I’ve written before on this here site about the legacy of wrestling’s “strongest men”. In fact, when the site first launched way back in the stone ages, one of the original inductions was that of the Pony’s wearing slab of muscle known as Ted Arcidi.
It’s funny, because when I happened upon footage of today’s inductee, Bill Kazmaier, I had half a mind to simply copy and paste the text from the Arcidi induction and call it a night. But no, fellow Crappers, you deserve better than that. So instead, I will be ever so slightly less lazy and plagarize from The WrestleCrap Book of Lists! (which you can purchase rightchere). It’s from one of my favorite lists in the entire tome, entitled The Seven Greatest Wrestling DVDs to Never Hit Store Shelves, and it’s entry number…
4. The World’s Strongest Man: A Retrospective: Mark Henry. Ken Patera. Ted Arcidi. The names may change, but the fact remains that wrestling has long been filled with “The World’s Strongest Men.” While these men were rarely technicians inside the ring, few could compete with their mighty might. With this in mind, for the first time ever, WWE releases a disc that contains no wrestling whatsoever. In its absence, we present countless feats of strength, including, yet not limited to, coin bending, phone book tearing, and men becoming human tow trucks by pulling cars using only chains and their bare hands. Plus four straight hours of bench pressing! Order today, and get a bonus disc of Doug Furnas and Bill Kazmaier in a tug of war. This DVD is Vince McMahon’s personal favorite, and will sure to be yours as well
You have no idea how happy I was to get a Bill Kazmaier reference into one of my books.
What’s that? You don’t know of the legend of the mighty Bill Kazmaier? Well, pull up a chair, young ‘un, and let me spin ya a yarn.
Bill Kazmaier was a big mountain of a man. Seriously, I had to second guess doing this induction for years, as I sure the hell wouldn’t want to get a dude like this ticked at me.
While other wrestling strong men, from Arcidi to Ken Patera to the 44 other guys who billed themselves as such did stuff like bench pressing, Kaz did much more.
Impressive stuff, like bending metal bars with his bare hands, like he was Superman or something.
But the real difference between Big Bill and all those other wannabes was simple. Whereas those other doofuses claimed to be the “World’s Strongest Man”, they were lacking one thing, the one thing that Bill, and only Bill, had: the world on his back.
And I mean that in the most literal sense imaginable.
Seriously, WCW, in their infinite wisdom, had the guy tote PLANET EARTH ON HIS SHOULDERS.
The mind boggles at the thought of what, exactly, might be in that big ball he carried out to the ring, as it looked like it was anything but solid. In fact, it kinda swished around a bit.
Was it air? Was it water? Was it grape jelly? I always wanted to know.
In fact, it was my long-standing dream that some heel would come along and puncture Kazmaier’s globe. This would cause Kaz to fall to his knees and weep, proclaiming to fans that he would gain revenge on “the bastard that destroyed our world!”
Can you believe I’ve never been offered a booking job?
Anyhoo, you’re probably wondering why, exactly, we’re inducting Bill Kazmaier into the Crap.
The answer is quite simple: as a professional wrestler, he sucked.
Now sure, he was never going to be a technician in the ring, a master of scientific wrestling.
(A moment, if you please, before I continue, I’d like to comment a moment if I could on that term, “scientific wrestling”. I’ve never understood that. Like you’re going to be in the middle of the match and consult the elemental table, or perhaps whip out a chemistry set. That’s just dumb, and has always bothered me. Thanks for indulging me. Continuing on…)
Despite Jim Ross attempting to hide his limitations in the ring, there was no denying that as a performer, Kaz was one of the dirt worst wrestlers you would ever see. To be fair, though, it was almost worth him being in the ring to hear Tony Schiavone explain how men get strong. Thanks for the fitness fun fact, Tony!
While Bill definitely looked the part, he moved with all the speed and grace of a tectonic plate. Even simple manoeuvres, like locking up, seemed to be beyond his grasp.
And his punches…oh my…his punches were some of the worst you will ever, EVER witness.
Although, in hindsight, may have been for the best. After all, would you want a guy who could…
…heave logs over his head…
…carry refrigerators on his back…
…deadlift Playboy playmates…
…shotput beer kegs…
…haul semi trucks…
…and flip over cars…
…thrusting his mighty hamhocks at your kisser?
I know I wouldn’t!
– Jim Ross: “His forte is not scientific wrestling, his forte is using his power.”
– Tony Schiavone: “To be a strong man, you have to really train hard.”