Vader’s post-humous induction into the WWE Hall of Fame was long overdue. He was one of the best big men in the business. He made everything look legitimate, brutal and painful. WWE didn’t utilise him to his full potential in the mid-90s. But before that, he tore it up in WCW and Japan. Out of curiosity, I searched for ‘Big Van Vader’ on NJPW World. And, among the many intriguing matches I saw, this piqued my interest like no other: Big Van Vader vs El Gigante!
If you watched his match against The Undertaker at WrestleMania IX, then you’ll be more familiar with El Gigante’s WWE name: Giant Gonzalez. And if you have seen that match, you’ll know that El Gigante is one of the worst wrestlers in history. That’s no exaggeration. He wasn’t just having an off night. Booked because of his sheer size (announced as 8ft, but in reality a still impressive 7ft 7), El Gigante had no wrestling skills at all. That’s why I had to watch this match. Could Big Van Vader pull a half-decent match out of El Gigante?
The answer? No! Even in a basic match consisting of strikes and not much else, El Gigante fails to keep up. Even for a simple lock-up, he looks like he is having trouble remembering how to execute the move. On more than a few occasions, he visibly forgets what the next series of moves is supposed to be. His selling is laughable. Halfway through this six minute match, Vader obviously holds El Gigante and tells him what to do for thirty seconds. Big Van Vader barely hides his frustration with the giant goon.
At least it’s short…but it ends in a double count-out, and a weird sequence where Vader uses his entrance body armour to blow smoke in El Gigante’s eyes (initially, I thought Vader was going to gouge El Gigante’s eyes out or something equally horrific!). There’s no redeeming element to this match. I’m surprised Vader didn’t fully lose his temper and shoot on El Gigante! I know, I brought it on myself. I could have watched Big Van Vader’s match against the great Antonio Inoki, against Stan Hanse, or his tag team match partnered with Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow against The Steiners Brothers.
But no. I had to watch this garbage instead. Watch only if you want to see the truly terrible El Gigante in action!
Hammy’s Rating: * (out of 5)
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