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Axel Dieter (1933-2015)

Real NameAxel Dieter Barthel, Sr.

Lifespan - 12/14/1933 - 9/28/2015

6’ 233 lbs. - Berlin, Germany

Athletic BackgroundWrestling

Teacher(s)Axel Cadier, Paul Berger, Bela Barothy

Aliases - none

Peak Years - `64-`74

Place in HistoryAfter learning the pro style, Dieter began touring abroad, which seemed to be his true calling.  He worked in more than a dozen countries over the years.  Throughout the 1960s, he was based out of Spain.  He worked in Spain and France and learned the languages well enough to play a convincing former Legionnaire in Britain.  While Dieter wrestled in well-established hotbeds like Britain and Japan over the years, he was a legitimate heavyweight and was hold his own while on tour in places that demanded a more convincing product.  Jordan and Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt, Kenya and Nigeria, Venezuela and the Caribbean were all destinations where Dieter wrestled, booked or promoted over the years.  Axel Dieter often returned to his home country and he won numerous tournaments in Berlin, Dortmund and Hanover.  Curiously, Dieter, the consummate globetrotter found more success in neighboring Austria, where he won tournaments in Vienna, Linz and Klagenfurt during his peak years.  While he was a perennial top heavyweight in Germany and Austria throughout most of his career, Dieter was never featured as strongly as Horst Hoffman in the 1960s or Otto Wanz in the 1970s and 1980s.  By the late 1970s, Dieter was a respected veteran and he helped establish incoming heavyweights like John Quinn, Moose Morowski, and most memorably Bull Power (the future Big Van Vader) who often went on to work with Wanz on top.  Dieter, despite being fifty and under two hundred pounds, was still able to work as a believable technical babyface.  While some have disparaged him and his style in those later years, Axel Dieter was a superstar in his corner of the world.  After hanging up the boots, he continued to remain involved as a promoter, matchmaker and organizer of international tours.  His son, Axel Dieter Jr., followed in his footsteps and became a top heavyweight in Central Europe himself.  While many of the stars of pro-wrestling in continental Europe are seldom recognized for their accomplishments, Axel Dieter is, along with Hoffman, Wanz, Rene Lasartesse and a few others, has a legacy that is worth remembering.