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Wrestling alive in Korea;
great museum in Iowa
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By Lou Thesz
Six-time World heavyweight

Lou Thesz has a Message Board on his Web site, the Lou Thesz Message Board Forum. You can ask Thesz questions directly. You can see photos and listen to an interview with Thesz on the official Lou Thesz Web site. You can also get information about Thesz' biography Hooker, one of the definitive histories of professional wrestling. He also has a Collector's Edition Photo Biography available. 

Wrestling alive in Korea; great museum in Iowa

Here we sit on a borrowed computer anxious to tell you about what is happening in Korea. Charlie dropped her computer off at to be repaired or replaced, so when we return from Iowa, we will be online on a regular basis.

The Korean trip had been planned and re-planned and while I was in St. Louis (for the NCAA wrestling championships), the call came to pack our bags and go.

The flight was good and the hospitality was superb. But I kept wondering about the matches.

I was not the center of attention and was pretty comfortable being in the background while most of the focus was on Kim Il, or Oki Kintaro, as I knew him. The purpose of my visit was to honor him and his contribution to professional wrestling and Korea.

I had been invited to serve as the commissioner of wrestling in Korea and possibly China, so I needed to check it out. Just because I will be 84 next week, I have no intention of giving up my search for some acceptable professional wrestling. And while the matches were not perfect, the main event made me proud of both Wang Pyo Lee and Giant Kurrgan.

WWA is an organization behind the resurgence of professional wrestling in Korea and China. As we all know, China will be tough nut to crack, but the timing is pretty good to try.

My part in all of this will be representation and possible some coaching. I don't know why they chose me because my name is not that well know in Korea and China. At least, I have not been there before. The autograph requests and magazines with my photos I saw surprised me. The biggest surprise, and it was funny to watch her, was when they ask Charlie to sign the magazines, also. This was pretty new to her and she was even given flowers from the fans. Korea truly is a warm and welcoming society.

From here, I don't have any idea where the promotion will go. Selfishly, I will do what ever I can to helps its success. I would like to see some semblance of wrestling preserved, but I would also like to have a place to work. I know you all think I am just an old fogy, but I cannot be a party to what is passed off as professional wrestling in this country.

I will be in Newton, Iowa this week for the Hall of Fame inductions. It will be great to see Danny Hodge and Dick Hutton get the recognition (from a reputable and knowledgeable organization) they so richly deserve. Earl Caddock and Joe Stecher are being inducted also. I never met Earl Caddock, but my meeting Joe Stecher is a time I value highly and a feeling I hope I never lose.

The International Wrestling Museum has even acquired the weights and pulleys and heavy bag Joe Stecher used to train. I have to admit, there is a bit too much Lou Thesz there, but I took a golden opportunity to "store" some pretty unwieldy pieces of memorabilia - such as a painting of Leo Nomellini hitting me with a flying tackle and lofting me pretty high - at the Cow Palace in the 50s. In the very large painting commissioned by Joe Malciewicz (the San Francisco promoter), I am actually airborne. I landed on top of the ref, Wagner, and he landed in the hospital for hernia surgery. You guys have to know that was not planned. The ref was a great guy, former wrestler and damn good referee. The painting is a treasure to me, but really too large for my humble dwelling.

While my original belt is in Japan, I had a duplicate made by a jeweler. It is so damn beautiful and so exact; it puts a lump in my throat. It was very expensive, but he can make more if anyone is interested. An artist in Virginia painted a portrait for the Museum poster (copies limited to 1000) and it, too, is at the Museum (6'4"x4'7"). Aside from too much Thesz, there is Verne Gagne, Frank Gotch, and too numerous to mention others in the professional wing. The ancient, amateur, collegiate and Olympic sections are so well planned and appointed you get the full story of the sport of wrestling - mankind's oldest sport.

I promise a full report upon my return.

Lou Thesz is arguably the greatest professional wrestler of all time. He held the World heavyweight championship six times in four different decades. He is the only wrestler to ever compete in seven different decades. His book, Hooker details the history of professional wrestling through his perspective as the top wrestler in the business. He has just released a Collector's Edition Photo Biography. You can also visit the Lou Thesz Web site.

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