HBO subscribers who catch the Bill Simmons-produced “Andre the Giant” documentary tonight are in for a lot of tall tales (and hey, here are two bonus stories that didn’t make the final cut!).
With so many incredible anecdotes about the professional wrestling icon, it is hard to know which ones to believe and what to dismiss — even for doc director Jason Hehir.
“I don’t buy into a lot of it,” Hehir told TheWrap of the extra-large mythology surrounding Andre’s legendary drinking, for example. “I was so skeptical of that entire world. That culture, all of it is steeped in exaggeration embellishment and, sometimes, blatant fabrication. So, the rule I had going in was that we were only going to include first-person accounts.”
For example, most people — Hehir included — will tell you that Andre probably wasn’t very close to his billed height and weight of 7’4” and 500 lbs.
But, “I do believe that he was far more powerful and far more intimidating and daunting than anybody else in wrestling in that time,” he added.
Hulk Hogan, who was a mountain of muscle at 6’7” and 302 lbs. and clearly revered Andre, won’t take any offense to that. Especially considering Hehir called Hogan “the MVP” of his documentary, “interview-wise.”
We agree. Hogan was so well-spoken and invested, Hehir nearly opened the whole film on Terry Bollea talking about the time he saw Andre the Giant wrestle live, which pushed the eventual “Rocky III” star into pro wrestling.
Though that original edit of “Andre” was scrapped, Hogan’s contribution to the film remained huge. Hehir actually got the Hulkamania hero to personally rewrite the pages he presented to WWF/WWE boss Vince McMahon ahead of the WrestleMania III main event, outlining how the biggest match in professional wrestling history should go.
It’s a really cool scene.
“That’s Hulk’s writing. He wrote to the best of his… recollection what he wrote to Vince that night,” Hehir said. “I thought that for the people who knew his handwriting, it would be a cool little wink to them. Because we could have just had someone on the staff write it, I could have just written it in my handwriting. We were after him for months to try and get [him to do it].”
“André the Giant” premieres on HBO Tuesday, April, 10 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Every WWE Champion Ever, Ranked by Number of Reigns (Photos)
From Buddy Rogers to Brock Lesnar, here are all the guys from the old WWWF and WWF days — and beyond
Pro-wrestling championship belts change hands (or waists) like grapplers change trunks these days, though it wasn't always that way. Hell, sometimes it only takes five seconds to crown a new champion, which was the case on Fox's "Friday Night SmackDown" premiere when Brock Lesnar squashed Kofi Kingston.
Scroll through our gallery to see every WWE Champion ever, ranked by their numbers of title reigns. Remember: this is a list of those who won the WWWF Championship, the WWF Championship or the WWE Championship. So don't come after us, Universal Champions, et al.
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