Hans Schmidt was one of the toughest and most hated wrestlers of the 1950s and ’60s
and quite possibly the most.  He was a four-time NWA United States Heavyweight
Champion and a multiple-time co-holder of the NWA World Tag Team Championship.  He
began wrestling in the early 1950s out of Canada, and not before long, he became
known as a German having spent several years in POW camps during the war.  Hans
Schmidt, the heel, was born.  He was immediately hated wherever he traveled.  From New
York City to Los Angeles.  He headlined big shows in Chicago, Denver, Milwaukee and
many other regions.

Schmidt made his Denver debut on Monday, March 29, 1954 and defeated The Mighty
Atlas in two-straight falls at the Auditorium Arena before 4,238 fans.  An obvious
impression was made on fans and promoters in the region.  But after his April 5th match
with former regional champion, Reggie Lisowski, it was known that Schmidt was being
pushed towards some kind of championship.  Either the Rocky Mountain or a national
crown.  Schmidt won the second and third falls in front of 3,000, during the short contest.  
There was a long wait, at least the summer had to go by before Mike London could match
Schmidt up against a heavyweight champion.

Verne Gagne was brought to the area on September 7th, to defend his United States
Crown.  He wasn’t the only man London brought to Denver.  Joe Louis, former boxing
heavyweight champion, was brought in to be the special referee for the important
contest.  Louis wasn’t about to stand by and watch either.  The former boxing champion
landed two right-hand punches on the chin of Schmidt, assisting Gagne in winning the
third fall before 5,388 fans.  It was his first local loss, but it wouldn’t stop his cruise to the
top.  Schmidt’s rough tactics secured a 60-day suspension by the Colorado State Athletic

He returned to Denver in December and won over Wee Willie Davis in three falls.  Hans
beat Yukon Eric in two-of-three-falls in Denver on October 19, 1954.  Schmidt was
matched against the popular Antonino Rocca for a match at the Arena in Denver on
March 8, 1955.  He won the first fall in 12:04, but lost the second in 3:40.  The third was
decided by a disqualification, when the referee stopped the bout and gave the match to
Rocca.  During the Parade of Champions event on Thursday, January 19, 1956 in
Denver, Schmidt received a shot at Lou Thesz’s NWA World Heavyweight Title.  The
champ captured the first fall, but lost the second.  Schmidt was disqualified in the third by
referee Woody Cox and Thesz retained.

Schmidt beat Wilber Snyder in Chicago on October 19, 1956 and captured the NWA
United States Heavyweight Title.  Snyder won a rematch, but Schmidt captured his
second U.S. Title in early December at Denver.  He won a two-of-three-falls match before
an estimated 3,000 fans.  Hans lost a match to Snyder in February 1957 and the belt
again changed hands.  He regained it for a third time.  On March 14th, Snyder beat
Schmidt in Denver and captured his fourth NWA U.S. Title.  3,400 fans were present at
the Auditorium Arena.  Schmidt returned to New York City on Monday, March 17, 1958
and teamed with Dr. Jerry Graham against the popular Antonino Rocca and Miguel
Perez.  15,140 fans were in attendance as the babyfaces won.

Schmidt ended popular Bob Elliott’s string of local victories in Denver on April 10, 1958 at
the Auditorium Arena.  He won the first and third falls.  Hans teamed with Dick the Bruiser
on August 9th in Omaha against Nicolai and Boris Volkoff, the reigning NWA World Tag
Team Champions.  Schmidt pinned Nicolai in the finals to capture the belts.  The champs
made a defense in Omaha on October 4th against the World Champion, Verne Gagne
and former champion, Edouard Carpentier.  Two formidable foes.  4,245 fans attended
the City Auditorium card.  In the third fall of a tied bout, Schmidt pinned Gagne as
Carpentier pinned Bruiser.  The referee’s Johnny Lehl and Jerry Adam recognized
Schmidt’s pin only, thus the tag team title was retained.  A rematch was set for October
11th in Omaha.  The two teams wrestled to a sixty-minute draw without a single fall.  5
referees were assigned by promoter Joe Dusek to police the action.

On November 1, 1958, Schmidt lost to Wilbur Snyder in two-of-three-falls.  He claimed
that his feet were on the ropes when referee Johnny Lehl counted the pin and attacked
both of the others in the ring with a steel chair.  When Joe Dusek and Sam Vacanti
attempted to calm Hans, they too were attacked.  Four cops had to restrain him.  A
rematch was set for November 8th.  Snyder again won, the final with his abdominal
stretch.  Hans had a severe cut over his right eye, sustained in the event.  On April 3,
1962 in Tampa, he teamed with “Big” Jim Wright against the NWA World Tag Champions
Don Curtis and Joe Scarpa.  The titleholders on the 1st and 3rd falls to retain in a special
Texas Death Match.  Schmidt wrestled Johnny Valentine in St. Louis on May 4th.  At the
12:43 mark, both men were knocked out.  A no decision was rendered.  Despite the failed
opportunity to beat his opponent, Schmidt was offered a United States Title shot against
Pat O’Connor in the main event of a May 18th card in St. Louis.  Schmidt lost when he
was disqualified.

Hans received a second shot on June 1st in St. Louis.  O’Connor beat Schmidt by
submission to a spinning leg-lock in 18:21.  Hans teamed with Pak-Son in St. Louis on
January 14, 1972 and wrestled to a double-disqualification in the third fall of a 1-1 match
with Jack Brisco and Dick the Bruiser.  Schmidt and Angelo Poffo battled off Terry Martin
and Steve Bolus in two-of-three falls on March 17, 1972 at the Kiel Auditorium before an
estimated 6,200 fans.

Schmidt wrestled in Montreal into the early 1980s.  He competed in four different decades
and put his name among the best in professional wrestling history.  When you think of
classic heel wrestlers, Bill Longson is named…The Sheik is named…Hans Schmidt is
named.  Their contributions paved the way for wrestling today.

Title History:

     -A four-time NWA United States Heavyweight Champion
             -Defeated Wilbur Snyder (1956)
             -Defeated Wilbur Snyder (1956)
             -Defeated Wilbur Snyder (1957)
             -Defeated Verne Gagne (1957)
     -A five-time World Heavyweight Champion (Montreal)
             -Defeated Edouard Carpentier (1960)
             -Tournament Final (1965)
             -Defeated Johnny Rougeau (1965)
             -Defeated Edouard Carpentier (1966)
             -Defeated Edoaurd Carpentier (1966)

Research by Tim Hornbaker
Hans Schmidt Wrestling History
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