Paul Boesch was born on October 12, 1912 in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Max and
Delia Weidler Boesch. When he filled out his Social Security Application in November 1937,
he listed his residence as the Franklin Hotel in Seattle, and his employer was matchmaker F.
A. Musgrave, whose address was 214 Fenton Building, Portland, Oregon.
Paul Boesch was a longtime member of the National Wrestling Alliance out of his
homebase and successful southeastern Texas territory, Houston. He was also a former
professional wrestler. Boesch got his start in professional wrestling while life guarding on
Long Beach in New York. He met Madison Square Garden Matchmaker, Jack Pfefer and
was lured into the ring as a competitor. Pfefer gave Boesch his first opportunity on October
25, 1932. He wrestled throughout the northeast and traveled to St. Louis on occasion.
Boesch scored many important victories, but he was not headlining the top shows. He also
toured from Canada to Los Angeles to the South Pacific.
Boesch escaped danger before WW II broke out in the East and returned to New York. He
served America during the war for more than three years. Boesch was injured several
times in combat and returned as a hero. In the early 1940s, he toured through Texas.
While driving east from San Antonio, Boesch got into a severe car accident on October 23,
1947. A truck ran a stop sign and hit the car he was driving. After doctors told him never to
wrestle again, Boesch began working under Houston Promoter, Morris Sigel. He eventually
did wrestle again, but not full-time.
Boesch’s principle duties in the sport continued to work from behind the scenes. He
helped train the youth of the sport. During the late 1940s, he taught former NCAA
Champion, Verne Gagne the sleeper hold. Boesch suffered the loss of his mentor, Morris
Sigel on December 26, 1966. He bought the Gulf Athletic Club in January from Sigel’s
widow and continued to be just as successful. He promoted NWA, AWA and, occasionally,
the reigning WWF World Champions.
Although Boesch promoted the touring NWA World Champion many times during a given
year, he only promoted a single title change at the Sam Houston Coliseum in Houston. Jack
Brisco beat Harley Race in a two-of-three-falls match to capture the NWA Crown on July 20,
1973. He severed his ties with the NWA in the 1980s and joined the World Wrestling
Federation. The Alliance had seen a downturn like never before and promoters, it seemed,
were becoming fewer and fewer by the day.
During the 1980s, Boesch had worked with Bill Watts and sponsored Universal Wrestling
Federation shows in Houston. Fans saw the likes of Steve Williams and Jim Duggan. In the
spring of 1987, the UWF was bought by Jim Crockett Jr. and disbanded. Boesch was left
with nothing. In April 1987, he arranged a deal with the World Wrestling Federation to hold
the organization’s brand of wrestling in Houston, a change from the city’s longstanding run
with the NWA and the UWF. The sport was changing and the WWF was implementing a
new style, different from what Boesch and his predecessors had offered in the ring. The
dramatics of the sport, exemplified.
The World Wrestling Federation hosted Boesch’s retirement show in Houston on Friday,
August 28, 1987. Dozens of wrestlers and promoters, past and present, appeared to honor
Boesch. Those included Verne Gagne, Stu Hart, Gene Kiniski, Lou Thesz, Boris Malenko,
Red Bastien and Bronko Lubich. He returned to the sport in 1988 and rejoined the National
Wrestling Alliance. He was a respected member of the upper management until mid-1988.
Fans had seen the likes of Ric Flair and Sting run through Houston, as the quality of the
NWA improved on a national level. But the style of the new “NWA” never caught on.
Boesch’s retirement held and wrestling in both Texas and in general suffered.
He died in Sugarland, Texas on Tuesday, March 7, 1989. He was 76 years of age.
In July 1943, Boesch was reported to have earned his lieutenant's bars at Fort Benning, GA.
*Boesch entered the military as a private and went to Officer Candidate School before
going to Europe.
*The St. Louis Globe Democrat reported on Friday, September 21, 1945 that Paul Boesch
was a lieutenant in the United States Army, stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
Boesch was serving in the “famous” Gray Bonnet Regiment, the 121st Infantry Regiment,
who went from Normandy to Berlin, and led by Colonel Earl L. Lerette. Tom Packs invited
members from the Regiment to the wrestling program entitled “GI Night” on Friday, October
5, 1945 at the Kiel Auditorium. Boesch was likely on terminal leave during this period.
