At a towering 8-feet-tall, Giant Gonzalez was one of the most impressive individuals to ever step foot inside a WWE ring. Making his debut in January 1993, he immediately set his sights on Undertaker and eliminated him from the Royal Rumble. The move laid the foundation for a rivalry that lasted the length of Gonzalez’ WWE career.
At WrestleMania IX, the bitter feelings between the two giants nearly came to a premature end when Gonzalez attacked Undertaker with a cloth soaked in chlorofom. With Undertaker rendered motionless, many onlookers began to fear the worst. Miraculously, Undertaker rose to his feet and cleared the ring of his nemesis.
Following his assault on Undertaker, Gonzalez tried to finish the job at SummerSlam 1993 when he battled the “Deadman” in a Rest in Peace Match. Like WrestleMania, however, the result favored Undertaker. After the match, a frustrated Gonzalez hit his smarmy manager, Harvey Wippleman, with his signature chokeslam. The attack immediately put the giant in the good graces of the fans. He didn’t have long to enjoy it, though as Gonzalez was gone from WWE soon thereafter.
The Hulk Hogan vs. Giant Gonzalez Feud That Almost Happened
Giant Gonzalez vs. Hulk Hogan, it almost happened!
In 1993, Vince McMahon had planned for “The Hulkster” to face Bret Hart in a big match at SummerSlam where he would drop the WWE Championship to “The Hit Man.” Hogan, however, refused to drop the title in a clean loss to Hart, due to Hart’s size and doubts over whether he could successfully draw. He opted to lose the title to monster heel Yokozuna instead and bolted from the Federation shortly thereafter. Now, had Hogan agreed to McMahon’s original plan, his next scheduled feud would have been against the “eight-foot-tall” Giant Gonzalez.
Although the proposed Hogan/Gonzalez feud never materialized, the two did interact once inside a WWE ring (as you can see in the surreal photo below). The giant appeared as an enforcer for “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase and Irwin R.Schyster in a tag team match against Hogan and Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake at a non-televised event in Huntington, West Virginia on June 15, 1993 – two days after “The Hulkster” lost the title to Yokozuna at the King of the Ring. After Hogan and Beefcake disposed of the heels, Hogan and Gonzalez had a confrontation. However, rather than fight Hogan, Gonzalez left the ring and headed to the backstage area.
As if that isn’t enough, Gonzalez was not originally scheduled to come out on the losing end of his feud with The Undertaker. The proposed angle is why Gonzalez did not suffer a pinfall loss to The Undertaker at WrestleMania IX, and was instead disqualified for knocking out “The Deadman” with chloroform; McMahon wanted to keep the giant grappler strong for a potential program with Hogan.
There was also talk of “The All-American” Lex Luger feuding with Gonzalez in 1993, but McMahon opted not to run with it for fear it would lead to bad matches, thus hurting Luger’s strong momentum at the time. The Chairman instead chose to cut off Gonzalez’ monster heel push by having him lose to ‘Taker at SummerSlam. He became a good guy immediately following the match by turning on manager Harvey Wippleman, but the proposed babyface push was quickly rescinded and he was released from his contract in October. He was actually not let go due to poor performance, but because of health issues. He returned to the ring the following year in Japan before retiring in 1995 due to problems with his health.
The above image of Gonzalez shaking Hogan’s hand comes from WWE’s behind-the-scenes documentary on the history of WrestleMania, The Mania of WrestleMania.