Great-ing Gimmicks of the Past: Gillberg


Gillberg – WWF, 1999

In the early 1990’s, the WWF had a tag team known as the Executioners, who were actually named Duane Gill and Barry Hardy. Whether as a team or as singles, their win-loss record was extraordinary. Their only equals could be men like the Brooklyn Brawler (I almost added Barry Horowitz, but he did win occasionally).

Eventually, Gill left the WWF. It appeared that he would never return again.

That all changed on November 15, 1998 at the Survivor Series. A world title tournament was set up, with Mankind having a mystery opponent in the first round. Rumors were flying. Was Shawn Michaels coming back? Was it Bret Hart, having a 1-year escape clause in his WCW contract? Who could it be?

Vince McMahon came out and gave the introduction for Mankind’s opponent personally, describing how this man had managed to overcome a career-ending shoulder injury to return to the ring. It was Duane Gill.

And he lasted all of 30 seconds against Mankind.

Gill would go on to join Al Snow’s JOB Squad and win the Light Heavyweight title from Christian. It appeared that this was the peak of his career…

Until January 11th. After we saw a match between the New Age Outlaws and Jeff Jarrett & Owen Hart, the cameras cut backstage, where several policemen were guarding a door labeled Gillberg. After the commercial break, Tony Garea knocked on the door and told Gillberg he was up. Duane Gill, now wearing very familiar gear (and with a drawn-on tattoo around his left bicep), came out, making funny faces and punching himself. As Gillberg slowly made his way through the backstage area, a Gillberg chant began being played through the arena PA, despite the fact that nobody was standing and nobody’s mouth was moving.

Gillberg finally made his way out and was surrounded by sparklers – held by 2 Cold Scorpio, Bob Holly, and the Blue Meanie. Unfortunately, the effect was ruined as Goldberg choked on the smoke from the pyros. Still, he recovered, made his way out to the ring, and demanded to know who was first. The answer, of course, was Luna. Despite Luna falling on top of him while he attempted a Jackhammer, Gillberg was able to hit a splash for the win. Gillberg’s record: 1-0.

(One small note. From here on out, we will be utilizing the WCW counting system for wins, which we saw during Goldberg and Sid’s streaks. Nothing else could contain the majesty that is Gillberg. Plus, any system that counts a pin as a win (whether you were in a match or not), deserves to be resurrected. And I found the calculator in the dumpster behind WWE headquarters the other day.)

Unfortunately, Gillberg was defeated by Tiger Ali Singh on Heat. Still, it wasn’t a title match, so Gillberg retained his title. Using the WCW counting system, Gillberg’s record is now 2-0.

The next Sunday was the Royal Rumble, and Gillberg got eliminated immediately after his entrance. Still, he didn’t lose the title, so 3-0. Also, he was #6, so that means he was in there after 5 other guys… Gillberg’s record per WCW: 7-0.

Gillberg’s next match was against Shane McMahon on the February 21st edition of Heat. Shane was the European Champion, and retained his title. Still, Gillberg kept his as well, so the WCW Win Calculator says that’s one win for keeping the title (and one over X-Pac, since Shane had beaten him for the title in the first place). 9-0.

March 13th saw Gillberg in action on Shotgun Saturday Night. He lost to Mideon, but kept his title. WCW says that was one win for keeping the title, one over Mideon, one over Dennis Knight, and one over Phineas I. Godwinn. 13-0.

The 28th’s edition of Heat saw Gillberg lose in a tag team battle royal that Test and D’Lo Brown won. Take it away, WCW. 1 win for keeping title. 1 win each for keeping title against: Test, D’Lo, Steve Blackman, Justin Bradshaw, Brian Christopher, Skull, 8-Ball, Droz, Farooq, The Godfather, Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, Road Warrior Hawk, Road Warrior Animal, Midian, Flyboy Rocco Rock, J. Grunge , Tiger Ali Singh, Scott Taylor, and Viscera. Current record: 34-0.

April 3rd saw Gillberg losing in a match against Al Snow on Shotgun. WCW calculator? 1 win for keeping title. 1 win for not losing title to Al Snow. 1 win for not losing title to Head. Current record: 37-0.

Sadly, Gillberg disappeared from WWF television after this for nearly a year. He finally returned to Heat on February 13, 2000 to lost the title to newcomer Essa Rios. WCW calculator? What do you think of this? 1 win for getting moonsaulted by Lita. Gillberg also held the light heavyweight title for 65 weeks. 1 win for each week. Final record: 98-0

Gillberg would still go on to reappear on WWE television at random intervals. His last appearance was on the April 23rd Raw, where he appeared during the Rock’s second “Rock Concert,” which was being held to embarrass new signee Goldberg. Goldberg responded to the provocation, and after a moment of panic, Gillberg escaped, having wisely decided it was time to exercise the better part of valor.

Let’s face it. Throughout their history, the WWF and WCW liked taking shots at each other. Just take a look at the WWF’s Billionaire Ted skits (with characters like the Nacho Man, the Huckster, and Scheme Gene) and Dusty Rhodes (where Virgil’s name came from), or what WCW did with the former Virgil (first his name was Vincent, then Vince, then Shane) and the Harris Brothers (renamed them Creative Control – Gerald and Patrick). This was just another shot where the WWF made fun of another WCW wrestler (Goldberg this time). Of course, they were still late to the party. Chris Jericho had already done the same thing earlier, even mocking Goldberg’s entrance (he got lost backstage) and taking on a mini-Goldberg for the “World Title.”

Overall, this gimmick did nothing for putting Gill over. This was just another shot in a war that wouldn’t end until 2001, when the WWF purchased WCW and killed the company.

Where are they now?

I couldn’t find any information about what Gill’s up to now. I strongly suspect that he’s simply returned home to his San Pasedena Chargers football team. Send me an email if you can fill me in and I’ll add the info to next week’s column.

Next Week
We head south of the border to watch Guapo University form as the Guapos themselves explode!