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Zebra Kid (1923-1977)


Real NameGeorge Bollas

Lifespan - 9/19/23 - 1/28/77

5’11” 320 lbs. - Warren, OH

Athletic BackgroundWrestling (Ohio State), Football (High School)

Teacher(s) - n/a

Aliases - The Mystery Man, George Bollas, Intercollegiate Dark Secret, The Dark Secret, The Golden Terror

Peak Years`48-`64

Place in HistoryJack Pfefer created all sorts of outrageous characters during his career as a promoter, many of the men he put his notorious copycat personas and over-the-top gimmicks went on to bigger and better things.  One man however, George Bollas, was able to make a career from the strange guise that Pfefer put on him.  Bollas, a massive Greek kid from Ohio, was a tremendous athlete who excelled at football in high school and wrestling at Ohio State.  Nicknamed “Dreadnaught,” Bollas was an immediate success on the collegiate wrestling scene.  As a freshman, he won the Big 10 Championship and placed second in the AAU Championships.  As a sophomore, he won the Big 10 again and won the NCAA Championship in his weight class.  While wrestling at Ohio State, Bollas had been apparently been secretly wrestling professionally on the side for Al Haft and decided to pursue it after his second year.  Needless to say, his potential as an amateur was never fully realized.  As a pro, George Bollas exhibited amazing athleticism, speed and agility for a man of his size.  Bollas soon found himself in New York, where he met Jack Pfefer, and later in the Carolinas, where he went under the hood for the first time.  While Bollas may not have been the first Zebra Kid and he certainly was not the last, he was the one that got over most strongly with the persona.  Pfefer brought him to Southern California and put the gimmick on him.  Some tales say that the idea came from the stretch marks on Bollas, due his weight, regardless it was a perfect fit.  The mask and character allowed him to become more of a special attraction and not merely the impressive athlete that he was.  He was a massive man when covered with vertical stripes must have appeared larger-than-life to most fans.  The Zebra Kid was an attraction, which kept Bollas on the move for much of his career.  Bollas used the masked Zebra Kid in several territories and countries, but he was always willing to unmask when the time was right.  He lost it many times to men like Lou Thesz, Rikidozan, Whipper Watson, Bronko Nagurski, Leo Nomellini, Billy Darnell, The Outlaw (Gordon Nelson) and several times to Buddy Rogers.  Curiously, he also used the character but without a mask as well.  In 1959, Bollas made his first tour of Europe and started to see the potential there.  A few years later he moved to England with hopes of being home every night and perhaps opening up pro-wrestling in Greece.  He did promote one successful card and whether it was novelty or shady business partners, the venture did lost beyond that.  The Zebra Kid spent three years based in England before dropping his mask to another and retiring in 1966 following an eye injury.  He returned home to Ohio and lived out his final days.  The Zebra Kid is one of the unfortunate forgotten characters of the mid-century.  During his heyday, many men used the Zebra Kid gimmick (often promoted by Pfefer) and some like Lenny Montana and Frank Hickey went on to be successful under other identities.  The gimmick, which seems kind of odd in retrospect, worked and it worked best when given to George Bollas.  As for the man himself, even though he traveled extensively, was featured prominently and was well-respected by his peers, George Bollas is not remembered by many these days.