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Walter Paul Sieber (October 2, 1933 – July 5, 2009) was a Canadian professional wrestler. He is best known for performing under the ring name Waldo Von Erich, playing the character of a villainous Prussian Nazi. He was billed as the brother of Fritz Von Erich, making him a fictitious member of the Von Erich family.[1][2][3][4][7]

Waldo Von Erich
Waldo Von Erich.jpg
Birth nameWalter Paul Sieber[1][2]
Born(1933-10-02)October 2, 1933[1]
Toronto, Ontario, Canada[3]
DiedJuly 5, 2009(2009-07-05) (aged 75)[4]
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada[4]
Cause of deathFalling[4]
Spouse(s)
Anne Elizabeth Jones[5]
(m. 1959; div. 1988)
Children3[3]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Baron Von Sieber[2][3]
El Tigre[3][6]
The Great Hornet[5]
The Great Zimm[3][6]
Green Hornet[1]
Kurt Von Seiber[1][2]
Mr. M[3][6]
Waldo Von Erich[3]
Waldo Von Sieber[3]
Wally Seiber[1][2]
Walter Von Sieber[6]
Billed height6 ft 0 in (183 cm)[7]
Billed weight265 lb (120 kg)[7]
Billed fromBerlin, Germany[8][9]
Trained byRed Garner[3]
Debut1950
Retired1979[3]

Early lifeEdit

Sieber was born in Toronto, Ontario. His parents divorced when he was seven. As a youth, he participated in weightlifting at the YMCA in Weston along other future professional wrestlers including Dave McKigney, Geeto Mongol, and Mikel Scicluna. At the age of 16, he began training as a professional wrestling under Red Garner in a garage in Richmond Hill.[3][5]

Professional wrestling careerEdit

Sieber debuted at the age of 17 under the ring name "Waldo Von Sieber".[5] He began his career in Calgary, wrestling for Stu Hart's Stampede Wrestling promotion using the character of an evil German.[6][10] In the late-1950s, Hart paired Sieber with Fritz Von Erich, who also portrayed a villainous German. With Sieber changing his ring name to "Waldo Von Erich", the duo billed themselves as brothers and formed a tag team.[6][11][12]

In 1964, Von Erich headlined Madison Square Garden in three bouts against Bruno Sammartino for the WWWF Heavyweight Championship. The first bout lasted 81 minutes, ending in a draw when the match had to be halted due to an 11 o'clock curfew. The two following bouts were won by Sammartino.[3][8][9][13][14]

In 1968, Sieber unsuccessfully challenged Gene Kiniski for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in a Texas death match promoted by NWA Big Time Wrestling in the HemisFair Arena in San Antonio, Texas.[15]

In 1970, Sieber lost to "Sonny", a 750 lb Kodiak bear, in a bout for NWA Tri-State staged in the Monroe Civic Center in Monroe, Louisiana.[16]

Sieber briefly retired in 1973, but returned to the ring later that year. He wrestled for the WWWF throughout the mid-1970s, unsuccessfully challenging Bob Backlund for the WWWF Heavyweight Championship in 1976.[6]

RetirementEdit

Sieber retired from professional wrestling in 1979. He studied reflexology and began working as a physical therapist in Kitchener. He also worked as an inventor, with his creations including the "Inverchair", an inverted chair device enabling him to hang upside down to alleviate his back pain which he sold to customers including the Department of National Defence.[3][5]

In the 1990s, Sieber was affiliated with Joe Frocklage's International Championship Wrestling promotion and school in Cambridge, where he trained wrestlers including Eric Young and The Highlanders.[3]

Professional wrestling personaEdit

For much of his career, Sieber portrayed a Prussian Nazi. As "Waldo Von Sieber" (also on occasion "Baron Von Sieber" or "Walter Von Sieber"), and later as "Waldo Von Erich", Sieber grew his blond hair long, wore a Stahlhelm, armband, and monocle, and carried a crop to the ring. His finishing move, a diving knee drop, was known as the "Blitzkrieg" in reference to the military tactic employed by Germany in World War II.[3] Other finishing moves utilised by Sieber included a hold known as the "Prussian Deathlock"[17] and a body press.[18][19][20]

While not recognised as an exceptional technical wrestler, Sieber was known for his ability to draw the ire of audiences, leading promoter Vincent J. McMahon to remark "You know, Waldo, I know what you're like, but I hate your guts when you're in that ring."[3]

Personal lifeEdit

Sieber was the only child of Paul Sieber Sr. (a German immigrant) and Anna Yost (a Romanian immigrant).[5]

Sieber married Anne Elizabeth "Betty" Jones in 1959; the couple divorced in 1988. They had three daughters together.[4]

Although Sieber was billed as being the brother of Jack Barton Adkisson Sr. (Fritz Von Erich), the two men were not related. However, Sieber was a distant cousin of Doris Adkisson, Adkisson Sr.'s wife. In 1985, professional wrestler William Vaughan was introduced to Fritz Von Erich's World Class Championship Wrestling promotion under the ring name Lance Von Erich, purportedly the son of Waldo Von Erich; Vaughan and Sieber were not related.[21]

DeathEdit

After falling on July 5, 2009, Sieber died in hospital in Kitchener, Ontario later that day at the age of 75.[4][6]

Championships and accomplishmentsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Waldo von Erich". Canoe.com. Postmedia Network. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e Tim Hornbaker (2017). Legends of Pro Wrestling: 150 Years of Headlocks, Body Slams, and Piledrivers. Sports Publishing. pp. 714–715. ISBN 978-1-61321-875-4.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Greg Oliver (July 7, 2009). "Waldo von Erich: The consummate heel". Canoe.com. Postmedia Network. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Greg Oliver (July 6, 2009). "Waldo von Erich dies suddenly". Canoe.com. Postmedia Network. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Cathy Gulli (August 6, 2009). "Walter Paul Sieber 1933-2009". Maclean's. Rogers Media. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Harris M. Lentz III (2010). Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2009: Film, Television, Radio, Theatre, Dance, Music, Cartoons and Pop Culture. McFarland & Co. p. 550. ISBN 978-0-7864-4174-7.
  7. ^ a b c Steven Johnson; Greg Oliver (2010). The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Heels. ECW Press. pp. 384–386. ISBN 978-1-55490-284-2.
  8. ^ a b "Von Erich loses to Sammartino: Garden's first mat card of season draws 14,915". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. September 22, 1964. Retrieved May 19, 2019. Sammartino, the 260-pound strongboy from Abruzzi, Italy, repeatedly kicked the 257 pound von Erich, from Berlin, until the referee stopped what was billed as a 'fight to the finish' after 34 minutes 25 seconds. Sammartino won, of course.
  9. ^ a b "Von Erich in draw with Sammartino". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. August 23, 1964. Retrieved May 19, 2019. Last night at Madison Square Garden, 16,058 fans paid $52,634.69 to watch Bruno Sammartino, the hero, and Waldo von Erich, from Berlin, perform. In a fashion that satisfied most of the customers. The main event between Sammartino, 262, the Italian strong boy from Abruzzi, and Von Erich, 257, ended in a draw after 1 hour 21 minutes.
  10. ^ Don G. Smith (2012). Fritz Von Erich: Triumph and Tragedy. Midnight Marquee & BearManor Media. p. 56. ISBN 978-1936168231.
  11. ^ Bret Hart (2009). Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling. Ebury Publishing. p. 20. ISBN 978-1-4070-2931-3.
  12. ^ David Shoemaker (2013). The Squared Circle: Life, Death, and Professional Wrestling. Penguin Group. p. 66. ISBN 978-1-101-60974-3.
  13. ^ Greg Oliver (February 1, 2009). "Waldo von Erich Q&A: Part 1". Canoe.com. Postmedia Network. Retrieved May 18, 2019.
  14. ^ "Sammartino and von Erich To Wrestle Again Sept. 21". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. September 6, 1964. Retrieved May 19, 2019. Bruno Sammartino, who has won only one of his last three wrestling matches in Madison Square Garden, meets Waldo von Erich of Germany in a return exhibition at the Garden on Monday night, Sept. 21. The Italian‐born Sammartino was held to a draw by von Erich last month before more than 18,000 fans. According to the promoters, the wrestlers have gone into an Intensive training program and each is sure of victory.
  15. ^ "Von Erich, Kiniski view for Title". San Antonio Express (via Newspapers.com). November 2, 1968. p. 56. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  16. ^ "Five-minute duel with bear proved enough for Waldo". The News-Star (via Newspapers.com). October 21, 1970. p. 26. Retrieved May 19, 2019. It took only five minutes for Sonny, a 750 - pound bear, to make Waldo Von Erich cry 'uncle' in the highlight of Tuesday's wrestling card at the Civic Center.
  17. ^ "The Stomper wins again". The StarPhoenix (via Newspapers.com). February 22, 1968. p. 22. Retrieved May 18, 2019. Waldo Von Erich stopped Leo Burke after only one fall with the Prussian deathlock.
  18. ^ "Von Erich dumps McKenzie without usual shady tactics". Edmonton Journal (via Newspapers.com). April 22, 1964. p. 19. Retrieved May 19, 2019. But the German gentleman came back with a pair of body presses to wrap things up in the next nine minutes.
  19. ^ "Watts defeated in mat feature". The Times (via Newspapers.com). August 2, 1970. p. 31. Retrieved May 19, 2019. ...Von Erich rolled his legs into a clasp and then took the match on a body press.
  20. ^ "Von Erich stretches win string". Edmonton Journal (via Newspapers.com). March 4, 1964. p. 51. Retrieved May 19, 2019. Erich took the first in a best-of-three falls match with three successive drop kicks and a body press.
  21. ^ Dave Meltzer (1986). The Wrestling Observer's Who's who in Pro Wrestling. Wrestling Observer Newsletter. p. 129.
  22. ^ "Germans retain Tag Team Title". The Times (via Newspapers.com). January 19, 1971. p. 19. Retrieved May 19, 2019. Waldo von Erich and Karl von Brauner retained their U.S. Tag Team title...
  23. ^ "Stampede Wrestling Hall of Fame (1948-1990)". Puroresu Dojo. 2003.
  24. ^ Steven Verrier (2018). Gene Kiniski: Canadian Wrestling Legend. McFarland & Co. p. 112. ISBN 978-1-4766-3427-2.

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