight of behemoths battling and some of these wars between big-men wrestlers have been some of the company’s best.

    In these matches, fans don't expect to see wristlocks transitioned into arm bars or dives off the apron, but instead power meeting power, size against size.

    Much of the appeal is the visual spectacle of seeing men of unimaginable girth facing off. It's like seeing a mammoth vs. a T. Rex, Godzilla vs. Megalon.

    These battles of living mountains will be ranked by how memorable the matches were, the intrigue-level of the story told and the excitement of the action.

    To no one's surprise, it is a list dominated by Kane, Undertaker and Big Show, three of the best and most prolific giants in WWE history.

25. Raw 1996: Yokozuna vs. Vader

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    A short match that tested the weight limits of the ring pitted Vader against one of the few men who could make him relatively small.

    After clashing with Yokozuna at the Royal Rumble that year, Vader took revenge with Jim Cornette's help.

    The match began with Yokozuna and Vader clobbering each other with forearms and fists in the center of the ring. High-impact move followed high-impact move. The ring ropes shook each time.

    The most compelling part of this battle was the ending.

    Vader (kayfabe) broke Yokozuna's leg by propping it up on the bottom rope and crashing down on it several times. Yokozuna wailed like an animal shot in the woods. A surprising show of weakness by the big man made Vader's act that much more powerful.

24. SmackDown 2008: Brothers of Destruction vs. Big Daddy V and Mark Henry

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    The actual action wasn't anything memorable but the fact that such immensity filled the ring is still a stunning spectacle.

    Kane and Undertaker are giant enough on their own, but watching them face off against Big Daddy V and Mark Henry was like watching a movie where overgrown, radiated creatures battle amid a destroyed city.

    The Brothers of Destruction double-teamed Big Daddy V, sending him to the mat with a double chokeslam.

    The other move that stands out is the Hell's Gate that Undertaker used to finish off Mark Henry. The submission had not been officially named yet and this match was used partially to introduce the move and to make it look mighty powerful.

    Using it to knock off a man Henry's size will do just that.

23. Raw 1993: Kamala vs. Yokozuna

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    The Ugandan Giant suffered a loss at the hands of the vicious sumo champion, Yokozuna, in a short but intense battle.

    Watching Kamala battle Yokozuna now is to travel back to a much different time.

    This match at times felt like avant-garde theater, with the strangeness of their gimmicks and the exaggerated acting after every big blow.

    Yokozuna was meant to look like an unstoppable monster in preparation for a showdown with Hulk Hogan. Kamala struggled to get Yokozuna off his feet. Their battle felt bigger than a Raw match, two bighorns colliding.

    It's hurt by its short length, but it's not as if these two men could have worked a 60-minute draw.

22. Madison Square Garden 1976: Ernie Ladd vs. Gorilla Monsoon

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    In early 1976, Gorilla Monsoon, long WWE's resident monster, found himself in the role of the victim when he battled Ernie Ladd at Madison Square Garden.

    Ladd, who towered over Monsoon, dominated the match. He smashed Monsoon while he was tangled in the ropes and later bit open his forehead.

    More often than not, this was a fight more than a match.

    Even more stunning that seeing these two giants slug it out was seeing Ladd assert himself as the alpha male of the match. Not only did Monsoon lose, but he crumpled to the mat a crimson mess.

    Ladd had busted him open and Monsoon bled so heavily that the referee stopped the match.

    The year would improve for Monsoon as he'd become involved in his most famous angle, a tussle with Muhammad Ali, just a few months later.

    Watch the match here on WWE.com.

21. 1984: Andre the Giant vs. Kamala (Cage Match)

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    Maple Leaf Gardens hosted a cage match between two of WWE's biggest, most feared men.

    The cage looks tiny now especially with the girth of Andre the Giant and Kamala filling it up.

    Andre beat up on Kamala, who was confused by the structure. The Ugandan Giant attempted to push through the cage walls at a few points.

    The match moved at a grinding pace.

    Kamala bit Andre's head. Andre chopped Kamala's chest. What it lacked in skillfulness, it made up for in viciousness.

    Andre would cap off this feud with a win, adding one more oversized victim to his list.

    Watch the full match here.

20. 1997: Undertaker vs. Vader (Casket Match)

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    Two of the most agile big men in WWE history ignited the Madison Square Garden crowd with a match where both men pushed his opponent to his limit.

