Weight: 320 lbs
From: New Orleans,Louisiana
Birthday: November 28,1938
Death: March 10,2007
Trained by: Bobo Brazil
Ring Name: "The Big Cat" Ernie Ladd
Notable Titles Held:
NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship
NWA Georgia Television Championship
NWA Southern Heavyweight Championship
NWF Heavyweight Championship
NWF North American Heavyweight Championship (4x)
UWF North American Championship (5x)
UWF Tag-Team Championship (2x)
WCWA Brass Knuckles Championship
WCWA Texas Heavyweight Championship
WWA World Heavyweight Championship
WWA Americas Heavyweight Championship (3x)
WWA Los Angeles World Tag-Team Championship
WWA World Tag-Team Championship
CAC Honoree (2005)
NWA Hall of Fame (2013)
WWE Hall of Fame (1995)
After a knee injury cut his NFL career short, Ernie Ladd decided to focus on his career being a professional wrestler. Throughout the 60's Ladd wrestled as a fan favorite until in the 70's where he became the first black wrestler to be a heel!
Back in the day most black wrestlers such as Bobo Brazil and Bearcat Wright wrestled as straight forward babyfaces, but Ladd changed all of that and started feuding with other fan favorites such as Wahoo McDaniel and Mr. Wrestling and cutting controversial promos on them such as calling Wahoo "a drunken Indian man."
He was also notorious for cheating in his matches such as using his infamous taped thumb on his opponents which was said to be an old injury he got from football. Also Ladd innovated one of the most hated heel tactics of all time when he would have a trouble during a match, he would leave the ring and accept a count loss. To this day heel wrestlers still use this and the term "pulled an Ernie Ladd" was coined ever since.
Ladd wrestled for multiple territories in his long tenured 3 decade career in wrestling. Mainly fighting for the WWWF and was often contender for the WWWF World Heavyweight Championship against Bruno Sammartino and Pedro Morales. He also had memorable runs in various NWA territories,Mid-South,NWF,and WWC in Puerto Rico.
Standing at 6'9'' Ladd was a huge athlete, his greatest rival was his fellow big man: Andre the Giant. This was during Andre's prime as a babyface in the 70's and the two always delivered great matches in terms of two big men against one another! Ladd often referred to Andre as "Andre the Dummy" or "The Big Fat French Fry" during promos!
In his later years he managed to face off with many modern day legends such as Terry Funk,Dusty Rhodes,Paul Orndorff,and Junkyard Dog. Around 1986 Ernie Ladd decided to finally hang the boots up, he did wrestle for one match in 1988 in a Bunkhouse Battle Royal for the WWF at a House Show.
He would then pursue a career being a color commentator and in 1994 he got inducted into the WCW Hall of Fame and the next year to the WWE Hall of Fame. For several years he is the only man to be inducted in both Halls.
Unfortunately in March 10,2007 the world loss a wonderful talent in Ernie Ladd after losing his battle against colon cancer. His legacy will always be remembered though as one of the trailblazers in professional wrestling!