National Wrestling Hall of Fame

Inductee: Karl Gotch

Karl Gotch

Karl Gotch holds a near mythical spot in the history of wrestling. A native of Belgium, Karl Istaz grew up on the tough streets of Antwerp and learned to fight at an early age. A superb amateur wrestler, he made the 1948 Olympic team at age 18. He then moved to England, where he trained in the legendary Wigan “Snake Pit,” learning hooking and ripping techniques that made him one of the most respected and feared wrestlers of all time.

He came to the United States in 1959 and took the name Karl Gotch in honor of Frank Gotch. He was an absolute legend in Japan and any place where shooting ability is revered. He spent the last decade of his life in semi seclusion, being sought out by wrestling historians and hooking enthusiasts. He died in 2007 at the age of 82 in Tampa, Florida.