On March 10, 2007, the pro wrestling world said goodbye to Ernest "Ernie" Ladd, known by his in-ring moniker of "The Big Cat," for being, well, big. And as a former professional football player, he was good enough to earn a spot in the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame.
And he was also a founding member of the AFL's "Fearsome Foursome."
It would come as no surprise then, to learn of his transition to professional wrestling, where his physique and athletic ability made him one of the great big men of his day.
And he could talk.
His promos were fantastic, because every time he worked the stick, it sounded like a shoot. Like this guy was really going to bash somebody's brains in.
One of my all-time favorite promos from any era is when Ladd destroyed Wahoo McDaniel in one of his classic rants for Georgia Championship Wrestling, calling him an "egg-sucking dog" and "drunken Indian full of whiskey" that he was going to "pluck them feathers and send him back to the reservation in a tee-pee."
Right after, he "sends Tony Atlas back to Africa."
That promo, where he screams at the kids in the audience to "shut up," in the footage below:
Another classic. "It looks like he was in a hatchet fight and everybody had a hatchet except for him." Then he goes berserk on the camera man:
Some of "The Big Cat's" nicknames (via Black Diesel):
Thunderbolt Patterson---> Thundermouth Patterson
Rocky Johnson---> Uncle Tom Johnson
Dusty Rhodes---> Dirty Rhodes
Mr. Wrestling---> Masked Varmint
Andre the Giant---> Andre the Dummy
Ladd, who was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005, passed away following a three-year battle with cancer at the age of 68.
Gone, but never forgotten.