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Eric the Animal

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Eric the Red / Eric the Animal

Real name: Ib Solvang Hansen

A big wrestler at about 6'1", 300 pounds. Began with a straight viking gimmick as heel Eric the Red. Wrestled for Frank Tunney in the late 1960s, but came to prominence with Pedro Martinez's NWF in Buffalo and Cleveland in the early 1970s. Wore viking horns and was billed from Denmark (where he was actually born). Became a stronger heel as Eric the Animal in 1973, carrying a bone to the ring which would be hung on the turnbuckle and be available when the referee's back was turned.

Had memorable feuds with Johnny Powers, the promotion's top babyface. Defeated Powers for the North American title in 1973, losing it back to him a few weeks later. Came back to work for Tunney, and had main event matches in 1973 at Maple Leaf Gardens against The Sheik and NWA world champion Jack Brisco.

Eric went to Eddie Einhorn's IWF in 1975, managed by George Cannon. He worked Cannon's independent circuit in Toronto after the IWF closed down.

Was successful in Florida, where he held the tag title when he was killed after being hit by a car in November 1978.

Prominent Titles:

  • NWF North American champion, 1973
  • NWA Florida tag champion, with Pak Song, 1978

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