André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
The André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal is a namesake battle royal held during WrestleMania Weekend, typically at the event itself, by the American professional wrestling promotion WWE. The inaugural battle royal was held at WrestleMania XXX in 2014. The winner of the match receives the André the Giant Memorial Trophy.
The match is named in honor of André the Giant, a WWE Hall of Fame inductee wrestler who at over seven feet tall and weighing 500 pounds was known as "The King of the Battle Royal" due to winning a large majority of such matches he participated in. A female counterpart to this match was established in 2018, which debuted at WrestleMania 34 – the WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal.
Originally established as an annual battle royal at WrestleMania, the match did not occur at WrestleMania 36 in 2020 due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the event returned in 2021 for its seventh edition, and aired on a special WrestleMania SmackDown the night before WrestleMania 37.
André the Giant
André the Giant was a French professional wrestler. He was best known for his time in the American professional wrestling promotion WWE. He signed with the company in 1973 when it was still known by its original name of World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF), which was renamed to World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 1979, and he continued performing for the promotion until 1991 (the WWF was renamed to WWE in 2002). Following his death in 1993, André was the inaugural inductee into the promotion's Hall of Fame as the sole inductee for the Class of 1993. At over seven feet tall and weighing 500 pounds, André was known as "The King of the Battle Royal" due to winning a large majority of such matches he participated in.
Memorial Battle Royal
On the March 10, 2014 episode of Raw, WrestleMania XXX host Hulk Hogan announced the establishment of the André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. The match was established in honor of André's legacy. It took place at WrestleMania XXX on April 6, with the winner receiving the André the Giant Memorial Trophy, made in the likeness of André. Cesaro won the inaugural match after eliminating Big Show using a body slam, mimicking the famous moment of when Hogan performed a body slam on André at WrestleMania III.
At WrestleMania 31 on March 29, 2015, the second annual André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal took place as part of the event's Kickoff pre-show, thus establishing the match as a yearly tradition. Big Show—a wrestler who had been often compared to André due to his similar size and stature and who was originally billed as André's (storyline) son when he debuted in World Championship Wrestling in 1995—won the match by last eliminating Damien Mizdow.
While largely contested by professional wrestlers, celebrities began to make appearances in the André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal beginning with the third annual match at WrestleMania 32 in 2016. This match, which occurred on the main card, featured former National Basketball Association player Shaquille O'Neal entering as a surprise participant, confronting Big Show. This year's match was won by Baron Corbin, who last eliminated Kane to win.
The following year's match occurred on April 2, 2017 on the WrestleMania 33 Kickoff pre-show. Although not a participant in the match itself, the match did feature a surprise appearance by National Football League player Rob Gronkowski, who assisted his real life friend Mojo Rawley, enabling Rawley to last eliminate Jinder Mahal to win the match.
The fifth annual André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal took place as part of WrestleMania 34's Kickoff pre-show on April 8, 2018. Unlike the past couple of years, this match did not feature any celebrity appearances, but the match was won by Matt Hardy, who last eliminated Baron Corbin to win. Also at WrestleMania 34, a women's version of the match was established, called the WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal.
The sixth annual André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal was held as part of WrestleMania 35's Kickoff pre-show on April 7, 2019. This year's battle royal was unique in that there was a storyline going into the match with the two celebrity guest participants. Prior to the event, comedians Colin Jost and Michael Che of Saturday Night Live began appearing on Raw as part of a storyline with Braun Strowman, which ultimately led to them being scheduled as participants in the match. Strowman ultimately won the match by last eliminating Jost.
The match did not occur at WrestleMania 36 in 2020 due to concerns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic brought many changes to WWE's programming during that time, and the battle royal was not scheduled so as to limit the number of wrestlers in the ring at the same time. WrestleMania 36 itself, which was WWE's first pay-per-view affected by the pandemic, was relocated and held behind closed doors at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida.
On April 1, 2021, WWE announced the return of the André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Unlike previous editions of the match, the seventh battle royal was not held at WrestleMania itself. Instead, it aired as part of the April 9 episode of SmackDown, the night before WrestleMania 37, with the episode promoted as WrestleMania SmackDown. The show was pre-taped on April 2. Jey Uso won the match by last eliminating Shinsuke Nakamura.
Writing for PWInsider in 2017, Dave Scherer saw no reason for viewers to care about the André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, given how winners have been booked and further said: "It's great that talent will get on the show for WrestleMania, but that match hasn't meant anything thus far."
|1||Cesaro||April 6, 2014||New Orleans, Louisiana||XXX||Big Show|||
|2||Big Show||March 29, 2015||Santa Clara, California||31[note 1]||Damien Mizdow|||
|3||Baron Corbin||April 3, 2016||Arlington, Texas||32||Kane|||
|4||Mojo Rawley||April 2, 2017||Orlando, Florida||33[note 1]||Jinder Mahal|||
|5||Matt Hardy||April 8, 2018||New Orleans, Louisiana||34[note 1]||Baron Corbin|||
|6||Braun Strowman||April 7, 2019||East Rutherford, New Jersey||35[note 1]||Colin Jost|||
|7||Jey Uso||April 2, 2021
(aired April 9)
|St. Petersburg, Florida||37[note 2]||Shinsuke Nakamura|||
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