Little Bits of History

That Was Quick

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 17, 2013
Nature Boy Buddy Rogers

Nature Boy Buddy Rogers

May 17, 1963: Nature Boy Buddy Rogers goes down in 48 seconds. Herman C. Rohde, Jr. (ring names: Herman Rohde, Dutch Rogers, and Buddy Rogers) was born in 1921. His nickname, Nature Boy, which has now been used by others, was very popular in the early days of televised wrestling. Rogers was working as a police officer when a local promoter discovered him. He stood 6’2″ tall and weighed 227 pounds. He was a flamboyant, arrogant, bleached blonde who dressed flashy. He was someone everybody loved to hate. In a disputed match with Lou Thesz, Rogers lost and his promoters withdrew from the National Wrestlers Alliance.

The newly formed World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) named Rogers as their first title holder in April 1963. Aged 42, he claimed to have suffered a heart attack. He was scheduled for a match at Madison Square Garden in spite of his medical condition. His opponent in the ring claimed Rogers heart attack was simply a ruse. Rogers lost the match and retired by year’s end. He went on to manage other bad boy wrestlers. He died in 1992 at the age of 71.

The winner of the WWWF Championship was Bruno Sammartino. He stood 5’10” tall and weighed 285 pounds. He was born in Italy in 1935 and moved to the US in 1951. The teenager was sickly, scrawny, and spoke broken English. He was an easy target for bullies at his Pittsburg, Pennsylvania high school. He began weight training and nearly made the 1956 US Olympic Team. He was known around town for performing strong man stunts.

Promoter Rudy Miller found Bruno and he debuted in 1959 and became very popular. Bruno won the WWWF title in 1963 and held on to it for 7 years, 8 months, and 1 day – the longest continuous world title reign. Ivan Koloff wrested the title away from Bruno on January 18, 1971 again at Madison Square Garden. Beaten, but not defeated, Bruno again won the Championship on December 10, 1973. He gave up the title on April 30, 1977 after a controversial loss to “Superstar” Billy Graham. The extra 3 years, 4 months, and 10 days puts his total reign over 11 years – the longest ever.

“He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist in our helper.” – Edmund Burke

“There’s no drama like wrestling.” – Andy Kaufman

“Once you’ve wrestled, everything else in life is easy.” -Dan Gable

“Hopefully I can become the Babe Ruth of the World Wrestling Federation and be the champion at the same time.” – Hulk Hogan

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: The World Wide Wrestling Federation is a publicly traded but privately controlled entertainment company based in America. They can be found on the New York Stock Exchange under WWE. Founded in 1952  and turned into a corporate entity in 1980, the founders are Capitol Wrestling’s Jess McMahon and Toots Mondt and Titan Sports Inc’s Vince McMahon. Jess is Vince’s grandfather. The company is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut. Vince McMahon is the Chairman and CEO with George Barrios as CFO and Michelle Wilson as CMO. They have 585 employees and made $99 million in profits in 2013 after bringing in $659.33 million. Their total assets for that year were listed as $3.372 billion with total equity at $2.208 billion.

Also on this day “And They’re Off” – In 1875 the first Kentucky Derby is run.
Computational Device – In 1902 the Antikythera mechanism was discovered.
Buy Low; Sell High – In 1792, the New York Stock Exchange was formed.