Andre the Giant
Until We Meet Again
WWE's Dr. Tom Prichard
Comes to the Funking Conservatory
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"Dory, Andre is our friend and we are going to
buy his dinner tonight. You and I will split the bill."
Those were the words of my Brother, Terry Funk as our taxi pulled up to the Keio Plaza Hotel in
Shinjuku Tokyo Japan. Marti, Terry and I were going to join Andre The Giant at the French restaurant
on the lower level of the hotel.
If Andre was you friend, He was a great person
to know. When we traveled in Japan, we always
traveled on the Japanese bus (As opposed to the Gaijin (American) bus) Andre occupied the front
left two seats and Marti and I always sat right across the aisle on the right side. As long as Andre
was around, we always got anything we wanted. Andre was clearly the boss of the bus and no one
was going to dispute that.
Andre was sometimes difficult to get to know because
so many people were awed by his size. He
wanted to be appreciated as the human being he was as opposed to a "big freak." He was very proud
of his accomplishments in the wrestling business especially the gate of 90,000 people in attendance at
the Silver Dome in Pontiac Michigan. He was also proud of the movie he made, The Princess Bride, in
which he had a starring role. On his last trip to Japan, he brought the tape with him and showed it several
times on the TV screen on the bus. He also told us much about his upcoming movie roll, "Jack and the
Bean Stalk." Guess who Andre was going to play?
Andre liked his beer and wine. He loved to sit
in the hotel bars after the wrestling matches and drink and
talk into the early hours of the morning. He was an awesome man. His hands were so big that when he held
a beer can in his hand, you could hardly see the beer can. He was so big and so strong that people really
didn't want to make him mad and often would leave the bar open just for Andre and his group. Andre always
took good care of those who treated him with courtesy.
Terry, Marti and I stepped off the elevator on
the lower level of the Keio Plaza Hotel and easily found the
French Restaurant. Andre was waiting for us. As we entered the restaurant, I could hear his deep voice as
he spoke to me, "Hey boss, come on over here and have a seat." For a while I really thought maybe I was
boss, then I heard him calling everybody boss, but the real boss was Andre The Giant."
I couldn't guess how long Andre had been there
but it must have been for quite a while as his eyes were near
the color of the French Beaujolais red wine he was drinking. I knew Andre could drink a lot because the
All Japan Office usually supplied him with a case of wine a day on the bus. This was a day off and I would
imagine he had been there most of the day. The thought just crossed my mind, I wonder how much Andre
would spend a day on wine?
Our food came and it was delicious, small portions
but tasty, things like crepes, petite shrimp, and cheese
blitzes and more and more wine. After not too much food, but a moderate amount of drinks we were
ready to go and Terry unbeknown to Andre slipped up front and picked up the tab. In the taxi on the way
back to the Ginza Tokyu Hotel I asked Terry how much I owed him. He said, "The bill was a thousand
dollars, you owe me five hundred." "A thousand dollars!!! For a few petite shrimp, salmon minute, and an
after dinner sweet!!" "My word, Andre must have drank a lot of wine?"
That tour ended with a special All Japan Memorial
match in Budokan hall with Baba, Myself, and Stan
Hansen against Andre, Jumbo, and Terry Gordy. This was Andre's last match. I don't remember the
outcome of the match, but I will remember forever coming into the ring and the respect the Japanese
people had for Andre The Giant. It was after that tour that Andre went home to France to his father's
funeral. He returned to his hotel and was found dead the next morning, cause of death was not determined.
He was a "Giant of a Man" and a dear friend.
January 25th at the Funking Conservatory's !BANG! television taping,
the main event will be a Triple
Crown Championship Match between Adam Windsor and Japan's "Technical Wrestler of the Year,
The special attraction will be an Evening Gown Match between The
First Lady of Professional Wrestling,
Missy Hyatt and the Funking Conservatory's Red Power. In the corner of Missy Hyatt will be New Japan
Pro-wrestling's Osamu Nishimura. Special Guest Referee, so that he can get a closer look at the talent,
will be World Wrestling Entertainment's Talent Scout, Dr. Tom Prichard assisting "The Claw, Who is
Who will be in Red Power's Corner?
If you are in training at the Funking Conservatory, "It Could Be You."
For ticket information, or information on the Funking Conservatory,
Call - (352) 895-4648