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Lou Thesz Question (1975)  Rate Topic 
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 Posted: Mon Nov 9th, 2020 06:44 pm
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Kriss
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Was Thesz broke at the end of his career? Going through the Wilbur Snyder matches, I'm up to the summer of 1975. 59-year-old Thesz worked for the WWA at this time, and was in tag team semi-main events against the second and lesser incarnation of the Legionaries at fair shows in random places like Farmer City, Illinois (a real place, I checked). Even at that age, I would have thought Thesz could have got better work than this. Seems like other top-drawer talent managed to stay at the top of the card well into their old-age. Kind of throws a different light on him if he never managed to save any money from being on top for so long. Maybe he just liked wrestling outdoors, though.



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 Posted: Mon Nov 9th, 2020 07:06 pm
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BitterOldMan



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Thesz was still revered in Japan, so if he needed money I would think he could get well paid work there.

Having said that, I've wondered myself about the bookings he took and where he worked, specifically his run in Continental.



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 Posted: Mon Nov 9th, 2020 07:16 pm
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Heenan Fan
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Trust me, Lou was not broke at the end of his career. At CAC he would always show up in a limo wearing a different 3 piece suit everyday and buy the boys drinks even though he didn't drink himself at this time.

Considering the era(s) he worked in, he probably never made big money. But he was never broke.



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 Posted: Mon Nov 9th, 2020 07:28 pm
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Wasn't he also jobbing quite frequently in Memphis too?



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 Posted: Mon Nov 9th, 2020 07:33 pm
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Heenan Fan wrote: Trust me, Lou was not broke at the end of his career. At CAC he would always show up in a limo wearing a different 3 piece suit everyday and buy the boys drinks even though he didn't drink himself at this time.

Considering the era(s) he worked in, he probably never made big money. But he was never broke.
It's all relative.  He was making more money as NWA Champ than most baseball and football players were, and it's a known fact.  I can't tell you how much he made, but a guy like Don Manoukian quit the Raiders after one season because he was making more money working Calgary for 6 months and he thought that a football injury could ruin his chances at making top of the card money.  Wahoo McDaniel said many times that he made more money wrestling than he did for the Dolphins and the Jets.  And Ernie Ladd was a potential HOFer with the Chargers, and left football for the money that wrestling paid him.



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 Posted: Mon Nov 9th, 2020 08:43 pm
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I saw Thesz a lot during this period. I threw out several programs from Hammond, Indiana during this period on which he wrestled. Some of the matches with Ox Baker and Johnny Starr. As mentioned earlier a few tags with Snyder also.
Lou would arrive at the Hammond CC dressed to the nines.

I am sure that Thesz was taking care of his Mom during this period as she lived in Central Indiana. He probably wrestled for Bruiser just for that reason.

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 Posted: Tue Nov 10th, 2020 01:36 am
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Heenan Fan wrote: Trust me, Lou was not broke at the end of his career. At CAC he would always show up in a limo wearing a different 3 piece suit everyday and buy the boys drinks even though he didn't drink himself at this time.

Considering the era(s) he worked in, he probably never made big money. But he was never broke.
Thesz did make the big money, that's why I'm questioning why he was basically working as a mid-card guy in Memphis.
Jim Cornette did a segment in a podcast on what wrestlers made during the 1950's and mentioned that during a year he specified (can't recall but was early to mid 1950's) the three top paid professional athletes were the Heavyweight boxing champ, Verne Gagne and Lou Thesz. If you want the numbers Corny cited I'll find it on Youtube.



