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Dick the Bruiser
American professional wrestler and football player

Dick the Bruiser

Dick the Bruiser
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American professional wrestler and football player
A.K.A. William Richard Afflis, William Afflis, Afflis, Dick Bruiser
Was American football player Wrestler Athlete Actor
From United States of America
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio Sports
Gender male
Birth 27 June 1929, Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana, USA
Death 10 November 1991, Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida, USA (aged 62 years)
Star sign Cancer
Height: 185 cm
Weight: 118 kg
University of Nevada, Reno
Purdue University
Jefferson High School
Delphi Community High School
Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame  
Sports Teams
Purdue Boilermakers football
Nevada Wolf Pack football
Green Bay Packers
The details (from wikipedia)


William Fritz Afflis (June 27, 1929 – November 10, 1991) was an American professional wrestler and football player, better known by his ring name, Dick the Bruiser. He was a fifteen-time world champion in professional wrestling, having held the AWA World Heavyweight Championship, the WWA World Heavyweight Championship (Indianapolis version) thirteen times and the WWA World Heavyweight Championship (Los Angeles version) once .

Early life

Born in Delphi, Indiana, he moved to Indianapolis when his mother got a job there during World War II. Afflis played football during his freshman and sophomore years for Shortridge High School in Indianapolis. After his mother lost her job, the family moved back to Delphi, and the high school there did not have a football team. Afflis took up residence at the YMCA in nearby Lafayette, Indiana, so that he was eligible to attend Lafayette Jefferson High School where he played football and wrestled. Afflis went on to attend Purdue University and the University of Nevada, Reno, playing varsity football at both schools. He also worked as a bouncer at a Reno nightclub.

American football career

Selected 186th overall in the 16th round of the 1951 professional football draft, Afflis played football for the Green Bay Packers from 1951 to 1954. as a lineman. He appeared in all 48 regular season games the Packers played in those years, although the team never finished better than fourth place. Afflis suffered an injury to his larynx while playing for the Packers that left him with a gravelly voice for the rest of his life.

Professional wrestling career

Afflis started wrestling in Chicago in 1955 under the Bruiser moniker where he faced Verne Gagne and Lou Thesz. Gagne had trained him to become a professional wrestler. From then into the late 1950s, Dick the Bruiser wrestled live every Thursday on TV in the Detroit area. His typical opponent was "an up and coming young (unknown) wrestler" who would be pulverized by the Bruiser. His matches and interviews were so effective he became a household name in the Detroit area. His only defeat on live TV was at the hands of "Cowboy" Bob Ellis. However, in two rematches with Ellis at the Olympia in Detroit, the Bruiser was victorious. A real bar fight with football player Alex Karras gained Afflis attention, which resulted in several more fights. On November 19, 1957, Dick the Bruiser and Dr. Jerry Graham engaged in a tag team match at Madison Square Garden in New York City before a crowd reported as 12,987 fans. Their opponents were Antonino Rocca and Édouard Carpentier. After the match ended, fighting among the wrestlers continued, and a large number of fans joined in, leading to a riot. Two policemen were injured, two fans were arrested and over 60 policemen had difficulty dispersing the angry crowd. The floor of the arena was littered with hundreds of broken chairs. As a result, Dick the Bruiser was banned for life by the New York State Athletic Commission.

Afflis, along with fellow wrestler and business partner Wilbur Snyder, purchased the Indianapolis NWA promotion in 1964 from its longtime owner Jim Barnett. Afflis renamed the territory the World Wrestling Association (WWA) and promoted himself as its champion. While he ran it as an independent promotion with its own titles and champion, the WWA had a working agreement with the larger AWA (owned by wrestler Verne Gagne), sharing talent and recognizing their championships. This agreement benefited both promotions and led to the Bruiser having five AWA World Tag Team Championship reigns, with tag team partner, The Crusher, who was billed as his "cousin". The Bruiser was the first to christen Manager Bobby Heenan with the nickname of "The Weasel" during his run in the territory. Afflis' WWA ran from 1964 until 1989, when he finally tired of losing talent, TV, and fan attendance to the World Wrestling Federation (WWF).

Afflis, with his charisma, NFL notoriety, and gravelly-voiced, tough-guy persona was a legitimate cross-media star, becoming something of a hero in the Indianapolis area. He made his home on the northwest side of the city. Indianapolis native David Letterman would later name his television show's band The World's Most Dangerous Band as a derivation of Dick the Bruiser's nickname, "The World's Most Dangerous Wrestler." The moniker "Dick the Bruiser" was even used in the 1980s by George Baier, a co-host of the morning drive show on Detroit rock radio station WRIF. Baier's "Richard T. Bruiser" was an effective, entertaining impersonation of Afflis, who actually played himself in a number of popular TV ads for WRIF. After retiring, Afflis was a color commentator for the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (GLOW), founded by David McLane, who had previously risen through the ranks as a teenager to manage the WWA for The Bruiser. He also worked as a talent agent for World Championship Wrestling (WCW), and was the special guest referee at the Starrcade 1990 main event between Sting and the Black Scorpion.

Personal life and death

His son in law wrestles as Dick the Bruiser Jr in the independent circuit. As of 2020, he still wrestles at 68.

Afflis died of internal bleeding on November 10, 1991, according to a spokesman for Suncoast Hospital in Largo, Florida, near his winter home. His widow, Louise, said her husband had been weightlifting at home with his adopted son, Jon Carney, and ruptured a blood vessel in his esophagus. He was entombed at Washington Park North Cemetery in Indianapolis.

Championships and accomplishments

  • 50th State Big Time Wrestling
    • NWA United States Heavyweight Championship (Hawaii version) (1 time)
  • American Wrestling Alliance
  • American Wrestling Association
    • AWA World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
    • AWA World Tag Team Championship (5 times) – with The Crusher
    • World Heavyweight Championship (Omaha version) (1 time)
    • AWA United States Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • Big Time Wrestling
    • NWA United States Heavyweight Championship (Detroit version) (4 times)
  • Fred Kohler Enterprises
    • NWA United States Heavyweight Championship (Chicago version) (1 time)
    • NWA World Tag Team Championship (Chicago version) (1 time) – with Gene Kiniski
  • Japan Wrestling Association
    • NWA International Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with The Crusher
  • Pro Wrestling Illustrated
    • PWI Tag Team of the Year (1972)
    • Ranked #300 of the top 500 singles wrestlers of the "PWI Years" in 2003
  • Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame
    • (Class of 2005) – Tag Team with Crusher
    • (Class of 2011) – Television Era
  • St. Louis Wrestling Club
    • NWA Missouri Heavyweight Championship (3 times)
  • St. Louis Wrestling Hall of Fame
    • (Class of 2007)
  • World Championship Wrestling
    • WCW Hall of Fame (Class of 1994)
  • World Wrestling Association
  • Worldwide Wrestling Associates
    • WWA World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • Wrestling Observer Newsletter
    • Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (Class of 1996)
  • WWE
    • WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2021)
  • Other titles
    • World Heavyweight Championship (Georgia version) (1 time)
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 27 May 2021. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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