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Walter "Killer" Kowalski

Born in Ontario Canada, Kowalski said he was a 98 pound weakling as a youngster and turned to bodybuilding when he was fifteen. After a year he was two hundred pounds and was an outstanding high school athlete in football, basketball, and track.  After high school Walter became serious about weight training and joined a YMCA where he received his introduction to wrestling.  He began a wrestling career as an 18 year old in nearby Detroit, Michigan.  Walter was a six foot 200 pounder in those days and had to forge his age as 21 in order to get a license.  By the time he turned 21, he was 6’4” and weighted 240 pounds. He was a bad guy from the start because he was bigger than most guys he wrestled.  Walter felt the image was right for him and started out as Tarzan Kowalski and latter changed to Killer Kowalski.   

He wrestled in all parts of the world and had more than 3,000 matches during his star-studded career that saw him hold the heavyweight title on 2 different occasions as well as the tag team title twice.  Kowalski retired because of the travel and wanted the opportunity to work with young wrestlers.  His wrestling school in Malden, MA starting in 1977 included young wrestlers such as John Studd, Triple H, Eddie Edward, Chyna, and April Hunter.  It should be noted that he was a vegetarian starting back in 1954 and that he said “the strongest animals in the world ate no meat and when I was younger and wanted to be th strongest wrestler in the world, it made sense to me to become a vegetarian,” he explained.

Based on interview June 1981 with reporter Ralph Grasso Marlboro Enterprise and conversations with Bernie Tesmer


Bernie Tesmer, Big Ben Tesmer, Greg Tesmer, and Killer Kowalski enjoy a nice vegetarian meal in the summer of 1981

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