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 Posted: Tue Nov 10th, 2020 01:49 am
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srossi
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I can't fathom that Thesz needed the money. I never heard about him indulging in any of the vices associated with blowing your dough, and he made a fortune for the time. I'm sure he just enjoyed getting in the ring and couldn't give it up. At his age, he wasn't going to be a top of the card guy anymore, but I don't think he cared. He might have even not wanted to be because he knew it would kill the credibility of the business. I think he just wanted to take some bumps and hear some cheers a few nights a week. But from what I've seen of his undercard run in Memphis especially (and admittedly it's not much), he wasn't exactly getting monster pops and wasn't really being showcased as a legend. Everyone knew the name, but that generation in that location didn't fall over themselves for him. He was closer to Pedro Morales in 1986 than Bruno Sammartino in 1986, to use a NY comparison. I would guess that he could've gotten much more high profile bookings if he was willing to travel around to different territories for special attraction matches, but I don't think he wanted to.



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 Posted: Tue Nov 10th, 2020 11:55 am
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Superstar wrote: Heenan Fan wrote: Trust me, Lou was not broke at the end of his career. At CAC he would always show up in a limo wearing a different 3 piece suit everyday and buy the boys drinks even though he didn't drink himself at this time.

Considering the era(s) he worked in, he probably never made big money. But he was never broke.
It's all relative.  He was making more money as NWA Champ than most baseball and football players were, and it's a known fact.  I can't tell you how much he made, but a guy like Don Manoukian quit the Raiders after one season because he was making more money working Calgary for 6 months and he thought that a football injury could ruin his chances at making top of the card money.  Wahoo McDaniel said many times that he made more money wrestling than he did for the Dolphins and the Jets.  And Ernie Ladd was a potential HOFer with the Chargers, and left football for the money that wrestling paid him.

I dont buy that except for the top stars such as These, Gagne and the like that wrestlers were getting paid more than football players. If they had been you would have seen a steady stream of All Pro players leaving the NFL/AFL to become full time wrestlers. I think there's a reason why almost every football player who became a pro was either an end of the bench guy/training camp player/player at the end of his career. And we all know how much announcers loved to exaggerate the football accomplishments of guys who peaked at making a training camp pro roster.



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 Posted: Tue Nov 10th, 2020 04:32 pm
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silentkiller wrote: Superstar wrote: Heenan Fan wrote: Trust me, Lou was not broke at the end of his career. At CAC he would always show up in a limo wearing a different 3 piece suit everyday and buy the boys drinks even though he didn't drink himself at this time.

Considering the era(s) he worked in, he probably never made big money. But he was never broke.
It's all relative.  He was making more money as NWA Champ than most baseball and football players were, and it's a known fact.  I can't tell you how much he made, but a guy like Don Manoukian quit the Raiders after one season because he was making more money working Calgary for 6 months and he thought that a football injury could ruin his chances at making top of the card money.  Wahoo McDaniel said many times that he made more money wrestling than he did for the Dolphins and the Jets.  And Ernie Ladd was a potential HOFer with the Chargers, and left football for the money that wrestling paid him.

I dont buy that except for the top stars such as These, Gagne and the like that wrestlers were getting paid more than football players. If they had been you would have seen a steady stream of All Pro players leaving the NFL/AFL to become full time wrestlers. I think there's a reason why almost every football player who became a pro was either an end of the bench guy/training camp player/player at the end of his career. And we all know how much announcers loved to exaggerate the football accomplishments of guys who peaked at making a training camp pro roster.
I have to disagree here. Guys like Leo Nomellini (Canton HOF), Ernie Ladd, Don Chuy, Roger Brown, Alex Karras, Ron Pritchard and Bronko Nagurski were all guys who had substantial careers in pro wrestling as well as the NFL. I think more didn't come over because at the time wrestling was considered beneath contempt by the sportswriters so they didn't want to deal with negative press.



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 Posted: Tue Nov 10th, 2020 04:39 pm
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WongLee wrote:I have to disagree here. Guys like Leo Nomellini (Canton HOF), Ernie Ladd, Don Chuy, Roger Brown, Alex Karras, Ron Pritchard and Bronko Nagurski were all guys who had substantial careers in pro wrestling as well as the NFL. I think more didn't come over because at the time wrestling was considered beneath contempt by the sportswriters so they didn't want to deal with negative press.
I agree with a lot of this.

