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Ox Baker (1934-2014)

    

Real Name - Douglas Baker

Lifespan - 4/19/1934 - 10/20/2014

6’5” 340 lbs. - Sedalia, MO


Athletic Background - Boxing, Football (US Army), Wrestling (High School)

Teacher(s) - Pat O’Connor, Bob Geigel, Buddy Austin

Aliases - Doug Baker, The Ox, Arkansas Ox

Peak Years - `73-`78

Place in History - Only in the world of pro-wrestling could someone like Ox Baker be born.  Doug Baker was a well-rounded athlete from the Midwest who broke into the sport in the 1960s playing a rough simpleton.  Aside from his size and booming voice, little about Baker made him special.  He crafted one of the most memorable and distinct looks of his era and became a bonafide top heel in many 1970s.  Ox Baker shaved his head, pointed his bushy eyebrows, grew a Fu Manchu-style mustache, began wearing long tights and adopted the heart punch as his finisher.  This new Ox became a competent heel, although his in-ring work was mainly lackluster brawling.  A strange pair of tragic occurrences helped Ox Baker catch on as top heel.  Alberto Torres and Ray Gunkel both died (of natural causes) following matches with Baker and his Hurt Punch (Heart Punch) became one of the most feared finishers in all of pro-wrestling.  He really caught on as top heel who could come into a territory, perhaps win the title before dropping it back as his act grew stale quickly.  Ox was a tremendous talker and self-promoter, which made up for his limitations between the ropes.  His critics would point out that he was mainly a top heel in second-tier non-NWA companies like the NWF, the WWA, the IWA and the ICW and was never pushed as a top heel in places like St. Louis or the WWWF.  He would did have notable success in Texas, Florida and Detroit.  It may be suffice to say that Ox Baker was a heel attraction who could draw fans, but only for a limited period similar to Abdullah the Butcher, Bruiser Brody and the like.  Ox was plagued by limited mobility and was notoriously clumsy and stiff in the ring.  Outside of the ring, he was a good-hearted and affable guy who was well-liked by his peers.  While Ox Baker wrestled throughout the 1980s, he struggled as the territories dried up.  He appeared in movies, published books, made public appearances, trained and managed a few wrestlers.  Ox Baker is one of pro-wrestling’s great characters that truly stands out in way that it seems pro-wrestlers do anymore.  He crafted a character on his own and made money with that character.
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