Sad news for fans of old school wrestling and insane facial hair — wrestling legend Ox Baker passed away today at the age of 80.
WWE announcer Jerry “The King” Lawler tweeted out the sad news of Ox Baker’s passing on Twitter.
Just got the sad news that my friend and wrestling great, Ox Baker passed away a couple of hours ago. RIP OX pic.twitter.com/uRbe8R1rbI
— Jerry Lawler (@JerryLawler) October 20, 2014
Ox Baker’s odd look and infamous finishing move, the heart punch, made him the classic heel and hated among wrestling fans in his day.
Ox Baker’s Fatal Finisher
Urban legends claim that Ox Baker and his finisher did take the lives of two wrestlers though both men were done in from their own health issues.
“On June 13, 1971, Ox and his partner the Claw were wrestling in an AWA Midwest Tag Team Championship tag team match against Alberto Torres and his partner Cowboy Bob Ellis in Verdigre, Nebraska. Torres was injured during the match and died three days later. Though evidence indicated that Torres died of a ruptured appendix, Baker’s Heart Punch was blamed and, though by his own account Baker was privately distraught over the death, he did “work” it as though he had killed Torres.
On August 1, 1972, in Savannah, Georgia Baker faced Ray Gunkel, who was a popular wrestler in (and part owner of) the Georgia promotion. Though it was claimed that Gunkel dropped dead in the ring from the Heart Punch, other accounts, most notably in the biography of Vince McMahon Sex, Lies and Headlocks, state that Gunkel had suffered a heart attack apparently from over-indulging at a restaurant before the match. The truth is that Gunkel won the match and died in the dressing room after the match. In both cases, Baker was “blamed” for the death.”
Non-wrestling fans might remember Ox Baker from a few of his acting roles — most notably his appearances in John Carpenter’s 1981 classic sci-fi action flick Escape from New York.
Ox Baker was still wrestling up to the time of death and had recently returned to the ring. He was a surprise entrant in a 13 man battle royal and was crowned the CCW Champion.
H/T Wrestling Inc.