Male Wrestlers

Adrian Street -

Adrian Street -

The tale of “Exotic” Adrian Street is a captivating one for any true wrestling aficionado, even though his name might be unfamiliar to the casual fan. Despite his smaller size in the world of professional wrestling, his flamboyant, effeminate character, complete with savage tendencies, never failed to elicit a strong reaction from the crowd. By creating this highly provocative, controversial persona as early as the mid-1960s, Street broke the boundaries of professional wrestling. At a time when U.S. and European societies were particularly conservative, his cross-dressing, hyper-sexualized character, accompanied by Miss Linda, pushed every envelope possible to create controversy and stand out in the industry.

Real Name: Adrian Street
Stats: 5′ 7″ 235 lbs.
Born: December 20, 1940

A flamboyant and controversial figure in the world of professional wrestling, Street was born on December 5, 1940, to a coal miner in Blaenau Gwent, Wales. Growing up in a place where there were few opportunities for fun, he was already working in the mines at fifteen years old. The young Street wanted nothing to do with his father’s contemptuous behavior or the elder Street’s miserable existence. At the age of sixteen, he left behind his troubled home life to pursue his dream of becoming a professional wrestler. Moving to London with few possessions, the 5’7″, 150 lb. teenager worked out at a local YMCA and learned the art of submission wrestling by grappling with experienced matmen at Johnny Kilroy’s Gym. Hisfirst big break came when I was introduced to promoter Ted Beresford, who took me under his wing and helped him to get his first matches.

Although he was smaller in stature compared to other professional wrestlers, Street’s effeminate, kiss-blowing, prissy, and incredibly savage pseudo-transgender character never failed to garner a significant reaction from his audience. By developing this highly risqué, controversial persona in the mid-1960s, the cross-dressing, highly sexualized character that Street created genuinely pushed the limits of professional wrestling. Well before “Adorable” Adrian Adonis and Goldust & Marlena, there was “Exotic” Adrian Street & Miss Linda, blowing kisses to his most masculine ringside detractors, sporting makeup and women’s clothing, and striving to push every hot button he could to differentiate himself and create controversy, all during one of the most conservative periods in modern US and European history.

Street made his professional wrestling debut in 1957, wrestling under the name Kid Tarzan Jonathan and billing himself as “The World’s Youngest Wrestler.” He gradually developed a reputation throughout the tough British independent wrestling circuit while gaining much-needed experience as a professional wrestler. At the time of his debut in 1957, professional wrestling in Britain, while still a relatively underground form of entertainment, was thriving, and it was not uncommon for dozens of wrestling shows to take place throughout the country in bars, hotels, and small arenas on any given night. However, unlike their American counterparts, British wrestlers were notoriously understated in both their appearance and demeanor and, for the most part, lacked the individuality or flamboyance associated with professional wrestlers. The young Kid Tarzan decided to combine the best of both worlds and focused on creating a character that could wrestle with the best of Britain’s no-nonsense technical masters while being as charismatic and entertaining as Gorgeous George, “Mr. America” Gene Stanlee, Ricky Starr, Buddy Rogers, or other flamboyant American stars that he admired from afar.

After a few years on the independent scene, Kid Tarzan Jonathan’s unique look and style garnered attention, and he soon found himself wrestling in countries across Europe, including France, Germany, and Spain. He began using his birth name, and transformed himself from an athletic and young, albeit somewhat ordinary wrestler, into something rather distinct. Initially, Street displayed his individuality through a platinum blonde hairdo and a colorful wardrobe reminiscent of his idol Buddy Rogers, which was enough to set him apart from his drab countrymen. Known as “Nature Boy” Adrian Street, he provoked such a negative response from conservative, working-class English audiences that it became increasingly clear which way the former Kid Tarzan should take his new persona. To Street, it was evident that the more he pushed the boundaries, the more the crowd reacted. Inspired by the glam rock scene in the United Kingdom, he would wear outrageous costumes, glittery makeup, and even carry a mirror to the ring. People hadn’t seen anything like it before in wrestling, and it certainly got people talking. By acting as feminine, prissy, and snobbish as he could, but then backing it up with solid technical wrestling mixed with plenty of “illegal” tactics, Street received unprecedented crowd responses and was soon the talk of the European wrestling scene.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Adrian Street continued to push boundaries and win championships, solidifying his flamboyant look and captivating audiences. Professional wrestling was still very much a male-dominated sport, and Adrian’s flamboyant persona didn’t always sit well with his peers. He faced a lot of backlash from other wrestlers, but I never let it get to him, determined to stand out and make a name for himself.

He won the European Tag Team title with “Beautiful” Bobby Barnes, as well as the European Middleweight, European Light Heavyweight, the the British Welterweight Championship, and European Heavyweight titles on multiple occasions. In 1969, he also introduced his valet, the beautiful and dangerous Miss Linda, which was unprecedented in England and America at the time. After more than two decades of climbing the ranks in the European wrestling scene, he left his coal mining days behind.

Street made his way to North America in 1981, almost 25 years after his wrestling debut. He had a brief stint in Canada before heading to Mexico, where he and Miss Linda had a successful feud with Mil Mascaras and Dos Caros. They eventually arrived in the Los Angeles territory under LaBell, where Street once again stirred up controversy and won both the Americas Heavyweight and Americas Tag Team championships.

In the mid-1980s, Street formed the tag team the Skull Krusherz with his partner, “The Monster” Rip Rogers. The duo terrorized opponents with their ruthless in-ring tactics and flashy attire. The Skull Krusherz captured the Continental Wrestling Federation’s Tag Team Championship, further cementing Street’s legacy as one of wrestling’s most accomplished performers.

After Tennessee, Adrian Street and Miss Linda joined Eddie Graham’s Florida-based promotion, one of the top territories of the NWA. There, Street pushed his effeminate character to the limit, winning championships and riling up the fans with his pseudo-homosexual gimmick. He clashed with the area’s popular tough guys, including “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, and engaged in a lengthy feud with Stardust, even cutting Rhodes’ hair in a controversial bout.

Encouraged by the negative response from Florida crowds, Street set his sights on Texas. He brought his extensive collection of gowns, robes, and makeup, along with his obedient “slave” Miss Linda, to the Lone Star State. The macho cowboy audiences were unlike any he had encountered before, and his antics such as smacking his opponents on the behind and kissing them on the mouth incited a hostile relationship between Street and the conservative southwestern crowds. However, their mutual disdain resulted in big and memorable shows wherever The Exotic One appeared.

Overall, Adrian Street’s character was a groundbreaking departure from the traditional look and mannerisms of professional wrestlers, and his ability to incite strong reactions from crowds made him a successful and memorable performer in multiple territories across the United States. Street’s famous finishing move, the “Cobra Clutch,” became a staple in professional wrestling and is still utilized by performers today.

Adrian Street engaged in a long and violent feud with “Macho Man” Randy Savage during the mid-Eighties, just prior to Savage’s debut with the World Wrestling Federation. Savage and Street battled throughout the Memphis-based CWA, with Miss Linda often becoming involved in the heated rivalry. At one point, Savage even tried to deliver a Piledriver to Street’s alluring valet. Street gave up a great deal of size to The Macho Man, but he was more than used to overcoming such hurdles. Savage was on the receiving end of a great deal of punishment from the 210 lb. Street during their classic battles. After his run with Savage, “Exotic” Adrian engaged in another memorable feud with the equally flamboyant “Universal Heart Throb” Austin Idol. Idol and Street had many bloody battles during this period and their feud was one of the hottest on the Gulf Coast circuit.

While wrestling in the Pensacola territory, Street won the prestigious Southeastern Heavyweight title not once, but four different times. True to form, The Exotic One eventually had his Southeastern championship belt refitted with a custom pink leather strap. In 1986, Street signed a recording contract with Rhino Records and released the album “Shake, Wrestle and Roll.” Backed by his band, The Piledrivers, he had previously released two singles, which were included on the record, along with new material. Adrian Street also appeared in several notable films, including the award-winning Quest for Fire, Rewind, and The Canterbury Tales. He was featured prominently (along with Roddy Piper, Lou Albano and a slew of 1980s ring performers) in Grunt: The Wrestling Movie.

Adrian Street continued his success in major wrestling promotions such as Jim Crockett’s NWA Mid Atlantic and Bill Watts’ Mid-South (later UWF), winning the Mid-South TV title in 1984. Despite his outrageous gimmick, he never competed in the WWF, possibly due to his smaller stature. However, Vince McMahon eventually created a similar character in “Adorable” Adrian Adonis during the mid-1980s, and later with Goldust and Chuck and Billy in the mid-1990s. Street’s innovative character had paved the way for many of the features we see in professional wrestling today, including face paint, spandex, and valets.

In the early 1990s, Street began to wind down his career and explore new business opportunities. He and Linda started designing ring gear and fashion with his company “Exotic Adrian Street’s Bizarre Bazaar.” This venture allowed him to combine his artistic talent with his passion for wrestling, providing unique and eye-catching outfits for wrestlers around the world. He and Linda opened a website called Bizarre Bazaar and he also opened his own wrestling training facility, the Skull Krushers Wrestling School in Florida. However, the academy was forced to close due to hurricane damage in 2004.

