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Douglas A. Baker (born April 19, 1934, Sedalia, Missourimarker) better known professionally as Ox Baker, is an American former professional wrestler and actor, and was feared for his dreaded finishing move, the Heart Punch, sometimes called the "Hurt Punch", after Baker's famous catchphrase "I LOVE to hurt people!" He has appeared in several movies including Blood Circus and Escape from New York.

Career

Early life and career

Ox Baker was known for his unique look with his shaved head and dark black bushy mustache and eyebrows. In press and television he stood out among other wrestlers because of his ability to interview well. His heart punch was one of the most feared moves of its time. It is believed that Ox Baker's short 1980 stay in the World Wide Wrestling Federation (he did one television taping) was aborted because Vince McMahon Sr. was unimpressed with his ringwork (some rumors have Baker initially planned to challenge then heavyweight champion Bob Backlund). In 1967 Baker had worked for the WWWF as The Friendly Ox, most notably at the Market Street Arena in Philadelphia. In his first appearance there, Baker teamed with Armand Hussein (whom Ox traveled with) in a handicap match versus Gorilla Monsoon.

Ox Baker, oldest of five siblings (three brothers and one sister) began as an amateur high school wrestler, boxer and football player in his adopted hometown of Waterloo, Iowamarker in 1962 before getting thrown out of school. He also played football for two years in the armed forces. In the early 1960s Ox approached Kansas City, Missourimarker promoters about wrestling and was paid $300 for his first night. Following that night he went into training with Buddy "Killer" Austin, Pat O'Connor, and Bob Geigel. A couple of years later he was ready, standing 6'5" and weighing 342 pounds (hence the nickname "Ox"). He began his pro wrestling career by defeating Frank Hickey in Kansas City, and later the Missouri Mauler as well. As time went on he was winning a majority of his matches by knock out caused by the Heart Punch (which he borrowed from Stan Stasiak) and adapted into his own ring arsenal. He would later rename the move the Hurt Punch after Stasiak objected.

In his career he would defeat "Cowboy" Bob Ellis for the World Wrestling Association belt in Dick The Bruiser's Indianapolis territory, he would also defeat Carlos Colon for the WWC World Title in Puerto Rico. Baker was a multi-time Tag Team Champion; he has teamed with the likes of Ole Anderson and Skandor Akbar to capture Tag Team Championships in the NWA and NWF. Baker teamed with Big John Studd (then known as Chuck O' Connor) to win the WWA Tag Team Title in 1976. He also teamed with Superstar Billy Graham to hold the NWA Florida Tag Team Title. Baker would go on to Heart Punch his way through The Sheik to win the Detroitmarker version of the US Heavyweight Title, he also won the World Class Championship and the World Class Texas Title several times.

An estimated 8,000 men have fallen to the Heart Punch. Among them are Fritz Von Erich, David Von Erich, Kerry Von Erich, Jimmy Snuka,Verne Gagne, Ernie Ladd, Harley Race, Bulldog Brower, Mil Mascaras and Hulk Hogan. Hogan's knockout came when he tried to wrestle the Florida Title away from Baker, Hogan would eventually get knocked out three nights in a row. Ed Roney challenged Baker numerous times and also chased Baker out of the ring four times. Baker never accepted Roney's challenge.

Late in his career, Baker appeared with Central States Wrestling as a face and feuded with Rip Rogers.

The Heart Punch Kills

On June 13, 1971, Ox and his partner the Claw were wrestling in a AWA Midwest Tag Team Championship tag team match against Alberto Torres and his partner Cowboy Bob Ellis in Verdigre, Nebraskamarker. Torres was injured during the match and died three days later. Though evidence indicated that Torres died of a ruptured appendix, Baker's Heart Punch was blamed and, though by his own account Baker was privately distraught over the death, he did "work" it as though he had killed Torres.

But the Torres death would not be the last. On August 1, 1972, in Savannah, Georgiamarker Baker faced Ray Gunkel, who was a popular wrestler in (and part owner of) the Georgia promotion. Though it was claimed that Gunkel dropped dead in the ring from the Heart Punch, other accounts, most notably in the biography of Vince McMahon Sex, Lies and Headlocks, state that Gunkel had suffered a heart attack apparently from over-indulging at a restaurant before the match. The truth is that Gunkel won the match and died in the dressing room after the match. In both cases, Baker was "blamed" for the death.

Retirement

On February 12, 1981, Baker was a contestant on the game show The Price is Right. He won his way on stage (winning Poker Game) but lost in the Showcase Showdown. He was called down by his real name, Douglas.

