Hall of Fame - "The Russian Lion" George Hackenschmidt

Real Name: George Karl Julius Hackenschmidt
Birth Date: July 20, 1878
Date of Death: February 19, 1968

World Heavyweight Champion (first ever)
European Greco-Roman Heavyweight Champion

George Hackenschmidt was born in 1878. He was trained by fellow professional wrestler Georg Lurich. Hackenschmidt was very interested in body building and weight lifting. He had a huge physique, bigger than the majority of the professional wrestlers from back in his day.

He won the European Greco-Roman Heavyweight Title from Tom Cannon on September 4, 1902 in Liverpool, England. This was just the beginning of George's big title victories.

George was the first widely recognized World Heavyweight Champion, in 1905 after defeating Tom Jenkins in New York. That was the first time anyone was ever recognized as the undisputed World Heavyweight Champion.

Hackenschmidt, who was know as "The Russian Lion", lost the World Title to Frank Gotch in 1908 at Chicago's Dexter Park Pavilion. In the match it was very noticeable that Frank Gotch was using fouls, and unsportsmanlike tactics to defeat Hackenschmidt. The match still ended up lasting two hours and three minutes.

In 1912 George retired, with over 2000 wins, and only five losses! Probably the most impressive record in the history of professional wrestling, and maybe even professional sports period.

George Hackenschmidt was a linguist and scholar. He spoke five different languages, and wrote several books. He once challenged Albert Einstein to debate the Theory of Relativity.

Hackenschmidt died in 1968 in London at the age of 90.

George Hackenschmidt was a huge man. He had the physique of a greek god, but the mind of a genius. He proved that he was the real deal when he became the first ever World Heavyweight Champion, and only lost the title to Frank Gotch after being injured, and fouled. Hackenschmidt is rarely talked about in professional wrestling today, but his accomplishments definitey deserve recognition.

Written by: Matt Lytle


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