Adrian Street’s personal life has been marked by a long-lasting and supportive marriage to his wife, Linda. The couple has been together for over three decades, with Linda having played a significant role in Street’s wrestling career as his valet and manager. Their strong bond and commitment to each other have been key factors in their successful marriage, providing stability and love in both their personal and professional lives.

Adrian Street - Linda - wrestlingbiographies.comThroughout his career, Street received several awards for his unique gimmick and contribution to wrestling, including the Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s Best Gimmick Award in 1986 and the Cauliflower Alley Club’s Gulf Coast/CAC Honoree Award in 2005. After a career spanning more than fifty years, he retired from wrestling in 2010 and overcame throat cancer. Street now resides in his native Wales.

 As the “Exotic” Adrian Street, he shattered stereotypes by adopting a highly effeminate and flamboyant character, wearing makeup, glitter, and outlandish outfits. Street’s gimmick was groundbreaking, as it directly challenged the traditional, hyper-masculine image of wrestlers during his time. He has been featured in various documentaries, including the acclaimed “You May Be Pretty, But I Am Beautiful: The Adrian Street Story,” which chronicles his life and career.

His enduring legacy is a testament to his trailblazing spirit and willingness to push boundaries. His innovative persona, contributions to the wrestling industry, and lasting cultural impact have shaped the sport in countless ways. As new generations of wrestlers and fans continue to discover his work, Adrian Street’s influence will undoubtedly continue to inspire and resonate within the wrestling world and beyond.

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Abdullah the Butcher -

Abdullah the Butcher

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Abdullah the Butcher -

Only in the wild world of professional wrestling could someone like Abdullah the Butcher become a huge drawing card. Known for his blood-filled matches, Shreeve was one of the originators of hardcore wrestling.

Real Name: Lawrence Shreeve
Stats: 6′ 0″ 360 lbs.
Born: January 11, 1941

Professional wrestling has been home to some of the toughest, most sadistic men in the world due to its violent nature. However, one man stands out from the rest with his sheer violence, insanity, and chaos: the “Madman from the Sudan,” Abdullah the Butcher. For five decades, Abdullah terrorized opponents with his primitive, barbaric style. He never became a scientific wrestler and always stuck to his simple, brutal ways, but this didn’t stop him from drawing blood from almost every opponent he faced on every continent. The Butcher influenced generations of brawlers with his worldwide bookings, cementing his name in the history of professional wrestling using the flowing blood of his opponents as ink.

Abdullah’s crimson-soaked feuds with Sheik, The Destroyer, Shohei Baba, Dusty Rhodes, Bruiser Brody, Harley Race, Terry & Dory Funk, Bobo Brazil, Carlos Colon, Sting, and Cactus Jack, among countless others, earned him a reputation of sadism. He didn’t care much about fans, fame, championships, or glory during his career. Instead, he thrived on being known as the most violent, unpredictable, and feared wrestler in the world. These were the driving forces behind The Butcher’s career, along with the almighty dollar. Despite using a handful of unchanging moves during his matches and showing a total disregard for the safety of both himself and his opponents, Abdullah used his fork (and hidden blade) to carve out a unique spot for himself in the annals of professional wrestling history.

Lawrence Shreeve, known to the world as Abdullah the Butcher, wasn’t always the savage lunatic he portrayed in the ring. Born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada on January 11, 1941, Shreeve began his wrestling career in 1958 on the Canadian independent circuit. After rebranding himself as Abdullah the Butcher and gaining experience in Canada, he traveled the world like few others, never staying in one territory for too long.

Abdullah quickly became one of pro wrestling’s premier villains, thanks to his bloodthirsty Arabian gimmick and his extremely violent style. He was often hired as a hitman by desperate heels looking to destroy a particular territory’s top babyface, but he also feuded with many fellow villains, a rarity in those days. His battles with “Maniac” Mark Lewin and the Sheik were particularly brutal and lasted for years, as did their semi-frequent tag team.

Abdullah was a prime star and box-office draw for promoters in the NWA and AWA territories throughout the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and beyond. He traveled extensively throughout the United States, Japan, Puerto Rico, Australia/New Zealand, Europe, and his homeland of Canada.

Abdullah the Butcher, alongside wrestling legends like Andre the Giant, Bruiser Brody, and Stan Hansen, was an international superstar during a time when wrestling was highly regionalized. By portraying himself as the most violent and insane wrestler in promotions worldwide, Abdullah had a profound influence on future brawlers in countries all over the globe. This is a feat that very few wrestling legends can claim. Furthermore, he accomplished this without ever giving a traditional interview in the countries he performed in, whether it be in English, Japanese or Spanish. Instead, his constant blood-letting and entourage of handlers, such as Eddie Creatchman, The Great Mephisto, J.J. Dillon, Gary Hart, and Cactus Jack, spoke volumes on Abdullah’s behalf. His language was one of unpredictable and straightforward ultra-violence, which transcended any dialect. While Abdullah’s primary weapon was a karate-thrust to the throat, which he delivered dozens of times throughout his matches, he also possessed a surprisingly swift and accurate dropkick and a traditional finisher, the Flying Elbow Drop. His pointed-toe boots were also a key weapon, adopted by other “Arab” wrestlers. However, Abdullah’s focus was never on wrestling skill or a wide variety of moves. Instead, it was on creating utter mayhem, terror, and shocking the fans.

Abdullah the Butcher - wrestlingbiographies.comDespite his frequent travels between territories, Abdullah the Butcher still managed to win several championships throughout his career. He won the NWA Canadian Tag Team title on October 23, 1967, with Dr. Jerry Graham, the IWA International Heavyweight championship three times between 1969 and 1971, and the NWA North American Heavyweight (Calgary) title four times between 1970 and 1973. Abdullah also held the NWF Heavyweight title twice, defeating Ernie Ladd and Victor Rivera for his two National Wrestling Federation championships. Abdullah’s most notable championship win was his PWF Heavyweight title reign in All Japan Pro Wrestling under Shohei “Giant” Baba, which he won by defeating Billy Robinson in 1978. He also won several important championships in Puerto Rico during the early 1980s, such as the Puerto Rican Heavyweight title, the Caribbean Heavyweight title (three times), and the WWC Universal Heavyweight championship in 1982.

In the United States, Abdullah won the Texas Brass Knuckles championship in 1986 by defeating The Great Kabuki while competing in World Class Championship Wrestling. He also won the Canadian International Heavyweight title in 1987, almost 30 years after his debut. In 1996, he teamed with Benkei Daikokuboh to win the T.W.A. Tag Team championship.

Abdullah the Butcher has been inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (1996), the WWE Hall of Fame (2011), and the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame (2019). He officially retired from professional wrestling in 2019 after a career that spanned five decades.

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Jim Londos -

Jim Londos -

He is considered by many the greatest wrestling draw in the history of the sport. His good looks and charisma combined with his technical proficiency led him to multiple world championships and world-wide acclaim.

Real Name:Christos Theofilou
Stats: 5′ 8″ 200 lbs.
Born: 1897

Jim Londos, was born Christos Theofilou in 1897 in Argos, Greece, the youngest of 13 children.. Londos immigrated to the United States at the age of 13 and settled in California where he began working various jobs, including as a bellhop and a strongman in a carnival.

Before Londos began his formal training, he was exposed to wrestling through his job as a strongman in a carnival. This experience likely sparked his interest in pursuing a career in professional wrestling and provided him with an opportunity to learn the fundamentals of the sport.

To hone his skills, Londos sought out training from well-known wrestlers in the early 20th century. Two of his early trainers were Tom Draak and Ad Santel, both of whom were experienced grapplers with successful careers in the sport. Under their guidance, Londos developed his wrestling abilities and learned various techniques that would serve him well throughout his career.

Londos’ training primarily focused on catch wrestling and amateur wrestling techniques, which were popular styles during his era. Catch wrestling is a submission-based style that emphasizes grappling, while amateur wrestling focuses on takedowns and controlling opponents on the mat. Londos’ training in these styles helped him develop a strong foundation in technical wrestling, which would become one of his trademarks in the ring.

In addition to learning wrestling techniques, Londos’ training also involved rigorous physical conditioning to develop his strength, stamina, and agility. This conditioning was crucial to his success as a wrestler, as it allowed him to compete at a high level and endure the physical demands of professional wrestling.

He made his professional wrestling debut in 1916, using the ring name “The Wrestling Plasterer” due to his day job as a plasterer. He initially struggled to gain a foothold in the wrestling world, often wrestling in smaller promotions and working his way up the ranks. During the 1920s, he began competing in more prominent wrestling organizations and started to make a name for himself. Londos adopted a clean-cut, All-American persona, which resonated with fans and helped him stand out among his peers.

By the late 1920s and early 1930s, Londos had accumulated an impressive winning streak, defeating several well-known wrestlers of the time. This success boosted his popularity, and he quickly became one of the top draws in the sport.

He won his first recognized World Heavyweight Championship by defeating Dick Shikat for the National Wrestling Association world title on June 6, 1930 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He would hold that title for 1,847 days. This victory cemented Londos’ status as a top wrestler and helped elevate him to superstar status. His in-ring ability and charisma captured the imagination of fans and laid the foundation for his legendary status within the wrestling world.
During his reign, he defended his title against a wide range of challengers, including some of the biggest names in wrestling at the time, such as Ed “Strangler” Lewis, Ray Steele, and Bronko Nagurski, Shikat and Joe Stecher.

