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Wilbur Snyder (1929-1991)

Real NameWilbur Snyder
Lifespan9/15/29 - 12/25/91

6’2” 230 lbs. - Santa Monica, CA

Athletic BackgroundFootball (CFL); Wrestling (University of Utah)

Teacher(s)Sandor Szabo, Warren Bockwinkel

Aliases - none

Peak Years - `56-`62

Place in HistoryThe Golden Age of Pro-Wrestling when a generation of performers became television stars and were able to build long careers off that fame.  Many like Fritz Von Erich, Verne Gagne, Eddie Graham and the Sheik bought into a territory, worked on top for years and even had their children follow them into the business and became local stars as well.  Wilbur Snyder was every bit of a top star who too became a promoter, homesteaded in an area and even had a son break into the sport, however he is not held in the same esteem as all of the aforementioned legends.  Some have attributed that to a lack of desire to be the featured attraction in his area, some say he could not have overshadowed his domineering and egomaniacal partner.  Wilbur Snyder, despite being a very successful football player, seemed destined for pro-wrestling.  He played ball alongside the future Brunetti Brothers in college and Gene Kiniski and Joe Blanchard on the Edmonton Eskimos.  Although he loved football, the money in pro-wrestling was much better in that era.  He worked in Los Angeles and as a tall and handsome babyface, Snyder was pushed hard early on.  He was a quick study who developed an an exciting style that combined technique and some “highflying” dropkicks, flying head scissors and such to the delight of the fans.  He worked with NWA Champion Lou Thesz several times and seemed to have the potential to wear the belt himself.  Johnny Doyle brought him from LA to Chicago, where he enjoyed national exposure of the Dumont Network.  He feuded with Verne Gagne over the US Championship and became a featured babyface for the growing booking office of Doyle and Jim Barnett.  Snyder was working with all the top heels of that era, including one who became his in-ring and out-of-ring partner - Dick the Bruiser.  While they seemed like an odd couple to pro-wrestling fans, they had a great deal in common.  The pair took over Indianapolis from Barnett, who claimed they strong-armed their way into ownership and edged him out while he was focused on Australia.  The subsequent WWA promotion, while not an NWA affiliate, ran the area for another twenty years with several hot periods.  They were a second-tier promotion that produced some promising young talent, provided a stop over for established talent and often fed talent into the AWA.  Snyder, despite his name value and skill, was always second fiddle to the Bruiser.  Many feel he was content in the role, willing to be a family man who could work near the top and live a regular lifestyle.  Unlike the Bruiser, Snyder did not hang on to long and wrapped up his in-ring career in the 1970s and sold off his shares when the company began declining in the early 1980s.  Sadly, Wilbur Snyder did not have a lengthy retirement as lymphatic leukemia took his life soon after.