Despite the major respect we have for Lou Thesz, we were not initially planning to put him in our list. The bulk of Thesz’ career took place before the dawn of the WWE and even then he barely had any dealings with the North Eastern promotion. Still, the induction of Gorgeous George has opened up the idea of looking at an older era of Professional Wrestling and if you are looking at the most flamboyant wrestler of the first era of televised wrestling, you have to look at the best of its time.
Lou Thesz won his first of six recognized NWA World Heavyweight Championships in 1937 and was a nationally recognized star in wrestling ever after. As one of the great stars of the 40’s, Thesz star shone brighter and in 1949 he made it his mission to unify the major championships to create one recognized World Heavyweight Champion. As the top wrestling figure of the 1950’s, Thesz was on television more than Milton Berle and Lucille Ball and was among the most recognized men in America. Thesz was what was known as a “hooker”; basically a man who could not be messed with in the ring and could handle himself legitimately should an upstart “decide” it was his time to become the champion.
Thesz would hold the NWA World Championship Belt longer than anyone else in history. He is the symbol of the no nonsense by gone era when even thinking about calling it Sports Entertainment would be considered a blasphemy. That reason alone could be why Thesz may never be considered for the accolade. If Thesz were still alive would he even accept?
The Bullet Points:
U.S.A. (St. Louis, Missouri)
Key Championships Held:
NWA World Heavyweight Championship (6)
Why He Will Get In:
The entry of Gorgeous George might put focus on the older stars.
Why He Won’t Get In:
There does not seem to be any real benefit to put him for the WWE.
Five Greatest Matches/Moments: (In Chronological Order)
1. Defeated Everett Marshall for his first recognized portion of the World
Championship (National Wrestling Association) (12/29/37)
2. Awarded the unified NWA World Heavyweight Championship when
current champion Orville Brown was permanently injured from a car
3. Regains the World Title from Whipper Billy Watson (11/9/56)
4. Wrestled a series of matches with Rikidozan in Japan making him a
star and cementing wrestling as a successful attraction in the Orient
5. Won his last NWA World Championship against Buddy Rogers (1/24/63)