Jim Londos - Strangler Lewis -

Londos’ championship reigns contributed to his drawing power and influence within the wrestling world. As a reigning champion, Londos became a major box-office attraction, often drawing large crowds to his matches. His popularity helped to increase the overall visibility and popularity of professional wrestling during the 1930s and 1940s. In one appearance in his home country of Greece, Londos was alleged to have drawn a crowd as large as 100,000 people.

As Londos’ career began to wind down in the late 1940s, he gradually started reducing the number of matches he participated in. This allowed him to slowly transition into retirement, providing a smooth exit from the physically demanding world of professional wrestling.

Londos was known for being a private individual when it came to his personal life. In 1939, shortly before his retirement, he married Arva C. Rochwite, an aviatrix from St. Louis, Missourii. At the time of their marriage, Rochwite was described in press reports as a “St. Louis Aviatrix.” The couple had three daughtersand would later move to Escondido, California, where they settled on a 10-acre site nestled in an avocado grove.

Londos’ official retirement match took place on November 21, 1951, in a losing effort against Lou Thesz at the Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis, Missouri. This match marked the end of an illustrious wrestling career that spanned over three decades.

After retiring from professional wrestling, Londos settled in California and focused on his family and business interests. He owned a successful restaurant called “The Golden Pheasant” in Escondido, California, which he ran with his family. Londos remained involved in the wrestling community, attending events and mentoring younger wrestlers.

Jim Londos was also known for his philanthropic activities, both during his wrestling career and after his retirement. He was particularly involved in charitable efforts to help his native country, Greece. Londos donated a significant portion of his earnings to various Greek causes, including relief efforts for victims of World War II and the Greek Civil War. He also contributed to the construction of a hospital in Tripoli, Greece.

Following his retirement from the squared circle in 1953, Londos dedicated the rest of his life to various charitable organizations, including his favorite, Greek War Orphans of World War II. Because of his tireless philanthropic efforts, Londos was honored by United States President Richard Nixon and King Paul of Greece.

Over his career Londos held numerous championships and titles in professional wrestling including: California State Athletic Commission World Heavyweight Championship (Los Angeles version) (5 times), Maryland State Athletic CommissionWorld Heavyweight Championship (Maryland version) (2 times), Minnesota State Athletic Commission World Heavyweight Championship (Minneapolis version) (2 times), National Wrestling Association NWA World Heavyweight Championship (1 time), New York State Athletic Commission NYSAC World Heavyweight Championship (1 time) and the World Heavyweight Wrestling Championship (original version) (1 time).

Jim Londos - wrestlingbiographies.comLondos received many accolades and honors including being inducted and honored by the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum – Class of 2002 (Pioneer Era), Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (Class of 1996) and the WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2018), Cauliflower Alley Club Posthumous Award (2020), the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame Class of 2015 and the International Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame
Class of 2022.

Jim Londos passed away on August 19, 1975, at the age of 78. Londos died of a heart attack on August 19, 1975 and is buried at Oak Hill Memorial Park in Escondido, California. His death marked the end of an era in professional wrestling, as he was one of the last remaining stars from the early days of the sport. His passing was a significant loss for the wrestling community, as he had been an influential figure who helped shape the industry during his time.

Throughout his life, Jim Londos was known for his hard work, determination, and commitment to the sport of wrestling. His legacy as a successful wrestler, family man, and philanthropist continues to inspire future generations of wrestlers and fans alike.

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Lou Thesz -

Lou Thesz -

He is considered by most the greatest professional wrestling champion to ever step into the ring, not only because of his technical prowess, but for the dignity and realism that he lent to the sport.

Real Name:Aloysius Martin Thesz
Stats: 6′ 2″ 225 lbs.
Born: April 24, 1916

Lou Thesz was born Aloysius Martin Thesz on April 24, 1916, in Banat, Michigan. His early life was marked by his family’s relocation and exposure to wrestling at a young age, which would eventually shape his legendary career.

Thesz was of Hungarian descent, with his parents, Martin and Eva Thesz, immigrating to the United States from Hungary. When Lou was a young child, his family moved from Michigan to St. Louis, Missouri, where Thesz would first become familiar with the world of professional wrestling, as the city had a vibrant wrestling scene during the early 20th century.

Thesz’s father, Martin, was a wrestler and a greco-roman wrestling coach, which played a significant role in Lou’s early interest in the sport. Lou’s fascination with wrestling grew when he started attending wrestling matches at the South Broadway Athletic Club with his father. The exposure to the matches and his father’s guidance fostered a passion for the sport in young man.

By the age of 16, Thesz had already begun training to become a professional wrestler under the tutelage of George Tragos, a former Olympic wrestler and renowned catch wrestler. Tragos taught Thesz the fundamentals of catch wrestling, a style focused on submission holds and grappling techniques. Thesz would later train with another legendary wrestler, Ed “Strangler” Lewis, who helped him further develop his skills.

Lou Thesz’s early life set the foundation for a career that would span several decades and earn him a reputation as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time. His upbringing in St. Louis, his father’s influence, and his training under renowned wrestlers such as George Tragos and Ed “Strangler” Lewis equipped him with the skills and determination necessary to excel in the world of professional wrestling.

Lou Thesz’s training under Ed “Strangler” Lewis played a crucial role in shaping his wrestling style and career. Ed Lewis was a highly respected wrestler and multiple-time World Heavyweight Champion, known for his expertise in catch wrestling and signature submission hold, the headlock.

Lewis took Thesz’s skills to the next level, sharing his vast knowledge and experience in the wrestling business. The mentorship provided by Lewis not only honed Thesz’s technical wrestling skills but also instilled in him a deep respect for the sport’s traditions and values. Under Lewis’s guidance, Thesz refined his grappling techniques and learned the importance of ring psychology and the art of storytelling during a wrestling match. Lewis also taught Thesz about conditioning and the need for a wrestler to maintain peak physical fitness. These lessons would serve Thesz well throughout his illustrious career, helping him become a dominant force in the wrestling world. Lewis also taught Lou the art of hooking (the ability to stretch an opponent into painful positions when needed to ensure compliance in the ring). This would serve Lou throughout his career, ensuring that he would not be double-crossed and that his opponent would go along with hthe plans for the match or face a painful lesson.

Moreover, Lewis introduced Thesz to other influential figures in the wrestling business, such as promoter and manager Billy Sandow, and wrestler Ray Steele. These connections would prove invaluable for Thesz as he embarked on his professional career.

Thesz’s early career began in the 1930s and wasmarked by a rapid ascent through the ranks, thanks to his exceptional talent, discipline, and the strong foundation laid by his mentors. He made his professional wrestling debut in 1932 at the age of 16, wrestling in regional promotions and carnivals, often facing more experienced opponents. His technical prowess, combined with his strong work ethic, quickly caught the attention of promoters and fellow wrestlers alike.

By the time he turned 21 in1937, Thesz had become one of the hottest stars in the St. Louis territory. He was set to match up against Everett Marshall on December 29 to battle over the American Wrestling Association World Heavyweight Championship. After three grueling hours, These emerged victorious becoming the youngest world heavyweight champion in history, just 21 years of age. Six weeks later he dropped that title to Steve “Crusher” Casey in Boston, but defeated Marshall again to capture the National Wrestling Association World Heavyweight Championship in 1939. Nine years later he captured the same title, defeating Bill Longson.

During the late 1930s and early 1940s, Thesz continued to wrestle across the United States, honing his skills and building a reputation as a formidable competitor. He faced a variety of opponents, including both regional and national stars, which further expanded his exposure and experience in the ring. But his opportunity to become one of the greats of the sport came about in 1948.

Pinky George led a group of promoters in creating the National Wrestling Alliance in 1948 with the goal of crowning one unified World champion. Orvilled Brown who held the MidWest World Heavyweight champion was named the inaugural champion, but as part of the agreement behind the creation of the Alliance, Brown was scheduled to meet Thesz in a match for the title. Brown, unfortunately, was severely injured in a devastating automobile accident and was forced to retire from wrestling. His title as the National Wrestling Alliance World champion was then bestowed upon Thesz.

Lou Thesz’s National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) World Heavyweight Championship reigns were an integral part of his storied career and a testament to his skill and dedication as a professional wrestler. Thesz’s association with the NWA title helped to solidify his status as a legendary figure in the sport.

In 1952, Thesz made history by unifying multiple World Heavyweight Championships into the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. He defeated the National Wrestling Association (a separate organization from the NWA) World Heavyweight Champion, Baron Michele Leone, on May 21, 1952, in Los Angeles. Later that year, on July 24, Thesz also defeated the American Wrestling Association (Boston version) World Heavyweight Champion, Gorgeous George, in Chicago. This series of victories led to Thesz being recognized as the undisputed World Heavyweight Champion.

Throughout his career, Lou held the NWA World Heavyweight Championship six times, with his reigns totaling 3,749 days (over 10 years) – a record that still stands today. His connection with the NWA title lasted for nearly two decades, from his first victory in 1948 to his final reign, which ended on January 7, 1966. He had numerous high-profile feuds and matches against some of the top stars of his era. Some of his most famous opponents included Verne Gagne, Buddy Rogers, Rikidozan, Pat O’Connor, and Dick Hutton.

