AWA (Boston) World Heavyweight title defeating Ed “Strangler” Lewis (January 4, 1929);
World Heavyweight title defeating Ed “Strangler” Lewis (January 4, 1929);
NWA (National Wrestling Association) World Heavyweight title defeating Ed “Strangler” Lewis (January 4, 1929);
AWA (Boston) World Heavyweight title defeating Marv Westenberg (March 16, 1939);
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS (COURTESY OF WIKIPEDIA)
While playing in Providence, Sonnenberg was trained in professional wrestling and made his mat debut on January 24, 1928, at the at the Arcadia Ballroom in Providence, defeating Ivan Ludlow.
Despite being just 5’7″ and 200 pounds and having no background in wrestling, Sonnenberg quickly became a sensation in professional wrestling, changing the style of the sport with his signature move, the “flying tackle.”
He became a main event wrestler for Boston-based promoter Paul Bowser and unsuccessfully challenged world heavyweight champion Ed “Strangler” Lewis on June 30, 1928 at Boston Arena.
After returning to the Steam Roller for their championship season, Sonnenberg again wrestled Lewis for the world title on January 4, 1929 and won the championship. Sonnenberg held the title for nearly two years before losing it to Ed Don George on December 10, 1930 in Los Angeles.
Sonnenberg and Jim Londos were the two largest draws in pro wrestling in 1929-1930.
In October 1929, Sonnenberg was attacked on the streets of Los Angeles by part-time wrestler Pete Ladjimi in an attempt to expose the reigning world champion as weak.
Ladjimi was associated with Londos, Sonnenberg’s rival.
Sonnenberg was again recognized as world champion in the Boston area in 1939, after defeating and unmasking The Shadow (Marvin Westenberg) to become the American Wrestling Association champion. He only held the title for 13 days before dropping it to Steve “Crusher” Casey in Boston on March 29, 1939.
He continued to wrestle until joining the Navy in 1942.