    The action between Vader and Undertaker was more fast-paced than most big men bouts.

    Vader looked impressive, wearing down Undertaker with heavy blows to his head. Undertaker impressed when he lifted the monstrous Vader up for a Tombstone piledriver.

    Just when it looked like Undertaker had Vader beaten down enough to drag him into the casket, this match took a major turn. Mankind popped out of the casket. He clamped on the mandible claw until The Dead Man fell limp into the casket.

    This match added fuel to Mankind and Undertaker's long and storied feud.

    After the bell rang, Undertaker tore out of the casket enraged. It would take him years to extract his full revenge on Mankind.

19. Madison Square Garden 1976: Ernie Ladd vs. Andre the Giant

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    Andre the Giant vs. Ernie Ladd was the lovable giant against the massive, cruel villain.

    This 1976 match showcased a far more athletic Andre than fans remember from his days in the late '80s. His work is crisper, more compelling.

    Ladd had a reputation for carrying a weapon in his taped thumb. The fun of this match was seeing him get deserved payback. Andre caught Ladd's thumb and used it against him, jabbing it into Ladd's own throat.

    Both men work the crowd beautifully.

    Though it only ends in a count-out, Andre's victory is quite satisfying.

18. Madison Square Garden 1985: Andre the Giant vs. King Kong Bundy

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    Billed as "The Colossal Jostle," this match pitted two behemoths against each other, letting the fans' eyes widen in the process.

    The Madison Square Garden was hot for Andre the Giant vs. King Kong Bundy despite the sluggish pace of the match.

    Andre was wrestling with a kayfabe broken sternum courtesy of Big John Studd. That storyline added an air of heroism to every move Andre suffered.

    The match felt very realistic for a WWE match, the slow pace and hesitant approach by both wrestlers contributing to that. The spectacle of two giants slugging it out was only furthered when a third got involved.

    Big John Studd interfered, ending the match and advancing his and Andre's famous feud.

17. WrestleMania XX: Undertaker vs. Kane

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    The novelty of seeing these two huge men battle had worn off by WrestleMania XX and perhaps WWE realized that as it made the match a short one, essentially a vehicle for Undertaker's return to his original gimmick.

    Kane had buried the biker version of Undertaker alive months earlier.

    The power of this match was more about Undertaker's return, about their intense faceoff before the bell rang. Kane shouted that he'd killed Undertaker and said, "You're not real!" more powerful than the match itself

    The match itself was a solid brawl, but a disappointment as we’d seen these giants pull off far better in the past.

    The crowd's reaction to Undertaker's return and to his victory propels this.

16. SmackDown 2001: A-Train vs. Kane

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    Kane would eventually lose his Intercontinental title to A-Train, but those two men composed a fine piece of in-ring art before that. 

    This match showcased A-Train at his physical best. He also appeared more motivated and engaged in the action than he ever has.

    Despite A-Train falling victim to the chokeslam in the end, the goal of this encounter seemed to be to build A-Train as a legitimate contender to the title, for it to be feasible for him to defeat Kane.

    A-Train did look plenty powerful here, shoving around his fellow big man. At one point, he military-pressed Kane above his head with ease.

    Watching him as Tensai now, it's hard to imagine that A-Train could be a part of such pulsating action.

15. Rebellion 1999: Kane vs. Big Show (No Disqualification)

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    Often overshadowed by the classic cage match between The Rock and Triple H of the same night, this battle of WWE monsters was highly entertaining as well.

    Both Kane and Big Show traded blows and power moves. Big Show impressed the United Kingdom fans with a diversified move set. He surprisingly threw in a dropkick and a Boston crab.

    Two seemingly unstoppable forces bashed into each other in a well-paced match. With each blow landed, one had to wonder who would fall first.

    In the end, it was Big Show.

    Kane kicked a chair into Big Show's face, scooped him up for a slam and got the win.

    Show's loss showcased the narrative that was Kane's movie monster-like ability to stave off a beating and continue on.

14. Cyber Sunday 2006: Kane vs. Umaga

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    Kane and Umaga had some clunkers together, but their match at Cyber Sunday was their most intense, most convincingly violent and the most enthralling.

    Kane had been sent off Raw via a loss to Umaga. The fans' vote paired them together one last time, an epilogue for their feud.

