SI Vault
 
GEORGE ZAHARIAS ON WRESTLING
Joan Flynn Dreyspool
May 14, 1956
"People say that wrestling is phony! It's billed as exhibition in California and New York, and it's staged and promoted by professionals, but it comes down to this.... It is, first and last, entertainment for the people.
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
May 14, 1956

George Zaharias On Wrestling

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue

"People say that wrestling is phony! It's billed as exhibition in California and New York, and it's staged and promoted by professionals, but it comes down to this.... It is, first and last, entertainment for the people.

" Al Jolson was the greatest wrestling fan of all. When I was wrestling in Los Angeles, Will Rogers sat in the corner for 10 weeks.

"Wrestling is a great art, a great sport. To be a good wrestler, you must have ability and personal pride to be better and you must have color.

"I was changed overnight. One night in Memphis in 1930, I threatened to quit. 'Look at my eyes, they're all cut,' I said to an old promoter, 'nobody wrestles by the rules.'

" 'Hit them first!' this old promoter told me. So I became a villain and saw to it there were always fireworks when I wrestled.

"I always wanted to be champion. I never was, but I wrestled Jim Londos two hours to a draw, once, in Cleveland in 1935, and they called me Champ for a while."

1