The greatest ever. Period.
Born Lajos Tiza
in Banat, Michigan, Lou Thesz
(1916-2002) was an American Professional Wrestler
. He is best known for his six reigns as NWA World Heavyweight Champion
and for inventing such moves as the Lou Thesz Press, later used by everyone from "Stone Cold" Steve Austin
to Mickie James
, the STF, popularized by Masahiro Chono and used today by John Cena
, and the powerbomb, popularized by Sid Vicious
and by Big Van Vader
and used by too many wrestlers to start listing them here. He started his career in the 1930s and had his last match, against Chono, one of his students, in 1990
. While he was primarily a singles wrestler, he also held the NWA (Vancouver) Pacific Coast Tag Team Title
with the Outlaw (Dory Funk Sr.), and the NWA Southern (Tennessee) Tag Team Title
with Jackie Fargo
. He also competed for the UWA promotion in Mexico, for Jerry Lawler
's CWA promotion in Memphis and won the Legends Battle Royal at a WWE
house show at the Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford, NJ on November 6, 1987. He was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter
Hall of Fame in 1996.
As usual, you can find the basics at The Other Wiki
"Lou Tropes Press":
- Arch-Enemy: "Whipper" Billy Watson, "The Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers, Rikidozan
- Autobiography: Hooker.
- Badass: Like most wrestlers in his era, Thesz was a legitemate amateur wrestler and had an incredible amount of core strength to back it up. One ancedote details how he once beat the crap out of a fellow athlete who thought he was disgracing "legitimate" wrestling by using useless moves like dropkicks. So Thesz beat him up. With dropkicks.
- Badass Grandpa/Ring Oldies: He wrestled in seven different decades, and had his last match at the age of 74.
- Badass Teacher: Wrestlers he had a hand in training include Bruiser Brody, Dory Funk Jr., Nick Bockwinkel, Jumbo Tsuruta and Masahiro Chono.
- Taught hand to hand combat defense to medics during World War II.
- Bald of Awesome: As he got older.
- Carpet of Virility: Type 1.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: Was famously very strong, particularly for his era.
- Cool Old Guy: He came out of retirement to win the UWA heavyweight championship in Mexico.
- Distaff Counterpart: Of Rikidozan and El Santo.
- Defeating the Undefeatable: Anyone who was able to have an officially recognized victory for the title over Thesz would have done this.
- Finishing Move: Thesz Press, STF
- Foreign Wrestling Heel: Was one in Japan, and even agreed to put over Rikidozan to give the Japanese fans a hero to rally behind. He also ended up giving the JWA the NWA International Title, a semi-unsanctioned title Thez defended overseas, and which is still part of the All Japan Triple Crown.
- Red Baron: (in Japan): Tetsujin (Iron Man)
- Serious Business: Thesz's full-time run, from the 1930s through the 1970s, was the era where Kayfabe was absolutely enforced and treated as something that should never be broken.
- Stronger Than They Look: In the modern era when even lightweight wrestlers are often expected to look like they're cut from stone, the balding, slightly paunchy Thez doesnt exactly cut an impressive figure. Anyone in the business will tell you that Thez could tie them into human pretzels without breaking a sweat.
- Ur Example: The Power Bomb, belly-to-back waistlock suplex, the stepover toehold facelock(STF) and the Lou Thesz press, naturally, are all credited to him.
- Worthy Opponent: Rikidozan, Verne Gagne, Danny Hodge, Ed Lewis, Karl Gotch.