Jorge González (wrestler)
Jorge González (January 31, 1966 – September 22, 2010) was an Argentine basketball player, professional wrestler and actor, better known for his appearances in World Championship Wrestling under the ring name El Gigante between 1989 and 1992 and in the World Wrestling Federation under the ring name Giant González in 1993.
|Born||31 January 1966|
El Colorado, Formosa, Argentina
|Died||22 September 2010 (aged 44)|
San Martín, Chaco, Argentina
|Cause of death||Complications from diabetes and heart issues|
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||El Gigante|
|Billed height||8 ft 0 in (244 cm) |
|Billed weight||460 lb (209 kg)|
|Billed from||Argentina (Andes)|
|Trained by||WCW Power Plant|
|Debut||19 May 1990|
|Retired||8 December 1995|
González was billed as being 8 ft (2.4 m), making him the tallest WWE wrestler and Argentine basketball player in history (in reality, while still holding those accolades as the tallest, his true height was 2.31 m (7 ft 7 in). He started his career with the youths of Hindú Club de Resistencia at the age of 16 (and already 2.19 m (7 ft 2 in) tall). Subsequently, León Najnudel, then coach of the Argentine national team, recommended the board of Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata to sign the player for the team's Argentine second division roster. During 1986, González helped Gimnasia achieve promotion to the Argentine first division. He then signed for Sport Club Cañadense, but saw little action due to an injury that left him off the court for 9 months.
Coach León Najnudel included González in the Argentine national team that took part of the 1985 South American Basketball Championship (bronze medal) and the 1988 Tournament of the Americas (5th place), where he attracted the attention of the Atlanta Hawks' scouts.
González took part in the 1988 NBA draft, being chosen by the Atlanta Hawks in the third round (#54 selection). Along with Hernán Montenegro (drafted #57), they became the first Argentine players drafted in the NBA. The Hawks bought the player's rights from his Argentine team for a 30,000 Argentine australes fee. However, he was unable to adapt to the physical demands of NBA basketball, partly due to a serious knee injury.
Professional wrestling career
World Championship Wrestling (1989–1992)
In 1989, Hawks owner Ted Turner offered González a job as a professional wrestler in World Championship Wrestling (WCW), which Turner also owned. After a year of training, González was introduced to fans as El Gigante on May 19, 1990 at the pay-per-view Capital Combat. Wearing shorts, he competed as a fan favorite and billed as being close to eight feet tall.
Over the next two years, he feuded with Ric Flair for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, participated in a Chamber of Horrors match in 1991 and also had a date on TBS with Missy Hyatt. He also participated in a feud with Sid Vicious and The One Man Gang who both stood at 6'9" (206 cm). The point of the feud was to determine who the real "giant of WCW" was. He also had a cross promotional stint in the New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) promotion before signing with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 1993.
According to Ron Reis, Gonzalez was set to make a return to the company at their 1995 pay-per-view Halloween Havoc in the role of "The Yeti", an insurance policy put in place to make sure Hulk Hogan did not retain the WCW Championship against The Giant. The plan behind his return was to set up an idea Kevin Sullivan (who was the booker of the promotion at the time) had for the pay-per-view World War 3 1995 the following month. It would be a 3 ring, 60 man, over the top rope battle royal, with a giant occupying each of the 3 rings. But the idea fell through as Gonzalez had a diabetes attack backstage at the Halloween Havoc pay-per-view leading him to have to be flown back to his native Argentina and Ron Reis had to take his spot in the role.
