André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

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The André the Giant Memorial Trophy, awarded to the winner of the 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.

History[edit]

André the Giant[edit]

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.[1][2][3]

Memorial Battle Royal[edit]

Cesaro was the first-ever winner of the battle royal at WrestleMania XXX in 2014

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.[4] 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.[5][6]

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.[7]

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.[8]

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.[9]

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.[10] Also at WrestleMania 34, a women's version of the match was established, called the WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal.[11]

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.[12][13]

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.[14]

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.[15][16] The show was pre-taped on April 2.[17][18] Jey Uso won the match by last eliminating Shinsuke Nakamura.[19]

Reception[edit]

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."[20]

Winners[edit]

No. Winner Date Location WrestleMania Runner Up Ref.
1 Cesaro April 6, 2014 New Orleans, Louisiana XXX Big Show [6]
2 Big Show March 29, 2015 Santa Clara, California 31[note 1] Damien Mizdow [7]
3 Baron Corbin April 3, 2016 Arlington, Texas 32 Kane [8]
4 Mojo Rawley April 2, 2017 Orlando, Florida 33[note 1] Jinder Mahal [9]
5 Matt Hardy April 8, 2018 New Orleans, Louisiana 34[note 1] Baron Corbin [10]
6 Braun Strowman April 7, 2019 East Rutherford, New Jersey 35[note 1] Colin Jost [13]
7 Jey Uso April 2, 2021
(aired April 9)
St. Petersburg, Florida 37[note 2] Shinsuke Nakamura [19]

Participants[edit]

Big Show was the 2015 winner at WrestleMania 31
Baron Corbin was the 2016 winner at WrestleMania 32
Mojo Rawley was the 2017 winner at WrestleMania 33
Matt Hardy (left) was the 2018 winner at WrestleMania 34, shown here with Bray Wyatt (right) following his win at the event; Wyatt helped Hardy win the match
Braun Strowman was the 2019 winner at WrestleMania 35
Jey Uso (right) was the 2021 winner at WrestleMania SmackDown during WrestleMania 37 week, shown here with his twin brother Jimmy Uso
Superstar XXX 31 32 33 34 35 37[note 2]
Adam Rose Yes Yes
Aiden English Yes Yes
Akira Tozawa Yes
Alberto Del Rio Yes
Alex Riley Yes
Ali Yes Yes
Andrade Yes
Angel Garza Yes
Apollo Crews Yes Yes Yes
Baron Corbin Won Yes Yes
Big E Yes Yes
Big Show Yes Won Yes Yes
Bo Dallas Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bobby Roode Yes
Brad Maddox Yes
Braun Strowman Yes Won
Brodus Clay Yes
Cesaro Won Yes
Chad Gable Yes Yes Yes
Cedric Alexander Yes
Cody Rhodes Yes
Colin Jost Yes
Curt Hawkins Yes Yes
Curtis Axel Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Damien Sandow Yes Yes Yes
Darren Young Yes Yes Yes
Dash Wilder Yes
David Otunga Yes
Diamond Dallas Page Yes
Dolph Ziggler Yes Yes Yes
Drew Gulak Yes
Drew McIntyre Yes
Elias Yes
Erik Yes
EC3 Yes
Epico Colón/Fernando Yes Yes
Erick Rowan Yes
Fandango Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Goldust Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Gran Metalik Yes Yes
The Great Khali Yes
Heath Slater Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hideo Itami Yes
Humberto Carrillo Yes
Jack Swagger Yes Yes
Jason Jordan Yes
Jaxson Ryker Yes
Jeff Hardy Yes
Jey Uso Yes Won
Jimmy Uso Yes Yes
Jinder Mahal Yes Yes Yes
Justin Gabriel Yes
Kalisto Yes Yes Yes
Kane Yes Yes Yes
Karl Anderson Yes Yes
Killian Dain Yes
Kofi Kingston Yes Yes
Konnor Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Lince Dorado Yes Yes
Luke Gallows Yes Yes
Luke Harper Yes Yes
Mace Yes
Mark Henry Yes Yes Yes Yes
Matt Hardy Won Yes
Michael Che Yes
Mike Kanellis Yes
The Miz Yes Yes
Mojo Rawley Won Yes
Murphy Yes
No Way Jose Yes
Otis Yes
Primo Colón/Diego Yes Yes Yes
R-Truth Yes Yes Yes Yes
Rey Mysterio Yes
Rhyno Yes Yes Yes
Ricochet Yes
Ryback Yes
Sami Zayn Yes
Santino Marella Yes
Scott Dawson Yes
Shaquille O'Neal Yes
Sheamus Yes
Shelton Benjamin Yes Yes Yes
Shinsuke Nakamura Yes
Simon Gotch Yes
Sin Cara Yes Yes Yes Yes
Slapjack Yes
Tatanka Yes
T-Bar Yes
Tian Bing Yes
Titus O'Neil Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tucker Yes Yes
Tye Dillinger Yes
Tyler Breeze Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tyson Kidd Yes Yes
Viktor Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Xavier Woods Yes Yes
Yoshi Tatsu Yes
Zack Ryder Yes Yes Yes

