Ross and Thompson cover all of the big stories that were happening around the time of the event, including Jim Herd’s move to sign “El Gigante” Jorge Gonzalez, who would later be known in the World Wrestling Federation as Giant Gonzalez. Ross talked about Gonzalez’s training and noted that he was very green and never improved in the ring.
Ross said he figured that Gonzalez could become an attraction wrestler if he could just do a few things well in the ring. “Jorge never got the aptitude, he never had the aptitude.”
Ross also talked about some of the struggles Gonzalez had to deal with away from the ring. Ross said, “the poor bastard was broke. His family didn’t have any money and that’s kind of how it ended for him, sadly to say. He was sending most of the money he was making back home to his family, even in that era.” Ross said they really tried to do more with him. He said, “It just didn’t work out for Jorge. We tried, we really did.”
Ross revealed how bad things got for Gonzalez towards the end of his life. JR said, “When he went back home, he ran out of money and [it was not spent] on drugs or women, just feeding his family, his extended family. At the end of his life, you’ll never guess who was sending him money – Harvey Wippleman. Harvey Wippleman was taking his own money and sending it to Jorge so Jorge and his family could eat. Harvey told me that story once and I had no idea it was that bad. At that point in time, after Jorge passed away, Harvey told me about that and I was shocked.”
Ross said Jorge had bad feet and poor balance and he was uncomfortable in the ring and, among other things, held him back. Ross said Gonzalez also had trouble with promos and had trouble grasping the concent of trying to be a smiling babyface. Ross said, “I felt bad for him. He died real early and young. A sad ending to what we thought and hoped at the beginning of the process was gonna be a happy story. “
During the final years of his life, Gonzalez was confined to a wheelchair and dealt with several health issues, including diabetes and his failing kidneys. Shortly before his death (see video below), Gonzalez talked about being on dialysis and said that he could no longer enjoy everyday things in life because of his declining health. He was only 44 years old when he passed away in 2010.
This week’s “Grilling JR” podcast also covers the legendary main event featuring Ric Flair and Terry Funk, the politics going on at the time with Herd in charge, and much more.
Here is a news story on Gonzalez from 2005.