Aug 22, 2010 - by Steve Gerweck
Lou Thesz – “Thesz Was A Wrestling Icon”
Those who feel The Undertaker is old school won’t get the significance, nor will those who think Hulk Hogan is a great wrestler.
Professional wrestling lost a titan on the morning of April 28 when Lou Thesz died in an Orlando hospital less than a month after open heart surgery. He was 86.
Thesz was NWA world champion six times between 1937 and 1967. During a six-year span in the late ’40s and early ’50s, Thesz went undefeated. In a century of the sport, he is the linchpin who connects shooter Ed Strangler Lewis to showman Ric Flair.
He was the last of the “hookers,” a name given to wrestlers who knew the science of the holds and could legitimately put a hurting on an opponent on the rare occasions when matches weren’t scripted. He was also the first of the television stars in the 1940s and ’50s.
“People from that generation remember Gorgeous George the most,” Wrestling Observer Newsletter publisher Dave Meltzer told writer Alex Marvez after Thesz’s death. “But if you asked anyone who the best wrestler was, everybody would say Lou Thesz. He was a straight man in a silly world.”
He was his generation’s superstar, taking publicity shots with celebrities and athletes, traveling the nation, playing 250 dates a year in big arenas and small halls.
At 6-2, 225 pounds and with a 20-inch neck, Thesz was a natural athlete who moved like a cat in the ring. Besides his incredible array of mat skills, he became famous for the flying vertical body block, a move which now bears his name, the Lou Thesz press.
Source: Rob McCurdy