Lou Thesz

Died April 27th, 2002

From http://www.louthesz.com/:

Lou Thesz passed away Sunday, April 27 at 7:35 a.m. in the hospital in Orlando. Arrangements are pending. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you send a donation to the International Wrestling Institute Museum at
PO Box 794
Newton, Iowa

If there can be such a thing as a dynasty in an individual sport, Lou Thesz would qualify. Just as Joe Dimaggio achieved icon status in baseball with his grace and style, so did Thesz in wrestling. He achieved ring records and longevity that may be as difficult to break as Dimaggio's 56-game hitting streak. The Triple Crown championship in Japan is one of the most prestigious titles in the world today and its roots trace back to Thesz' recognition as the first International heavyweight champion in Japan. He was the last wrestler to legitimately claim the undisputed World heavyweight championship. He held the World title, which pre-dated the NWA title, a total of six times. His first win came at the age of 21 in 1937 over Everett Marshall in St. Louis. He still holds the record for being the youngest world champion of all-time. His sixth title reign ended in 1967, 32 years later, at the hands of Gene Kiniski. His eight-year reign from 1948 to 1956 ranks as the longest world title reign of all-time. He was World heavyweight champion in four different decades and is the only wrestler to ever compete in seven different decades. Thesz was as fierce of a champion for wrestling's credibility and integrity outside the ring as he was in it.

Picked by Gentleman Prick.