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Pak Song (1943-1984)


Real Namen/a

Lifespan - 11/4/43 - 1/?/84

6’6” 268 lbs. - Jinju, South Korea

Athletic Background - n/a

Teacher(s)Kintaro Oki

Professional BackgroundKorea(60s), JWA(`66-`69), Amarillo(`70-`72), Gulf Coast(`70), Florida(`72-`79), St. Louis(`72), Los Angeles(`73), Hawaii(`74), Georgia(`76-`78), St. Louis(`80), Kansas City(`80), WCCW(`80)

AliasesPAK Song-nam, Pak Song Nam

Peak Years`70-`76

Place in HistoryWith the passing of Dusty Rhodes, people looked back on his legacy and many recounted his run in Florida when he transformed into the “American Dream” character that immortalized him.  The birth of that character came in 1974 when he split from manager Gary Hart and Pak Song.  The ensuing rivalry between Rhodes and Song set Florida ablaze.  While his lengthy run in Florida is best remembered, Pak Song was unquestionably one of the top heels in the country in the 1970s.  Pak Song-Nam made his start in Korea under the guidance of Kintaro Oki (Kim Ill), a Rikidozan disciple, who became a top star in Japan and Korea in the 1960s.  Oki began bringing his boys on JWA tours, but it was Pak Song-Nam that was brought back repeatedly.  The two went to Amarillo in 1970 to establish Pak Song in the US.  They dominated as a tag team and the run firmly established as a top monster heel, perfect to go after NWA champion Dory Funk Jr. around the West Texas loop.  His devastating claw hold was put over by opponents and his immense strength was demonstrated as he smashed bricks, split watermelons and crushed apples using his bare hands.  Pak maintained this spot through 1972 before he needed to go elsewhere.  The Pak Song character worked on several fronts.  America was less than a generation removed from the Korean War and still embroiled in the Vietnam War, so there was an anti-Asian sentiment that had existed since World War II.  Sometimes he was referred to as “Pak Song Nam,” which with its similarity to “Viet Nam” emphasized this evil Oriental persona.  In addition to his ethnicity making him a villain, Pak Song was affected by a medical disorder that gave him some freaky proportions.  Much like Giant Baba, Song had a broad torso and thin, elongated legs, arms, fingers and toes and his head was accurately compared to a lantern by Gordon Solie.  Although not as tall as Baba, Song was often called the “Korean Giant” and he had a very similar look.  He next based himself out of Florida with Gary Hart as his manager and began his run there.  Dusty Rhodes was a heel in Florida at the time, doing his “American Dream” act with fancy robes and arrogance that was actually getting over.  It was time to flip him and Pak Song was the catalyst.  While the two were teaming, they had a miscommunication and it led to Pak and Hart double-teaming Rhodes.  He was turned and when Mike Graham came to the rescue, they had a new top program.  Pak Song, the unquestionable top heel, was a fitting challenger for NWA Champion Jack Brisco when he made his return to Florida.  Pak Song’s other memorable angle in Florida was when he attacked Steve Keirn’s father Richard, who was one of two men who were POWs in both World War II and Vietnam, making it was a heated affair.  They were saved by Killer Karl Kox of all people.  Kox, who had served in the Korean War, became an unlikely hero to battle the Korean Giant.  Aside from Texas and Florida, Pak Song worked most of the Southern promotions with varying degrees of success.  Most accounts have him going back to Korea due to his failing health before passing in 1984.  While his mentor, Kintaro Oki, is widely considered the greatest Korean wrestler of all-time (assuming you dismiss Zainichi Koreans Rikidozan, Riki Choshu and Akira Maeda), Pak Song certainly has his own claims to that distinction.  Unlike Oki, Pak made his career in the United States and in the decade he was over here, he was mainly a top heel.  He had more NWA Championship matches than Duke Keomuka, Mr. Moto or any other Asian wrestler.  He was also a key part in the hottest angle in the history of pro-wrestling in Florida and was the key antagonist to a white-hot babyface.  Pak Song might be downplayed as generic Asian heel or simply being in the right place at the right time, but he was used on top in several markets for significant runs, which says something about his effectiveness in his role.