In the late 1980s, the world of professional wrestling witnessed an intense competition between WWE and WCW, with the focus on acquiring the towering Jorge González, an eight-foot former NBA draftee. González, whose basketball career was cut short by a knee injury, found himself at the center of a high-stakes tug-of-war between the two wrestling giants.
Ultimately, González chose to align with WCW, embarking on a new path in the squared circle. WCW invested heavily in González's development, enrolling him in the rigorous training program at the WCW Power Plant.
After a year of dedicated training, he made his debut as El Gigante at the 1990 Capital Combat pay-per-view. His arrival in WCW was nothing short of spectacular, as he was thrust into the limelight, aligning with the likes of Sting and Lex Luger in their storied feud against the Four Horsemen.
González's imposing presence and unique charisma led him to high-profile feuds with wrestling legends like Ric Flair, contending for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. His rivalries extended to other giants of the ring, such as Sid Vicious and One Man Gang, in a quest to establish himself as the true "giant of WCW."
Ross Reflects on González
Despite WCW's efforts to position González as a leading figure in the main event scene, fan reactions were mixed.
Reflecting on González's tenure in WCW, renowned commentator and WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross offered insights into the challenges González faced in adapting to the world of professional wrestling. "Jorge was a genuinely kind person, but he lacked a fundamental understanding of the wrestling industry," Ross shared on his podcast, "Grilling Jr." He elaborated on the difficulties González encountered, especially with the subtleties of in-ring performance and promo skills.
"Mastering the basics like locking up was a major hurdle. Despite hours of practice, his promos lacked the necessary impact. He had a likable personality, but just couldn't connect with the essence of wrestling. Wrestling fans are discerning and can quickly identify a performer's lack of skill, often reacting negatively to it." Ross's comments highlight the intricate balance between physical presence and technical skill in professional wrestling, a balance that González, despite his best efforts, found challenging to achieve.
His journey in WCW, marked by both highs and lows, remains a fascinating chapter in the history of professional wrestling, illustrating the complexities and nuances of a sport that blends athleticism with entertainment.