World Wrestling Federation (1993)
González competed as Giant Gonzalez during his time in the WWF as a villain, and managed by the despised manager, Harvey Wippleman. González grew a beard and wore a full body suit that featured airbrushed muscles with bushy hair attached. He was introduced at the Royal Rumble in January 1993, where he eliminated Wippleman's nemesis The Undertaker from the Royal Rumble match despite not being an official participant. At WrestleMania IX, Gonzalez lost to The Undertaker by disqualification after he knocked out the Undertaker using chloroform. After another loss to The Undertaker at SummerSlam, the feud came to an end, and after the match, Wippleman berated him, before Gonzalez turned on Wippleman himself, turning face in the process. Though the foundation was later set for a feud between González and Adam Bomb, it never truly began. His last appearance in WWF was on the October 4 episode of Monday Night Raw in a 20-man battle royal match for the Intercontinental Championship. Before the match started, González was first eliminated by "Macho Man" Randy Savage, Diesel, Bastion Booger, 1-2-3 Kid, Marty Jannetty, Adam Bomb and Bam Bam Bigelow. Three days later, WWF announced that Gonzalez left the company after his WWF contract had expired on October 7, 1993. Unlike WCW, in WWF his height was exaggerated, as he was billed as 8 feet despite being 7 feet and 7 inches.
New Japan Pro Wrestling and WAR (1994–1995)
After his departure from the WWF, González wrestled in the Japanese promotions NJPW and WAR (Wrestle and Romance) until his retirement from wrestling, and used his old ring name El Gigante. His last singles match was on 8 February 1995, when he lost to The Great Muta. On December 8, 1995, González wrestled his final match, teaming with Kōji Kitao in a loss to Shinja and Typhoon by countout.
González played the role of Manny, a carnival sideshow giant in a 1993 episode of Baywatch, who befriends Hobie, but later falls into the water and his large size makes it difficult to be rescued. In 1994, Gonzalez made a short appearance as Eryx the Boxer in Hercules in the Underworld, a television prequel film from the television series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. González also had roles in the 1993 and 1994 Thunder in Paradise double-episode turned movies.
In December 1995, González retired from professional wrestling due to serious health issues and returned home to Argentina.
After his retirement from wrestling, González lived on a ranch in Argentina in his later years. In October 2009, he was confined to a wheelchair, and also had to use a dialysis machine due to his failing kidneys. González was married and had one step-daughter.
|Wikinews has related news: Former professional wrestler Giant González dies aged 44|
González died due to complications from diabetes and severe heart issues on September 22, 2010, in his hometown of San Martin, Argentina at the age of 44.
Championships and accomplishments
- "Jorge Gonzales". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-01-25.
- "Giant Gonzales's Warned Profile". Warned. Archived from the original on 2008-02-20. Retrieved 2008-01-25.
- "Un dolor Gigante". Olé (in Spanish). 2010-09-24. Retrieved 2010-09-25.
- "Giant González". WWE.com. WWE. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
- Shields, Brian and Kevin Sullivan (2009). WWE Encyclopedia. DK/BradyGAMES. p. 112. ISBN 978-0-7566-4190-0.
- "Remembrances 2010". 1wrestling. Retrieved 2011-09-23.
- "Adiós al Gigante González, un personaje de leyenda del básquet argentino". Clarín (in Spanish). 2010-09-25. Retrieved 2010-09-25.
- "WWE News, Rumors, Results & InformationFormer WWE Star Giant Gonzalez Passes Away". Rajah.com. Retrieved 2010-09-28.
- "Falleció el basquetbolista más alto de Argentina". Télam (in Spanish). 2010-09-24. Archived from the original on 2011-06-29. Retrieved 2010-09-25.
- ""The Yeti" Ron Reis reveals WCW's original plans for the Yeti character, the famous star he replaced in the booking plans, Yeti returning to WWE or TNA, and more". Pro Wrestling Insider. November 24, 2009. Retrieved 2012-12-09.
- "WWE News, Rumors, Results & InformationWhatever Happened To Giant Gonzalez?, Jim Cornette Speaks Out, Paul Orndorff". Rajah.com. Retrieved 2010-09-28.
- "Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) 500 for 1991". The Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- "Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Top 500 Wrestlers of the PWI Years". Archived from the original on 2008-06-16.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- Meltzer, Dave (January 26, 2011). "Biggest issue of the year: The 2011 Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards Issue". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Campbell, CA: 1–40. ISSN 1083-9593.