As the NWA World Heavyweight Champion, Thesz traveled extensively across the United States and the world, defending his title and promoting professional wrestling. He was known for his sportsmanship and technical skills, which earned him respect from fans and wrestlers alike.

Lou Thesz’s NWA World Heavyweight Championship runs were a defining aspect of his career, showcasing his dominance and mastery of the sport. His association with the title not only solidified his place in wrestling history but also helped to establish the NWA World Heavyweight Championship as one of the most prestigious titles in professional wrestling.

Lou Thesz -

Throughout his illustrious career, Lou Thesz engaged in numerous memorable rivalries that showcased his exceptional wrestling skills and contributed to his legendary status.
Thesz had an intense rivalry with Verne Gagne, another highly skilled wrestler known for his technical prowess. Gagne was a two-time NCAA titleholder at the University of Minnesota and was an alternate for the U.S freestyle wrestling team at the 1948 Olympic Games before being drafter by the Chicago are of the National Football League. Gagne challenged Thesz for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship multiple times in the 1950s, with Thesz retaining the title. Their matches were praised for their high level of athleticism and competitiveness. Gagne’s inability to take the title off of Thesz and have a reign as NWA champion would lead him to establishing the American Wrestling Association promotion, for which he would headline for three decades.
Buddy Rogers, known as the “Original Nature Boy,” had a heated rivalry with Thesz. Their feud was a classic contrast of styles, with Thesz representing the more traditional, technical wrestling approach while Rogers brought a flashy, charismatic persona to the ring. Personal animosity between the two added to the drama that simmered around their matches and In 1961, Thesz defeated Rogers to win his fifth NWA World Heavyweight Championship.

In the 1950s, Thesz had a significant feud with Rikidozan, a Japanese wrestling icon who is considered the father of Japanese professional wrestling. Their series of matches played a crucial role in establishing professional wrestling in Japan, and their encounters are seen as historically important in the wrestling world. Thesz and Rikidozan’s matches were characterized by their hard-hitting, physical style, which endeared Thesz to the Japanese fans.

Pat O’Connor, a wrestler from New Zealand, had a notable rivalry with Lou Thesz during the late 1950s and early 1960s. They faced each other in a series of matches for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, with Thesz emerging victorious in most of their encounters.

Dick Hutton, a former amateur wrestling standout and skilled professional wrestler, feuded with Thesz over the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. On November 14, 1957, Hutton defeated Thesz for the title, ending Thesz’s fourth reign as champion. Their rivalry showcased two highly skilled technical wrestlers, and their matches were lauded for their intensity and grappling prowess.
These rivalries, among others, helped solidify Lou Thesz’s status as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time. Thesz’s ability to engage with a variety of opponents, both in terms of style and personality, showcased his versatility and contributed to his enduring legacy in the sport.

Thesz’s impact on professional wrestling extended far beyond the United States, as he became an international ambassador for the sport during his career. His international excursions and title defenses helped spread the popularity of professional wrestling around the world and contributed to the growth of the sport in several countries.

Thesz wrestled extensively in Canada, where he defended the NWA World Heavyweight Championship against various challengers. He competed in promotions like Maple Leaf Wrestling and Stampede Wrestling, facing notable opponents like Whipper Billy Watson and Gene Kiniski. Thesz’s appearances in Canada helped solidify the popularity of professional wrestling in the country.

Lou Thesz traveled to Europe several times during his career, competing in countries like the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. Thesz’s international presence in Europe aided in the growth and visibility of professional wrestling across the continent. He faced local and international stars, showcasing his technical wrestling abilities and promoting the sport in these regions.

Thesz also made his presence felt in Australia and New Zealand, where he wrestled for various promotions and defended the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. His matches in these countries helped to popularize professional wrestling and expand the reach of the NWA title.

One of Thesz’s most significant international contributions was his role in the development of professional wrestling in Japan. Thesz first traveled to Japan in the early 1950s and competed against Rikidozan, a former sumo wrestler who would go on to become the father of Japanese professional wrestling. Their highly-publicized matches helped establish professional wrestling as a popular form of entertainment in Japan and laid the foundation for the creation of the Japanese wrestling promotions, such as New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) and All Japan Pro-Wrestling (AJPW).

Thesz’s most notable and influential rivalry in Japan was with Rikidozan, a former sumo wrestler who would go on to become the father of Japanese professional wrestling. Their first encounter took place in 1957, with Thesz putting his NWA World Heavyweight Championship on the line. The match ended in a draw, but it was a pivotal moment for Japanese wrestling, as it put Rikidozan on the map and helped to popularize professional wrestling in Japan. They had a rematch in 1958, which again ended in a draw, further fueling interest in professional wrestling in the country.

Thesz’s visits to Japan and his matches against Rikidozan created a surge in the popularity of professional wrestling, leading to the formation of Japanese wrestling promotions. Rikidozan founded the Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance (JWA) in 1953, and Thesz’s influence and collaboration with Rikidozan were instrumental in establishing the promotion. In the following years, more promotions emerged, such as New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) and All Japan Pro-Wrestling (AJPW), which became cornerstones of the Japanese wrestling scene.

Thesz’s impact on Japanese wrestling extended beyond his in-ring performances. He also played a role in mentoring and training several Japanese wrestlers, sharing his knowledge and expertise with the next generation of talent. Thesz’s emphasis on technical wrestling and sportsmanship influenced the Japanese wrestling style, which came to be known for its strong grappling and hard-hitting action.

Even after his rivalry with Rikidozan, Thesz continued to visit Japan and compete in the country throughout his career. He faced numerous Japanese wrestling stars, including Giant Baba, Antonio Inoki, and Jumbo Tsuruta, further solidifying his status as a legend within Japanese wrestling circles.

Lou Thesz’s retirement from professional wrestling was a gradual process rather than a single, definitive event. Despite having an illustrious career spanning several decades, Thesz never announced a formal retirement from in-ring competition. Instead, he slowly stepped away from active competition while continuing to stay involved in the wrestling world.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Thesz transitioned to a more limited wrestling schedule, taking part in select matches and events. During this period, he focused more on his other interests, such as his involvement in real estate and insurance. However, Thesz continued to make occasional appearances in the ring, competing in various promotions worldwide, including the United States, Japan, and Canada.

Lou Thesz’s final professional wrestling match took place on December 26, 1990, when he was 74 years old. Thesz teamed with fellow wrestling legend Antonio Inoki in a tag team match against Masa Saito and Larry Sharpe in Hamamatsu, Japan. This match marked the end of Thesz’s in-ring career, but he remained active within the wrestling community.

Even after his in-ring career came to an end, Thesz maintained a strong connection to professional wrestling. He served as a mentor, trainer, and adviser to younger wrestlers, sharing his wealth of knowledge and experience with the next generation. Thesz also attended various wrestling events, conventions, and award ceremonies, often receiving recognition for his contributions to the sport.

Lou Thesz -

In 1995, Thesz was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame, and in 1999, he was inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. Lou Thesz passed away on April 28, 2002, at the age of 86, but his legacy and impact on professional wrestling continue to be felt and celebrated to this day.

Lou Thesz passed away on April 28, 2002, at the age of 86. His death was a result of complications following a triple bypass heart surgery that he had undergone earlier in the month. Thesz had been in declining health for some time before his passing.

The wrestling community mourned the loss of one of its most influential and legendary figures. Thesz’s contributions to the sport, as a wrestler, mentor, and ambassador, left an indelible mark on the history of professional wrestling. His emphasis on technical wrestling, sportsmanship, and respect for the sport continue to inspire and influence wrestlers and fans around the world.

Lou Thesz is remembered not only for his numerous accolades, such as his six NWA World Heavyweight Championship reigns, but also for the lasting impact he had on the wrestling industry as a whole. His legacy lives on through the wrestlers he inspired, the promotions he helped to develop, and the countless memorable matches that defined his illustrious career.

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Buff Bagwell -

Buff Bagwell -

After six years as a fan favorite, Marcus Alexander Bagwell took a big step towards stardom by becoming a full fledged heel and joining the NWO. Take a look at his career skyrocketed and then crashed and burned.

Buff Bagwell
Real Name: Marcus Bagwell
Stats: 6′ 1″ 240 lbs.
Born: January 10, 1970

Marcus Alexander “Buff” Bagwell – Standing 6′ 1″ and weighing 240 lbs., Bagwell has been described as a Georgia redneck and a pretty boy to boot. However he might be described, Bagwell is a powerhouse of talent and ability and is destined to become a huge star in the sport.

Bagwell was born in Marietta, Georgia, and grew up in a sports-loving family. He was a standout athlete in high school, excelling in football and baseball. Despite his passion for sports, it wasn’t until later in life that Bagwell discovered his love for professional wrestling and decided to pursue it as a career. 

After high school, Bagwell began training under the guidance of wrestling legend “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff. He made his wrestling debut in 1990, competing in local promotions in Georgia. His natural athleticism and charisma quickly caught the attention of promoters, and he began performing under the name of Fabian in Georgia All Star Wrestling where he teamed with Chris Walker to capture the federations Tag Team belts. One year later he moved on to Global Wrestling where he worked under the persona of the “the Handsome Stranger.” 

