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Tex McKenzie (1930-2001)


Real NameFrank Hugh McKenzie

Lifespan - 7/21/1930 - 5/31/2001

6’9” 290 lbs. - Edmonds, WA

Athletic BackgroundRodeo

Teacher(s)Joe Parelli

AliasesHugh McKenzie, Goliath, Giant Goliath, Davey Crockett McKenzie, Dakota Mack

Peak Years1960s

Place in HistoryThe cowboy is such an iconic American character; strong and silent, heroic and honorable, simple and steady.  Pro-wrestling has featured plenty of cowboy types, but Tex McKenzie got at the essence of the character.  As a result, he connected with the fans and could always draw and always get over.  However, his skill in the ring left something to be desired.  At 6-foot-9, Tex was one of the tallest pro-wrestlers of his day and while he was not promoted as a “giant,” his stature lent itself to some of that appeal.  Tex McKenzie was most effective as a short-term attraction not unlike giants of the territorial era.  He was awkward and clumsy, not unlike some other exceptionally tall pro-wrestlers, which made him a tough opponent for top heels and someone the fans would get bored with.  As a result, McKenzie worked just about every territory in the United States and Canada as well as having tours of Australia and Japan.  The story goes that Hugh McKenzie was an overzealous fan that a promoter, possibly Jack Pfefer, started under the name of “Goliath.”  Like many Pfefer discoveries, McKenzie needed to breakout of that persona and find his own to become successful.  As Big Tex McKenzie, he played the perennial babyface, which fit him as he was one of the nicest guys around.  He found a niche, doing “aww shucks” interviews, taking beatings from heels in the ring and doing comedy in small doses before using the bulldog headlock for the win.  In the 1950s, McKenzie bounced from city to city.  He was particularly successful in Toronto, Buffalo and Detroit, working in tags with the top babyfaces.  He fell in love with the Pacific Northwest and made his home there and from there he worked up into Vancouver and Calgary and down to San Francisco.  In the late 1960s, Tex McKenzie focused on the booming Australian market where his American cowboy character helped him become one of their top stars opposite Killer Kowalski, Waldo Von Erich and The Spoiler.  From there he returned the US and worked across the South and the Midwest into the mid-1970s.  Promoters tended to partner him with complimentary workers like Red Bastien or Nelson Royal.  By this time, Big Tex was nearing the end of his career and he was amongst the regional stars who signed with the IWA in 1975.  McKenzie wrestled and worked as a color commentator in the short-lived company.  After that his options were limited and he returned to places of past glories like Detroit and Toronto where he worked in the undercards.  Tex McKenzie retired to Washington state, where he built homes and enjoyed sailing until his death in 2001.