    In this monster vs. monster match, momentum swung back and forth. Either Umaga and Kane were going full-out on each other at times or they did a great job in making it look that way.

    Much of the beginning of the match saw both men trade punches. Punches gave way to suplexes and boots to the head, both men giving their foe their best weapon.

    Umaga's clean win added an impressive win to his growing resume. He would ride that momentum into a feud with WWE champ John Cena.

13. 1990: Earthquake vs. Tugboat

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    Before Earthquake made his way to Hulk Hogan, he needed to crush some impressive foes along the way. His future tag partner, Tugboat, played that role.

    Tugboat, one of Hogan's allies early in his WWE career, both played the pained victim in this match as well as a man difficult to keep down.

    Massive man banged into massive man.

    The fun of the match is in both Earthquake and Tugboat tossing in some aerial moves. Earthquake wowed with a surprising dropkick. Tugboat dished out a dropkick of his own.

    Several close near falls added to the excitement. The match ended in chaos with Dino Bravo, Jimmy Hart and a steel chair getting involved.

12. In Your House: Buried Alive: Sycho Sid vs. Vader

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    For the right to face Shawn Michaels for WWE title at Survivor Series, two behemoths squared off in a surprisingly excellent match.

    Sycho Sid doesn't have a reputation for being a great in-ring talent, more a freight train of a powerhouse. Against Vader though, he had one of his best performances.

    Billed as the battle of the powerbombs, Sid vs. Vader delivered a robust amount of intensity. The hyped crowd helped move the match along, reacting to every attempted power move, to Vader catching Sid in mid-air.

    Shawn Michaels gave commentary as he watched to see which of the two monsters would challenge him.

11. Judgment Day 1998: Kane vs. Undertaker

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    Kane battled Undertaker for the vacant WWE title with Stone Cold Steve Austin as the special guest referee. For added drama, the match's stipulation dictated that if Austin didn't crown a new champ, he'd be fired.

    Austin's presence made this pairing of big men fresh.

    As expected he got involved, at one point delivering the stunner to Undertaker and cracking him over the head with a chair.

    The battle between brothers raged on at Judgment Day, the stakes high, uncertainty abound.

    Austin refused to count when Undertaker had a sure three-count on Kane.

    Kane and Undertaker's usual brawling fun was capped with an exciting but unsatisfying ending, with no clear winner.

10. In Your House 20: No Way out (of Texas) 1998: Kane vs. Vader

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    Having set fire to his brother at the Royal Rumble, Kane was venturing on a path of destruction that led him straight to Vader.

    Kane looked unstoppable the entire time. He shook off Vader's attacks like The Terminator not being fazed by gunshots.

    This match was a showcase of two devastating forces, two tanks smashing into each other. Kane though was to be the most dominant and the victor.

    He followed his victory with an attack on Vader, smashing him in the face with a wrench.

9. WrestleMania XII: Diesel vs. Undertaker

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    Skyscraper met skyscraper at WrestleMania XII. Diesel, being even bigger than Undertaker, was not intimidated like so many other men.

    The action began with a flurry.

    Both men charged at each other, swinging haymakers. Each was unable to topple the other, at least until the match wore on.

    Undertaker missed a chair shot and Diesel threw him in the barricade.

    One of the better big man matches in WWE history made both combatants look like equals. Taker eventually defeated Diesel, but not without being severely tested.

8. Unforgiven 1998: Undertaker vs. Kane (Inferno Match)

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    If the goal of a WWE match is to make a lasting impression, then Undertaker vs. Kane surrounded by rising flames at Unforgiven 1998 is a huge success.

    With the story of their parents having died in a fire, of how fire disfigured Kane, there is no better set of giants to have been chosen for an Inferno match.

    The execution of this fabulous concept wasn't perfect. There certainly could have been more of a use of the danger of the fire and for both Kane and his brother to try more often to drag each other to the flames.

    There were still plenty of gasp-inducing moments.

    Kane and Undertaker's hatred for each other couldn't be contained inside a ring regardless of the fire roaring around it.

    Vader and Paul Bearer got involved in an increasingly wild match where Bearer ended up with a drum over his head and Kane's arm went up in flames.

7. 1983: Andre the Giant vs. Big John Studd (Cage Match)

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    WWE's two titans battled for much of 1983 over who would be called "the one true giant."

