Joe Alvarez was a renown wrestler, promoter, matchmaker, and trainer. He was born "Joseph
Ogurkiewicz" in Indiana on January 15, 1893 and joined the Marine Corps while still a
teenager. When the 1910 U.S. Federal Census was recorded, he was living in South Bend,
Indiana with his father Anton. Ten years later, he was married and living in Chicago with wife
Christina and children, Joseph, Rose, Virginia, and Hazel. He worked as a chauffeur and
moonlighted as a professional wrestler.
He actually used the name "Joe Alvarez" in an international tournament in New York City
several years earlier, and claimed to be from Panama. At points, he also claimed to be the
Panama champion and may have been called "Panama Joe."
In Chicago, on September 14, 1923, he wrestled under his real name, and lost to Pat McGill.
Interestingly, when the 1930 U.S. Federal Census was taken, Joe was not known as
Ogurkiewicz or Alvarez, but as "Joseph Shultz." The Shultz family were living on Dalton Street
in Boston, and by that time had five children, adding Lorraine around 1920. In the press, he
was usually referred to as "Joe Alvarez," and he was a key member of Boston promoter Paul
Bowser's staff. He remained in that role for years and was at the center of the fight for Dick
Shikat's contract in 1936 after the latter double-crossed Danno O'Mahoney for the World
As late as 1945, he promoted wrestling at the Mechanics Building in Boston, often featuring
the Dusek Brothers, and a year later, he was elected Marine Corps League National
Commandant at a convention in Atlantic City. He was also a businessman in the Boston area.
His mother, Anna Strink passed away on January 4, 1946 in Brighton, MA. A scheduled
wrestling show that week was postponed because of her death.
His original last name, Ogurkiewicz, was spelled many different ways from Ogorkiewicz to
A Special Thanks to Christine Laskey
Research by Tim Hornbaker
|Joe Alvarez Wrestling History