His good looks made him a popular figure in the organization, causing World Championship Wrestling to take notice. In 1992, Bagwell moved to the WCW where he began his career as a tag team specialist, teaming up initially with 2 Cold Scorpio. The pair eventually captured the WCW Tag Team championship, proving to be a popular team. After Scorpio left the organization, Bagwell won tag team gold again, teaming with the Patriot (under the name Stars and Stripes) and with Scotty Riggs (as the American Males.)

In 1996 Hulk Hogan helped form the New World Order of wrestling and eventually gave an open invitation to all WCW wrestlers to move over and join their ranks. The first to step up was Bagwell, who soon made the transformation from the well-liked babyface to the strutting, arrogant southern heel. It was during this time that Bagwell adopted the “Buff” moniker, and this character change propelled him to new heights of popularity within the wrestling world.

In 1998, in front of a national television audience, Bagwell was temporarily paralyzed by a move executed by Rick Steiner. Early fears were that he might never walk again but with great determination and avid support from his family, friends and fans, Bagwell returned to the ring the next year

Throughout his time in WCW, Bagwell won the WCW World Tag Team Championship on five occasions with various partners. Additionally, he held the WCW World Television Championship once. Despite never capturing the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, Bagwell remained a prominent figure in the company until its eventual closure in 2001.


Following the acquisition of WCW by WWE (then WWF) in 2001, Bagwell was one of the few WCW stars to be signed by the rival promotion. Unfortunately, his time in WWE was short-lived, with Bagwell being released just a few months after his debut due to reported backstage issues and an underwhelming in-ring performance.


After his departure from WWE, Bagwell continued wrestling on the independent circuit, competing for various promotions such as World Wrestling All-Stars and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA). Although he never reached the same level of success as he did in WCW, Bagwell remained a popular attraction for wrestling fans.


Throughout his life, Buff Bagwell has faced a number of legal issues that have, at times, overshadowed his accomplishments in the wrestling ring. In 2004, Bagwell was arrested for allegedly assaulting his then-wife, Judy Bagwell, although the charges were later dropped. In 2012, he was involved in a serious car accident while under the influence of prescription medication, which led to a brief period of hospitalization and legal repercussions.

In more recent years, Bagwell has continued to struggle with the law. In May 2020, he was arrested in Georgia on multiple charges, including speeding, driving with a suspended license, and having an open container of alcohol in his vehicle. In August 2021, Bagwell faced additional legal trouble when he was arrested on charges of providing false information to a law enforcement officer, hit and run, and other traffic-related offenses.

Despite these setbacks, Bagwell has worked to overcome his personal demons and maintain a connection to his fans. He has participated in various wrestling conventions and meet-and-greets, demonstrating his ongoing commitment to the wrestling community.


In addition to his wrestling career, Bagwell ventured into the entertainment industry, appearing in several television shows and movies. He had guest roles in popular TV shows like “Charmed” and “The Jenny Jones Show.” Bagwell also appeared in the reality television series “Hogan Knows Best” i


In addition to his wrestling accomplishments, Buff Bagwell also ventured into the world of acting. Although he never achieved significant success in Hollywood, Bagwell appeared in several television shows and movies throughout his career. His most notable acting credit is his recurring role as Devil Hanson in the television series “Charmed” in 2001. Bagwell also made appearances in other TV shows such as “Walker, Texas Ranger,” “Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling,” and “Son of the Beach.” These acting opportunities allowed him to showcase his charisma and talent beyond the wrestling ring.


Despite his controversial career and personal struggles, Buff Bagwell’s impact on professional wrestling remains significant. As a mainstay in WCW during its most popular era, Bagwell was an integral part of the company’s success. His memorable matches, tag team championships, and time with the nWo have left a lasting impression on wrestling fans. Today, Bagwell serves as a reminder of the exciting and tumultuous period of wrestling history in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

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Bill Goldberg -

Bill Goldberg -


He was an immediate success, capturing the World Championship within a year of his debut in the sport. He became the biggest name in all of professional wrestling until an injury threatened to cut short his career.

divider-1Bill Goldberg
Real Name: William Scott Goldberg
Stats: 6′ 4″ 295 lbs.
Born: December 27, 1966

Bill Goldberg
 followed in the long path of wrestlers who have made the transition from the gridiron to the squared circle and become a wrestling star – he just did so faster and to a greater magnitude than anyone else in history. In only his second year in the business, Goldberg became the biggest name and biggest star in the business.

Goldberg was never a wrestling fan growing up, but instead focused most of his attention on football. Born in Tulsa, Oklahomahe attended Tulsa Edison High School, where he played football as a linebacker and was a talented amateur wrestler. After high school, Goldberg attended the University of Georgia on a football scholarship, where he continued to display his athletic abilities on the field, being named as an All-SEC Nose Guard. 

When his career as a Bulldog was over, he eyed stardom in the National Football League. Drafted in the 11th round (301st overall) of the 1990 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams, he spent time with the team as well as with the Sacramento Surge of the World League of American Football. Eventually he caught on with the Atlanta Falcons in 1992 and played for the team for two years before suffering a torn abdominal muscle which put him out for the 1994 season. He was signed by the Carolina Panthers in 1995, but could not rebound from the injury sufficiently enough to play. He was thus forced to retire from football.

While in a bar a year later, Goldberg met Diamond Dallas Page. Page was impressed with his size and look and recommended that he take a look at a career in professional wrestling. Later, Goldberg was working out in a gym owned by Lex Luger and Sting and was further convinced by Sting to take a chance in the squared circle. After months of training in the WCW Power Plant, Goldberg appeared in a nationally televised fight against Roddy Piper. Months later, he made his official professional debut in World Championship Wrestling against Hugh Morrus, pinning the 300 pound wrestler. The next year and a half would be one of the most remarkable in professional wrestling history.

Goldberg began quickly mowing down his opponents with his patented spear and jackhammer combination. Eventually he got his chance at the gold when he wrestled Raven for the WCW United States title. Showing little nervousness in his first title match, he quickly overpowered Raven and pinned him for the title belt. With his reputation and winning streak growing, everyone looked forward to a showdown between Goldberg and Hollywood Hulk Hogan for the WCW World Heavyweight championship. In front of a red hot crowd in Atlanta, Georgia on July 6, 1998, Goldberg speared Hogan and then hit the Jackhammer to obtain the pinfall. With the championship belt around his waist, he was now the biggest name in the sport and finished the year as the PWI Rookie of the Year. Goldberg’s meteoric rise in WCW was unprecedented, as he went on a legendary winning streak of 173 consecutive victories without a single loss

Over the next year, Goldberg found himself battling members of the NWO and other wrestlers striving for his title. Finally, Kevin Nash, after interference from Scott Hall (who used a tazer on Goldberg), was able to pin the champion. Goldberg subsequently placed himself in a hunt to reclaim his gold, often taking on various factions of the NWO. During one of these confrontations, Goldberg ran out into the parking lot of an arena and punched his fist through the windshield of a car. In doing so, he suffered a cut to his arm that took almost 190 stitches to close and which almost hit a nerve, seriously placing his career in jeopardy. For almost six months he was forced to the sidelines and relegated to making publicity appearances and participating in the many charities supports. Finally after a lot of speculation that he might not be able to make it back to the ring, he did so in June 2000 to a great ovation from his fans.

In 2001, WCW was purchased by WWE, and Goldberg eventually made his WWE debut in 2003. He had a memorable run with the company, capturing the World Heavyweight Championship and engaging in memorable feuds with some of the biggest names in the industry, including The Rock, Triple H, and Brock Lesnar.

Goldberg left WWE in 2004, taking a hiatus from professional wrestling to pursue other interests, including acting. He appeared in several films and television shows, such as “The Longest Yard,” “Universal Soldier: The Return,” and the reality TV show, “Bullrun.”

Goldberg married Wanda Ferraton, a stuntwoman, in 2005. The couple has one son, Gage, who was born in 2006. Goldberg’s devotion to his family has been a driving force in his life, and he often cites them as his primary motivation for returning to the ring.

During his time away from wrestling, Goldberg also became an advocate for animal welfare and environmental causes. He worked with organizations such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the Humane Society, using his fame to bring attention to the plight of animals in need.

In 2016, Goldberg made a triumphant return to WWE, embarking on a series of high-profile matches and capturing the WWE Universal Championship. This final run in the company further cemented his legacy as one of the most dominant and beloved figures in professional wrestling history.

Throughout his career, Goldberg has been widely respected for his work ethic, intensity, and dedication to his craft. He has been recognized with numerous awards and accolades, including multiple championships and a 2018 induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. However, his career was not without controversy. Many wrestlers soured with his immaturity and failure to recognize that his success was due in large part to the large push he was given by WCW management and the willingness of his fellow wrestlers to put him over, despite his limitations in the ring. He got into numerous backstage scrapes (including famously with Chris Jericho) and was een as sloppy and careless in the ring. In a match at Starrcade 1990, Goldberg kicked Bret Hart so hard in the head that Hart suffered a concussion so severe that it effectively ended his career. He was also very outspoken politically what turned off numerous fans. However, most people who knew him described as a very nice, genuine person.

Bill Goldberg’s journey from professional football to wrestling superstardom was atypical for a professional wrestler. He became the biggest name in the sport and was able to parlay that into an entertainment career beyond wrestling. But he is often remembered as a wrestler who was able to expand beyond his technical and verbal limitations in the short-term, but was unable to extend his popularity over the long run of his career.


