Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Black History Month: Ernie Ladd

The Big Cat Ernie Ladd (WWE)
By Kevin Hunsperger

It's the final day of Black History Month and while I did not get the chance to write about all the wrestling greats this month is set to honor, I do feel like I got to write about many of them.  And I tried hard to not make this sound like a Wikipedia page, I wanted to write about wrestlers I remembered watching as a kid (and adult).  In some cases I had to do some research to supplement, but most of these entries came from memory and from the heart.

Honestly by the time I started watching wrestling, Ernie Ladd was no longer in the ring.  But he was providing color commentary for WWF broadcasts.  That's what I remember him from.  He also came back from time to time to do interview segments.

The King
But "the Big Cat" had quite a time in the ring.  He feuded with the likes of Andre the Giant, Mil Mascaras, and Paul Orndorff.  At one point along the way, he was the King of wrestling too.  Ladd was a great influence to other black wrestlers climbing the ladder.  The Junkyard Dog is among the men he helped along the way.

In 1995, Ladd was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.  He had a storied career, and it's an honor he earned.  Ladd was diagnosed with cancer in 2004 and died from the disease in 2007.  While he is gone, he's never forgotten and left an impact on generations to come.

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