Monday, September 27, 2010

The Vault Mourns Giant Gonzalez

The colorful world of pro graps lost a legend last week in Jorge "Giant" Gonzalez, a man perhaps best known for being monstrously tall and wearing a furry full-body spandex suit airbrushed with muscles and a butt crack.

Although he left us at the all-too-young age of 44, Gonzalez is not just another tragic early wrestling death, done in as so many others have been by a steroid-enlarged heart tapping out after a (half) lifetime  of coke, booze, and freebasing enough pure dinosaur tranquilizer to kill God. Rather, he seems to have died because he was simply too big for this world. Also, diabetes. 

Gonzalez originally played basketball in Argentina and was actually drafted by the Atlanta Hawks, but couldn't hack it in the NBA. Ted Turner - owner of both the Hawks and World Championship Wrestling at the time - was impressed by Gonzalez's height, and (as is the case with many pro athletes turned pro grapsmen) decided since he'd never make it in legit sports he might make a good freakshow attraction in the carney-ass world of pro wrestling.

The Argentine giant spent a few years in the old WCW competing as "El Gigante," but he is best remembered for his 1993 stint in the WWF, during which he was paired with the great Harvey Whippleman and had his defining feud against the Deadman from Death Valley, the Undertaker. 

Gonzalez would face off against Taker at Wrestlemania IX, and was disqualified for using chloroform to incapacitate his undead opponent. This has gone on to be known in circles that give a shit about ridiculous crap like this as easily the least impressive victory in the Undertaker's storied undefeated streak at Wrestlemania (except maybe the one that involved A-Train).

Undertaker defeated him cleanly later that year at Summerslam, and Gonzalez essentially faded into the shadows. But he was never forgotten, as wrestling fans the world over continued to fondly remember his preposterous-looking self and his pube-laden naked bodysuit for decades to come.

And so, in memoriam of the incomparable El Gigante, please enjoy this sappy clip from his turn as a guest star on motherfuckin Baywatch in which he helps a little boy amass a ton of stuffed animals by winning at carnival games. (No joke needed.)

Oh, El Gigante, you massive softy. Requiescat in Pace.

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