Member Since: 1/1/01
Steve Nelson did shoot-style pro wrestling in UWFi in Japan.
So was the Mr. Wrestling in question this guy?
George Burrell Woodin (July 28, 1934 – November 30, 2002) was an American professional wrestler, better known by his ring names, Mr. Wrestling and Tim Woods.
Collegiate wrestling career
Woodin received a degree in agricultural engineering from Cornell University and a degree in mechanical engineering from Michigan State University.
Before becoming a professional wrestler, Woodin was a successful collegiate wrestler. While wrestling for the Michigan State Spartans, Woodin won two Big Ten titles in 1958 and 1959. He also finished second in the NCAA tournament in 1958 and 1959.
As a junior at Michigan State, Woodin won the 1958 Big Ten 177-pound title by pinning Gary Kurdelmeier of the University of Iowa at 8:21. A couple of weeks later, the two met again in the 177-pound finals of the 1958 NCAAs at the University of Wyoming, where Woodin lost to Kurdelmeier 6-2.
As a senior, Woodin defeated Iowa's Gordon Trapp 6–4 in the heavyweight finals to win his second Big Ten title. At the 1959 NCAAs, the Michigan State Spartan competed in the 191-pound class, making it to the finals for the second year in a row, but lost 9-5 to Syracuse's Art Baker. With his two runner-up finishes at the national championships, Woodin was a two-time NCAA All-American.
Professional wrestling career
Woodin began his wrestling career at the age of 28 using the name "Tim Woods". He was then given the name "Mr. Wrestling" by Nebraska promotor Joe Dusek, and subsequently adopted both a white wrestling mask and white singlet to complete the character. Mr. Wrestling became a major superstar in the Georgia, Florida, Texas and Mid-Atlantic territories. He wrestled in the World Wide Wrestling Federation in the northeast, at the upper end of the preliminary wrestlers. Starting in the Seventies, he would alternate between his masked persona as Mr. Wrestling and wrestling unmasked as Tim Woods, depending on the territory.
In 1968, Woodin faced street fighter Arnold Spurling in a shoot fight in Columbus, Georgia. After Woodin dominated Spurling with amateur wrestling holds, Spurling bit off part of one of Woodin's fingers. The finger was subsequently surgically reattached, but Woodin did not regain full use of it. Later that year, Woodin challenged NWA World Heavyweight Champion Gene Kiniski, with the bout being stopped after Woodin's finger began bleeding.
Or was it this guy?
John Francis Walker (born September 10, 1934) is an American retired professional wrestler, better known by the ring name Mr. Wrestling II. He is best known for his appearances with Championship Wrestling from Florida and Georgia Championship Wrestling in the 1970s and early 1980s.
Early career (1956–1964)
Walker was trained by Tony Morelli and Pat O'Connor. He debuted in 1955 under the ring name Johnny Walker.
After debuting as a wrestler, Walker spent a good portion of his early career (approximately from the late 1950s to the 1960s) as journeyman wrestler Johnny "Rubberman" Walker, a mainstay of Houston promoter Paul Boesch. Boesch gave him the nickname due to his flexibility.
Walker retired in 1964.
The Grappler (1967–1972)
Walker came out of retirement in 1967. In the early 1970s, Walker wrestled on the independent circuit in Florida under a mask as "The Grappler".
Mr. Wrestling II (1972–1990)
In 1972, Walker was semi-retired and running a gas station in Tennessee. The Georgia promoter, Paul Jones, and his booker Leo Garibaldi asked for him to return to wrestling as the masked Mr. Wrestling II. Introduced originally as the partner of the original Mr. Wrestling (Tim Woods), Walker would take his place in many instances. Eddie Graham, the owner of the NWA Florida promotion, was also a part owner of the Georgia promotion. Graham was sending talent back and forth between the two promotions, due to the promotional war which occurred in Atlanta over a dispute with Ray Gunkel's widow Ann Gunkel and her "outlaw promotion" All-South Wrestling Alliance.
Walker as Wrestling II became an immediate top draw and legend for the territory, leading to ten reigns as the Georgia Heavyweight Champion. During Walker's time in Georgia as Wrestling II, he was considered one of the top five most popular wrestlers in the United States. He also attracted a high-profile fan in Jimmy Carter, at the time the governor of Georgia. (see below)
While most of his career during the 1970s and 1980s was focused on the southeastern corner of the United States, he also made a prominent appearance in Mid-South Wrestling during 1983 and 1984 as the coach and mentor of a young wrestler named Terry Allen. Vignettes aired on television, hosted by either Reisor Bowden or Jim Ross, in which Wrestling II was shown away from the ring with T.A. discussing his philosophy in taking on a rising young star in the role of a "coach" or showing training sessions with the two. As a tag team, they also won the promotion's tag team title from Butch Reed and Jim Neidhart on December 25, 1983.
Subtle seeds of resentment were planted along the way, which led to the pair splitting and feuding. Wrestling II turned his back on T.A. in a tag team match against The Midnight Express, which saw T.A. bloodied. On the following week's program, Wrestling II threw in the towel to cost T.A. the match while he was participating in the tournament for the promotion's television title, claiming that T.A. was too badly cut to continue. Wrestling II had previously won the North American Championship from the departing Junkyard Dog, which T.A. won from him in Tulsa, Oklahoma on May 13, 1984.
Walker was later signed by Vince McMahon for the World Wrestling Federation in 1984, as part of McMahon's national expansion. However, as he was in the twilight of his career, Walker was mainly used as enhancement talent and rarely ever appeared on TV, only appearing a handful of times. He spent two years in the WWF before leaving in 1986.