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Ray Steele (1900-1949)

Real NamePeter Sauer
Lifespan?/?/1900 - 9/11/1949 
??  215 lbs. - Lincoln, NB

Athletic Background - Wrestling

Teacher(s) - Ad Santel

Professional Background - n/a

AliasesPete Sauer

Peak Years1930s-1940s

Place in HistoryPeter Sauer was an immigrant who grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska and took to his cultural ties and community ties to wrestling as a youngster. In his early pro years, Sauer worked California and learned from the grizzled hooker Ad Santel. Shortly after that Pete Sauer relocated to St. Louis and repackaged himself. He became “Ray Steele” from Glendale, California from then forward. Promoter Tom Packs and superstar Jim Londos took a liking to the young shooter. Steele became a policeman for Londos and headed to New York City for Jack Curley. He and Londos wrestled each other on several big shows and complimented each other well. Londos was the biggest drawing card of the day and Ray Steele was legitimately great with amazing speed and knowledge. Steele also developed his reputation in a battle with “Strangler” Lewis. He was disqualified for using strikes, but legend has it that Steele was backing Lewis up most of the match. He also furthered his credibility by destroying top heavyweight boxer "Kingfish" Levinsky in a mixed match. He also built up a rivalry with another non-wrestler and huge drawing card, Bronko Nagurski. Although he was disqualified and suspended for using strikes in an early match in New York, Steele caught Bronko a few years later to win a the National Wrestling Association World Championship in St. Louis. Ray Steele was by this point a versatile wrestler, who could work the holds or have a fast-paced match. He reigned for a year before dropping it back to Nagurski in Houston. Ray Steele remained a top talent through the 1940s before health problems began slowing him down and eventually a heart attack ended his life at 49 years of age. Ray Steele is one of the most important figures of the 1930s and 1940s. He grew up in a tough sport, a throwback hooker from Nebraska and grew into a strong working veteran from California and his style changed with the times, a precursor to the TV era that came after his death.