Los Angeles Times – May 21, 1952
By Braven Dyer
Question – Why is wrestling?
Answer – Well, why not?
Q – Who is this guy Lou Thesz?
A – He’s the NWA (National Wrestling Alliance) champion, and don’t call him a “guy.”
Q – Who’s Baron Leone?
A – Where you been hiding? The Baron’s Pacific Coast world champ.
Q – How many worlds are there?
A – Just one. It says so in a book by the late Wendell Wilkie.
Q – Is wrestling mentioned in the Bible?
A – Many times. The Lord wrestled with the devil.
Q – No kidding. Is wrestling the oldest sport?
A – You mean indoor or outdoor? Yes, it is, over 3,000 years old.
Q – Is wrestling a part of the Olympic Games?
A – Natch. It was one of the most important, back in 708 B.C., in the old Olympic Games – the originals.
Q – Why is the game so rough? Aren’t there wrestling rules?
A – Kicking and striking was permitted by the ancient Greeks in their wrestling bouts. I guess the Greeks had a word for it. We have one today: It is “Booo.”
Q – Who’s the greatest wrestler of all time?
A – S’matter, you tryin’ to get me knocked off? Oldtimers insist it was Frank Gotch; others say the Great Gama, Hindu ace, was even better. Me? I’ll say the winner of the Thesz-Leone match (I’m a diplomat.)
Q – What’s the longest wrestling match on record?
A – Fellow named Eugene Tremblay wrestled a guy named Billeter, from Toledo, about 7 – hours; it went to a draw. They were lightweights. That was many years ago.
Q – How about nowadays?
A – Matches nowadays are limited; for instance, Thesz and Leone is a two-hour contest. If no fall is scored, the referee will render a decision.
Q – Is Michele Leone a real Baron?
A – Is Duke Ellington a real Duke? Is Count Basie a real Count? Is Prince Mike Romanoff a real Prince? Was King Baggott a real King? I dunno. In our circles we do not question a man’s ancestry; if Leone calls himself a Baron, that’s o.k. Lord Blears is legally a “Lord.” Had his name changed by law.
Q – Will this be the biggest gate in wrestling tonight?
A – Oh, come now; it will be the biggest locally beyond a doubt; the Everett Marshall-Gus Sonnenberg match hit up in the 60 Gs, and so did Jeemy Londos and Man Mountain Dean. Tonight’s will beat those marks to flinders.
Q – Why is wrestling so popular?
A – Well, I heard one definition somewhere: Wrestling is co-operative, whereas boxing is competitive. I’m just kidding!
Q – How long is a wrestler’s life?
A – I presume you mean, how long can he wrestle? Well, Stanislaus Zbyszko wrestled at the age of 68; some of the boys now who are top stars are past 40. Barring accidents or injuries, a grappler can operate for anywhere between 20 and 30 years.
Q – How old is Baron Leone?
A – He says he’s 36. Oh, yes; Jack Benny is 39.
Q – And how old is Lou Thesz?
A – He admits to 33.
Q – How many bouts do big-time wrestlers work in their careers?
A – Strangler Ed Lewis – he is Thesz’ manager – wrestled 6,200; that’s over a period of 40 years. Thesz himself has wrestled 2,500. The Baron does not know; he thinks about 3,000. (Gosh, I think it’s more than that; I’ve seen him in 3,000 matches within the past year on my TV set!)
Q – Are wrestlers human?
A – Why don’t you ask one of them yourself.