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Konnan -

Konnan -

He is one of the most popular, Mexican wrestlers to ever set foot in the ring but is known North of the border as one of the most outspoken, straightforward stars in the sport.

Real Name: Carlos Ashenoff
Stats: 5′ 10″ 245 lbs.
Born: June 6, 1964

While he is considered by many a mid-level star in the United States, Carlos Ashenoff was the most popular wrestler of the 1990’s in Mexico. Throughout the 1990’s he was such a popular gate attraction that he was mentioned in the breaths as Mexican legends such as El Santo, Mil Mascaras and Perro Aguayo and he was able to crossover into musical and television success.

Carlos Ashenoff was born in Cuba in 1965 and moved to Miami as a young child. After high school, he enrolled in the United States Navy where he became an outstanding boxer and was named to the U.S. Navy Boxing Team. His time spent in the ring helped him to gain a great deal of notoriety and attention from members of the sports and entertainment community and he was approached about pursuing a career in professional wrestling. In 1987 a Mexican wrestling promoter discovered him in San Diego, California and brought him down to Tijuana, Mexico to began his training. Training alongside currents stars like Rey Mysterio and Psychosis, Charles was schooled in the art of high-flying Lucha Libre.

At 5′ 10, 245 lbs., Konnan was much larger than his counterparts but possessed great speed, quickness and athleticism. As such, he was able to compete on their levels but completely outclassed them with his brute strength. Working up and down Northern Mexico and Southern California he gained early experience and refined his skills. Finally he moved on to the number two promotion in Mexico, the Universal Wrestling Alliance. Donning a mask, he took the name Konnan, based on Arnold Schwartzennegar movie character Conan the Barbarian. Soon thereafter he moved over to EMLL promotion where he wrestled alongside Mexicans greats, including Rey Mysterio, Sr. (with whom he teamed in the 1990 Starcade pay-per-view event.) His career continued its upward flight as he faced Perro Aguayo in their famous mask vs. hair match. Aguayo won the match, and Konnan was forced to give up his mask.

Without his mask, Konnan wrestled briefly in the CMLL promotion and then traveled to the United States where he performed as Max Moon. He also made stops in several Japanese promotions (FMW and New Japan Pro Wrestling) before returning back to Mexico. He soon ventured over to the AAA promotion where he engaged in a bitter feud with Cien Caras. In the biggest match of the year in front of almost 50,000 fans in the Plaze de Toros stadium in Mexico City, Caras defeated Konnan when Jake the Snake Roberts interfered with the match. Although the stimulation for the match was that the loser must retire, Konnan refused to do so because of Roberts interference. In 1994 he came back to face Roberts in a hair vs. hair match in Tijuana, Mexico. Having become friend and tag team partner with Aguayo, Konnan shocked AAA fans when he turned on him and joined with the infamous Los Gringos Locos, a group composed of Art Barr, Eddy Guerrero and Louie Spicolli. The group bragged about the imminence of the United States and degraded the Mexican fans about their country. This created the biggest sensation in Mexican wrestling in years. It climaxed during AAA’s first pay-per-view event, “When Worlds Collide” which took place in Los Angeles on November 6, 1994. In the main event of the pay-per-view, Konnan was battered and bloodied in a cage match against Aguayo and came out of the match the loser.

During his career in Mexico, Konnan was a media star, featured in a television soap opera as well as promoting a rap album he performed on. Frenzied crowds flocked to see him wherever he was and his popularity was rivaled that of American sports and music stars. His loss to Aguayo, however, signaled a turning point in his career as he left Mexico and entered Extreme Championship Wrestling. Although he gained a following in ECW as he battled against the Sandman, he soon moved on to World Championship Wrestling where many believed he would gain stardom and on January 29, 1996, he defeated the One Man Gang to win the WCW United States Heavyweight championship (which he ultimately lost six months later to Ric Flair at the Bash at the Beach pay-per-view in Daytona Beach, Florida). Over the next few years there were numerous changes in the lineup in WCW and Konnan was often on the wrong end of the backstage politics, thus limiting his opportunity to excel in WCW. He did, however, capture the WCW World Television title (defeating Chris Jericho in Chattanooga, Tennessee on November 30, 1998) and later teamed with Rey Mysterio Jr. to take the WCW Tag Team belts from Harlem Heat. He also was a member of the New World Order group that threatened to take over WCW and his influence with hip-hop lingo carried over to almost everyone in the company. Unfortunately, he suffered numerous setbacks from injuries and personality conflicts with WCW management and his pushes seemed to get derailed. He remains very popular with fans and is now receiving credit for his influence behind the scenes and is poised to continue his success in the future.

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Curt Hennig -

Curt Hennig -

In the scope of wrestling history he may not go down as one of the elites of all time, but for a period of time he was perfect. A second generation wrestler, he seemed to be on the path towards multiple championships in the bigger wrestling promotions but always seemed held back behind the bigger stars.

Real Name: Curt Hennig
Stats: 6′ 3″ 235 lbs.
Born: March 28, 1960

As second generation wrestlers go, Curt Hennig was destined for greatness. He grew up idolizing his father the great Larry “the Axe” Hennig and had as his best friend since high school Ravishing Rick Rude. With such talent surrounding him, how could he possibly miss?

Curt’s father Larry was one of the top competitors in the AWA, teaming with Harley Race to win three AWA World Tag Team championships. In 1978, Larry turned his attention to working with Verne Gagne to train their respective sons, Curt and Greg Gagne. After months and months of hard work, Curt debuted in 1979 and achieved early success by teaming with a young Scott Hall and defeating Jimmy Garvin and Steve Regal for the AWA World Tag Team belts on January 18, 1986.

On May 2, 1987, Curt entered the ring to face AWA World Champion Nick Bockwinkel. Controversy surrounded the outcome of the match as it appeared that Hennig was handed a roll of quarters by Larry Zbyscko and used it to knock Bockwinkel out cold. Ignoring the controversy, Curt defended the title for more than a year against such combatants as Bockwinkel, Greg Gagne, Wahoo McDaniel and Baron Von Rasche. Finally on May 9, 1988, Hennig traveled to Memphis, Tennessee where the hometown hero, Jerrry Lawler, turned the tables on the champion and defeated Hennig for the belt.
Without a title belt, Hennig decided that a change of scenery would be beneficial and he moved to the Northeast and in the fall of 1988 entered the World Wrestling Federation under the guise of “Mr. Perfect.” The WWF set the stage for his debut by creating videoclips of him excelling in numerous sports as the “complete athlete.” In 1989, Hennig, angry that he was not given a shot at the title shot against the promotion’s champion (Hulk Hogan), destroyed the championship belt and began a feud that lasted for much of the fall. After obtaining the services of Booby Heenan as his manager, Hennig entered a tournament for the vacant Intercontinental title belt in April 1990. Hennig defeated Tito Santana in the finals to become the Intercontinental champion. After losing the belt to Kerry Von Erich in August, Hennig recaptured it in a rematch on November 19, 1990. His title reign lasted for almost nine months before he was defeated by Bret Hart on August 26, 1991 at the 1991 SummerSlam Pay Per View event in New York. During the match, Curt reinjured a lingering back injury and was forced to take some time off to heal.
In late 1991 he returned as an advisor to Ric Flair. As Flair’s “Executive Consultant,” Hennig helped the “Nature Boy”to win the WWF Heavyweight championship. Their partnership seemed solid until Randy Savage asked Hennig to serve as his partner against Flair and Razor Ramon. By accepting the invitation, he thereby severed all ties with Flair. In January 1993, Hennig defeated Flair in a “loser leaves the WWF match.” While this seemed to set the stage for a big push for Curt, his back injury flared up again and he was forced to take more time off.
Hennig returned in 1995 as a color commentator at the 1995 Survivor Series matchup. In 1996, Curt served as Hunter Hearst Helmsley’s manager, but left the WWF and entered World Championship Wrestling a year later as Diamond Dallas Page’s tag team partner against Scott Hall and Randy Savage. He later took over Arn Anderson’s spot in the fabled “Four Horsemen” when Arn was forced by injuries to retire. He turned his back on the Horsemen, however, when he joined forces with he NWO at the 1997 Fall Brawl. Later that night, he defeated Steve McMichael to win the WCW United States title. He lost the belt three months later to Diamond Dallas Page, and then struggled with a knee injury for much of 1998 (although he faced WCW champion Bill Goldberg, losing both matches).
1999 started well for Hennig as he teamed with Barry Windham to briefly capture the WCW Tag Team championship. Knee injuries again forced him out of action and he was limited to non-wrestling roles for most of the year. The year 2000 was no better for him and he was eventually released by the promotion and began headlining a number of independent wrestling shows.

Many felt it was a great shame that Curt Hennig’s career was hampered by so many injuries. A great technical wrestler, he at time was among the premier performers in the business. While history may never know how great he might have become, it should judge him positively based on his talent and achievements.

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Antonio Inoki -

Antonio Inoki -

He was so beloved by his fans that they elected him to the Japanese parliament after he retired from the ring. What he did inside of the ring made him a respected statesman and a great champion for professional wrestling.

