Wilbur Snyder Professional Wrestling Ring Record

Wilbur Snyder was a former Nebraska and WWA World Heavyweight Champion and a twelve-
time United States Champion.  He was a very successful professional grappler and popular
throughout the world.  Snyder was a very scientific wrestler with skills that could match up with
any of the top athletes.  He was a tackle for the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian
Profesional Football League during the summers of 1952 and 1953 from July to October.

Snyder broke into wrestling at 19 years of age in ’53 under the guidance of former World
Champion Sandor Szabo.  Snyder wrestled in California where in early 1954, and teamed with
Szabo to take the NWA International TV Tag Team Title.  During the summer of 1954, Snyder
and Bobo Brazil beat Al Lovelock and Tom Rice to win the NWA International TV Tag Title.  
Szabo continued to accompany Wilbur and assist him from ringside.  When his tour was over,
he left California.  Snyder lifted the NWA United States Title from long-reigning champion,
Verne Gagne on April 7, 1956 in Chicago.  He entered a brutal feud with Hans Schmidt over
the crown.  On October 17th, Schmidt won the belt in Chicago, but Snyder was able to regain

In early December, Schmidt again beat Snyder for the championship, this time in Denver,
Colorado.  The bout was a two-of-three-fall contest before an estimated 3,000 fans.  Snyder
captured his third U.S. Title, beating Schmidt on February 19, 1957.  Not before long, Schmidt
won his third championship.  In Denver on March 14th, Snyder beat him with two-falls and
regained the title.  Each wrestler had captured the belt three times in their war.  He lost the
title to Gagne on April 11th in Denver.

On October 3, 1957, Snyder and Gagne teamed in Denver against the World Tag Team
Champions, Reggie and Stanley Lisowski.  Snyder conceded the first fall to Reggie, but
regained his strength to win over Stanley with a half nelson and cobra hold for the second.  
Amidst controversy, the Lisowski’s lost the final fall via disqualification after the referee
reversed his decision, and new Tag Team Champions were crowned.  Although in many
areas, a championship could not change hands on a DQ, the belts were exchanged in
Denver, according to the Rocky Mountain News.  He met Hans Schmidt on November 1st at
the City Auditorium in Omaha.  He won in three falls with the final in controversial fashion.  
Schmidt claimed his feet were on the ropes but it went unnoticed by referee, Johnny Lehl.  
Snyder and Lehl were then attacked by Hans with a steel chair.  Promoter Joe Dusek and Sam
Vacanti took separate beatings before four police officers subdued the crazed matman.  
Snyder had won the second fall with his abdominal stretch after losing the initial.  He beat
Schmidt again on November 8th at the same arena.

With those two wins, Snyder was in line for a World Title Shot.  Signed for Omaha on
November 15, 1958  Snyder defeated Verne Gagne in two-of-three-falls to capture the
regionally recognized World Heavyweight Title and the seven-foot Mayor’s Trophy.  Gagne
had suffered an elbow injury in Rapid City, South Dakota several days before their match but
the finale came with a leverage induced submission via abdominal stretch.  He immediately
became the most hated man in Nebraska.  That same month, Snyder captured the NWA
United States Heavyweight Title.  It was his fifth.  Angelo Poffo beat Snyder in late December
and walked away with the U.S. Title.  On January 10, 1959 in Omaha, Snyder successfully
defended his World Title against Mitsu Arikawa.  The challenger was disqualified by referee
Jerry Adam in the third fall for throwing salt at Snyder, but had won the initial with his Japanese
Claw Hold.  Snyder’s first victory came with his abdominal stretch.  

Wilbur beat Poffo in Detroit and regained the United States Title for the sixth time on May
2nd.  Dick the Bruiser beat him on the 23rd in Detroit for the belt.  During the summer, Snyder
beat the Bruiser and took his seventh United States Heavyweight Championship.  Dick the
Bruiser beat Snyder in Denver on September 18th before 2,500 fans with two-of-three-falls,
capturing his third U.S. Title.  Snyder lost the World Title to Dr. X on October 3, 1959 in
Omaha at the City Auditorium.  After being tossed from the ring and landing awkwardly,
Snyder was unable to continue.  The referee first counted him out ending the second fall.  
Then handed the belt to X.  He had the first victory in 26:10 with an abdominal stretch.

He met the Bruiser again in Denver on October 24th at the Auditorium Arena for the United
States Title.  Snyder beat Bruiser in a bloody, Texas Death Match with Jujitsu Rules.  He
scored five-falls to his opponent’s three, but the win came when the Bruiser was tossed from
the ring and was unable to continue.  In early 1960, Bruiser captured the U.S. Title from
Snyder.  Their feud finally ended.  He failed to produce in a rematch against Dr. X on
December 12, 1959 in Omaha.  The second and third falls were declared victories for X, but
the first had $10,000 riding on it.  Snyder had posed ten-thousand dollars with State Athletic
Commissioner Manny Segal that he could beat Dr. X within twenty minutes.  The first fall was
given to Snyder after 17:50 with a three-count pin.  The check was not cashed, needless to

Snyder beat Don Leo Jonathan on September 15, 1961 in Denver with a body press and slam
in 20:31.  With the win, Snyder was named the number-one contender to the United States
Title held by Dick the Bruiser by Regional Promoter. The match was set for October 4, 1961.  
The first went to the champ in 10:48 and Snyder took the second to even the odds in 1:40.  
The third ended when both sailed through the ropes and were counted out.  A rematch was
immediately scheduled.  Denver housed the October 27th bout and 5,400 packed the
Coliseum.  Snyder won the first fall with a back flip on Bruiser in just 25 seconds.  A quick win,
paving the way for the rest of the match although he lost the second to the champion when he
was kicked in the midsection and pressed to the mat.  The third saw the U.S. Title change
hands as Snyder won with a body slam.  It was his ninth.

