Is the Andre the Giant Battle Royal Cursed?

The Andre the Giant Battle Royal feels like a big deal but the winners never go on to bigger or better things.

Premiere Of HBO's "Andre The Giant" - After Party
Premiere Of HBO's "Andre The Giant" - After Party / Kevin Winter/GettyImages

In 2014, a new tradition began for WWE during Wrestlemania.  A battle royal in honor of one of the most beloved wrestlers in the history of WWE, the first ever WWE Hall of Fame inductee Andre the Giant.  A match that would get a lot of wrestlers on the card for Wrestlemania with the winner potentially getting a nice push for winning a prestigious match.

However, since the very first Andre the Giant battle royal at Wrestlemania XXX the winner hasn’t really gotten that big of a push to reach the next level of stardom.  Is the Andre the Giant memorial battle royal cursed?  Is it better to be a loser of this match than it is to be a winner?

I’m going to look at a few examples of where winning the battle royal hurt a wrestler’s career more than it helped them in the long run.  While some wrestlers such as Baron Corbin, Braun Strowman, and Jey Uso have benefited from winning the match, more have been hurt from winning.  I’m not saying that these wrestlers shouldn’t have won, it’s more of a look at how winning the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal has hurt the winners a lot more than it has helped.

Let’s look at the first winner of this match, Cesaro.  In 2014, Cesaro was at a crossroads in his run at WWE.  While he had been a United States champion early in his WWE career, he hadn’t lived up to his full potential like a lot of fans thought he could.  At this time, he was currently in a tag team with former world champion Jack Swagger.  At Wrestlemania XXX, Cesaro & Swagger were in the kickoff show match and failed to win the tag team titles.  However, Cesaro got a second chance later as a last-minute entry in the battle royal.  He last eliminated the odds-on favorite, Big Show to a tremendous ovation as he became the first winner of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

The next night on Raw, Cesaro announced that he became the newest client of Paul Heyman.  At that moment the combination of wrestler and manager had people thinking this was what Cesaro needed, that one little addition to help him get to the next level.  At first, it seemed like everything was working out.  Cesaro main-evented that year’s Money in the Bank event challenging for the vacant WWE championship.  However, he started to fall behind the pack of a talented roster and took a long time to get back into the main championship picture.

While Cesaro ended up becoming a tag team specialist in WWE winning the tag team titles with numerous partners, it’s the thought of what could’ve been for Cesaro.  How many times could he have been the top guy in WWE?  Could he have had a lengthy run as one of the top athletes in the main event on a nightly basis?  We’ll never find the answer to that question.  Cesaro has had a great wrestling career in and out of WWE, but we truly will never know if Cesaro could’ve been the face of WWE.

Three years later, the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal was put on the kickoff show for Wrestlemania.  With help from his friend, Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots, Mojo Rawley won the fourth edition of the battle royal.  Rawley had the look and desire that you need to be a top guy in WWE.  Plus, with the friendship of one of the greatest tight ends in the history of the National Football League, it’s an open and shut case for Rawley to become a future world champion.

However, that never happened.  The last guy Rawley eliminated to win the battle royal, Jinder Mahal, ended up winning the WWE Championship a month and a half later from when the battle royal took place.  For Rawley, he never got close to the fame and fortune that goes with being a star in WWE.  He would be teaming up with Zack Ryder in the Hype Bros. and the team broke up by the end of the year.  While Rawley was still an active member of the roster, his best chances to reach the next level appeared to be gone before he ever had a chance to make it.

Rawley would end up winning the WWE 24/7 Championship on seven occasions, winning the title during the pandemic Wrestlemania before losing the title to his friend, Rob Gronkowski.  Of all the winners of the battle royal, Rawley might be the one who gets glanced over the quickest because his time after winning the battle royal was less than another person’s fifteen minutes of fame.  Despite having a tremendous look and will to win, Rawley never managed to go too far after winning in 2017.

Madcap Moss was a wrestler who had the same ingredients that Rawley and Cesaro had of being a successful star in WWE.  Great body look, good size, and athletic ability.  Moss was in a very good story in 2022 being the right-hand man of Baron Corbin.  While Corbin had a match at Wrestlemania with Drew McIntyre, Moss followed in his friends’ footsteps by entering and winning that year’s battle royal.  However, things started to fall apart for the duo after Wrestlemania and Moss went on his own.

This would be a tremendous chance for Moss to become a made man in WWE, get to the next level of stardom.  While he did have his chances such as competing in that year’s Money in the Bank ladder match, Moss just didn’t get the opportunity he deserved.  He did challenge for titles and competed in matches to determine a number one contender Moss never got over.

Moss was let go by WWE in September 2023 and someday he may return to WWE.  But Moss might forge his own path to stardom, in his mid-thirties Moss still has plenty of time to reach the top of professional wrestling, could WWE have dropped the ball on Moss after winning the battle royal?  Only time can tell us that answer.  But wherever Moss may go in the future, him winning the Andre the Giant battle royal is one of the biggest highlights of his career.

I go back to the question I asked at the beginning of the article.  Is the Andre the Giant memorial battle royal cursed?  The answer is yes, but only for the winner.  Since its inception in 2014, this match should be a potential breakout moment for the winner that could lead to bigger and better things.  However, for most of the winners it has led them nowhere.  Stuck in WWE purgatory, the winner doesn’t have the chance to become a superstar and shine on the biggest stages.

To whoever wins this year's battle royal, be careful of where your future may lead you.  While you might want to end up where Jey Uso, Baron Corbin and Braun Strowman have been you could end up where some of the wrestlers mentioned ended up.  Stuck in the middle with nowhere to go.