WATTS REMEMBERS LOU THESZ
April 28, 2002
He was "larger than life" as the World Wrestling Champion of the NWA, back
in an era, where only "one World's Champion" was recognized over most of the
I wrestled him several times. The first in Dallas, Texas, then in Tulsa,
Little Rock, and maybe Springfield, Mo. He was always in great "shape," with
very little body fat. His moves were "cat like." He weighed about 228 lbs.
(He first one the World Title two years before I was born, which I believe
was in 1937.) So, it amazed me, that this man was still so full of his
physical prime, and maintained it for so long.
His matches with Danny Hodge, another legend and true champion of wrestling
and the longest holder of the Junior World's Heavyweight Championship, were
awesome. They went many times to an hour time limit draw-----even to 90
minute time limit draws! And yet, their matches were never boring, even
though they were mostly all wrestling, and very little if any "punches and
kicks" as the term is used. They wrestled, and got standing ovations from
the fans, and from the wrestlers in attendance.
He was always "very well dressed" as the "representative of pro wrestling."
He was one wrestler who could always get an "interview" with any local
newspaper's Sports writers----even if that person was "biased against pro
I'll never forget, he always wore black alligator shoes (the most expensive
shoes then, and the most classy), and dressed in a suit and tie, and carried
a "Halliburton" aluminum bag with his gear. He was class!
I never remember his language as being "crude" to any unusual extent. To me,
he was kind and a commanding presence.
And, for some reason, he liked me, and took me under his wing when I was
"young in the business," and we made some "trips" together, which meant he
rode in my small Chevrolet Corvair, which is what I had when I began
wrestling professionally. He even helped get me "booked in Los
Angeles"------which I did not realize was a "fun thing" for him, because he
had some long term "problems" with the promoter there------but that is
He was respected the world over. A star the world over. He always told me he
"did things in moderation" as far as his personal lifestyle and diet.
He was the "carrier of the torch" in the likes of Ed "Strangler" Lewis.
Someone, that no matter what, you "respected" his ability and his
Another "legend" passes on. My desire and hope, is that "His Champion" is
Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. I am sorry to say I did not know Lou's
spiritual belief-----which is a shame on my part.
That final "ring bell's" tolling for Lou will continue, and be rung over all
of us. All our bouts and exploits will never equal what Christ did for us at
Lou was certainly an "impact" on me, and I am privileged to have know him.
May he rest in peace.
WAHOO Bids All Farewell 4-18-02
Ed "Wahoo" McDaniel was a great athlete and
the most colorful professional wrestler - ever ! He had returned to his
native Texas on February 6th to be with his daughter Nikki in Houston
- Upon arriving in Texas his health seemed to be improving. Wahoo had
been relaxing in the sun and Nikki went out to suggest that he come back
in from the heat. Wahoo said he was not feeling well and Nikki called
911 to take him the the hospital. Wahoo had had a stroke and coupled with
other medical problems passed away after 10 days in the hospital on Thursday,
4-18-02. He died without pain. The photo is probably the way Wahoo would
like to be remembered by his many friends. I am told that he wished to
be cremated and his ashes spread at a place where he and his dad used
to go fishing. This is all I know at the present time after talking with
In Memory of Edward Wahoo McDaniels
By: Bill Watts
April 21, 2002
This morning I found out a dear old friend, and a great warrior died last Thursday. Edward Wahoo McDaniels died after complications that I would feel were the result of his long battle with renal kidney failure.
I met “Chief” or “Wahoo” as we called him, in 1957 at Oklahoma University where he was on a football scholarship, and I was in the next class recruited there, and a freshman his sophomore year. We were 1 year apart in age.
Colorful! Yes, even then Wahoo was something else. He was a prize running back from Midland, Texas, and at OU played end and linebacker. He also punted, and in fact, still holds a Big Eight record for the longest punt.
His roommate, GA Lewis, Gilmer, another Texas player on our team, was a good “balance” for Wahoo, because Gilmer, as we called GA, was a quiet leader.
Bud Wilkinson, another coaching legend, was our coach, and he truly was a brilliant man----but his career was in its final glory.
This was an era where the athletes were changing, and unfortunately, at OU, the coaches were not really “aware” of it. They felt everyone should be small and quick (and denied us of doing any “weight training” in spite of the fact that we had an “All American tackle at 195 pounds named Jerry “Gut” Thompson, who came from the most successful high school program in the state, which featured weight training to make their players strong, explosive, and quicker)-----so Wahoo was forced to cut weight to 188 pounds to play. (My freshman year they wanted me at 215 pounds, and my junior year, I was the heaviest man on the team at 229-----but to lose the weight and maintain it when I was growing so fast, made me weak and under strength.) They were crazy! But, we had to do it. We still had successful teams due to great athletes, but the trend was going the wrong way------until a coach named Barry Switzer got the job several years later----thank goodness.
Wahoo played pro football as a guard one season, but was primarily known as a middle linebacker and a great “run stopper.” He played at anywhere from 235 pounds to 250 pounds, and played for the Dallas Cowboys for a short while, the Houston Oilers, the San Diego Chargers, the Denver Broncos, the NY Jets, and I believe ended his career with the Miami Dolphins. He played with tremendous heart.
