Lou Thesz is a legend of the wrestling world. He was a star of the early days of wrestling in the United States, being one of the most popular performers during the post-war boom in popularity.
Thesz was an AWA World Champion in the 1930s, but it was not until after World War 2 that he would become a nationwide champion with the National Wrestling Alliance.
He held on to the NWA World’s Heavyweight Championship for a record 3749 days over a period of three reigns. Despite Ric Flair having a record 10 reigns with the championship, he did not manage to hold the belt for as long as Thesz.
He had a long and legendary career that lasted well into his 70s. He finally wrestled his last public match on December 26, 1990, in Hamamatsu, Japan at the age of 74, against his protégé, Masahiro Chono. He is one of a select few wrestlers to have wrestled in 7 decades and is regarded as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time.
Lou Thesz also created a number of wrestling moves that are well know today, including the very popular Powerbomb move.
Lou Thesz Invented The Powerbomb By Accident
While he is one of the biggest legends and innovators in the history of wrestling, Lou Thesz is still one to make mistakes. It just so happens that his mistake created one of the most iconic wrestling moves in the history of professional wrestling.
The Powerbomb is one of the most iconic moves in wrestling. Big stars like Kevin Nash, Batista and The Undertaker all used variations of the move as their finishers and won multiple world championships with it. It is a painful looking move with favours big and strong stars, with a wrestler being slammed from over seven foot high looking like a destructive move.
The move itself is a simple one and required collaberation between the two superstars. The attacker lifts their opponent into the air, with the victims leg either side of their head as they sit on the shoulders, facing the attacker. He then slams the victim to the mat (or sits down with him) so he takes a bump flat onto his back, falling from a great height with a sickening thud.
Lou Thesz is the man who is credited with inventing the Powerbomb. The former NWA World’s Heavyweight Champion is one of the great innovators of wrestling, creating not only the powerbomb, but also the STF (used by John Cena) and the Lou Thesz Press (made famous by Steve Austin).
Just like Harley Race and the diving headbutt, the Powerbomb was created completely by accident. It was invented during a Lou Thesz vs Antonino Rocca match.
While attempting to life his opponent, Thesz accidentally dropped Rocca onto his head. A dangerous botch but one he later went on and refined to create the early version of the powerbomb.
It was later made even safer by making it a flat back bump, but the original version was popularised in Japan by Toshiaki Kawada, named The Kawada Driver.
The original powerbomb was a dangerous move. When Brock Lesnar broke Hardcore Holly’s neck during a match in WWE, he actually hit Lou Thesz’ powerbomb on the faux-Intercontinental Champion which was the cause of his neck fracture.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.