Rest in Peace Walter Killer Kowalski,
I will share few stories that Wally loved to talk about when we got together. I must say that I learned more from Mr. Kowalski that anyother wrestler that I ever worked with. I would also like to say that Burt Ruby broke both George Steele and Walter Kowalski into the wrestling busniess
My second run in the WWWF was in 1969. Not only did I do great business with WWWF Champion Bruno Sammartino but I was tagged up with the legendary Walter Killer Kowalski. We did great business working against the likes of Haystacks Calhoun, Victor Rivera
George Steele fought the WWWF World Champion Bruno Sammartino to a draw in Boston Garden – July 26, 1969 we returned to the Boston Garden August 23, 1969 in a tag team match. WWWF World Champion Bruno Sammartino and Antonio Pugliese lost to George Steele Killer Kowalski.
Then all hell broke loose September 13, 1969 in the Boston Garden George Steele and Killer Kowalski vs Haystacks Calhoun and Victor Rivera.
Walter Killer Kowalski VS George Steele
Walter is a real wrestling legion. George Steele and Walter Killer Kowalski worked together as a successful tag team against the teams of Bruno Sammartino and Antonio Pugliese also Haystacks Calhoun & Victor Rivera and others.
One time we were tagged against Haystacks Calhoun & Victor Rivera in springfield Mass and I was putting new laces in my boots… The laces were to long so I was going to cut about two feet of my lace. Walter screamed at me “what are you doing”? Walter said never waste anything. Walter then said we can use that extra lace in our match to choke Hay stacks.
During the match Walter distracted the referee and I pulled the long lace out of my boot tied it around Haystacks neck and started choking Stacks. When the referee came over to me I just stood up and walked back and talked to the ref while continuing to choke Stacks with out the referee noticing. Haystacks was really selling the choke big time. The heat was really building up. Finely this Puerto Rican Fan could not stand it any longer and came running to ringside with a open knife. I was trapped my boot was tied to Haystacks neck. There was no way that I could get away. I could feel the knife stabbing into my leg but that did not happen. The Fan just cut my boot lace and freed Haystacks Calhoun. The fans loved it as I went crazy.
A riot broke out in Atlantic City when a fan threw his chair at me while I was whaling on Victor Rivera in one of the corners. The chair hit Victor in the head and the blood just started gushing. At first the fans jumped the fellow that threw the chair. I started pounding on Victors bleeding head and it did not take long for the fans to rush the ring to save Victor. We fought our way back to the dressing room area where we attempted to barricade the double doors with a grand piano. That only worked for a little while. Killer Kowalski found a stairway and was able to hide up stairs.
I ducked in to a closet where I found a empty jumbo beer bottle for a weapon. I was peeking when one of the ring crew stumbled by bleeding. I scared him to death as I pulled into the safety of my hiding place. The police brought the dogs in to get control of the riot that night. Needless to say there were no barricades that night.
It was amazing how much heat we could get when the 600lbs Haystacks Calhoun was selling. The fans really believe in the Fat Man.
George Steele & Killer Kowalski vs. Haystacks Calhoun & Victor Rivera wrestled in the Boston Garden – September 13, 1969. George Steele took Victor Rivera to the corner and Walter Killer Kowalski went to the top rope. As Walter Killer Kowalski Jumped to give Victor Rivera a double ax handle. Victor moved and that stupid Walter Killer Kowalski hit George Steele with the double ax handle and all hell broke loose between us.
The next Boston Garden show was October 4, 1969 and George Steele was booked to wrestle Walter Killer Kowalski. Before this match took place the old master Walter Killer Kowalski called me a side and said lets not fight for the heat out there tonight. Walter said “if the fans favor you George just lay back a little and I will be the heel and if the fans favor The Killer I would lay back just a little and George Steele will be the heel”. Walter said “there is no sense in us fighting for the heat”.
It was unbelievable The killer went out first and the Boston fans went wild cheering Walter Killer Kowalski it was like a Bruno Sammartino entrance. When George Steele the fans went crazy the heat was there. This match turned into a war. We fought in the ring, out of the ring through the crowd all the way up to the balcony. We had a thirty-five minute war. We were both counted out but we continued fight all of the way back to the locker the fans loved it. A return match to be fought in the cage was announced immediately following our match and the Boston Gardens erupted.
Killer Kowalski vs. George Steele returned to the Boston Garden November 1, 1969 to settle their differences in a steel cage match. This was really a funny night that Walter always enjoyed talking about. Walter Killer Kowalski had become a vegetarian and was really into taking care of his body. He was over strong enough that he did not need to bleed. In fact The Killer refused to get juice any more. Will it was a cage match and I thought juice was important little did I know. Will the stage is set and I would not be bacK for awhile. The Madison high school wrestling season was getting started so I would not be able to sneak out on Saturdays anymore until the following spring.
George Steele had the heat and was the heel. The fans were chanting ANIMAL ANIMAL ANIMAL it was funny because I was not called THE ANIMAL yet. I went out and went wild as I usually did. I went around the outside of ring a couple of times checking the cage. I move the steps about three feet away from the ring. The fans could feel the fear that was starting to build up in me and they were really getting with it. I finely got in the ring and then Walter The Killer Kowalski was announced and the Boston Gardens went wild.
Walter walked straight to the steps. When Walter got to the top of the steps he realized the he was about three feet from the ring. The cage was set up just outside the ropes. The cage door was low and small. The Killer took a long stride and tried to duck his head as he got in the ring. Bang, The Killer did not duck his head low enough. When Walter’s head hit the door frame it cut him wide open and George Steele was on Walter like the wild Animal they were calling him. We had a wild cage match and the fun was over.
George Steele vs. Killer Kowalski was the matches that rocketed me to being one of the top heels in the wrestling business. George Steele had turned on the legendary super heel Walter Kowalski. The fans of Boston cheered as Walter Kowalski was introduced first. No one in the wrestling business expected that. There was unbelievable heat as I went to the ring. The cage match put the end to a great summer and it was back to Michigan teaching and coaching until the next year.