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 Posted: Tue Nov 10th, 2020 05:05 pm
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khawk wrote: WongLee wrote:I have to disagree here. Guys like Leo Nomellini (Canton HOF), Ernie Ladd, Don Chuy, Roger Brown, Alex Karras, Ron Pritchard and Bronko Nagurski were all guys who had substantial careers in pro wrestling as well as the NFL. I think more didn't come over because at the time wrestling was considered beneath contempt by the sportswriters so they didn't want to deal with negative press.
I agree with a lot of this.

Same.



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 Posted: Tue Nov 10th, 2020 07:07 pm
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srossi wrote: khawk wrote: WongLee wrote:I have to disagree here. Guys like Leo Nomellini (Canton HOF), Ernie Ladd, Don Chuy, Roger Brown, Alex Karras, Ron Pritchard and Bronko Nagurski were all guys who had substantial careers in pro wrestling as well as the NFL. I think more didn't come over because at the time wrestling was considered beneath contempt by the sportswriters so they didn't want to deal with negative press.
I agree with a lot of this.

Same.
I agree completely and I'm glad nobody mentioned Walter Johnson and Otis Sistrunk.  I would bet money that either of them could beat the shit out of 90% of the people they ever ran across no matter where they were...but in the squared circle, they were worse than horrible.



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 Posted: Tue Nov 10th, 2020 11:26 pm
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Superstar wrote: srossi wrote: khawk wrote: WongLee wrote:I have to disagree here. Guys like Leo Nomellini (Canton HOF), Ernie Ladd, Don Chuy, Roger Brown, Alex Karras, Ron Pritchard and Bronko Nagurski were all guys who had substantial careers in pro wrestling as well as the NFL. I think more didn't come over because at the time wrestling was considered beneath contempt by the sportswriters so they didn't want to deal with negative press.
I agree with a lot of this.

Same.
I agree completely and I'm glad nobody mentioned Walter Johnson and Otis Sistrunk.  I would bet money that either of them could beat the shit out of 90% of the people they ever ran across no matter where they were...but in the squared circle, they were worse than horrible.
I think we can both agree that if Johnson and Sistrunk came after Thesz with a baseball bat he'd take it away, stick it up their ass and make em like it.  Thesz was the real deal.



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 Posted: Wed Nov 11th, 2020 02:20 am
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WongLee wrote: silentkiller wrote: Superstar wrote: Heenan Fan wrote: Trust me, Lou was not broke at the end of his career. At CAC he would always show up in a limo wearing a different 3 piece suit everyday and buy the boys drinks even though he didn't drink himself at this time.

Considering the era(s) he worked in, he probably never made big money. But he was never broke.
It's all relative.  He was making more money as NWA Champ than most baseball and football players were, and it's a known fact.  I can't tell you how much he made, but a guy like Don Manoukian quit the Raiders after one season because he was making more money working Calgary for 6 months and he thought that a football injury could ruin his chances at making top of the card money.  Wahoo McDaniel said many times that he made more money wrestling than he did for the Dolphins and the Jets.  And Ernie Ladd was a potential HOFer with the Chargers, and left football for the money that wrestling paid him.

I dont buy that except for the top stars such as These, Gagne and the like that wrestlers were getting paid more than football players. If they had been you would have seen a steady stream of All Pro players leaving the NFL/AFL to become full time wrestlers. I think there's a reason why almost every football player who became a pro was either an end of the bench guy/training camp player/player at the end of his career. And we all know how much announcers loved to exaggerate the football accomplishments of guys who peaked at making a training camp pro roster.
I have to disagree here. Guys like Leo Nomellini (Canton HOF), Ernie Ladd, Don Chuy, Roger Brown, Alex Karras, Ron Pritchard and Bronko Nagurski were all guys who had substantial careers in pro wrestling as well as the NFL. I think more didn't come over because at the time wrestling was considered beneath contempt by the sportswriters so they didn't want to deal with negative press.
How could you leave out Mongo???



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