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Duane Gill

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Duane Gill (July 10, 1959) is an American professional wrestler. He is best known for his appearances in the World Wrestling Federation under the ring name, Gillberg, a parody of then-rival promotion World Championship Wrestling's top star Goldberg. During his tenure in the WWF, Gill became a one time Light Heavyweight Champion. He would go on to hold the title for 15 months, becoming the longest reigning Light Heavyweight Champion in the company's history.

Professional wrestling career

Early career

Gill made his debut on the American independent scene as a part of a masked tag team with Barry Hardy called The Lords of Darkness, with Hardy billed as Agony and Gill billed as Pain. On August 2, 1991, they defeated Cream Team (Dino Casanova and Rip Sawyer) to become the Mid-Eastern Wrestling Federation's first ever Tag Team Champions. The Lords participated in two of three 40-man battle royals held in 1992.

World Wrestling Federation (1992–1994)

The second battle royal took place two months later. The Lords later became second version of The Executioners and took part in a 40-man battle royal won by Tatanka. The Executioners then joined the World Wrestling Federation, competing on its Monday Night Raw program against several other tag teams. The Executioners split in early 1994 and Hardy left the company on April 18. Gill then began competing under his real name as an enhancement talent before also leaving the company soon after.

Return to the WWF (1998–2000)

J.O.B. Squad

In 1998, Gill made his return to the World Wrestling Federation at Survivor Series as Mankind's mystery opponent. Vince McMahon seemingly facilitated Mankind's route to victory in a tournament for the vacant WWF Championship as he appeared to be McMahon's favorite to win. Before Gill made his entrance, McMahon built up the suspense by referring to him (Gill) as a wrestler with a win/loss record that no other wrestler could match. Although the statement was thought to indicate that Mankind's opponent won more than lost in his career, the exact opposite was true and Gill was squashed by Mankind. He later joined the J.O.B. Squad with Al Snow, Scorpio, and Bob Holly.

During this time, Gill became notable for "ending" Marc Mero's career when Mero challenged him to a match, announcing to the crowd that he would retire from wrestling if he could not beat Gill. Gill won the match with some help from the J.O.B. Squad and Mero left the WWF, although he did not legitimately retire as promised.

Gillberg and Light Heavyweight Champion

On November 17, 1998, Gill won the Light Heavyweight Championship after defeating Christian on Raw is War. Shortly thereafter, Gill was given his most notable gimmick: "Gillberg", a parody of rival promotion World Championship Wrestling's top star Goldberg. When he became Gillberg, the original plan of the bookers was reputedly to have him lose 173 consecutive matches, parodying Goldberg's winning streak of 173 matches. The Gillberg character parodied numerous other aspects of Goldberg's character, such as his entrance being accompanied by the pre-recorded sound of a crowd chanting "Gillberg" (which was an allusion to WCW's alleged use of pre-recorded chants in Goldberg's usual entrance) and stage hands that would hold up sparklers (parodying Goldberg's pyrotechnics) and then spray the entrance way with fire extinguishers. He also had a dotted line "tattoo" on his right arm (parodying Goldberg's tribal tattoo) and would use the catchphrase "Who's First?" in reference not only to Goldberg's catchphrase "Who's Next?", but also to the fact that Gill would lose to each and every one of his opponents.

Gill made his Royal Rumble debut in 1999, but was immediately eliminated by Edge. Gill's only victory as Gillberg came on the February 8, 1999 edition of Raw is War, when he defeated Goldust with help from former J.O.B. Squad member The Blue Meanie, who was feuding with Goldust at the time. While he still came to the ring with the belt, the Light Heavyweight Championship was all but forgotten as Gill seldom defended the title on television or at house shows. After being off of WWF television for several months, Gill returned on the February 13, 2000 episode of Sunday Night Heat for one final match in order to lose the championship to the debuting Essa Rios. Upon losing the title, Gill's reign ended at 15 months, making him the longest reigning Light Heavyweight Champion in WWF history. After leaving the WWF, Gill continued to use the Gillberg gimmick on the independent circuit, most prominently for Maryland Championship Wrestling.

Part-time appearances

When Bill Goldberg came to WWE in 2003, his first feud was against The Rock, who on the April 21, 2003 edition of Raw brought in Gill, once again under his Gillberg gimmick, to mock Goldberg. After beating up The Rock's security guards, who were trying to apprehend him for interrupting a concert "dedicated" to him, Gillberg attacked Goldberg, which prompted Goldberg to begin choking him. The Rock then attacked Goldberg from behind, after which both Gillberg and The Rock quickly ran out of the arena to avoid further conflict.

On December 10, 2007, Gill, now sporting two new tattoos on his left deltoid, returned to WWE television under his Gillberg name and gimmick for the 15th Anniversary of Raw. During the show, he participated in a 15-Man Battle Royal against fourteen other former Raw wrestlers, but was the first man eliminated only a few seconds into the match by every other competitor.

Personal life

Duane Gill operated an independent wrestling school in Severn, Maryland named Gillberg's Pro Wrestling Academy that opened in July 2010.

Gill is married and has two adult children and a granddaughter.

In wrestling

  • Wrestlers trained

Championships and accomplishments

  • ASWA Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Wayne Gill
  • 1-time ECPW Tag Team Championship - with Lord of Discipline Agony
  • NWA New Jersey Junior Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • WWA World Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Wayne Gill

See also

External links

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