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Thursday, November 10, 2022

Our Greatest Giant Gonzalez Match

Giant Gonzalez vs. Virgil WWF Superstars 4/3

ER: Nobody ever talks about Giant Gonzalez as a great worker, and well, that's because he wasn't. But he also never got the chance to be a good worker. He wasn't getting pro wrestling work because of his in-ring potential, but he also never got the opportunity to actually improve his in-ring work. People wrongly say that Gonzalez/Undertaker is one of the worst matches in WrestleMania history, but who else was pulling good matches out of 1993 Undertaker? What are the good Undertaker singles matches from 91-93? He wasn't having them, because he was a character, not a Great Match Worker. Giant Gonzalez was not brought into WWF to have Great Matches. He was a humongous yeti with the biggest taint anyone had ever seen, whose job was to be a slow lumbering menace to occupy the Undertaker. There were no attempts to make him into anything other than that, and after a half a year of that he was gone. During his WWF stint he worked almost exclusively with Undertaker and Randy Savage, with a few jobber matches and two grail Gonzalez/Adam Bomb vs. Undertaker/Savage house show tags that I want to see really damn bad. Gonzalez wasn't brought in to be a worker, and he was never given the opportunity to work different opponents to see what kind of worker he could be. Imagine what Bret could have done with him! We never got Hart/Gonzalez and I hate that we never got Hart/Gonzalez. 

But he did work a few matches against Virgil at the very beginning of his tenure, and that gave us a glimpse of the kind of worker he might have been with a bit more variety of opponent, against guys who could actually let him show off his legitimate athleticism. Sure, he never actually played in an NBA game, but this man was still an athlete. His TV match with Virgil shows more of his athleticism than he got to show in any other match, and I think this match - all 3 minutes of it - is the best version of Giant Gonzalez. 

Virgil avoids him to start, and flashes a bit of footwork when Gonzalez can't catch him. Gonzalez, hilariously, shows off his own footwork. I still see people talking about how immobile Gonzalez was in the ring, but...he wasn't immobile, at all. They did not want him to be an agile giant, but you can see in this match how quick he could move. He moves faster against Virgil than he ever moved against Undertaker and Savage, and when he finally backs Virgil into a corner, there's an awesome visual where he backs Virgil up the turnbuckles with a knucklelock. Virgil is standing on the top rope leaning all of his weight forward to try to get any leverage on the giant, and you just watch, waiting for Gonzalez to shove him backwards over the ringpost to a certain death. 

They worked this match on three house shows before taping this match, and I wonder if there was ever any variation on that spot, if he DID shove Virgil off. But mainly I just think how in awe I would have been had I seen a furry Sasquatch threatening to throw a man off the top rope. I like the way Virgil falls for Gonzalez, and love the way they move around each other. I don't think Gonzalez's offense ever looked better than in this match. His clubbing arms looked heavy as hell, and he threw a kick to Virgil's ribs that looked just as heavy. I love how he ignored a dropkick and then swatted the next one to the side like Kong swatting a biplane. After he swatted that dropkick away, he leveled Virgil with a clothesline that had honest to god great form. We should have been allowed to see him clotheslining Mr. Perfect or Marty Jannetty or any of the other dozen guys on the roster who knew how to take great clothesline bumps. Gonzalez hits a deadlift chokeslam for the win, and kept his hand wrapped around Virgil's throat for a minute after the win, hunched over him and choking him into unconsciousness. 

This is the only real glimpse of what Gonzalez could have been in WWF. It's not entirely different from the Gonzalez we got, but this is clearly our Greatest Gonzalez. 

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

He gave the most genuine promo on a WAR show about how proud he was to team with Koji Kitao and how great “the big guy” is. Love Gonzalez.

12:47 PM  

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