The one thing that IGNITE has been missing in recent years was a physically overpowering monster of a wrestler. Not since 2016, have we had anyone enter our ring that has the size and sheer monster strength of the American Kaiju Gabriel “Gabezilla” Lacey.
A former collegiate wrestler who was turned onto the sport by his college roommate he moved from the Midwest to Ocala, FL to train at the prestigious The Funking Conservatory under Dory Funk, Jr.
Funk, who began his pro career in 1963, has trained a number of Olympic-caliber athletes.
The late Anton Geesink, a three-time world judo champion who performed for All Japan Pro Wrestling, trained under Funk during the ’70s at the behest of All Japan president Giant Baba. Geesink later served on the board of the International Olympic Committee.
Funk, who has been in Ocala since 1987, began his later stage as trainer when he took on the position as WWE’s trainer at the Funking Dojo. There Funk helped train such future talent as Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle, Edge (Adam Copeland), Christian (Jay Reso), Matt and Jeff Hardy, Val Venis (Sean Morely) and Lita (Amy Dumas).
So when Lacey made the decision after college to pursue a career in professional wrestling, he began researching schools to train with and with the rich heritage and name recognition of the athletes that Dory Funk Jr had trained sold him right away on this being where he wanted to learn the sport. So he relocated to Ocala, FL and began the transition from collegiate wrestler to professional wrestler.
He did have one advantage that many fans may not realize that he has been in entertainment since high school performing in various rock and metal bands so working a crowd into a frenzy is old hat for him.
Now with his training and experience, he’s bringing his nearly 7 foot height to bear in the ring as he takes full advantage of his size and strength advantage using it to pummel and toss smaller opponents around the ring like tiny rag dolls. But if push came to shove he can wear down his opponents with grinding holds that tax their bodies.
He’s given fans near heart attacks during matches where he has likened himself to a young Stan Hansen in the ring and using a devastating lariat (clothesline) that had practically beheaded his opponent flipping them end over end onto the mat in stunned horror.
While he’s faced defeat in several matches due to miscalculations, he’s one of the toughest and largest men to enter the IGNITE ring dwarfing monsterously large Mark “Silvaback” Silva who tore his way through the early shows at IGNITE prior to his return to his native Australia.
What can we expect from the American Kaiju? Fans who originally feared him have been raving and cheering his matches so this unlikely monster has found himself quite the rabid fanbase who can’t wait to see who he faces next in coming shows. He’s already proven he can hang with lucha stars such as Romeo Quevedo and the unorthodox skill of Tripp Cassidy, so what is next for Gabezilla? Could we see him make a run for the IGNITE title or will he continue his rampage.