The Final Chapter: The Complete History of Green Bay Packers in Professional Wrestling: List of All Packers With Wrestling Connections

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Clay Matthews raises Edge's hand after a match on WWE Smackdown.

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

Vern Gagne
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.

Lex Luger
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.

Buckets Goldenberg
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.

Carl Zoll
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.

Clay Matthews
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.

Reggie White
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.

Kevin Greene
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.

 

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam\\\'s writing on the Packers here.

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  • Tippet523

    My father was a fraternity brother of William Afflis. One of the best stories was when he threw the piano off the balcony at the Beta house at Purdue. Funny but strong man, really strong

    • Adam Czech

      Throwing pianos off of balconies sounds like Afflis.

  • Ron LC

    No steriods for those guys. The trainning table was set with beer and kelbahsa (cooked in a generous portion of Lard). They were real men not creations of Dr. Frankstein’s lab.

    Thanks for the entertaining read(s) Adam. Very enjoyable memories for me.

    Now let’s cross the t’s and dot the i’s on the CBA and PLAY THE GAME.

    • Adam Czech

      Well…..with the exception of Luger, you are probably right about the steroids.

      • Adam Czech

        Glad you enjoyed the series. But you’re right, it’s time for some football.

  • Chad Toporski

    Adam, I will admit that I have about zero interest in wrestling; however, you have done an excellent job with this series. It’s been a unique look into Packers connections that few have actually known about. Well done!

    • Adam Czech

      Thanks Chad.

  • Ed Schoenfeld

    Great series, but you have a typo: Goldenberg played for the Pack from 1933-1945. (1938 to 45 was his tenure wearing number 43, not his entire Packer career). He was on three championship teams and was selected to the NFL 1930’s All Decade team. He’s one of the few on this list whose football career outshone his wrestling career.

    http://packershalloffame.com/charles-goldenberg

    • Adam Czech

      Thanks Ed. I fixed it.