July 14, 2011
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Lou Thesz passes awayORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Lou Thesz, a pioneer in professional wrestling who grappled for more than 55 years and helped carry the spectacle into the era of television, died Sunday. He was 86.
Lou Thesz chat transcriptFormer World Champion Lou Thesz joined SLAM! Wrestling today to talk about his storied career, his thoughts on the current wrestling business, and about the newly-released trade paperback of his autobiography, Hooker.
Thesz talked about many of the stars of yesteryear, from Ed 'Strangler' Lewis to Sailor Art Thomas to Stu Hart, plus he revealed his love of Canada (and really, who could blame him!)
Remembering Whipper Billy Watson
But how does one explain the appeal, the legacy of Toronto's William Potts, aka Whipper Billy Watson, to today's wrestling fan?
Well, by talking to a few fellow wrestlers who knew him, inside and outside the squared circle.
Thesz still a busy man
Thesz was recognized as the most influential NWA Champion in our fall survey of the greatest NWA champions of all time. He was the perennial champion from the '40s to the '60s, as the National Wrestling Alliance came into prominence as the leading wrestling governing body.
Now 83, Thesz says that he is busier than ever.
Nature Boy a natural choice
Experts pick Flair as greatest NWA champ
It was 1948. War-torn South Korea dominated headlines. U.S. President Harry Truman had ordered the withdrawl of American troops from Korea. The Asian theatre was in turmoil. Who could have guessed that at the same time, the fate of the wrestling world was being inextricably changed forever in a hotel in Waterloo, Iowa?
On July 14 1948, St Louis promoter Sam Muchnick met with five other promoters in an effort to consolidate power. The promoters, in charge of six of the biggest territories in the Midwest, had reached an agreement. They would work together, exchanging talent and look out for one another against competing promoters who would encroach their fiefdom and dare to run opposition to them. They would control the destiny of the sport, essentially blacklisting any wrestler who didn't tow the line and abide by a promoter's wishes. They would promote their shows under the same banner, and recognize one world champion.