George Hackenschmidt


Real Name - George Karl Julias Hackenschmidt
Lifespan - 7/20/1877-2/19/1968
5'9" 218 lbs. - Dorpat, Estonia
Athletic background - Weightlifting
Peak Years - 1890s-1900s

Place in History - As a new century rolled in one wrestler was at the top of the world. George Hackenschmidt was perhaps the greatest physical specimen the world had ever known, possessing superhuman strength. Billed as "The World's Strongest Man," that label had been proven throughout Europe when he was a teenager. Immediately he became a pro-wrestler and his primitive bearhug became one of the most feared holds in the world. After legitimizing himself in Europe, "The Russian Lion" finally hit North America and became an immediate player. Beating American champion Tom Jenkins allowed Hackenschmidt to call himself the World Champion. He remained on top of his game for the next few years and was considered unbeatable by many. Furthermore, his charisma made him amongst the most popular atheletes in the world. This was all until he met the only remaining champion Frank Gotch in Chicago. After losing the first fall, Hackenschmidt never returned and forfeited the belt. Prior to the rematch, a skilled hooker met up with the European strongman and injured his knee badly. While only time knows the real answer, many say Gotch had this done and double-crossed Hackenschmidt in the ring and put him away with surprising ease. Hackenschmidt would never recover and became the first World champion to history books, who is best remembered for being double-crossed and coming up a loser.