Life Turns on Some Funny Points
Why Lou Thesz Never Liked Buddy Rogers
has been no secret over the years that there was a great
deal of animosity between Buddy
Rogers has passed away, so there’s no way to get
his side of the story, but in his book Hooker
this is how Lou Thesz says it all started.
quarrel with Rogers dated back to a single incident
occurring during my Army days, shortly before I was
I was on a two-week furlough and had lined up some
wrestling dates in the St.
Rogers, who wasn’t yet wrestling his rough style,
was the top attraction in the territory at the time, and
we were scheduled to wrestle the main event on my very
first night back, in Louisville,
Since I didn’t have any transportation, Rogers
met me at the train station in St. Louis and I hopped in
we were driving to Louisville, Rogers started talking
about what we could expect that night.
He was a very hot card, and since I was well-known
to fans as a two-time world champion, it looked like a
sell-out, a good payoff for both of us.
Then he started bitching.
promoter has even brought in Ed
Lewis to referee our match,’ he said.
“Why do we need that fat old bastard?
they’re paying him should be going in our pockets."
stared at Rogers for a couple of moments before asking him
what he had been doing before he broke into professional
wrestling. He said he’d been a cop in New Jersey.
me tell you something, kid,’ I said.
‘If it wasn’t for Ed Lewis you’d still be
walking a beat. None
of us would be making any money at this if he hadn’t
paved the way. Don’t
ever talk that way, in front of me or anyone, about the
man who’s (sic)
the foundation of our industry – it’s disrespectful.
What’s more, he’s a very dear friend of
could see that he’d screwed up, and tried to recover by
insisting that he was kidding, but I wasn’t buying it.
He’d said enough to make me uneasy about trusting
we got to Louisville and I sat down with the promoter.
The logical progression, since I was still in the
Army, would have been for Rogers to win. He was the big draw, and a win over me would have only made
him hotter at the box office. If Rogers hadn’t made
those comments about Ed Lewis, I might have gone along
with it. I
had learned to live with the success Rogers had been give
while so many of us worked hard for a sport we loved.
But the knowledge of his contempt for Ed and true
wrestlers was more than I could tolerate.
wouldn’t let Rogers win, and he certainly couldn’t
beat me, so he had no alternative but to go along with
whatever I wanted to do.
At least that was some satisfaction for me.
We ended up wrestling a one-hour draw, and I really
turned on the gas, just to punish him.
I talked to him in German throughout the match,
telling him to hurry up, go faster, setting a pace that
had him breathing hard before we were halfway though.
He was absolutely drained by the end.
Rogers and I were to wrestled many more times in the
coming years, always as the main-event attraction, and we
made an awful lot of money together.
One thing fans never saw in any of those matches
though, was Buddy Rogers with his hand raised at the end
– I never let him win, just on principle.
A fan of his put together a Buddy Rogers record
book several years ago, and it listed close to 50 Thesz-Rogers
matches, every one of them ending in either a draw or a
(What the record book doesn’t reveal is whether
the matches were any good, but I can tell you, simply by
looking at the results. If the match was a draw, it was
almost always a good match; if I was the winner, however,
Rogers wouldn’t put any effort into it, cheating the
fans of any flair or excitement, and that only served to
make me angrier with him than I already was.)
later years I realized that every industry has its
equivalent of Buddy Rogers – someone who reaches the top
but never understands the objective.
Buddy and I finally made peace a few years before
his death in 1992, but it’s hard to forget all that
happened between us.
Life turns on some funny points, and who knows what
Rogers’ career would have looked like if he hadn’t
made that crack to me about Ed Lewis.”
story was take directly from Lou Thesz' book, Hooker.
The book has over 200 pages filled with stories about
every wrestler from Frank Gotch to Ric Flair.
It's available now Wrestlingclassics.com by
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
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