    Andre the Giant and Big John Studd bashed each other in the confines of a steel cage as their girth pushed the cage walls outward and had the ropes rattling around them. 

    Other than his matches with Hulk Hogan, Andre's war with Studd in the cage is one of his most memorable.

    The action was slow, as one might expect, but built up to a pulsating climax. Andre ignited the crowd by climbing to the top rope before launching himself at Studd.

    Watch the end of the match here on WWE.com.

6. No Mercy 2008: Undertaker vs. Big Show

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    The Sun may not have liked Big Show vs. Undertaker at No Mercy, calling it "a punch-kick-slam fest," but in many ways this is what a big man match should look like.

    It throbbed with power and intensity, managing to make both men look more destructive by the end of it.

    Protecting his then-girlfriend, Vickie Guerrero, Big Show fended off The Undertaker. The two titans slugged it out in an entertaining brawl.

    Undertaker provided quickness, giving the match a change in pace.

    Big Show ended it with a smack against an unprotected turnbuckle and two big knockout punches. The victory left him the last behemoth standing, at least for that night.

    See it all here.

5. 1981: Andre the Giant vs. Killer Khan (Mongolian Stretcher Match)

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    A story of retribution doled out intensely featured Andre the Giant and a Mongolian giant named Killer Khan.

    Andre's real-life ankle injury was turned into story fodder, WWE claiming that Khan had put Andre out of action. By the time Andre healed, fans were salivating to see him pound Khan into the ground.

    Though two big men had better worked matches together, this one was powered by that vengeful energy. When Andre picked up the stretcher and swung it at Khan's head, the crowd became frenzied. 

    Check out some of it here.

4. In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede: Undertaker vs. Vader

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    Distractions swirled around Undertaker as he defended his WWE title against Vader.

    Paul Bearer had been telling fans about the existence of Taker's brother Kane, of his dark past. Eventually Kane would appear at Badd Blood, but until then Undertaker had to take out his frustration, which he directed at the mammoth Vader.

    Undertaker was dominant for the most part even with Paul Bearer taking cheap shots on him.

    Vader and Taker worked well together throughout their various matches, but this one was the most crisp and most compelling. The strangeness of the Kane storyline deepened this title match and deepened Undertaker's character.

    Watch them battle it out here.

3. Vengeance 2011: Mark Henry vs. Big Show

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    This match was more than the stunning visual of the ring collapsing under the weight of two behemoths. It was a truly intense battle, a great performance by both Mark Henry and Big Show.

    After a taking a few hard shots, Henry took his World Heavyweight title and looked to be leaving the match. Big Show stopped him and continued what would be a full-throttle fight.

    The story told that night was one of giants pushing each other to their physical limits. Show vs. Henry was about being unable to overpower the immensely powerful, about desperation and exhaustion.

    To cap off their battle without a victor, a Henry superplex destroyed the ring, mimicking an earthquake.

2. Cyber Sunday 2008: Undertaker vs. Big Show (Last Man Standing)

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    Having been knocked out by Big Show at No Mercy, Undertaker burned with anger, looking to take revenge.

    Their Last Man Standing match was a compelling fight between giants.

    Big Show and Undertaker set a fast pace for a big man match. The action featured several momentum shifts and full usage of everything around them; the ring post, barricade, TV monitors.

    Undertaker eventually won, but as drained as he looked and as hard as they'd both fought, it didn't feel like a dominant win, it felt like survival.

1. WrestleMania XIV: Undertaker vs. Kane

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    WWE has never told such a disturbing and unique story. The buildup to this, the macabre narrative of Undertaker's long-lost brother returning as a deformed seeker of revenge was so powerful that it almost didn't matter what these two did in the ring.

    Undertaker walked past a cluster of druids, torches aflame.

    He would soon face his toughest challenge to date. Kane manhandled Undertaker like no one else had ever done.

    The storyline brothers took the action to the outside. The scene outside became a mess of tipped-over steps and the debris from a broken table.

    In one thrilling moment, Undertaker leaped over the top rope at Kane only to have The Big Red Machine sidestep him and propel him through the Spanish announce table.

    It took three Tombstone piledrivers to put away Kane, ending one of the most anticipated matches in WWE history and teasing at many sequels.