Danny Hodge’s list of accomplishments is remarkable. His amateur wrestling career in the includes a silver medal at the 1952 Olympics and three NCAA championships in the 177 pound weight class. The collegiate wrestling equivalent of football’s Heisman trophy is named for him. Hodge is the only amateur wrestler to ever appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated. He was also a Gold Gloves boxer and had professional success in the 50s.
He went on to wrestle professionally, and was fixture in NWA territories throughout the 60s, until he retired after a car accident in 1976. Among other titles, he was the NWA Junior Heavyweight champ seven times. Hodge is enshrined in multiple Halls of Fame, and was awarded a Lifetime Achievement and the Lou Thesz Award by the Cauliflower Alley Club.
With that kind of legacy, while many modern fans may not be aware of Hodge, he left a huge impression on the business. As news broke today that he died yesterday (Dec. 25, 2020) at age 88, memorial and remembrances have filled the web.
Legitimately one of the toughest guys in a boxing or wrestling ring, Danny Hodge was a mentor to many and a groundbreaking competitor. No apple stood a chance in his hands!!— Triple H (@TripleH) December 26, 2020
Rest In Peace, Danny. https://t.co/SZyZXTSVYi
AEW and the wrestling world mourn the passing of the legendary hall of fame wrestler Danny Hodge, our thoughts are with his family, his friends and his fans. pic.twitter.com/IUyw9Z6ywm— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) December 26, 2020
Hard to believe that my boyhood hero, riding partner, and mentor, the great #DannyHodge has passed away.— Jim Ross (@JRsBBQ) December 26, 2020
Danny was the best wrestler, amateur and pro, I’ve ever been around. #RIPCHAMP pic.twitter.com/JDPAFZNNS7
I’ve just seen the saddening news from my friend @Fgbrisco that the legendary Danny Hodge has passed away. Please take the time to google this incredible man and his career both in Wrestling and Boxing. I always loved talking to him. My deepest condolences to his family. pic.twitter.com/NToh6LuGnc— William Regal (@RealKingRegal) December 26, 2020
Very saddened to learn of the loss of Danny Hodge. I always absolutely loved spending time with him and sitting under his learning tree. From speaking to him you’d never know all that he accomplished. Please do yourself a favor and look it up. Truly legendary. Rest in power. pic.twitter.com/aoBmcIYtmG— Adam (Edge) Copeland (@EdgeRatedR) December 26, 2020
IT BREAK MY HEART TO SAY GOODBYE TO THE LEGEND DANNY HODGE. DANNY BUBBA YOU WERE AS GOOD IN THE RING AS IT GETS AND AN EVEN BETTER FRIEND OUTSIDE OF THE RING. A REAL SHOOTER AND WORLD CLASS GENTLEMAN. GOD BLESS YOU FOREVER. https://t.co/SDrmnjZw6g pic.twitter.com/3Ewb6DrEsh— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) December 26, 2020
One of the best professional and amateur wrestlers ever, has passed away. Danny Hodge is gone to be with the Lord. Our loss, Heaven’s gain. RIP my friend. pic.twitter.com/hM99cY8fYE— Ted DiBiase (@MDMTedDiBiase) December 26, 2020
Well saddened to hear the news today of Danny Hodge passing away. I had the pleasure of meeting Danny once, and he was a real gentleman and somebody my Grandfather Stu and my mentor Billy Robinson had a lot of respect for. His handshake was sure inspiring too ♂️ R.I.P. pic.twitter.com/BsdnvXmGyt— Davey Boy Smith Jr. (@DBSmithjr) December 26, 2020
The great DANNY HODGE has passed away...Tuff as nails.. The real deal.. May he Rest In Peace... pic.twitter.com/Z5Rz44ussN— Rip Rogers (@Hustler2754) December 26, 2020
The wrestling world has lost a legit man's man & one of the most beautiful human beings I was honored to call friend. Danny Hodge has taken the 3 count. My heart goes out to his wife Delores & family. Go with God my friend as you will be remembered with much Love & respect ❤️— Les Thatcher (@LesThatcher) December 26, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE— International Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame (NY) (@IPWHF) December 26, 2020
Official Statement on the passing of Danny Hodge pic.twitter.com/EKKRDZ0oQ9
RIP Danny Hodge. A great amateur and professional wrestler who is an absolute credit to our business. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Hodge after a show in Oklahoma years ago and was fortunate enough to experience the infamous handshake. Godspeed sir.— Frankie Kazarian (@FrankieKazarian) December 26, 2020
His strength he possessed in his hands was legendary. Crushing apples & even breaking pliers by squeezing them. A rare breed that we will likely never see again. Do yourself a favor & read this. Then be sure to inform others of Danny Hodge. Thanks https://t.co/89euDce2Ti— Danny Cage (@TheDannyCage) December 26, 2020
I never see your style! very entertaining! i very enjoyed!— kikutaro (@kikutarosan) December 26, 2020
big smile, hug, and hard shakehand,
i never forget your memory,
R.I.P. Mr.Danny Hodge, pic.twitter.com/LKM5kk7oLu
Our thoughts are with everyone missing Danny Hodge today.