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WWE: Ivan Putski

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posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 10:33 AM

There have been many powerhouses who competed in the ring, but few were any stronger than the native of Krakow, Poland who was known as "The Polish Power." Although he was relatively short by sports entertainment standards, Ivan Putski's tremendous strength, power and quickness allowed him to go toe-to-toe with the sport's best and usually come out on top. His longtime rivalries with some of the dirtiest grapplers in the game, including Bruiser Brody, Stan Hansen and Ivan Koloff, established him as one of the most popular grapplers of the 1970's. More often than not, his opponents would challenge him to some type of strength competition, and usually, they would come out on the short end of the stick.

Putski fed off his fans, and whenever he was in trouble, their strength and spirit got him through hard times. Summoning "Polish Power" and finishing his opponents off with the Polish Hammer, a devastating two-handed punch to the chest, Putski had the uncanny ability to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. While his opponents often made fun of his Polish accent before a match started, they never made fun of him once the match concluded. Simply being in a headlock and having their craniums squeezed between his massive arms was enough to make even the worst loud-mouths shut their traps.

While primarily a singles star, Putski won his only WWE championship in the tag-team division, teaming up with Tito Santana to defeat the conniving Jerry & Johnny Valiant in October 1979. Putski and Santana held the titles for nearly six months before losing to the unpredictable Wild Samoans.

Perhaps what is most noteworthy about Putski's career is the list of grapplers who he has victories over. Koloff, Ken Patera, Killer Khan and Blackjack Mulligan are just a few of the great names to fall victim to the Polish Hammer at one point. Putski did not receive many title shots during his career, but he did have epic battles with "Superstar" Billy Graham and nearly became WWE Champion on several occasions.

Like many top stars of the 70s, Putski was able to push back Father Time and remain a top hand into the early 80's. As his wrestling career began to wind down, he spent more time competing in Strong Man competitions. There, Putski established himself as not only one of the strongest wrestlers in the world, but one of the strongest people, period. His ripped, muscular physique was revolutionary, and inspired many of the hard bodies in today's WWE.

Ivan Putski was one of those rare individuals that could draw a crowd by simply smiling and being himself, and as a result will go down in history as one of the most beloved and greatest Superstars of all time.

WWE Hall of fame


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