Real Name: Kanji Inoki
Stats: 6′ 1″ 240 lbs.
Born: February 20, 1943

Antonio Inoki is one of wrestling’s all-time greatest competitors, teachers, and promoters, as well as serving as wrestling’s Ambassador to the World. The noble and refined inoki has made it his career-long goal to bring respect to, and acceptance of, puroresu (Japanese pro wrestling) in the mainstream. Although some accuse Inoki of having the biggest ego in wrestling, eclipsing even the Hulkster…those people could not be further from the truth. The reality is, Inoki is a man with a vision…and, oftentimes, if you want something done right, you do it yourself. Inoki has done more to help wrestling than nearly anyone in the history of the sport. He loves pro wrestling deeply…and even used the slogans “King of Sports” and “Civil Rights For Puroresu” as the mottos of New Japan Pro Wrestling when he started the federation in 1972.

Antonio Inoki, born as Kanji Inoki on February 20, 1943, spent his early years in Yokohama, Japan. His family faced financial difficulties during his childhood, and Inoki also had to deal with bullying due to his mixed Japanese and Brazilian ancestry. Despite these challenges, Inoki was determined to rise above his circumstances and find success.

Inoki’s dedication and talent paid off, as he made his professional wrestling debut later that same year against Kintaro Oki. He quickly established himself as a formidable competitor, and his reputation grew within the wrestling community. In the years that followed, Inoki would go on to build an illustrious career as a professional wrestler, promoter, and innovator, leaving a lasting impact on the sport in Japan and around the world.

Inoki’s interest in professional wrestling was sparked by Rikidōzan, who is widely considered the father of Japanese professional wrestling. Rikidōzan’s impact on the sport in Japan inspired Inoki to pursue a career in wrestling, setting him on the path that would ultimately lead to his legendary status in the industry.

In 1960, at the age of 17, he began training under the tutelage of Toyonobori, a former sumo wrestler, and Karl Gotch, a European wrestling expert. Gotch, who was renowned for his technical wrestling skills and knowledge, helped Inoki hone his in-ring abilities, particularly in catch wrestling and submission techniques. This training laid the foundation for Inoki’s innovative “strong style” that later came to define his wrestling career and impact Japanese professional wrestling as a whole.Their guidance helped Inoki develop his wrestling skills, including his technical prowess and mastery of submission techniques.

Inoki’s dedication and talent paid off, as he made his professional wrestling debut later that same year against Kintaro Oki. He quickly established himself as a formidable competitor, and his reputation grew within the wrestling community. In the years that followed, Inoki would go on to build an illustrious career as a professional wrestler, promoter, and innovator, leaving a lasting impact on the sport in Japan and around the world.

On September 30, 1960 he made his pro wrestling debut, losing to Kintaro Ohki. The name “Antonio” is said to have been given to him by his mentor and hero Rikidozan, after the legendary Antonio Rocca. Before forming N.J.P.W., Inoki wrestled for the N.W.A.’s Japan Wrestling Association (J.W.A.). During those years, he gained valuable experience and learned great deal about the sport. But in 1966, he decided to try wrestling for Tokyo Pro, a rival of the JWA. Inoki’s relationship with Tokyo Pro didn’t last long, though, and by 1967 he was back with the JWA until he left to create New Japan Pro Wrestling.

Inoki founded New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) in 1972, a promotion that would go on to become one of the most successful and influential organizations in professional wrestling. Inoki’s vision for NJPW was to create a platform for showcasing the best wrestling talent in Japan and from around the world, with a unique style that would set it apart from other promotions.

Inoki’s experience as a wrestler and his training under Karl Gotch and Toyonobori greatly influenced the style of wrestling he wanted to promote in NJPW. He emphasized the “strong style,” which combined elements of martial arts, catch wrestling, and traditional professional wrestling. This innovative approach was characterized by hard-hitting strikes, submission holds, and a focus on realism, setting NJPW apart from other wrestling organizations of the time.

Under Inoki’s leadership, NJPW quickly gained popularity and began attracting top talent both domestically and internationally. The promotion forged relationships with other major wrestling organizations, such as the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) and the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE), which enabled NJPW to feature high-profile matches and cross-promotional events.

Throughout the years, NJPW has been home to many legendary wrestlers, including Tatsumi Fujinami, Riki Choshu, Shinya Hashimoto, Keiji Mutoh, and Hiroshi Tanahashi. The promotion has also been a breeding ground for the development of new stars, such as Kazuchika Okada, Tetsuya Naito, and Kota Ibushi.

The founding of NJPW not only provided an opportunity for Japanese wrestlers to compete at the highest level, but it also allowed the unique strong style to gain worldwide recognition. NJPW’s continued success and influence are a testament to Inoki’s vision and dedication to elevating the sport of professional wrestling.

Although Inoki was often linked as a rival of Baba,  he engaged in numerous high profile programs with other wrestlers that were considered some of the rivalries in Japanese wrestling history. Inoki’s feud with Indian-Canadian wrestler Tiger Jeet Singh during the 1970s was an intense and heated rivalry. Their matches were known for their brutal, no-holds-barred style, with both competitors using weapons and engaging in bloody battles. His rivalry with American wrestler Stan Hansen in the late 1970s and early 1980s was marked by hard-hitting and physical matches. The intense battles between these two warriors showcased the strong style that Inoki helped popularize in Japan, and their matches were highly regarded by fans and critics alike. In the 1980s, Inoki had an intense feud with Riki Choshu, another top star in Japanese wrestling. Their rivalry saw them clashing over various titles, including the NWF Heavyweight Championship, and their matches featured a blend of technical wrestling and brawling. This feud helped solidify both wrestlers’ legacies as icons of Japanese professional wrestling. Finally, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Inoki engaged in a rivalry with Tatsumi Fujinami, one of NJPW’s rising stars. Their matches showcased the best of Japanese professional wrestling, with a focus on technical ability and hard-hitting action. This feud helped establish Fujinami as a top wrestler and further cemented Inoki’s legacy as a living legend.

These rivalries, among others, contributed to Inoki’s status as a trailblazer in the world of professional wrestling. They allowed him to showcase his unique “strong style” and helped popularize the sport in Japan and around the globe.

During his long and successful career, Inoki won numerous titles…the NWA Texas Heavyweight title (under the somewhat insulting name of Tokyo Tom) in 1964, the NWA (Texas) World Tag Team title in 1965, the NWA (Tenn.) World Tag Team title (w/Hiro Matsuda), 4 All-Asian Tag Team titles (w/Michiak Yoshimura), 4 NWA International Tag Team titles (w/Giant Baba), and the NWA United National title in 1971. He also went on to win the National Wrestling Federation (N.W.F.) World Heavyweight title 4 different times between 1973-1981 as well as the N.W.A. North American Tag Team title twice, the U.W.A. (Mexico) World Heavyweight title, and also the I.W.G.P. Heavyweight championship, among others. 

Many times throughout his career he has faced champions of other sports (Judo Gold Medal winner Willem Ruska, World Karate champion Willie Wlliams, and boxer Chuck Wepner) in an effort to bring credibility to the sport of wrestling. In 1976 he fought his famous (although somewhat disappointing) “Boxer vs. Wrestler” match with World Boxing champion Muhammed Ali. Although the match was fairly uneventful, it did give pro wrestling an aura of legitimacy.

Antonio Inoki - Muhammad Ali - wrestlingbiographies.comAs a promoter, Inoki is a genuine trailblazer — bringing pro wrestling to countries like Russia, China, Korea, and Taiwan that had never had a pro wrestling event in their country, or even seen the sport on TV. The two cards he promoted in Korea drew crowds (with a little help from the Korean gov’t.) of 150,000 and 190,000! Talk about bringing wrestling to the world…


In 1979, Inoki was involved in a very controversial title switch involving Bob Backlund and the WWF Heavyweight title. On November 30, 1979 in Tokushima, Japan, Backlund was pinned by Inoki for the WWF title. The next day, the two wrestlers had a rematch, and this time Backlund regained the title. However, the WWF President Hisashi Shinma declared the match a “no-contest” because of interference from Tiger Jeet Signh. Shinma awarded the title back to Inoki, who refused to accept the championship. A match between Backlund and “Big, Bad” Bobby Duncum (of all people) on December 12, 1979 in New York City took place to decide the winner of the “held up” WWF title, with Backlund winning.

Ironically, American fans never knew of the controversy in Japan, and thought the Backlund/Duncum match was just a regular monthly title defense for Backlund. The WWF has never acknowledged the title switch, and to this day does not count Inoki as a former WWF Heavyweight champion.

The “Collision in Korea” was a historic professional wrestling event held over two days, April 28 and 29, 1995, in Pyongyang, North Korea. Organized by Antonio Inoki, the event was a joint production between his New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) and the American promotion World Championship Wrestling (WCW). The event was officially titled “International Sports and Cultural Festival for Peace” and aimed to promote peace and diplomacy through sports, particularly professional wrestling.

The event took place at the May Day Stadium, drawing a massive crowd, reportedly over 150,000 people on each day, making it one of the largest audiences ever recorded for a professional wrestling event. Many top stars from both NJPW and WCW participated in the event, including Ric Flair, Scott Norton, Shinya Hashimoto, and Kensuke Sasaki, among others.

One of the most notable matches of the event was the main event on the second day, where Antonio Inoki faced Ric Flair. This match was significant not only due to the high-profile nature of the two competitors but also because it symbolized the collaboration between Japanese and American wrestling promotions. Inoki emerged victorious in the match, further solidifying his status as a legend in the wrestling world.

