Hall of Fame

Killer Kowalski

Visit Toronto Wrestling History

Return to Page of Fame homepage.

Killer Kowalski

From Windsor. One of the all-time great heels. Big and strong -- somewhere around 6'6". Master of the knee drop and claw hold. Probably best known for accidentally ripping off part of Yukon Eric's ear with a kneedrop in a 1952 match in Montreal (Kowalski was already known as "Killer" before this match). Very successful in Montreal, and a headliner everywhere he went.

Often wrestled under a mask in the 70s, even under his own name. Retired from full-time wrestling in 1977. Has run a small promotion and wrestling school in Massachusetts since then. Appeared in the WWF all-star old-timer's battle royal in November 1987 (won by Lou Thesz).

A 6-time world champion in Australia and 7-time International champ in Montreal. Never held the NWA title, but did wrestle as champion on some shows in Texas for promoter Morris Sigel in 1962. Kowalski had defeated the champ, Buddy Rogers, in Montreal when Rogers suffered a broken ankle and couldn't continue after the first fall. Sigel used this match to promote Kowalski as the NWA champion.

"Leading contenders for the box office leadership in 1950 were Verne Gagne and Wladek Kowalski, the Michigan killer. Kowalski, 24, has hung up an amazing string of victories during the year and the 275 pounder is drawing enormous crowds, recently smashing all attendance records in Texas. He claims to have that temper of his under control and he is on good behavior, seeking another shot at Lou Thesz's title. But Lou, ten years older than the killer, doesn't seem anxious for the bout." (From WRESTLING, July 1951)

"He is a devout Catholic, attends mass regularly, is as gentle as a lamb outside the ring and a holy terror inside it. Definitely the roughest hombre in the game." (From WRESTLING, September 1951)

"Kowalski has been coming along like a house afire in the past two years. He is now 26 years old and just coming into his prime. Two years ago he was a strong aggressive boy, but today he is the number one challenger for Thesz' crown. He has earned his way up the ladder by defeating the top men in the wrestling game. He holds wins over Yukon Eric in one of the roughest matches ever witnessed. The mighty Atlas found his super human strength of no avail when he ran into the knee drop and body smash combination the way Kowalski administers it." (From Seattle program, July 29, 1954)

Prominent Titles:

  • NWA Texas champion, 1950
  • NWA Texas tag champion (by himself), 1950
  • NWA Pacific Coast tag champion, 1951
  • NWA Central States champion, 1951
  • 7-time Montreal International champion, 1952-62
  • NWA Pacific Coast champion (San Francisco), 1958
  • Pacific Coast tag champion (Vancouver), 1961, 62
  • WWWF U.S. tag champion, with Gorilla Monsoon, 1963
  • 6-time IWA World champion (Australia), 1964-67
  • U.S. champion (Hawaii), 1965
  • 4-time IWA World tag champion (Australia), 1967-71
  • NWA Americas champion (Los Angeles), 1972
  • Grand Prix champion (Montreal), 1972
  • NWA Southern champion (Florida), 1975
  • WWWF World tag champion, as the Executioners, with John Studd, 1976

Return to homepage