Boesch, on that occasion, defeated Dick Lever using judo holds. More than 8,000 fans
were in attendance, including 118 members of the Gray Bonnet Regiment and 26
convalescents from the Jefferson Barracks.
*Boesch was discharged from the United States Army on Saturday, October 13, 1945. He
had earned a Silver Star and cluster, the Bronze Star and Purple Heart with cluster.
-19 October 1945 St. Louis, MO vs. Olaf Olson (Won)
***8,902 fans in attendance
****Promoter: Tom Packs
-02 November 1945 St. Louis, MO vs. Bill Longson (Won)
***9,273 fans in attendance
****Promoter: Tom Packs
*The Friday, February 7, 1947 edition of the Toronto Daily Star reported the following: “A
check over of Boesch’s decorations, reads like the full list of sane (?) at the offices of the
state in Washington. He’s entitled to wear the silver star, the bronze ditto, the purple heart
with clusters with the combat infantryman’s badge for exemplary conduct under fire.
Boesch fought in Germany, in Luxembourg, and in France against the Boche. In civilian
activities, he is said to have saved 500 people from drowning. When he swims, the fast
fishes of the deep take to heavy cover in the kelp beds. In his years of grappling he has
wrestled all over the world and in the Island of Yap. He is also a sports broadcaster, so
Lawson may finally meet a wordman worthy of his finest polysyllable steel.”
*On page 42 of The Ring’s Wrestling magazine, October 1981, the following was printed:
“In a recent Houston interview, promoter Paul Boesch who is a long time member of the
National Wrestling Alliance said that he planned to leave that organization because Harley
Race did not show up for a match he had contracted for in Houston and the NWA,
according to Boesch, ‘has not given me one word of explanation, or apology, and will not
force Race to go through with the schedule mach he had to defend his title against Wahoo
McDaniel.’ McDaniel, because of the no show by Race, gained temporary recognition as
World’s Heavyweight Champion by the Houston promotion. When Race refused to honor
his contract and to wrestle Wahoo, Boesch brought in AWA World’s Heavyweight Champion
Nick Bockwinkel who was willing to face Wahoo and who took the measure on the Indian
star in the showdown.”
Paul Boesch Retirement Show – Houston
-The WWF hosted Mr. Paul Boesch’s Retirement Show on a Friday, August 28, 1987 Card
in Houston, Boesch’s “territory,” at the Houston Coliseum. Dozens of guests were in
attendance to honor the legendary businessman and wrestling pioneer. Among the
dignitaries at the show were Lou Thesz, Verne Gagne, Bruno Sammartino, Fabulous
Moolah, Terry Funk, Andre the Giant, Vince McMahon, Boris Malenko, Mil Mascaras, Hulk
Hogan, Tiger Conway Sr., Bronko Lubich, Jack Tunney, Pat Patterson, Red Bastien, Billy
Lyons, Cyclone Anaya, Gene Kiniski, Stu Hart, Jose Lothario, Ernie Ladd, Danny McShain,
the Kozak Brothers and many others.
-One Man Gang vs. Hulk Hogan, WWF World Heavyweight Champion. Hogan pinned
-The Fabulous Moolah vs. Sherri Martel, WWF Women’s World Champion. Martel
retained her belt by pinfall.
-Bruno Sammartino vs. Hercules Hernandez. Sammartino won by countout in 6:00.
-Demolition (Ax and Smash) vs. Mil Mascaras and Tito Santana. Mascaras and Santana
won by disqualification.
-Mr. Fuji caused the disqualification.
-Mascaras and Santana were accompanied by Jose Lothario.
-Demolition were accompanied by their manager, Mr. Fuji.
-Tony Atlas and Junkyard Dog vs. Kamala and Sika. Atlas and JYD won. The latter
pinned Sika for the victory.
-Atlas and JYD were accompanied by Ernie Ladd.
-Chavo Guerrero Sr. vs. Terry Funk. Funk pinned Guerrero.
-Ted DiBiase vs. Jim Duggan. DiBiase beat Duggan with a pin.
-Brutus Beefcake vs. Johnny Valiant. Beefcake won with his sleeperhold.
-Special Hair vs. Hair Match.
-Mark Lewin vs. Tom Prichard. Prichard won.
-Sam Houston vs. Steve Lombardi. Houston won by pinfall.
Crowd Estimate: 10,000.
Research by Tim Hornbaker
|Paul Boesch Wrestling History
Legends of Pro Wrestling