Saturday, February 18, 2017

Saturday Morning Ringside: Remembering George "The Animal" Steele (1937-2017)

The Grim Reaper's been very busy in the wrestling world over the last couple of weeks. First, there was Chavo Guerrero, Sr. (known as Chavo Classic for marketing purposes during his brief stint with WWE in 2004), who passed away last week. Then, in quick succession, over the last 48 hours, we've lost Hall of Famer George "The Animal" Steele, whom we'll talk about shortly, Nicole Bass, who, according to conflicting reports, either is still on life support, or may have passed on at 52, and, finally, former WWWF World champ Ivan Koloff, who lost a bout with liver cancer.

The interesting paradox with Steele (William James Myers) is that the Animal was, essentially, an alter-ego. Outside the ring, the college educated Myers was a football coach and teacher in his native Michigan who took his name from a rival football coach. This would explain why a lot of Steele's appearances were mostly in the summer. Once he gave up his academic career, Steele became a full-time wrestler, settling into the guise of a modern neanderthal with an appetite for turnbuckles. He was never a World champion, but was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006.

We'll look at Ivan Koloff tomorrow, but now, here's a video montage of Steele from June 1983, with Vince McMahon & Pat Patterson at the mic's. Both matches are against the same jobber, Steve King, with a promo in between promoting what would be a World title match vs. Bob Backlund at Madison Square Garden.

Beneath the persona of the Animal laid a brother in Christ who was called home. Rest in peace.

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