His real name was Pete Sauer, and he came from a family of top amateur athletes near Lincoln , Nebraska . After a brief amateur career, Pete changed his name to Ray Steele and became one of the finest professional wrestling of the 1930s and ’40s.
He was known for his lightning-fast reflexes and vast knowledge of the sport. He won the NWA world heavyweight title in 1940 from Bronko Nagurski and was a top attraction for many years. He served as a mentor to many top young pros on the way up, including Lou Thesz, who ranked Steele as one of the finest wrestlers he ever knew. Ray Steele died young, at the age of 49 in 1949, and should be remembered as one of the truly great professional wrestlers in American history.