The MWC Hall of Fame welcomes "The Russian Lion" George Hackenschmidt into the Class of 2017!
Real Name: Georg Karl Julius Hackenschmidt
Weight: 218 lbs
Birthday: August 1,1877
Death: February 19,1968
Trained by: George Lurich
Ring Name: Ferdinand Gruhn
Notable Titles Held:
World Heavyweight Championship
European Greco-Roman Heavyweight Championship
French Heavyweight Championship
Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame (2002)
WWE Hall of Fame (2016)
WON Hall of Fame (1996)
"The Russian Lion" George Hackenschmidt was a man who made tons of history in professional wrestling, a legend in every sense of the word!
After being a well known bodybuilder and weightlifter, George transitioned into pro wrestling on 1896. Thanks to his good looks and well built physique, he became a huge fan favorite in no time being cheered by the ladies and men alike!
Due to his growing popularity he has toured all over the world winning tournaments and belts such as in France,Germany,and the UK. In 1902 he won the European Greco-Roman Heavyweight Championship from Tom Cannon in Liverpool.
But on May 4,1905 was George Hackenschmidt's biggest highlight of his career when he defeated American Heavyweight Champion: Tom Jenkins and become the inaugural World Heavyweight Champion in the history of pro wrestling!
At this point, George was already the biggest draw of his era. He held the World Championship in an undefeated streak of 1,065 days!
Until a man by the name of Frank Gotch came in to the wrestling scene and thus the first ever major rivalry in pro wrestling happened in the form of Gotch vs Hackenschmidt.
It was Frank Gotch who ended George Hackenschmidt's reign as the World Heavyweight Champion. The two had many heated re-matches over the years, some of them being controversial, but George was never able to get a hold of the title back.
When George loss to Gotch for the final time, he was pitted in a match against Stanislaus Zbyszko but it never came to life after George suffered a career ending injury.
George wasn't just a great wrestler though but an innovator as well. He is credited for inventing the "bear hug" submission hold which is still widely used today by many wrestlers most notably big men like Mark Henry!
During retirement, George continued on the path on another of his passions: weightlifting. He wrote several books about weightlifting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Unfortunately he passed away on February 1968 at the age of 90. George Hackenschmidt was a pioneer, old school fans and wrestling historians may know him best but we should let the younger generation more about him!
He may be gone but his contributions and innovations will never be forgotten and have been immortalized in numerous wrestling Hall of Fames already.