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 Killer Kowalski

Killer Kowalski

Original Name Edward Spulnik
Birth
Windsor, Essex County, Ontario, Canada
Death 30 Aug 2008 (aged 81)
Everett, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
Burial Everett, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
Memorial ID 29541579 · View Source
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Professional Wrestler. He was one of his sport's premiere villains for 30 years. Born Edward Wladyslaw Spulnik, he was raised in Windsor, Ontario, worked out at the local YMCA to add muscle to his thin frame, and trained for a wrestling career while a college engineering student because he realized he could make more money at that than he could working his part time job in a Ford plant. He wrestled his first known match on February 6, 1948, as "Tarzan Kowalski" and was a rapid success. Using various names including "The Polish Apollo" and "Waladek Kowalski", he was "Killer Kowalski" by 1950 and, save when fighting the even more disliked Buddy Rogers, a well established bad guy who used his signature "killer clutch", an abdominal squeeze, to make opponents submit. A nice man who did not stay in character when away from the ring, his "evil" status was solidified by publicity surrounding a 1954 Montreal incident in which one of his knee drops cut off a piece of Yukon Eric's already long-damaged ear; Kowalski visited Eric in the hospital and the two men laughed together about the matter, though a reporter was to write that Kowalski had made fun of the injured man. During a 1958 Boston match with Pat O'Connor he accidentally kicked guest referee Jack Dempsey in the stomach, sending the boxing legend to the hospital and providing more fuel for his "enemies". Over his long career he wrestled about 6,000 matches, held numerous individual and tag team titles for several companies, and in 1972 became the first man to pin Andre the Giant. Following his 1977 retirement from the ring he ran a wrestling school in Malden, Massachusetts, until 2003. Kowalski was named to the World Wresting Federation (WWF) Hall of Fame in 1996, to the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2003, and to the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame in 2007. In good health until his final months, he died of a heart attack.

Bio by: Bob Hufford


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
  • Added: 3 Sep 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 29541579
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Killer Kowalski (13 Oct 1926–30 Aug 2008), Find A Grave Memorial no. 29541579, citing Woodlawn Cemetery, Everett, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .