Brad Rheingans

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 66)
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 World Championship Wrestling from 1989 to 1990,[14] and for various independent promotions in the Minnesota area during the early half of the 1990s.

New Japan Pro-Wrestling (1989 - 1993);Edit

In 1989, Rheingans began touring Japan with New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), allying himself with his former trainee Leon White, now known as Big Van Vader, and Buzz Sawyer in battling Antonio Inoki, Tatsumi Fujinami, Riki Choshu and Kengo Kimura, but later, he would aid New Japan in their battle against URSS amateur wrestlers such as Salman Hashimikov, Victor Zangiev, Vladimir Berkovich, Timur Zalasov and Wahka Evloev for the remainder of the year. On 1990, he started to help training young wrestlers on the NJPW Dojo, most notably Koji Kitao and Osamu Nishimura. On that time his most notable match was against another decorated amateur wrestler in Victor Zangiev from the Soviet Union on February 10 at the Tokyo Dome, in a winning effort. Later on, he would only engage against young lions such as Michiyoshi Ohara, Hiroyoshi Yamamoto, Manabu Nakanishi, Yuji Nagata and many others. His last match on New Japan saw Rheingans defeat El Samurai on December 11, 1993.[1]

Retirement (1995);Edit

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