You’ve probably never heard of him, but the man has been dubbed the “Vince McMahon of New Zealand Wrestling.” He’s battled all-time greats like Ric Flair, Andre the Giant, Killer Kowalski, and more. He’s a multi-time Heavyweight champion. The Pro Wrestling Torch named him “one of New Zealand’s greatest wrestlers,” and is credited with turning professional wrestling into home entertainment.
His name is Steve Rickard, and yesterday he passed away at the age of 85. He died in his sleep.
Outside of some high-level international bouts (back when World Champions actually went around the world and defended their championships), Rickard is best known overseas as both athlete and promoter. Some of the accolades to his name were: NWA Australasian Heavyweight Champion, NWA New Zealand Heavyweight Champion, NWA British Empire/Commonwealth Champion, and half of the first NWA Australasian Tag Team Champions.
He also helped run Dominion Wrestling Union and created On The Mat, a long running overseas wrestling sports program. Later, he serviced as President of the NWA. You might not know his name, but you undoubtedly still feel his influence.
Our thoughts are with his family.