He lost the title on November 17th in Denver, but was never pinned by Dick the Bruiser.  Both
losses came after 7:47 of the second fall, when Snyder fell from the ring and was unable to
return.  He was completely knocked out.  Snyder took Bill Melby in three-falls at Denver on
December 8, 1961.  When Dick the Bruiser could not make a flight out of Omaha to Denver,
promoters selected Snyder to fill his spot at the top of the card on January 17, 1962 against
Fritz Von Erich.  The thing was that Snyder was already on the card in a tag match with Verne
Gagne against the U.S. Tag Team Champions, Art and Stan Neilson.  When it was all said and
done, Snyder could co-hold the tag championship and be a top contender to all national titles
with a victory over the “Claw.” He pinned Stan in the first fall at the 8:00 mark.  Gagne was
pinned in the second at 10:59 by Stan.  The third ended in a disqualification victory, but
Snyder and Gagne could not win the titles by that way of victory.  Snyder won his singles bout
with Von Erich in two-of-three-falls to give him two victories for the evening.

Snyder traveled to San Francisco to challenge Ray Stevens for his claim to the U.S. Title on
April 7th.  Snyder suffered an injury during the second fall and was unable to go any further.  
He returned to the Midwest and beat Dick the Bruiser for his tenth United States Title victory.  
Snyder lost the belt back to him on June 2nd in Detroit.  He won two more United States
Heavyweight Titles while in the American Wrestling Association.  Snyder competed against
Lou Thesz on October 22, 1965 at the Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis.  The NWA World
Heavyweight Title was on the line.  Snyder lost the first fall when he was pinned in 16:55.  He
won the second and earned the right to battle Thesz in the third.  After 6:16 of the final, Thesz
pinned Snyder and retained his belt.

On November 5th, Snyder pinned the Mongolian Stomper at the same location.  He replaced
Bob Ellis in a headliner AWA Title match against “Mad Dog” Vachon on December 27, 1965.  
An estimated 7,000 fans packed the Arena in Denver to watch the two-of-three fall match.  
Snyder won the second in 18:06 after losing the first.  Using illegal tactics in the third, Vachon
was disqualified by the official.  Snyder got the win, but not the championship.  He did secure
his place as the number one contender.  Snyder was receiving shots at both the NWA and
AWA World Titles and getting close to winning both.  He returned to St. Louis for a January 7,
1966 card at the Kiel.  11,612 fans populated the Auditorium.  Snyder wrestled Moose Cholak
in the fourth match.  He pinned Cholak after a long battle.  One report has stated that the
match went an hour and forty plus minutes.  Later in the night, Gene Kiniski pinned Thesz for
the NWA World Title.

Snyder teamed with Pat O’Connor in Chicago to take the AWA World Tag Team Title from
Harley Race and Chris Markoff on November 10, 1967.  They lost the belts to Mr. Moto and
Mitsu Arakawa on December 2nd.  Snyder teamed with Rufus R. Jones on July 15, 1977 in St.
Louis at the Kiel Auditorium.  After Jones got the single pinfall, Snyder and his partner
celebrated a victory over Ray Stevens and Jimmy Valiant.

He retired to Carmel, Indiana a wealthy man.  His status in wrestling history was firmly secure.  
Snyder eventually moved to Fort Lauderdale.

Wilbur Snyder died on December 25, 1991 at the Broward Medical Center in Pompano Beach,

Title History:

  -A ten-time NWA United States Heavyweight Champion
          -Defeated Verne Gagne (1956)
          -Defeated Hans Schmidt (1956)
          -Defeated Hans Schmidt (1957)
          -Defeated Hans Schmidt (1957)
          -Won Title (1958)
          -Defeated Angelo Poffo (1959)
          -Defeated Dick the Bruiser (1959)
          -Defeated Dick the Bruiser (1959)
          -Defeated Dick the Bruiser (1961)
          -Defeated Dick the Bruiser (1962)
  -Nebraska State World Heavyweight Title (1958-’59) defeated Verne Gagne
  -A thirteen-time co-holder of the WWA World Tag Team Title
          w/ Dick the Bruiser (1964) awarded
          w/ Dick the Bruiser (1964) defeated Angelo Poffo and Nicoli Volkoff
          w/ Moose Cholak (1965-’66) defeated The Assassins
          w/ Dick the Bruiser (1966) defeated The Assassins
          w/ Luis Martinez (1966) defeated The Assassins
          w/ Pat O’Connor (1968) defeated Mitsu Arakawa and Dr. Moto
          w/ Moose Cholak (1970-’71) defeated The Fabulous Kangeroos
          w/ Paul Christy (1971) defeated The Fabulous Kangeroos
          w/ Pepper Gomez (1974) defeated The Valiant Brothers
          w/ Dominic Denucci (1978) defeated The Valiant Brothers
          w/ Pepper Gomez (1978-’79) defeated The Valiant Brothers
          w/ Spike Huber (1980-’81) defeated Roger Kirby & Jerry Valiant
          w/ Spike Huber (1982) defeated The Kelly Twins
  -WWA World Heavyweight Title (1967-’69) defeated Mitsu Arakawa
  -Co-holder of the JWA International Tag Team Title (1969) w/ Danny Hodge

Research by Tim Hornbaker
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