Profiles‎ > ‎profiles‎ > ‎

Dick Steinborn


Real Name - Richard O. Steinborn

Birthday - 9/28/33

5’9” 218 lbs. - Richmond, VA

Aliases - Dickie Gunkel, Mr. Wrestling, The White Knight

Athletic background - Wrestling


Baltimore(`51), Florida(`52-`54), Mid-Atlantic(`53-`59), Amarillo(`54), Gulf Coast(`57), Texas(`58), Georgia(`58-`72), Florida(`60-`65), Chicago(`60-`61), AWA(`62-`63), Hawaii(`65-`67), Australia(`65-`66), Amarillo(`66-`67), JWA(`67), All-South(`72-`74), WWC(`74-`75), IWA(`75), Nashville(`76), WWC(`78-`82), Texas(`79), SECW[Knoxville](`80), Stampede(`79-`80,`82)


Peak Years - `60-`67


Place in HistoryDick Steinborn is one of pro-wrestling’s great storytellers whose career spanned from the 1950s to the 1980s and took him all over the United States and overseas and gave him opportunities as not only an in-ring talent, but as a booker and promoter.  Steinborn was a rebellious sort who often worked with “outlaw” promotions, not because he was a maverick, but because he was a free spirit.  As a second-generation wrestler, Dick Steinborn had a different perspective on the pro-wrestling business.  His father, Milo, was a European strongman who came to the US after the first World War.   He broke Dickie in up in Baltimore and bought into the Florida office in 1952.  While promoting Orlando for years, Milo’s son wrote programs (the noted “Milo’s Mat”), helped run towns and learned all dimensions of pro-wrestling.  Steinborn might have been based in Florida and came back in regularly, but  inherited his father’s wanderlust and willingly traveled the world over a career that spanned four decades.  Dickie Steinborn, once established as an excellent babyface who made up for his lack of size with athleticism and creativity, was able to get work most anywhere.  Steinborn came to the Carolinas as George Becker’s partner following the death of Bobby Becker.  His first big run saw him reborn as “Dickie Gunkel,” the younger brother of Ray Gunkel, in Georgia.  He worked top heels like Freddie Blassie and Skull Murphy, often on top in singles or in tags.  While he was not the main star, Dickie Gunkel could sell a beating and deliver exciting, well-timed moves as well as anyone and was pushed strongly.  Dickie remained a constant in Georgia from that point forward and regularly returned to Florida.  Although he rarely left the South, Steinborn headed to Chicago and then to Minneapolis, where he teamed up with Doug Gilbert as “Mr. High & Mr. Low,” which is one of his most memorable roles.   Steinborn worked the mat while Gilbert worked highspots and the babyface pair got over strongly.  Opposite the likes of the Kalimikoffs, the Neilsons and Kenji Shibuya & Mitsu Arakawa, they were great attraction at a time when the AWA was full of top talent.  By this time, Steinborn was in his physical and professional prime.  He floated around the South, had several international tours and captured titles all along the way.  When his “brother” Ray died in 1972 and there was an upheaval with talent, Dick Steinborn came in to help.  Ray’s widow Ann and her booker Tom Renesto formed All-South and Steinborn was essential in helping them.  He ran southern Georgia, promoting and opening up new towns and pushing the junior heavyweight division that was highly successful.  All-South might have had a short existence, but their battling of the NWA turned Georgia into a hot territory leading into the national cable era.  At this stage in his career, Steinborn was a well-traveled veteran who took a shine to young talent.  He was an influential figure in the early careers of Dutch Mantell, Tommy Rich and his brothers-in-law - the Oates Brothers.  Highly respected as an innovative in-ring performer and an out-of-the-box thinker, Steinborn was always able to find work.  Steinborn found himself in Puerto Rico in the early years of the WWC office and ended up with the book for a time.  Although he worked others places in between stays on the island, he most came in doing limited roles and often as the masked Mr. Wrestling.  One of his brief runs was booking Calgary, where he brought in the future Junkyard Dog and Jake Roberts, turned the Dynamite Kid heel, transformed John Foley into tycoon manager J.R. Foley and gave Bruce Hart a big push.  In 1985, a car accident ended his career.  Dick Steinborn, always a man of many interests and talents, pursued life after wrestling as a personal trainer, playwright and a regular storyteller in various interviews.  Although his accomplishments might not make him a Hall of Famer in some people’s eyes, his longevity, his influence and his highly regarded work in the ring make Dick Steinborn one of the under-appreciated legends of his era.

Comments