Interesting read. Though we've had these Andre vs Big Show debates before.
Many people only seem to remember the past his prime Andre who was bodyslammed by Hulk at WM3.... at which point his acromegolgy condition had set in... and weight had balooned to 520 pounds, moving in slow motion.
The young Andre of the 70s was a much trimmer 350 pounds and he was even known to throw a dropkick.
However... Andre was the biggest star in wrestling in the post-Bruno pre-Hogan era.... and was perhaps the best known sportsmen in the world at his peak (with the exception of Muhammad Ali). Andre was a big big deal in the 70s and early 80s. Sure he was soft spoken... but so was Bruno Sammartino. Mic work and ring work didn't matter so much back then. Andre had a presenece... he was the beloved super-babyface friendly giant.
He was already a legend by the time Hogan slammed him.... even Hogan was awestruck by Andre, and considered it a huge deal that Andre would agree to job for him in the first place. How many wrestlers have commended this kind of respect from Hogan of all people?
With Andre very very few people actually beat him in his prime. With the exception of rare defeats to fellow wrestling royalty (such as Antionia Inoki).... Andre was sold as being unbeaten (in the WWF that is) for 15 years till Hogan beat him.... in what is still considered the biggest match in wrestling history.
Andre built up a legacy... you read in all wrestling biographies when they talk about Andre... he was the guy in the lockeroom that commanded the most respect amongst his fellow wrestlers.
Have a done a good sell job on Andre?
Big Show is one of the better big guys in the post Andre era... but he has lost too many times to meek opposition... that you just can't take him seriously when comparing him to Andre. Yeah Show is a better talker... and a better worker than the ancient Andre that people most remember.... but Andre had an aura that Show doesn't have. People wanted to watch him... he was a huge draw... the biggest draw in wrestling for a time.... and of course going unbeaten for so long built him up... he was unstoppable to WWF fans. His legacy was already in tact by the time his body was falling apart in the late 80s
Imagine if Big Show wasn't beaten for 15 years on WWE or WCW television, imagine if Show was as big as Austin or Rock... then there could be a case.
I think its harder to build legends in the current era... because the fans really bought what was presented to them in the kayfabe era.
Would andre be as big a star in the current era... no he wouldn't. But neither would Bruno Sammartino. You can't fault him for being big in the time he was.