Ed Lewis


[Article: Portrait of a Hooker]

Title History

  • Undisputed World Heavyweight title (five times between 1920-1931);
  • AWA (Boston) World Heavyweight title;
  • New York State Athletic Commission (N.Y.S.A.C.) World Heavyweight title (1932);
  • Wrestling Association World Heavyweight title defeated Orville Brown (November 26, 1942);
  • Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame;
  • Tragos/Thesz Wrestling Hall of Fame;
  • International Wrestling Institute & Museum Hall of Fame;
  • Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame;

Career History

In The Beginning:

  • Robert Friedrich started wrestling at the age of 14 at small carnivals and in farm towns throughout middle America.
  • 1904: At the age of 14, Robert Friedich entered a wrestling ring in Madison, Wisconsin and won his first match!
  • Robert Friedich became known as “Ed Lewis” as a disguise because his parents did not approve of wrestling.
  • Ed Lewis was a true pioneer of the sport and one of its earliest and most dominant heavyweight champions.
  • Ed Lewis helped establish professional wrestling at a time when it was somewhat unestablished.

Ed “Strangler” Lewis:

  • July 4, 1916: Ed Lewis was involved in the longest wrestling match in history, wrestling Joe Stecher to a 5½ hour draw.
  • Ed Lewis got his “Strangler” nickname, from a reporter who saw a resemblence between he and Evan “The Strangler” Lewis.
  • Ed Lewis and boxing champion Jack Dempsey had a long “feud” throughout their simultaneous reigns (pushed by the press)
  • ~~~Jack admitted the match would never happened because he knew that he didn’t stand a chance against a Wrestling Champion.
  • Ed Lewis was probably the most accomplished submission wrestler in the sport during the early part of the 1900s.
  • Ed Lewis was feared and respected both inside and outside of the ring for his extensive knowledge of submissions.
  • Ed Lewis easily could (and sometimes did) injure and legitimately cripple any wrestler that crossed him if he felt like it.
  • January 4, 1929: Gus Sonnenberg defeted Ed “Strangler” Lewis for the World’s Wrestling Heavyweight title.
  • June 9, 1932: Ed “Strangler” Lewis defeated Dick Shikat for the NWA Heavyweight Wrestling title.
  • 1937: Ed Lewis returned to the United States after a tour around the world and Lewis publically quit wrestling.
  • Ed Lewis did not approve of the new style wrestling had adopted, but he kept wrestling dispite that announcement.
  • November 26, 1942: Ed Lewis beat Orville Brown to win the Midwest Wrestling Association World Heavyweight title in Kansas City.
  • 1947: Ed “Strangler” Lewis wrestled his last match, marking the end of a career that spanned four trecherous decades.

Ed “Strangler” Lewis:

  • Ed “Strangler” Lewis (by his own records) wrestled in over 6,200 matches and lost only 33 of those contests.
  • In retirement, Ed Lewis trained and occasionally managed his protege and N.W.A. World Champion, Lou Thesz.
  • Ed “Strangler” Lewis also became the official good will ambassador for Sam Muchnik’s National Wrestling Alliance.
  • Ed “Strangler” Lewis became a restaurant operator, a rancher and athletic director of a health club.
  • Ed Lewis appeared in several films such as “Stranglehold” and “That Natzy Nuisance.”
  • Ed Lewis served as a military instructor of hand-to-hand combat at Camp Grant in Rockford
  • Ed Lewis lost his sight after a siege of trachoma early in his career but recovered and credited the recovery to prayer.
  • Ed Lewis once again lost his eyesight during the last few years of his life.
  • August 6, 1966: Ed “Strangler” Lewis died at the age of 76 at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Muskogee, OK.
  • ~~~Reports of his passing were in newspapers on August 8 which may account for this date being incorrectly used.