Legend and Trainer
"Killer" Kowalski[ (October 13, 1926
– August 30, 2008) was a Canadian professional
wrestler. Kowalski wrestled for numerous promotions
during his career, including the NWA and WWWF,
and was a known heel wrestler. He held numeruous
championships including the WWWF World Tag Team
Championship with Big John Studd. After retiring
in 1977, Kowalski started a professional wrestling
school in Malden, Massachusetts and trained many
professional wrestlers, including Triple H.
man later known as "Killer Kowalski"
(he legally changed his name in 1963) was born
Edward Walter Spulnik on 13 October 1926. The
son of Polish immigrants, he and his brother Stanley
were raised in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Years
later, he would tell interviewers that he never
expected to be a wrestler. By the age of 14, he
was already 6 feet 4 inches (193 cm), and because
he was skinny for his height, he began working
out at the local YMCA, but he had no plan to go
into athletics at that time. When he entered college,
his major was electrical engineering. He worked
part-time at the Ford plant in Detroit to help
pay his way.
(aka Walter) Kowalski wrestled from 1947 to 1977
in a number of organizations, including the National
Wrestling Alliance (NWA) and American Wrestling
Association (AWA). Always a fearsome heel, the
genuinely intimidating Kowalski stood a good deal
taller than most of his opponents and was known
for a mean, unrelenting attack on any and all
comers. Kowalski became the main antagonist of
Bruno Sammartino in the World Wide Wrestling Federation
in the 1960s & 1970s.
famously, in a 1954 match in Montreal versus Yukon
Eric, Kowalski kicked his opponent in the side
of the head, causing Yukon Eric's ear to fall
off and roll around the ring. In reality, Eric's
ears were already badly caulifloured due to years
of abuse and the injury was an accident, but it
fortified Kowalski as being a ruthless villain
who ripped his opponents' ear off. Further, Kowalski
attempted to visit his opponent in the hospital
and began laughing along with Eric at how silly
the bandages looked, with Kowalski recalling years
later, "I swear, the first thing I thought
of was Humpty Dumpty on the wall. Yukon Eric looked
at me, shook his head, and smiled. I started laughing
and he laughed, too.". When the incident
was reported in the paper the next day, it stated
that Kowalski showed up at the hospital and laughed
at his victim rather than with him, furthering
Kowalski's image as a heel.
May 11, 1976, Kowalski won the WWWF Tag Team Title
with Big John Studd. Both men wore black masks
and tights and called themselves The Executioners.
1967, the top-rated talk show host Don Lane irritated
Kowalski during an apparently friendly interview
and was attacked with the Kowalski claw hold -
Lane needed medical assistance and was off the
show for a week.
his retirement Kowalski started the very successful
Killer Kowalski's professional wrestling school.
Among the alumni of this school are Perry Saturn,
John Kronus, Triple H, Chyna, and Big John Studd.
Kowalski has also trained Damien Kane, Chris Nowinski,
A-Train, April Hunter, Frankie Kazarian, Nikki
Roxx, and Kenny Dykstra.
also made numerous post-retirement television
appearances including Late Night with David Letterman
in 1982, and was featured in a comic role in Michael
Burlingame's surrealist film To a Random in 1986.
"Lost in the B-Zone," a music video
for Birdsongs of the Mesozoic which was derived
from this film also prominently featured Kowalski.
is a member of the Wrestling Hall of Fame.
June 14, 2007, Kowalski was inducted into The
National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame.
married for the first time to a woman named Theresa
Ferrioli on June 19, 2006. He had known her since
1998, and she was surprised when he proposed,
since he was known as a life-long bachelor.]
claimed to be the only vegetarian in professional
wrestling. He became a vegetarian in the late
began to suffer escalating health problems and
had to go to a rehabilitation center in Everett,
Massachusetts, where he was recovering from a
knee injury, according to a blog on BaltimoreSun.com.
The Sun received the report on Kowalski from his
friend, another wrestling legend, Bruno Sammartino.
It seemed he was getting better, until he suffered
his August 8th heart attack, from which he did
August 8, 2008 Kowalski suffered a major heart
attack. He remained hospitalized in intensive
care. According to Slam! Sports, Kowalski was
taken off life support on August 18, 2008, and
subsequent news reports erroneously stated he
had died. However, family members were not hopeful
that he would recover, according to the Quincy
Patriot Ledger and other sources. Kowalski later
died on August 30, 2008. He was 81 years old.
of Killer Kowalski Wrestling School include:
Kowalski Wrestling School
November 2003 - Walter Killer Kowalski
Man Australia public thank you for the memories