While at OU, he spawned one legend. Port Robertson, the wrestling coach, and also the person “in charge” of athletic discipline at OU, had while wrestling there, run from Norman, Ok, to Chickasha, OK, a distance of 32 miles. Wahoo said if Port could do it, so could he. And he took off. The story “got out” and soon there was a media following him which was unprecedented in that era. But, he made the run, and it really became another legend.
Sid Terry, an “All American wrestler” at OU, and me spent the night before reporting to Air Force ROTC summer camp in Big Springs, Tx at Wahoo’s home in Midland, Tx, with his neat parents. Of course, we “went out on the town---and when we reported to camp, we had tremendous hang overs.
In fact, Wahoo and I had to report for physicals for the “draft” into the Armed Forces together, and that is another funny story, as we both “flunked the physical” because we were “too big” in body weight to height for their charts------------yet we were pro athletes then. (There were no wars going on then, so the peace time service really did not need us anyway. This was years before Viet Nam.)
And then, there was that time when Wahoo jumped Port Robertson, the wrestling coach at OU from behind in the wrestling room, and Port “reversed him” and literally had him screaming for mercy-----that was so funny then.
Oh yes, I could really share some colorful stories-----stories that so many in “wrestling” would love to remember. In fact, one of my last “bar room brawls” in Atlanta was because of Wahoo. My self and Dusty Rhodes got into it there to help him out at Tim Woods bar. It was hilarious, as well as one of the typical “fun times” we had as pro wrestler.
He was also a good golfer, and played with many greats. I believe he really thought he “could beat Lee Trevino” and I understand lost a lot of money to him. Then one time at a course in Dallas, when he and Mickey Mantle were playing together, and some wise ass guy, “whoever he was” started a fight, and found out Wahoo could handle it-----in many ways, but of course, that’s another story--------------it was a different era then.
Wahoo was very instrumental in my getting into pro wrestling (as was Dale Lewis, an All American wrestler at OU then.) He opened the door in Indianapolis, and in October of 1962 I had my first bout there. Our careers crossed paths many times------and Edward Wahoo McDaniels, a free spirit, would give you the shirt off his back. He definitely walked to his own beat. He gave every match his all.
Memories: Headlining Madison Square Garden, another time, a “Home Run Derby” at Shea’s Stadium, and the great Casey Stengel was still alive, and posed for pictures with us. Wahoo and I were there with Bobo Brazil, and others. Two guys so young and dumb, that thought we were so smart, in the Mecca of Sports-----a long ways from Norman, Ok., and OU.
He was a “stud.” He competed with his whole heart. He lived loud and big.
Last night, I was at OU for the annual re-union before the final spring football intra squad game, and many of “our contemporaries:” Jakie Sandefer, Jimmy Harris, Bob Harrison, Bob Burris, Leon Cross, Marshall York, Bob Paige, Karl Don Milsted, Jimmie Carpenter, even “Little Red (Phil Waller),” Bruce Van Horn, now a doctor, Ronnie Payne, Jay O’Neal, Gene Calume, so many where there (and so many there in the spirit and memories of those remaining.)
In fact, Bobby Boyd, a former All American half back, QB at OU and a corner back for Don Schula when he coached the Baltimore Colts, was there, and he asked me if I had heard from Wahoo lately. I told him I knew he was really ill, but had not spoken to him lately. Later that night, Stan Abel, a former “All American wrestler” there when Wahoo and I were at OU, and later the wrestling coach there for 20 years, was reminiscing about Wahoo stories. Then this morning, in the newspaper, it had an article of his death.
So, the life of Wahoo, and the “stories” that were a part of his life, are certainly on my heart today. So many are “passing on” and only live in the hearts and minds of those who experienced them------and that memory bank is aging. The “legends” are slowly, like incense, going up and passing beyond. So many fantastic guys that I was so fortunate to have them “in my life” if even for an instant, are gone. Wahoo is missed, and the memories of him will grow dim, but he was “awesome!” He was a giant, right up there with Andre, JYD, Dick Murdock, Hiro Matsuda, Eddie Graham, and so many others that I miss.
Damn, Wahoo and I were so young together. Never did we dream our journey would take us on such a path. By God’s grace I am still here----while another friend is gone. Why?
Our lives, did we “live it to the full” and was it for “self” or for a “greater good?” Did we leave any spiritual legacy of loving faith, and did we truly fulfill what All-Mighty God designed and created us for?
Did we find the answer to 3 questions? 1. Is there “one true and All-Mighty God” and if so, “Who is this God?” 2. Can you describe Him, and “know Him,” and does He desire a personal relationship with us? And, if so, 3. How can we have a “personal relationship with Him?
I believe I have found the answer to all 3 of the above questions, and now have a personal relationship with our Creator, and Sovereign God, reconciled to Him, through His Son, Jesus Christ, my Lord. I can only pray that the ones remaining have “made peace” with their Lord----because we all will meet him, and for those of us at my age and era, each day brings us closer.
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