Jim Ross on Superstars with amateur backgrounds

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October 09, 2012

Jim Ross discusses Dr. Death Steve Williams and other amateur greats in his latest article for WWE Classics.

Of course, Kurt Angle won the Gold Medal in the 1996 Olympic Games before signing with WWE and launching a superbly successful career. Amateur greats Kurt and Brock crossed paths in WWE, which helped elevate the athleticism on the WWE roster to new heights at that time.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention amateur weightlifting great Mark Henry, The World’s Strongest Man, who represented the USA in the Olympic Games and who has gone on to become one of the most dominating competitors in WWE.

Jim Raschke aka Baron Von Raschke from Nebraska was another amateur great in Greco-Roman Wrestling before launching an amazing and long career in the pros primarily in the AWA.

The same can be said for others like Frenchman Henri Deglane; weightlifter Harold Sakata, aka Mr. Togo, who became famous for playing the character Oddjob in the James Bond movie “Goldfinger”; American freestyle wrestling super-heavyweight Chris Taylor, who was started in the biz by Verne Gagne; and Hiroshi Hase, one of my all-time favorite wrestlers who went on to become the equivalent of a senator in Japan after a marvelous ring career.

On a very personal note, my dear friend, the late Steve “Dr. Death” Williams was a four-time amateur wrestling All-American who also lettered and started four years on the football team at Oklahoma. I’ve met no man walking the face of the earth tougher than Doc. R.I.P., my friend.

Interesting bit of trivia, every year from 1906 through 1996, with one exception (1952), there was at least one medalist who went from the Olympics into sports-entertainment. 

Coming full circle, WWE is now actively scouting the amateur ranks more thoroughly than ever before, including Olympians from around the world, in search of gifted, world class athletes who have the overall skill set to become major stars in WWE.

Click here to order J.R.'s famous BBQ sauce on WWE Shop and follow the WWE Hall of Famer on Twitter.

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Jim Ross Bio, Videos, Photos, and News Articles Brock Lesnar Bio, Videos, Photos, and News Articles Verne Gagne Bio, Videos, Photos, and News Articles "Dr. Death" Steve Williams Bio, Videos, Photos, and News Articles Mark Henry Bio, Videos, Photos, and News Articles

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