Before the WWE and WWF, before Vince McMahon, wrestling captivated audiences across the land. One of wrestling’s great heavyweight champs, George was as accomplished a showman as he was an athlete.
George made an early mark on the wrestling world as a collegiate heavyweight champion and as a participant in the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam. He was also an AAU Champion in 1928-29.
The amateur champion entered the professional wrestling ring, after receiving his engineering degree in 1929 from St. Bonaventure, and used the name Ed Don George. He won the World Heavyweight Championship in 1930, and regained the title two other times, in 1933 and 1939. In 1937 George won the European version of the World Professional title, as well.
During the war years, George enlisted in the Navy, where he rose to the rank of Commander, teaching hand-to-hand combat to aviators. Following the war, he announced his retirement from the ring, after competing in an estimated 900 matches.
Once retired, George became a wrestling promoter in the Buffalo area, forming the Upstate Athletic Club, which eventually controlled wrestling in 92 different communities. Ever the entrepreneur, George also worked as a wrestling promoter in Cuba, until Fidel Castro came to power.