Bill Longson

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Real Name - Williard Rowe Longson
Lifespan - 6/8/06 - 12/10/82
?'?" 238 lbs. - Salt Lake City, UT
Aliases - Purple Shadow
Athletic background - Boxing, Wrestling (Utah)
Peak Years - 30s-40s

Place in History - A three-time World champion whose brawling heel style made him very popular, "Wild" Bill Longson was the perfect opponent of all the straight-laced babyfaces that were so beloved in St. Louis. Coming out of a excellent athletic background in Utah where he held AAU wrestling and boxing simultaneously. He had frenzied brawls and with his exceptional charisma and devastating piledriver. He established himself in his homestate in the early 30s, his biggest match being a boxer-versus-wrestler match (both wore gloves), where he lost to the legendary Jack Dempsey. Longson had feud with Man Mountain Dean after having his back broken before returning in `38 as the hooded Purple Shadow and extracting his revenge. He went onto enjoy success under the hood on the West Coast before Bronko Nagurski unmasked him. Then without the mask, where he established his name further. He moved onto working in St. Louis under Tom Packs. Longson established himself in the city almost instantly. Longson captured his first world championship from Sandor Szabo, holding for the better part of `42. His second reign began exactly a year later on 2/19/43 when he defeated Bobby Managoff. This was his major reign, lasting four years, established him as draw. In 1944, Longson headlined 39 cards in St. Louis drawing approximately 390,000. Furthermore, he had sixteen consecutive sellouts in the same city, which is simply unbelievable. His feud with Lou Thesz was the major program of his career and they would exchange the title. Thesz would win it back and that 1948 win would propel him to becoming the eventually golden boy of the NWA. Longson was nearing his forties and the wrestling world was quickly changing. He had programs with many of the future superstars including Whipper Watson, Antonio Rocca, Fritz Von Erich and Buddy Rogers as he worked throughout the Central States and Texas. The last major impact he had in business was breaking in Bobby Shane who was cutting his grass at the time. Shane desperately wanted to break into the pro-wrestling world and Longson and Bobby Bruns helped him, namely by having Longson and other veterans roughing him up to test his drive. "Wild" Bill suffered a stroke in `78 and suffered for several years until dying in `82. His place in wrestling history is often overlooked, but he was an amazing draw for a time in the pre-NWA period.

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