We continue our “Sunday Storytime” with chapter 4 in a series examining the history of the NFL, the Green Bay Packers and professional wrestling. This is the final chapter in the series. The introduction to the series can be read here. Chapter 1 can be read hereand Chapter 2 can be read here. Chapter 3 can be read here.
The final chapter in our look at the connection between the Green Bay Packers, the NFL and professional wrestling is a database of wrestlers with ties to the Packers. I know I am probably missing some names, so if you know of anyone that I omitted, let me know in the comments section and I’ll add them.
With the lockout (hopefully) ending this week, you probably won’t have to put up with any more pro wrestling posts from me. I had a lot of fun putting this series together and I hope at least a few of you found something a little worthwhile in each chapter.
A friend of mine manages a popular Minnesota Timberwolves blog and is posting about his return to distance running as the NBA lockout drags on. I also recently started running and probably could have put together some amusing posts about my struggles for this site. But seriously, would you rather read about me — a 240-pound blogger trying not to die of a heart attack while running a mile — or Dick the Bruiser?
I’d take Dick the Bruiser every time.
Pro Wrestlers With Connections to the Packers
Gagne was a 16-time world heavyweight champion and owner/promoter of the American Wrestling Association (AWA) based in Minneapolis. Gagne never actually played for the Packers, but tried out and was cut during training camp. To help himself get over with wrestling fans in the Wisconsin and Green Bay regions, Gagne would often bill himself as a former Green Bay Packer.
Luger (real name Larry Pfohl) is a former member of the famous Four Horseman stable and the groundbreaking NWO. Luger spent the entire 1982 season on the Packers injured reserve and was released before the start of the 1983 season.
Charles “Buckets” Goldenberg was a standout lineman for the Packers from 1933-45 and wrestled in the offseason. Goldenberg gave up wrestling in 1941 because the travel schedule was too much of a drain on his family life.
The Junkyard Dog
Junkyard Dog (real name Sylvester Ritter) spent some time with the Packers in the late 70s before knee and back injuries ended his football career. With his trademark chain around his neck, the Dog became a top draw throughout the southern region of the United States and later with the WWF. Many people thought a black wrestler would have a hard time as a fan-favorite in the South. JYD destroyed that myth.
Zoll was an original member of the Packers and played for the team from 1919-22. Zoll also wrestled, but I was unable to find the exact date range when his wrestling career began and ended.
Several Packers attended a taping of WWE’s Friday Night Smackdown in Green Bay a couple of days after the Super Bowl. All of them sported championship belts and Matthews was the guest referee for the world title match between Edge and Dolph Ziggler. After the match, Edge presented Matthews with his own titled belt and invited the other Packers in the ring for a title-belt celebration.
The Minister of Defense was ringside for Lawrence Taylor’s match against Bam Bam Bigelow at Wrestlemania 11 and even got involved in a backstage scuffle before the match. On May 18, 1997, White stepped in the ring and took on former Bears and Packers DT Steve McMichael at WCW’s Slamboree. White lost the match after McMichael hit him with a briefcase.
Steve “Mongo” McMichael
McMichael partied with wrestlers whenever they came through Chicago and eventually started wrestling himself. He began as a color commentator and eventually became a wrestler, turning on fellow football player Kevin Greene in a tag match and joining the legendary Four Horsemen led by Ric Flair. McMichael played one season for the Packers before retiring.
Currently a linebackers coach with the Packers, Greene gave wrestling a shot off and on from 1996-98. Greene wrestled five matches, highlighted by a feud with Steve McMichael and a couple of run-ins with Ric Flair.
Dick “The Bruiser” Afflis
One of the most colorful characters in Packers history, Afflis played on both lines for four years before becoming a full-time wrestler in 1955. His career spanned more than 30 years as he headlined arenas throughout the country with his barroom brawling, cigar chomping tough guy gimmick.