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Paul Boesch (1912-1989)

        

Real NamePaul Max Boesch

Lifespan - 10/12/12 - 3/7/89

Brooklyn, NY


Athletic background - Swimming, Baseball, Basketball

Occupational Background - Pro-Wrestling

Mentor(s) - Morris Sigel

Promotional Background - Seattle(`37), Houston(`66-`87)

Peak Years


Place in HistoryIn its heyday, Houston was one of the premier destinations for pro-wrestlers.  Like St. Louis, it was a one-town promotion, and was known for its excellent payoffs, top talent and exceptional action.  Promoter Morris Sigel was the man behind Houston’s early years and unlike many of his NWA peers, he found a right-hand man and eventual successor in Paul Boesch that was capable and competent.  Boesch had been a pro-wrestler in the 1930s and though the sport was worked by that point, his trademark cauliflowered ears reveal just how close it still was to its amateur roots.  He enjoyed success in the Northeast, billed by Jack Pfefer as the “Jewish World Champion,” despite being a Gentile.  Boesch worked all over though and even had a stint as a promoter in the Pacific Northwest, where he “invented” mud wrestling after a “Hindu dirt match” went awry.  While working Down Under, Paul Boesch almost headed to Japan for a tour, but turned it down.  The tour went on and he headed back to the States and Pearl Harbor happened!  He enlisted and became the most decorated of the numerous pro-wrestlers who served as a lieutenant in the Army.  He was popular babyface until a car accident ended his full-time career in the ring.  Luckily, Morris Sigel brought him onboard.  He did radio, he wrote publicity and when the company began airing a weekly TV show, he was the host and announcer.  In that era, this role turned many into household names in their market.  Boesch, like Lance Russell, Gordon Solie and a few others, became just as popular as the featured stars in the market. Boesch became the public face of Houston wrestling.  Morris Sigel was in poor health for years before his death in late 1966. So when Paul Boesch took the helm in 1967, it was a fairly seamless transition.  While his relationships with many of the wrestlers was a positive, the change in power did allow for Dallas promoters Ed McLemore and Fritz Von Erich to use their influence within the NWA and the strength of their TV to take over as the main booking office in the state.  With his hands tied, Paul Boesch focused on building Houston further and he succeeded in that.  He was a well-respected member of the community who worked with local charities and rubbed elbows with the likes of future governor (and future president) George Bush.  The 1980s saw tremendous changes in the pro-wrestling world as a whole and Texas in particular.  The Dallas office that had provided talent for so many years was growing and changing under Fritz Von Erich.  While they hit a peak with an array of young talent, Paul Boesch and Houston wrestling went in a different direction.  Bill Watts and his Mid-South Wrestling had an equally impressive pool of talent, but a much tighter ship under Watts.  Boesch switched his allegiance and Houston wrestling reached new heights with the Junkyard Dog and Jim Duggan on top.  Despite the success, Boesch was growing weary.  He was in his seventies, his wife’s and his own health were declining and his nephew Peter Birkholz was assuming more and more control.  Boesch was one of several promoters who made a deal with Vince McMahon when the WWF was growing into an unstoppable juggernaut.  He, like others, was burned by McMahon in the end, but not after a final show held in his honor.  Paul Boesch died a couple years later.  He released four memoirs in his lifetime.  “Hey Boy! Where’d You Get Them Ears” is best known to pro-wrestling fans, but he also wrote of his military service in “Road to Huertgen: Forest in Hell” and wrote a book of poems as well.  This diversity speaks to the full life he led.


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