National Wrestling Hall of Fame

Inductee: Lou Thesz

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Born April 24, 1916, in a tiny village in Michigan, Lou Thesz spent his childhood and teen years in St. Louis. He fell in love with wrestling at an early age and wrestled in area amateur matches as a schoolboy.

His father had wrestled in his native Hugary before relocating in America, and began taking young Lou to professional matches. Lou was immediately bitten by the wrestling bug and decided to wrestle professionally. He began training under the watchful eye of the legendary George Tragos, and learned many of the secrets of submission wrestling.

He also studied with top pros Ad Santel and Ray Steele and was managed for a long time by Ed “Strangler” Lewis. Thesz won the NWA world title from Everett Marshall in 1937 in St. Louis, at the age of 21 and held the title on six occasions for a total of 13 years, longer than any other wrestler in NWA history.

For nearly four decades, Lou Thesz was one of the biggest names in all of professional sports. He traveled the world and drew huge crowds wherever he appeared.