Hearing the words “Andre the Giant” and “shortest” in the same sentence just sounds wrong. He had never been the shortest anything from the day he was born to the day he passed away. He was born at 13 lbs and died at over 7 foot tall and remains to this day the greatest ever giant in the history of professional wrestling.
However, he does hold the most unwanted record in pro-wrestling. While Bruno Sammartino boasts the longest WWE Championship reign (holding the coveted title for over 11 years), the equally legendary Andre The Giant can claim only a slightly shorter run with the belt – at under two minutes.
On the night of Feb. 5, 1988, Hulk Hogan defended his WWE Championship against Andre The Giant on “The Main Event”. This was set to be the most watched wrestling match in US wrestling history, with 33 million people tuning in to see the two top stars in the company battling it out for the biggest prize in sports.
With the money of Ted Dibiase behind him, Andre The Giant cheated his way into winning the WWE Championship. The Million Dollar Man paid off the referee to count the pin, even though Hogan’s shoulders were clearly off the mat. No amount of Hulking Up would save his blushes and the result was confirmed – Andre The Giant was the new WWE Champion.
However, this whole thing was a set up for Dibiase to finally achieve his true goal of becoming a world heavyweight champion. Andre was on his books, being paid a handsome fee to do his bidding. This became clear at exactly 1 minuted and 48 seconds after he won the belt, he handed it to Dibiase and declared him the new WWE Champion.
Andre The Giant held the WWE Championship for 1 minute and 48 seconds in 1988 in the shortest WWE Championship reign of all time. By the time he had handed the belt over to his manager, he had broken the record which has yet to be beaten even 35 years later. His closest competitor is Seth Rollins, who spent two minutes as champion at Money in the Bank 2016 before Dean Ambrose cashed in his money in the bank contract to win his first and only WWE title.
While Andre The Giant did surrender his championship to Ted Dibiase, his title run is dubious. While The Million Dollar Man did defend the belt on multiple occasions on house shows, the WWE refuse to recognise his as a legitimate reign. According to the record books, he never held the belt and it was vacated 1 minute and 48 seconds after Andre pinned Hogan.
You can click below to read about the Tragic Death of Andre The Giant