Ed “Strangler” Lewis: A Legend in the Wrestling World

Robert Herman Julius Friedrich, known to the world as Ed “Strangler” Lewis, is a name that resonates with power, skill, and an indelible legacy in the realm of professional wrestling. Born on June 30, 1891, in Nekoosa, Wisconsin, Lewis’s journey from a robust child to a wrestling colossus is a tale of determination, innovation, and unparalleled success in the squared circle.

Lewis’s wrestling career, which spanned over four decades, began at the tender age of 14. His choice of the ring name “Strangler” was partly in homage to the 1890s wrestling star Evan “Strangler” Lewis and partly to keep his wrestling pursuits hidden from his parents. This moniker would soon become synonymous with wrestling excellence and feared for his signature headlock, a move so effective it was often mistaken for an actual strangulation technique.

Throughout his illustrious career, Lewis was a four-time World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion, a testament to his dominance in the sport. His battles were legendary, drawing crowds by the thousands and setting records that stood for decades. One of his most notable matches took place in 1934 against Jim Londos at Wrigley Field, attracting an audience of 35,275 and drawing a gate of $96,302, a record that would stand until 1952.

Lewis’s impact on wrestling was not limited to his in-ring prowess. Alongside Billy Sandow and Toots Mondt, he formed the Goldust Trio, revolutionizing the sport by introducing and popularizing the concept of professional wrestling as entertainment. This transformation was crucial at a time when wrestling was struggling with legitimacy issues and waning public interest. Their efforts breathed new life into the sport, laying the groundwork for what professional wrestling would become.

Beyond the ring, Lewis’s life was equally compelling. Despite facing challenges such as temporary blindness due to trachoma, he remained a devoutly religious man, often attributing his recovery and successes to divine intervention. His dedication to wrestling was unwavering, even coming out of retirement at the age of 51 to compete, despite being legally blind.

Lewis’s legacy is cemented not only by his achievements and contributions to wrestling but also by his character. He was a man of immense strength, both physically and spiritually, who used his platform to inspire and entertain millions. His death on August 8, 1966, marked the end of an era, but his influence on the sport of wrestling remains undiminished.

Ed “Strangler” Lewis’s career is a testament to the enduring appeal of professional wrestling. His story is one of triumph, innovation, and the indomitable spirit of a true champion. As wrestling continues to evolve, the legend of Ed “Strangler” Lewis serves as a reminder of the sport’s rich history and the giants upon whose shoulders today’s wrestlers stand.

Professional Wrestling

Leave a Reply