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d This match took place on the Kickoff Show (pre-show).
  2. ^ a b This match took place on a special WrestleMania edition of SmackDown airing the night before the pay-per-view.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Andre the Giant: Bio". WWE. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
  2. ^ "The Official Site of André the Giant: Biography". Archived from the original on 15 May 2010. Retrieved 18 May 2009.
  3. ^ "André the Giant Profile". Online World of Wrestling. Archived from the original on 21 September 2008. Retrieved 22 September 2008.
  4. ^ "Raw results: Bryan occupies Raw and Triple H says 'YES!' ... with a twist". WWE.com. Stamford, Connecticut: WWE. March 10, 2014. Retrieved March 10, 2014.
  5. ^ Paglino, Nick (April 6, 2014). "And the Winner of the Andre the Giant Battle Royal Is..." Wrestlezone.
  6. ^ a b Caldwell, James. "WrestleMania 30 PPV results: (Hour 2): Complete "virtual-time" coverage of Cena vs. Bray, big moment for Cesaro in the Andre Battle Royal, Shield vs. Outlaws". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved April 8, 2014.
  7. ^ a b McCauley, Kevin (March 29, 2015). "WrestleMania 31 results: Big Show wins Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal". SBNation.com. Vox Media.
  8. ^ a b Passero, Mitch. "Baron Corbin won the 3rd annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal". WWE. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  9. ^ a b Powell, Jason. "Powell's WrestleMania 33 Kickoff Show live review: Neville vs. Austin Aries for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship, Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal". Pro Wreslting Dot Net. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  10. ^ a b Powell, Jason. "Powell's WrestleMania 34 Kickoff Show live review: WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal, Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship, Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal". Pro Wreslting Dot Net. Archived from the original on April 9, 2018. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  11. ^ Currier, Joseph (March 15, 2018). "WWE changes name of Fabulous Moolah battle royal". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. United States: Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Inc. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  12. ^ Killam, Mike. "'Saturday Night Live' Hosts Colin Jost & Michael Che Will Compete At WrestleMania". ProWrestling.com. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  13. ^ a b Powell, Jason. "WrestleMania 35 Kickoff Show results: Powell's live review of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, WWE Women's Battle Royal, Buddy Murphy vs. Tony Nese for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship". Pro Wreslting Dot Net. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  14. ^ Satin, Ryan (March 26, 2020). "WWE Confirms WrestleMania 36 Will Not Feature Battle Royal Matches". Pro Wrestling Sheet. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  15. ^ "Wrestlemania Edition of SmackDown To Feature 'Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal'". Heel By Nature. 1 April 2021. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  16. ^ "WWE on FOX on Twitter". Twitter. 1 April 2021. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  17. ^ Currier, Joseph (April 1, 2021). "'SPECIAL WRESTLEMANIA EDITION' OF WWE SMACKDOWN SET FOR APRIL 9". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  18. ^ Lee, Joseph (April 1, 2021). "WWE Taping Tomorrow Night's Smackdown Later Today". 411mania. Retrieved April 3, 2021.
  19. ^ a b Powell, Jason (April 9, 2021). "4/9 WWE Friday Night Smackdown results: Powell's review of the WrestleMania 37 go-home show, final comments from Roman Reigns, Edge, and Daniel Bryan, Andre the Giant Battle Royal, Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler vs. Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio vs. The Street Profits vs. Alpha Academy in a four-way for the Smackdown Tag Titles". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved April 9, 2021.
  20. ^ Scherer, Dave (March 14, 2017). "Can anything still happen in WWE, Why should we care about the Andre Battle Royal, Is Anthem the new Turner where management is concerned and more". PWInsider. Retrieved March 14, 2017.