The Collision in Korea event was a unique and ambitious effort to use professional wrestling as a means to bring people together and promote peace. The event’s success and historic nature have left a lasting impact on the world of professional wrestling, and it remains a testament to Inoki’s vision and influence in the industry.

In the early 1980s, Antonio Inoki was involved in a scandal related to his professional wrestling promotion, New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). The scandal was centered around Inoki’s alleged connections with the infamous Japanese yakuza (organized crime syndicates). It was claimed that Inoki had sought financial support from yakuza members to help fund NJPW events and maintain the promotion’s operations.

The scandal came to light in 1981 when the tabloid magazine Shukan Gendai published an article accusing Inoki of having ties with the yakuza. The accusations had a significant impact on Inoki’s reputation and the public perception of NJPW at the time.

In response to the allegations, Inoki held a press conference in which he denied any involvement with the yakuza. Although no concrete evidence was produced to prove Inoki’s direct connections with the criminal underworld, the scandal tarnished his image and cast a shadow over his otherwise impressive career.

Despite the controversy, Inoki managed to overcome the scandal, and NJPW continued to grow and thrive in the years that followed. 

Inoki transitioned from professional wrestling to politics in the early 21st century, leveraging his fame and popularity to enter the world of Japanese politics. In 1989, Inoki founded the Sports and Peace Party and ran for a seat in the Japanese House of Councillors but was unsuccessful in his bid. However, his political aspirations did not end there.

In 1995, Inoki ran again, this time as an independent candidate, and was elected to the House of Councillors, serving as a member of Japan’s National Diet for a six-year term. During his tenure in office, Inoki focused on issues related to sports, culture, and diplomacy, continuing the themes that had defined his wrestling career.

In addition to the “Collision in Korea” event, Inoki made numerous trips to North Korea as part of his diplomatic efforts. He also established the Antonio Inoki Peace Foundation, an organization dedicated to fostering peace through sports and cultural exchanges.

Though Inoki did not seek re-election after completing his term in the House of Councillors, his political career demonstrated his commitment to using his influence to promote peace and diplomacy, particularly through the medium of professional wrestling and sports in general.

Inoki was married twice and has children from both marriages. Inoki’s first marriage was to a woman named Tazuko, with whom he had two children: a daughter named Hiroko and a son named Hiroaki. Hiroaki, who was born in 1972, followed in his father’s footsteps and pursued a career in professional wrestling under the ring name “Kendo Kashin.” Hiroaki gained success in the wrestling world, winning several championships in different promotions throughout his career.

In 2000, Inoki married his second wife, Mitsuko Baisho, a Japanese actress known for her work in both film and television. The couple has a daughter together named Maria Inoki, who was born in 2001. Despite the high-profile nature of Inoki’s career, his family has generally maintained a private life away from the spotlight.

Antonio Inoki -

In addition to his immediate family, Antonio Inoki has a brother named Simon Inoki (real name: Kenji Inoki), who also had a career in professional wrestling and later became an executive in the wrestling industry. Simon Inoki played a significant role in the operation of NJPW Antonio sold the promotion in 2005.

Inoki converted to Shia Islam in 1990 during a pilgrimage to Karbala, the Shiite holy city in Iraq. Hdescribed himself as both a Muslim convert and a Buddhist

Antonio Inoki died on On October 1, 2022, at age 79, Inoki died from systemic transthyretin amyloidosis.

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He is the self-described hardest working man in the business and has had one of the strangest journeys towards success in recent memory. Through hard work and unyielding determination, he pushed himself to the heights of the industry.

Real Name: Page Joseph Falkenburg
Stats: 6′ 5″ 253 lbs.
Born: April 5, 1956

The saga of Diamond Dallas Page seems more akin to a Horatio Alger tale than a wrestling biography. Although flavored with grandiosity and passion, it is the story of a man’s dedication and determination to become a star in professional wrestling despite the odds and the naysayers standing in his way.
Dallas Page was born Page Falkenburg in 1956. Standing 6′ 5″ and weighing 253 lbs., he used his physical stature to keep patrons in line as the owner of a Florida night club. Attracted to the glamour and lucrative nature of the professional wrestling industry, Page took a gamble and decided to move North to Minnesota and entered the American Wrestling Association. Having sent audio tapes to the promotion as part of his application, he was hired as a color commentator for the promotion’s broadcasts. Soon he looked at one of the tag teams working within the promotion and decided that he wanted to serve as their manager. Under his guidance, the team of Badd Company (Paul Diamond and Pat Tanaka) quickly became the AWA tag team champions. His early success prompted a number of performers to seek out his services and soon he was managing a number of performers, including Madusa and Curt Hennig.

In light of this success, it surprised many when Page left the AWA and ventured down to the Florida Championship Wrestling territory where he served as a color commentator alongside the legendary Gordon Solie. In addition to this new job, he actually sought work in other wrestling promotion (including the World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling). When Florida Championship Wrestling closed down, he joined WCW as an announcer and eventually was called upon to serve as a manager again, this time for the Fabulous Freebirds. The Freebirds were comprised of Michael P.S. Hayes and Ron Garvin and in 1991 they succeeded in winning the NWA tag team title. Page next took on a young wrestler named Scott Hall who then performed under the moniker “the Diamond Studd.” Accompanied to the rings each night by a bevy of “Diamond Dolls,” Page often became physically active in helping Hall. As a result, several people recommended that he enter the WCW Power Plant training school and learn the ropes of performing inside of the ring. He did so and saw his first “official” mat action on November 18, 1991 as Hall’s tag team partner against Kevin Sullivan and the Assassin. After a year of very limited success, his career was put in jeopardy when he tore the rotator cuff in his shoulder in a match against Shanghai Pierce and was put out of action for 11 months. He was subsequently released by WCW.

Undaunted, Page determined to continue improving his character and sought the help of Jake “the Snake” Roberts. Roberts advised on the psychological aspects of the business and after his injury had healed he made his way back to WCW, which was now under the direction of his former announcing partner Eric Bischoff. Bischoff saw talent in Page and took a gamble on him, giving him a minor push along with a bodyguard and a valet (his real-life wife Kimberly) who was referred to as the Diamond Doll. He finally found his first bit of success at the 1995 Fall Brawl pay per view event where he defeated the Renegade to gain the WCW television title. Just when it seemed he was climbing the ladder towards success, he was booked in some of the most ridiculous and embarrassing angles in recent memory (including one where he stole Kimberly’s $1 million in bingo winnings and then lost it all). Losing feuds to Johnny B. Badd (Marc Mero) and the Booty Man (Ed Leslie), Page seemed to be back at square one in his career.

Despite being named Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s 1995 Most Improved wrestler, at 39 years of age, most thought he would remained a glorified lower-card performer destined for oblivion. Page, however, would not give up on his career and fortunately for him, neither did Eric Bischoff. Bischoff allowed Page to enter the Battle Bowl tournament and Page shocked everyone when he won the competition and became “Lord of the Ring.” Capitalizing on this success, Page began to engage in outstanding bouts against Eddie Guerrero and Marcus Bagwell.

In 1996, Scott Hall returned to WCW along with Kevin Nash and turned the wrestling world on its ear. They teamed with Hulk Hogan to form the New World Order, which threatened to destroy WCW. Having spent earlier periods of his career working with Hall and wrestling against Nash, Page seemed a likely candidate to become a new member of the NWO. He refused to join them, however, and began a year long, pitched battle against members of the NWO. After a series of brutal feuds with Savage (voted PWI 1997 Feud of the Year), Page defeated Curt Henning to win the WCW United States title on December 28, 1997. He subsequently defended the title against all comers, including Chris Benoit and Raven, and utilizing his new finishing move (called the Diamond Cutter) Page quietly became one of the most popular wrestlers in WCW. After losing the U.S. strap to Raven, he reclaimed it six months later from Bret Hart. Finally, he felt he had reached a point where he could demand a shot at the top belt in the business, the WCW Heavyweight championship which was held by Hulk Hogan. WCW used his ties with the entertainment industry to team up on one occasion with NBA All Star Karl Malone and on another with television host Jay Leno to take on Hogan and his partner, basketball star Dennis Rodman.

Having gained a great deal of notoriety, Page was finally elevated to the top of the industry and shocked a great many when he won a four-way dance matchup against Hogan, Sting and Ric Flair on April 11, 1999 in Tacoma, Washington. After losing the belt two weeks later to Sting, he reclaimed it in an impromptu four way match against Sting, Kevin Nash and Goldberg. Unfortunately, backstage politics undermined his title reign and he lost the belt to Kevin Nash a few weeks later. As poor booking and backstage powerplays caused WCW’s television ratings to plummet, Page saw less and less time in the main event and he seemed to be a forgotten man for the rest of 1999. He did not remain idle, however, and starred in a movie, Ready to Rumble, along with David Arquette and in the spring of 2000 found himself back in the title hunt capturing the WCW Heavyweight again. Injuries, however, forced him to take some time off to heal and he was forced to reevaluate his next steps in the business.

No matter what he future holds for him, Dallas Page has proven his critics wrong and has achieved more than anyone thought possible. His drive towards success and his work ethic has set a standard for young performers entering the sport. He has truly proved to be a diamond in the rough.

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