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RIP, Ernie Ladd

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Smasher_Sloan, Mar 11, 2007.

  1. Smasher_Sloan

    Smasher_Sloan Active Member

    From Wrestling Observer website:

    by Dave Meltzer

    Ernie Ladd, the giant defensive lineman with the Kansas City Chiefs, Houston Oilers and San Diego Chargers, who was one of the biggest names in pro wrestling during the 70s, passed away last night from cancer. He was 68.

    Ladd had been battling colon cancer, which spread to his stomach and bones for the past three plus years.

    Ladd had an amazing career outside of the field in his battles for equal rights of black players, particularly in his years with the Oilers.

    He was recruited into pro wrestling in the early 60s by Freddie Blassie, who was looking for a gimmick to help attendance in San Diego, which in those days was a very difficult town to draw in. Ladd was playing for the Chargers at the time.

    Ladd, because of his size and intimidating presence made for a natural heel, and in 1969, made the decision to leave football to go full-time into wrestling, a decision he never regretted.

    He was a headliner through the mid-80s, when his knees gave out. He was a headliner in every territory he worked, and was one of the few 70s wrestlers who was such a major star that he would headline several different territories at the same time, cherry picking the best cities and working at some point with almost every top babyface of the era.

    In recent years, due to knee problems, he'd largely been confined to a wheelchair.

    Ladd was a member of the American Football League Hall of Fame, the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and the San Diego Hall of Champions as a football player and both the Wrestling Observer and WWE Hall of Fame as a pro wrestler.
  2. pallister

    pallister Guest

    RIP, Big Cat.
  3. Martin_Lane

    Martin_Lane Member

    A buddy of mine still talks about the time a bunch of us went down to the local arena for a wrestling card around 1975, and rushed the ring after Ernie's match. The buddy got to shake Ernie's hand.

    He was a great heel.
  4. Damn. An AFL legend.
  5. friend of the friendless

    friend of the friendless Active Member

    Sirs, Madames,

    Back in the day (70s) he billed himself as the King of Wrestling and wore a crown--one day a buddy playing pick-up started talking too much & next thing he's tagged Ernie, King of the Playground. For 30-plus years everyone has called him Ernie and nothing else, including his teachers, brother and mother.

    YHS, etc
  6. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    Godspeed to the second-biggest football-wrestling crossover star of all (Bronco Nagurski being No. 1).
  7. Corky Ramirez up on 94th St.

    Corky Ramirez up on 94th St. Well-Known Member

    I've seen pictures of him when he was a Charger, wearing No. 99 in those old Chargers unis. He was a big mother effer.

    Too bad. Another one we send RIP wishes to.
  8. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    Without Ladd, there is no Ron Simmons or Rock. R.I.P.
  9. Bill Horton

    Bill Horton Active Member

    Ladd was one of those interesting wrestling characters who could switch over to baby face in the right circumstances. He often couldn't be a heal in Kansas City or San Diego, where he had played football and the people loved him as a hometown hero.
    I used to go to the rasslin' matches in Kansas City where hometown hero Harley Race would work baby face throughout his title reign. One time Dusty Rhodes (or ... Duthty Rhodthe) came to town to rassle Race and Dusty worked as the heal and really pulled it off. Of course, this was before widespread cable so people in KC didn't really know Rhodes as anything else and they had long accepted Race as one of their own.
    Ernie worked hard to bring a lot of entertainment to a lot of people. Godspeed to The Big Cat.
  10. cortez

    cortez Member

    Ernie Ladd, BoBo Brazil, chief Jay Strongbow, Special Delivery Jones, Haystacks Calhoun. Many a Saturday morning in the mid-70s was spent in front of the TV soaking this stuff up.
  11. micropolitan guy

    micropolitan guy Well-Known Member

    Saw him at a minor-league baseball game, promoting a show. My little brother went up and shook his hand, it was huge and he was about three times as tall as my brother.

    Ernie Ladd, Earl Faison, Lance Alworth, Paul Lowe, John Hadl, Dickie Westmorland, George Blair, Tobin Rote, Dave Kocourek, Ron Mixx, Keith Lincoln... the Chagers had some great players back in the day.
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