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Ed "Strangler" Lewis (1891-1966)


Real NameRobert Friedrich
Lifespan6/30/1891 - 8/8/1966 
5'10" 245 lbs. - Nakoosa, WI 

Athletic Background - Wrestling

Teacher(s) - n/a

Professional Background - n/a

Peak Years - 1910s-1930s

Place in HistoryEd "the Strangler" Lewis is one of the most important wrestlers ever. It was his career that took wrestling from a popular "legit" sport and set on the path to the sports entertainment it is today. Though he like many of the men who competed in worked matches in the first half of the century, he is perhaps the greatest hooker ever. After cutting his teeth the carny way, Lewis was doing challenge matches as a teen. He would set his sights on a capturing a world championship, but the most reputiable one, Joe Stecher, bragged better technique than the young Lewis. So instead he beat John Olin and aligned himself with promoters Toots Mondt and Billy Sandow to form the "Gold Dust Trio." Dominating their market, Lewis began doing worked matches while Joe Stecher and his circuit did more shoots. An attempt to elevate football player Wayne Munn backfired when Stanislaus Zbyszko double-crossed him and basically stole the belt and then dropped it to Stecher, who Lewis was leary of wrestling. Luckily, Stecher wanted out of wrestling and dropped his belt to Lewis in a worked match. "Strangler" Lewis was also growing tired of wrestling in the early 30s, while still at the top of his game. He did what he could to get out, but he was brought back in time and time again for the next decade. After getting out of the ring, Lewis became the manager of Lou Thesz, who soon took over his mentor's spot. In his day, he was not only a world class athlete, but a huge celebrity. He rubbed elbows with the likes of Babe Ruth and had a public feud with Jack Dempsey, who never agreed to meet the hooker in a match, later admitting that he wouldn't have stood a chance against Lewis. This proves that Lewis was not only a terror in professional wrestling, but in the sports world as he commanded much respect from his athletic peers. His career was the one that saw wrestling go from shoots (though works existed then) to works to keep the fans interested. Wrestling's early history has many important figures and some would argue none are more important than Ed Lewis.