Ernie Dusek was a longtime wrestler and one of the famous Dusek Brother Gang from
Omaha. They were collectively known as the “Riot Squad.” Ernie began wrestling in the
early 1930s. He received a World Title shot against Jim Londos at Philadelphia on
December 9, 1932. He lost after 60 minutes and 3 seconds. Dusek faced Jack Humberto in
Harrisburg on January 16, 1934 and was victorious in a one-fall match with a time of 38:30.
On September 21, 1936, Dusek was named one of the top twenty contenders to the vacant
NWA recognized World Heavyweight Championship in Houston, Texas, at the annual
convention. He met the Rocky Mountain Champion in Denver on October 22, 1945 in front
of 4,000. Jack Kennedy lost the first to Dusek in 30:09 when Ernie used his giant swing.
The champion returned to take the second in 11:23. Sixty-minutes elapsed before a final
was concluded and the match was declared a draw. Dusek teamed with Tom Dusek on the
29th against the Zaharias Brothers, Babe and Tom. They lost the 3rd fall when referee Pat
McKee returned to his feet after being knocked out and gave the match to the Zaharias’.
He appeared in Kansas City on September 26, 1946 and beat Ray Schwarz in two-straight,
earning the right to meet Orville Brown for the Midwest Wrestling Association version of the
World Title the following week. The October 3rd match drew more then 3,000 people to the
Memorial Hall. Brown ended up beating Ernie with the 2nd and 3rd falls to retain his crown.
Ernie tackled Gorgeous George on February 22, 1949 in wrestling’s return to Madison
Square Garden after a twelve-year absence. 4,197 New York fans watched George beat
Dusek in one-fall. With Ivan Mikaloff, he lost to the team of Tony Galento and Danny Loos
on June 1, 1949 in Colorado Springs. Dusek met NWA World Champion Lou Thesz at
Kansas City on November 17, 1949 at the Memorial Hall. Former World Boxing Champion
Max Baer served as the special referee. He lost the first and second falls straight to a man
who was dominating the competition all across the globe. Thesz was at the top of his game.
Brother Joe came into the picture, and a week later, the two defended their claim to the
World Tag Title against a rival claimant, The Sharpe Brothers at the same arena. A crowd
of 3,550 witnessed Ernie and Joe defeat Ben and Mike Sharpe with the first and third falls to
further back their World Title. Ernie beat Mike for the 1st in 20:40, Ben beat Ernie for the
2nd in 19:30 and Ernie got revenge on Ben in the finale at the 8:40 mark. A large crowd
watched the two teams fight in a rematch on December 1st in Kansas City. Ernie and Joe
lost the match as the 2nd and 3rd falls went to their opponents. He teamed with brother Joe
on January 2, 1950 in Omaha to beat Ronnie Etchison and Sonny Myers in two-of-three.
Dusek pinned Myers in 16:35 for the final win.
The next week, Ernie defeated Primo Carnera in Omaha on January 9th to capture the
Omaha and Italian Heavyweight Titles. The first fall went to Dusek in 14:50 and the second
to the former boxing champion in 8:30. Referee Pat McGill disqualified Carnera in the third.
He lost a tag bout to the Sharpe Brothers on January 23, 1950 in Omaha with Joe Dusek.
The only fall that they had gained was a disqualification victory in the first. Joe was pinned
by Ben in the second and Ernie was pinned by Mike in the third. On the 30th of January,
Joe and Ernie came back after losing the first fall to the Sharpes to win the other two-falls
and beat the rival brothers. Ernie pinned Ben in the finale.
An interesting event occurred in Omaha on March 20, 1950. Ernie teamed with Joe to beat
a young Verne Gagne and Joe Savoldi to capture the Texas Tag Team Title. The
champions had entered Dusek Country and put their belts up well away from Texas and lost
their crown. Gagne had beaten Joe in 22 minutes to win the first and Ernie made Savoldi
submit in 11:20. Joe pinned Gagne in 3:27 to win the belts. He was billed in a preview of an
NWA Card at Madison Square Garden on May 15, 1950. Dusek was to face Sammy Berg.