In 1988 Ox returned to professional wrestling for The AWA. Under contract, Ox teamed up with The Russian Brute of ICW fame. The following year he opened "Ox Baker's Wrestling School" becoming a well renowned trainer of a future Star The Night Stalker (real name Bryan Clark, later known as Adam Bomb). Prior to that, Atom Bomb spent four weeks at Bob Geigel's wrestle camp under the tutelage of The Russian Brute. Due to his lack of respect for the business, Atom Bomb was removed from the program. Atom Bomb later engaged in a locker room shoot/fist fight with The Russian Brute at a show in Iowa under the Rocky Brewer Promotion. The Russian Brute punched out Atom Bomb, placed a front face lock on Atom Bomb, and took him down. Ox Baker and fellow wrestlers broke up the fight. Ox Baker is now remarried with his wife Peggy Ann and living in the New England area. He has published a children's coloring Book, recorded a music CD and always a fan favorite, continues to make public appearances, most recently to promote his new cookbook. Ox is assisting The Russian Brute with his book The Power of an Illusion. He also did commentary for some IWCCW events in the early 1990s.

Baker has worked in movies from time to time, most notably as a fighter in Jackie Chan's The Big Brawl and as Kurt Russell's gladiatorial opponent in John Carpenter's Escape From New York as well as the cult classic wrestling film which "borrowed" from his catch phrase...I Like to Hurt People. During his years as a territorial wrestler Baker had gained a reputation as an accomplished cook, saving money on the road by avoiding restaurants and cooking meals for his fellow wrestlers himself. Sometime after his retirement Baker wrote and privately published his own cookbook/memoirs.

Baker made an appearance in Ring of Honor in 2004 during their At Our Best show, confronting Dusty Rhodes before the show started and again during the main event.

In 2005 an extensive documentary on Baker's life and career was filmed, directed by Halfbreed Billy Gram, shot by Robert Lucas. At last word the film is still in post production with a working title of "I Love the People I Hurt-The Life and Legend of the Mighty Ox Baker". He reportedly never saw the final film.

Baker also made an appearance in CZW on December 8, 2007, during their Cage of Death 9 show. Ox appeared as the guest of Cult Fiction, Halfbreed Billy Gram and Toby Klein, in an interview segment that opened the show, serving a dual purpose of paying respect to Ox and setting up some heat around the main event later in the evening.

Baker resides in Connecticut, doing shows in the New England area and has been inducted into the NEPWHOF

In wrestling



Championships and accomplishments

  • All Star Pro Wrestling (New Zealand)
*NWA Australasian Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with King Kamaka


*AWA Midwest Tag Team Championship (3 times) - with Rock Rogowski (1), the Claw (1), and the Great Kusatsu (1)


*Other honoree (2002)


*NWA Florida Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Superstar Billy Graham
*NWA Southern Heavyweight Championship (1 time)


  • International Wrestling Association
*IWA North American Heavyweight Championship (1 time)


*NWA Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Carl Fergie


*NWA Georgia Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Skandor Akbar


*NWA American Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
*NWA Texas Heavyweight Championship (1 time)


*NWA United States Heavyweight Championship (1 time)


*NWA Americas Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Enforcer Luciano
*NWA World Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Enforcer Luciano


*NWA British Commonwealth Heavyweight Championship (1 time)


National Wrestling Federation
*NWF North American Heavyweight Championship (1 time)


*NWA Southeastern Heavyweight Championship (1 time)


*Stampede North American Heavyweight Championship (1 time)


*NWA Austra-Asian Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Butcher Brannigan


*WWA World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
*WWA World Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Chuck O'Connor


*WWC Puerto Rico Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
*WWC World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)


References

  1. NWA Austrailasian Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  2. AWA Midwest Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  3. Florida Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  4. NWA Southern Heavyweight Title (Florida) history At wrestling-titles.com
  5. IWA North American Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  6. NWA Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  7. NWA Georgia Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  8. NWA American Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  9. Texas Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  10. NWA United States Heavyweight Title (Chicago/Detroit) history At wrestling-titles.com
  11. NWA Americas Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  12. NWA World Tag Team Title (Los Angeles version) history At wrestling-titles.com
  13. NWA British Empire/Commonwealth Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  14. NWF North American Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  15. NWA Southeastern Heavyweight Title (Southern Division) history At wrestling-titles.com
  16. Stampede Wrestling North American Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  17. NWA Austra-Asian Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  18. WWA World Heavyweight Title (Indianapolis) history At wrestling-titles.com
  19. WWA World Tag Team Title (Indianapolis) history At wrestling-titles.com
  20. WWC Puerto Rico Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  21. WWC Universal Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com


External links




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