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Greatest Wrestler of the Century is No Contest
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By Lou Thesz
Six-time World heavyweight

Note: 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. 

I enjoy the time I spend on the Lou Thesz Message Board Forum.

The questions, for the most part, have been intelligent and interesting. I always find it amazing that anyone cares what happened a half decade ago or longer. I also find it frustrating when some read between the lines when there were no lines. I am asked about some pretty interesting characters and was considering doing columns on individual wrestlers - from my perspective

The character I would like to begin with is the man who would be my Wrestler of the Century. For those who know me, this will not be a surprise. When people tell me I was their hero when they were kids I know what that means, and I am even more flattered. Ed "Strangler" Lewis was one of my heroes when I was a kid and my only hero when I was an adult. My admiration grew and affection developed as I met, worked out with and became friends with Ed. The longer I was a professional wrestler and the longer I knew him, I realized his impact on the sport and the business of professional wrestling

Ed was like no other wrestler, or person, I have ever met. There was not a mean bone in his body, although he had his own sense of retribution. When I would get hot about a promoter or wrestler and the underhanded dealings, Ed would say, "Retribution works, Hunky!" I didn't have Ed's patience or his faith, but I did learn, as with most things, he was right.

The biggest difference with Ed was his relaxed attitude about wrestling. I guess it could have been self-confidence, or the lack of skill of 99% of his "opponents," or it could have been his nature. He was always calm, but focused. Frank Gotch was rumored to have wet his pants before a contest because he was so intense; many wrestlers - myself included - were known to get pretty impatient with others before a contest. Ed was always the picture of calm. Part of it was to keep his opponent off balance, but I believe part of it was just the sheer joy Ed derived from the sport. When a reported would ask him what he was doing to prepare for a big match, Ed would pause and say, "I think I will get a shave and a haircut." To give you an idea of his philosophy, he once told me, "I am just like a monkey, every day is brand new."

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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