He received a NWA United States TV Title Shot against Verne Gagne on December 28,
1957 in Omaha, under his brother Joe’s promotion. He lost in 24:50 with one-fall. Dusek
was billed as co-holder of the NWA Nebraska/Iowa State Tag Team Title with brother Emil
on January 4, 1958. They defeated Bobby Bruns and Mike DiBiase to retain their title.
Ernie wrestled to a draw with Jack Pesek, son of John, on April 5, 1958 in a match for the
Nebraska State Heavyweight Title. Ernie and Emil Dusek received a World Tag Team Title
Match on May 17th against The Russians, Boris and Nicolai, in Omaha’s City Auditorium. It
was a special, Texas Death Match, the first tag style bout in the city. They lost in the
eleventh fall when Emil was unable to continue after pinning Boris in the tenth. It was a
bloody contest. Ernie wrestled Roy McClarity to a forty-five minute draw on May 31st. In
Omaha on October 11, 1958, Dusek was disqualified in his match against Johnny Gilbert in
20:08 when he hit the referee.
Ernie and Emil teamed to face another brother duo, Doug and Johnny Gilbert in Omaha on
October 25, 1958. The bloody battle ended in a 1-1, 45-minute tie. They were billed as the
NWA Nebraska/ Iowa State Tag Team Champions. On November 15th, he faced Jack
Pesek for the Nebraska State Title in Omaha and the two wrestled to a 1-1, forty-five minute
draw. He hit Tom Novak, the referee, twice during the encounter. It was a second noted tie
between the two. Dusek’s match against Mitsu Arikawa in Omaha on January 24, 1959
drew a city record gate and the second best attendance to the City Auditorium. Arikawa,
accompanied by Tosh Togo, beat Dusek, who had Verne Gagne as his second, in the
eighth-fall of a special Texas Death Match. Dusek was unable to continue after seven,
giving him his “third Omaha loss.” 8,381 paid $10,120 to watch Gagne smash Togo with his
arm cast, opening a large cut which needed four stitches to close at County Hospital.
Dusek teamed with Dick the Bruiser on January 29th at the City Auditorium to defeat
Arikawa and Togo by disqualification. Arikawa hit referee Johnny Lehl and the decision was
made by Jerry Adam after Lehl had initially disqualified Bruiser. On October 3rd, Ernie
defeated former NWA Champion, Bill Longson by taking the last two falls of a two-of-three
falls bout with his Boston Crab. Dusek forced Bob Orton Sr. to submit with his Boston Crab
on January 28, 1960 in Omaha. Ernie retired from wrestling.
He returned to be the special guest referee for a World Title match between Verne Gagne
and champion, Fritz Von Erich on August 25, 1962 in Omaha. Over 9,000 fans witnessed
the cage match. Gagne captured the World Title.
Other Historical Information:
Using his real name, "Ernie Hason," he appeared in Sioux City, Iowa and beat Roy Boyd of
Anita, Iowa on Monday, February 3, 1930, winning in two-straight falls.
The Tuesday, March 14, 1944 edition of the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin (page 26)
reported that Ernie Dusek was accepted for entrance into the Army for "limited service." The
paper stated: "His Omaha draft board has notified him that he is subject to call in from 20 to
90 days." Also, Ernie had tried to get into all branches of the service, but had been
"rejected," and only recently was he reclassified. Last Friday in Omaha, he took his pre-
induction physical and it was found that he was almost deaf in his right ear. Ernie was 34
years of age, married, with no children. The paper noted that Ernie and his brothers Emil,
Rudy, and Joe were all professional wrestlers, but all but Joe had appeared in the east in
Research by Tim Hornbaker
|Ernie Dusek Wrestling History
Legends of Pro Wrestling