My friend and I were discussing wrestling's Mt. Rushmore and we had the usual's Flair, Hogan, Dusty, and Sammartino on it. These guys are a formidable Mt. Rushmore, but I realized it needed to be the true pioneers of the business. I kept Sammartino and said Gotch, Thesz, and Ed Lewis.
My friend was shocked I wanted Ed Lewis. I simply said that he didn't know enough about the Strangler. If anyone is on a pro wrestling Mt. Rushmore Ed Lewis would be first. Lewis was an accomplished grappler and gained early notoriety for surviving the longest with wrestling legend Stanislaus Zybysko in a 3 vs 1 handicap match. This was just the beginning. He would hold different versions of the world championship twelve times and even a few he claimed to hold.
His favorite move was the headlock. Lewis' critics referred to it as an illegal choke hold which Lewis firmly denied. Lewis referred to his headlock as similar to a "knockout punch" in boxing.
The Strangler wrestled the best of his era such as the aforementioned Zybysko, Joe Stecher, Earl Craddock and Jim Londos when Lewis was past his prime. The Londos match proved just how big of a draw Lewis still was.
Ed Lewis had an understanding of wrestling for the greater good. He put guys over when it was best for business, and could make the rawest of talent look like champions. He would appear as a guest referee and was one of the greatest influences on NWA World Champion Lou Thesz acting as his manager.
Ed Lewis was the beginning of what pro wrestling is today. Hulk Hogan was the Ed "Strangler" Lewis of his era.