Hans Schmidt (wrestler)
February 7, 1925|
|Died||May 26, 2012(aged 87)|
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Hans Schmidt
|Billed height||6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)|
|Billed weight||250 lb (110 kg)|
|Billed from||Munich, Germany|
Larose used a background in amateur wrestling to break into the pro business after World War II, wrestling as a babyface under his own name with modest success early on. Then in 1951 the Boston-area promoter Paul Bowser, who thought the tall, naturally balding franco-Québécois looked like a German, rechristened him Hans Schmidt. Playing the character of an 'evil German', Schmidt became one of the first great heels of televised wrestling in the 1950s, drawing the hatred of fans as he battled their American babyface heroes of the squared circle. In the 1998 A&E documentary The Unreal Story of Professional Wrestling, Hans Schmidt was labeled "the classic foreign villain" - tapping into lingering anti-German sentiment in America following World War II, Schmidt was a forerunner of many other wrestling characters that successfully used the "anti-American foreigner" gimmick to enrage the crowd, such as Nikolai Volkoff and The Iron Sheik.
Nicknamed The Teuton Terror, Schmidt wrestled a rough, aggressive rule-breaker's style. He often finished his opponents off with a backbreaker, and was also known to use the piledriver as well. Fellow wrestlers recalled that he liked to work stiff on them, particularly with his boots, a practice for which he earned the nickname of "Footsie".
Schmidt wrestled in territories all over North America but was a particularly big name in Chicago, Milwaukee and Toronto. By 1954 he was so thoroughly hated by wrestling audiences that he turned "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers into a face simply by wrestling a match against him. He later said that at the peak of his career, between live events and TV tapings he was wrestling as many as eight matches a week.
Schmidt wrestled Lou Thesz several times for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, and faced many other legends of the era such as Verne Gagne, Antonino Rocca and Whipper Billy Watson. He was naturally partnered up in tag team action with other 'evil German' wrestlers around at the time, such as Karl von Hess and Ludwig von Krupp. He also frequently tag teamed with Dick 'The Bulldog' Brower. In the wake of Schmidt's success in drawing heel heat, other wrestlers took the 'German heel' gimmick and pushed it to greater extremes with goose-stepping, fascist saluting and use of Nazi iconography. Schmidt never took it to this level himself, though he was known to wear a helmet to the ring later in his career.
Near the end of his career in the 1970s, Schmidt worked around the Montreal region, still a heel but billed as hailing from Chicago. Guy Larose spent his retirement years in the Laurentians north of Montreal until his death on May 26, 2012. He is survived by two children as well as his wife and stepchildren.
Championships and accomplishments
- American Wrestling Association
- International Heavyweight Championship (Montreal version) (2 times)
- NWA Los Angeles
- NWA World Tag Team Championship (Los Angeles version) (1 time) - with Hans Herman
- Shields, Brian; Sullivan, Kevin (2009). WWE Encyclopedia. DK. p. 121. ISBN 978-0-7566-4190-0.
- Greg Oliver (May 28, 2012). "Legendary Hans Schmidt dies at 87". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
- Greg Oliver (May 28, 2012). "The imprint of Hans Schmidt". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
- "SLAM! Wrestling Canadian Hall of Fame: Hans Schmidt". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
- Meltzer, Dave (2012-11-12). "Nov. 12, 2012 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: WON Hall of Fame 2012 double issue, six men inducted, all the news and info from around the world and more!". Wrestling Observer Newsletter (Campbell, California): 8. ISSN 1083-9593.