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April 17, 2008

Killer Kowalski in hospital

This entry is for the old-timers (like myself).

Wladek “Killer” Kowalski, one of pro wrestling’s all-time great heels, is recovering in a physical rehabilitation center in Massachusetts after badly injuring his knees in three separate falls, according to a report on Kowalski, 81, has been at the rehab facility since April 2 after a two-week stay in the hospital.

The report attributed the news of Kowalski’s condition to wrestling great Bruno Sammartino, a longtime in-ring rival of Kowalski’s who has been in contact with Kowalski’s wife.

Kowalski, a member of the WWE Hall of Fame and The Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame, wrestled from 1947 to 1977. He is most famous for a match in 1954 against Yukon Eric in which Eric’s ear was severed as the result of Kowalski’s kneedrop. Kowalski was a frequent challenger to Sammartino’s WWE title throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

After retiring from wrestling, he opened a wrestling school and trained people such as Triple H, Big John Studd, Chyna and Perry Saturn. In 1976, he and Studd formed a masked tag team known as The Executioners and won the WWE tag-team title.

Kowalski was in WWE — then known as the World Wide Wrestling Federation — when I first started following wrestling when I was 6 and believed it was real. Kowalski, a menacing figure at about 6 feet 7 and 275 pounds, was the only wrestler that actually frightened me. I still remember watching him wrestle Tony Garea at the Baltimore Civic Center around 1974 and believing that Garea might not make it out of the ring alive. I took the “Killer” moniker literally because Kowalski was so good at being bad.

I wish Kowalski well in his recovery.

Posted by Kevin Eck at 3:55 PM | | Comments (6)


Old timers , indeed we are . I remember Kowalski as a kid as well . He always reminded me of Lurch from the old Addams Family . I know he had a wrestling school that turned out quite a long list of notables . Get well Killer . ( and I don't mean Rellik ) .

I love your blog. We must be about the same age. I was a t.otal mark for the Executioners as a ki. They scared me and I always thought the CHief and Whitewolf, or Garea and somebody would upend them.
I also thought it was funny with Kowalski in a mask. It was almost as mysterious as the Giant Destroyer

i hope killer is doing well. i remember him on wwe. he did indeed train some superstars. my prayers are with him and his family.

Get well, Killer. You are a great human being, in addition to being my all-time favorite.

The Killer is truly a legend. He was also inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall Of Fame several years ago.

i remember seeing the killer at the boston garden and watching wwwf on channel 9 from manchester n.h. every sunday afternoon going against the like sof edward carpontier - victor rivera - bruno samrtino - yukon you entertained me for years i wish you much wellness hope you make a complete recovery my friend.

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About Kevin Eck
The Baltimore Sun's Kevin Eck blogs about professional wrestling.
E-mail Kevin.

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