Georg Hackenschmidt (1877-1968) was a Russian strongman and professional wrestler who is without a doubt the greatest in history. He married a French woman and attained French citizenship in 1939 and became a British subject in 1946. Hack was not wrestling in this so called "fake" wrestling it was 100% real back in his time, the 'pro' in pro wrestling meant that they were professional fighters and it also dealt with the style of their wrestling which was basically a combination of all the different wrestling styles. If you think Bruno Sammartino invented the Bear Hug you are wrong he merely popularized it, his truly Georg Hackenschmidt invented it. He invented the exercise known as the Hack Squat. Hack's years of wrestling are known as the Golden Age of Wrestling. Hackenschmidt was 5ft 9 inches tall and 219 pounds,though he may seem small his measurements would shock you. At age 28 his recorded measurements were
Reach-75 in. Biceps-19 in. Forearm-15 1/2 in. Neck-22 in. Chest-52 in. Waist- 34in. Thigh-26 3/4 in. Calf-18in.
He was not a showman like most of today's wrestlers he was serious and determined he would finish you off quickly. As wrestling wasn't scripted back then. His manager insisted that he'd lengthen his matches so he would increase his and the sports popularity and would make more bookings and sell outs which increased his pay. He would let a local competitor last 10 minutes and then finish him and collect his £25 .
Hack wrestled 3000 matches (literally) and lost only 2 to the same man, Frank Gotch. But unlike Gotch an many other wrestlers at his time he was not mean, vindictive nor unnecessarily rough in the ring. He won from speed and skill along with his self confidence.
Hack's achievements may mean nothing to you but to a consistent wrestling fan it means the most. In Greco Roman Wrestling he was a European Greco Roman Heavyweight in Liverpool,England once. In Pro-wrestling a French Heavyweight and a World Heavyweight Champion once. Back then pro-wrestling did not consist of many businesses like today it was 1 business (e.g. boxing) on a world wide basis. So that World Heavyweight Championship he held was THEE only,truly and original World Heavyweight Championship. But he was not just a world champion he was the FIRST he won it in 1905 by defeating Tom Jenkins(a good friend of his) in New York City on May 4th. He lost it to Frank Gotch (long time rival) on April 3rd 1908. He and Gotch had a rematch in 1911 in Comiskey Park in Chicago drawing an audience 30,00 spectators drawing $87,000. Hack's knee injury which he received from training caused him to lose the match.
After that match Hackenschmidt retired and lived a long life and died at the old age of 90 on February 19th in London,England. Gotch held the world title for 5 years after he retired in April 1st 1913. The fifth longest world title reign in pro wrestling but Gotch did not live the healthy life of Hackenschmidt he died at age 37 of uremic poisoning.
Hackenschmidt was a large meat eater but his diet contained large contents of fruits, nuts and raw vegetables and drank 11 pints of milk a day. He was physically fit even after retirement. At 56 he would jump over a 4ft 6 inch high board ten times and in his mid-80's he would jump over a chair 50 times once a week, bench press 150 pounds and run several miles in 45 minutes.
Hackenschmidt may have been forgotten by the majority of wrestlers and wrestling fans but he will always go down in history as the greatest and if not the greatest one of the greatest wrestlers in history.