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Brad Rheingans (born December 13, 1953) is an American retired Greco-Roman wrestler and professional wrestler. Rheingans was a member of the United States' Greco-Roman wrestling teams for the 1976 and 1980 Summer Olympics, as well as winning two gold medals in the 1975 and 1979 Pan American Games and a bronze medal in the 1979 World Wrestling Championships.[2][1]

Brad Rheingans
BradRheingans 830828.jpg
Rheingans in 1983
Born (1953-12-13) December 13, 1953 (age 65)
Appleton, Minnesota, United States[1]
ResidenceAppleton, Minnesota, United States
Alma materNorth Dakota State University[2]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Brad Rheingans
Billed height5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Billed weight248 lb (112 kg)
Billed fromAppleton, Minnesota
Trained byVerne Gagne[3]
Billy Robinson[4]


Early lifeEdit

Rhenigans was born in Appleton, Minnesota. While in high school, he won honours in football, wrestling and track and field.[2] His high school friends included fellow future professional wrestling personality Eric Bischoff.[5] After graduating high school, Rhenigans enrolled in North Dakota State University.[2]

Amateur wrestling careerEdit

Originally from Appleton, Rheingans was an NCAA Division II[6] champion in 1975 for North Dakota State University and wrestled in the 1976 Olympics, placing fourth.[7][8] He qualified for the Olympic team in 1980, but did not compete due to the United States boycott.[7][9] Between Olympics, he placed third for a bronze medal at the 1979 World Wrestling Championships.[10] He was later inducted into the Tribune Hall of Fame.[11] Rhenigans also won gold medals in the 1975 and 1979 Pan American Games.[12]

From 1976 to 1977, Rhenigans served as assistant wrestling coach for the University of Minnesota.[3] He went on to serve as a coach for the Minnesota Wrestling Club, where he trained Jeff Blatnick for the 1980 Summer Olympics.[13]

Professional wrestling careerEdit

Rheingans entered professional wrestling in 1980, training under Verne Gagne and Billy Robinson.[1][3][4] He debuted in Gagne's American Wrestling Association.

He also wrestled briefly for the WWF as an enhancement talent in 1986, occasionally for New Japan Pro Wrestling from 1989 to 1991,[14] and for various independent promotions in the Minnesota area during the early half of the 1990s.

In the mid-1990s, Rhenigans began touring Japan with New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW).[1]

Rheingans retired in 1995 after undergoing major reconstructive surgery on both knees.[15] After recovering, he began working as a trainer and as the American booker for NJPW, hiring wrestlers to tour Japan with the promotion. In the early 1990s, Rhenigans helped broker a working agreement between NJPW and World Championship Wrestling.[5][16]

After retiring, Rhenigans opened the World Wide School of Professional Wrestling in Hamel, Minnesota.[1]

Rheingans was inducted into the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2004.[9]

Championships and accomplishmentsEdit

Amateur wrestlingEdit

Professional wrestlingEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Oliver, Greg (August 25, 2004). "Olympic boycott still haunts Rheingans". Quebecor Media. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Mike Chapman (2005). Wrestling Tough. Human Kinetics. p. 146. ISBN 978-0-7360-5637-3.
  3. ^ a b c d George Schire (2010). Minnesota's Golden Age of Wrestling: From Verne Gagne to the Road Warriors. Minnesota Historical Society. pp. 127–128. ISBN 978-0-87351-620-4.
  4. ^ a b Billy Robinson; Jake Shannon (1 June 2012). Physical Chess: My Life in Catch-As-Catch-Can Wrestling. ECW Press. pp. 104–. ISBN 978-1-77090-215-2.
  5. ^ a b Eric Bischoff; Jeremy Roberts (2006). Controversy Creates Cash. Simon and Schuster. p. 134. ISBN 978-1-4165-2729-9.
  6. ^ NCAA Division II Records through 2011
  7. ^ a b Reynolds, Marge (December 24, 1998). "Olympian's story inspires wrestlers Gold medalist overcame cancer". Chicago Daily Herald. p. 1.
  8. ^ Reusse, Patrick (March 13, 2009). "Gust missed his Olympic moment; Canby's Brian Gust, who died last weekend, was denied a shot at the Olympics by the 1980 U.S. boycott". Star Tribune. Minneapolis. pp. 3C.
  9. ^ a b "Kiniski, Rheingans entering Newton hall". CANOE. July 25, 2004. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
  10. ^ "FILA Database". Archived from the original on 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2014-04-23.
  11. ^ Thoma, Scott (November 12, 2008). "Tribune Hall of Fame finalists named". West Central Tribune. Minnesota.
  12. ^ a b Steven Olderr (29 April 2003). The Pan American Games / Los Juegos Panamericanos: A Statistical History, 1951-1999, bilingual edition / Una Historia Estadistica, 1951-1999, edicion bilingue. McFarland. pp. 327–. ISBN 978-0-7864-4336-9.
  13. ^ a b c David L. Porter (5 August 2013). Their Greatest Victory: 24 Athletes Who Overcame Disease, Disability and Injury. McFarland. p. 4. ISBN 978-1-4766-0247-9.
  14. ^ Costa, Norman Da (February 22, 1990). "Lords of the ring face tough fights in weekend wars". The Toronto Star. pp. D8.
  15. ^ Steve Williams (13 December 2013). Steve Williams: How Dr. Death Became Dr. Life. Skyhorse Publishing Company, Incorporated. p. 202. ISBN 978-1-61321-517-3.
  16. ^ Jeremy Wall (2005). UFC's Ultimate Warriors: The Top 10. ECW Press. p. 119. ISBN 978-1-55022-691-1.
  17. ^ Goode, Mike (March 1, 1976). "First Cup Match at Home". Toledo Blade. Retrieved April 29, 2016.

External linksEdit