Kenny Jay

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Kenny Jay
Birth name Kenny Benkowski
Born (1937-03-27) March 27, 1937 (age 80)
Holdingford, Minnesota
Residence Bloomington, Minnesota
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Kenny Jay[1]
Billed height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Billed weight 275 lb (125 kg)
Billed from Minnesota
Cleveland, Ohio
Trained by Verne Gagne
Bob Hawkins
Debut 1958

Kenny Benkowski, better known by his ring name, Kenny Jay (born March 27, 1937) is an American retired professional wrestler, best known for his appearances with the American Wrestling Association.

Jay primarily performed as a jobber. He was often paired with fellow AWA jobber Jake "The Milkman" Milliman in tag team matches.[2] During his career, he was known for his stiff wrestling style.[2]

Early life[edit]

Kenny Jay was born on March 27, 1937 in Holdingford, Minnesota.[3] Kenny was a natural athlete in high school, lettering in both football and shotput. When he graduated from high school in 1955, he moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he found employment as a factory worker.[2]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Early career; military service[edit]

His first match was at the Southside Armory for John Hinds. Before long he was working larger venues at the Marigold Arena in Chicago. His wrestling career took a hiatus when he joined the U.S. Army for a two-year stint.[3]

American Wrestling Association[edit]

After his military tour, he found employment with the American Wrestling Association (AWA), wrestling every Saturday's television taping and then house shows during the week for promoter Wally Karbo.[3]

Whenever a new name would come in, they would give them to Jay to make them look good. He used his mat-based scientific wrestling style [4] with the likes of Mad Dog Vachon, The Crusher, Verne Gagne, Jesse The Body Ventura, Jerry Blackwell, Bobby Heenan, Mr. Saito, and Bruiser Brody.[2]

To help pay the bills, Jay started his own landscape business, which is where he got the "Sodbuster" nickname.[2] He never left the Midwest, as he was rooted in the area with his landscape business, wife, and three children. He continued working for the AWA for nearly thirty years until they went out of business in 1991.[3]

Kenny Jay is the best overall talent in wrestling. He was what we called a 'job guy' or 'jobber' but he could work with any human being and get a good match out of them. He would go in the ring with a big name who really couldn't do much and make him look good, and he could get in there with a Danny Hodge or Verne Gagne and make them look even better than they were. He was just an incredibly talented guy.

Early career highlights included several overseas trip to Japan beginning in 1972 where he worked 18 matches (including five cage matches), winning most of them.[3] Later in 1976 he took on Muhammad Ali in a boxer vs wrestler bout that also featured Verne Gagne as the Referee, a match Kenny Jay considers one of the high points of his career.

In 1984 The Sodbuster also appeared as a tag-team partner with legendary wrestler Baron Von Raschke.[2] Jay later wrestled in North Premier Wrestling with J.B. Trask, Lenny Lane, Jerry Lynn, Dan Jester and his enemy the Texas Badman. Jay occasionally wrestled for several promotions in the 1990s and 2000s primarily appearing in the State of Minnesota.

In 2005 the Cauliflower Alley Club board of directors unanimously chose Kenny Jay to be honored.[3]

Being the first jabroni to be honored by the Cauliflower Alley Club is real exciting. It’s nice to be recognized by the boys.

— Kenny Jay[3]

In wrestling[edit]

  • Nicknames
    • Kenny "Sodbuster" Jay
    • "The Very Capable" Kenny Jay

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mike Hart for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (December 11, 2003). "These gifts make it a very Packer Christmas". Retrieved 2007-04-29. [dead link]
  2. ^ a b c d e f Canadian Online Explorer (April 2, 2005). "This time, Kenny Jay is on top". Retrieved 2007-04-29. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Cauliflower Alley Club (2005). "CAC 2005 Honorees - Kenny Jay". Archived from the original on 2007-04-18. Retrieved 2007-04-29. 
  4. ^ onlineworldofwrestling.com. "Online World of Wrestling Profiles: Kenny Jay". Retrieved 2007-04-29. 

External links[edit]