clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

On This Date in Wrestling History: Lou Thesz passes away at 86

Photo via <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/cd/Lou_Thesz.jpg">Wikimedia</a>
Photo via Wikimedia

Ever heard of the German suplex? How about the STF? And I don't mean that pale imitation John Cena trots out but the real deal.

If, for some unholy reason, you haven't, you've surely heard of the Thesz Press. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin re-popularized the move during his tenure at the top of WWE.

They all came from one man: Lou Thesz.

10 years ago, he passed away due to complications from triple bypass surgery and with him, he took a legacy that will never be matched in professional wrestling.

He held the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) World Heavyweight Championship for nearly 4,000 days -- back when it actually meant something, no offense, Colt -- and pretty much made wrestling a thing in Japan. After his appearances across the Pacific, the business exploded and we have Thesz to thank for Mitsuharu Misawa, Kenta Kobashi, Masahiro Chono and the like.

Not only did Thesz have amateur wrestling experience, he was also a legitimate tough guy which was part of the reason he held onto the NWA strap as long as he did. If you thought the pro wrestling biz was hairy today, back in Thesz's day, it was downright insane.

Promoters, fearing a renegade wrestler would deviate from the planned finish and go into business for themselves, loved the idea of someone like Thesz, who could more than handle himself if things got rough, as their champion. It was a little bit of insurance, you could say.

He debuted in 1932 and finally had his last match in 2000. That's seven decades worth of wrestling from the legend.

They simply don't make them like this anymore.

A classic match of his against Antonio Inoki from 1975 after the jump.