Killer Kowalski

Killer Kowalski

Wrestling Legend and Trainer

(Walter) "Killer" Kowalski[ (October 13, 1926 – August 30, 2008) was a Canadian professional wrestler. Kowalski wrestled for numerous promotions during his career, including the NWA and WWWF, and was a known heel wrestler. He held numeruous championships including the WWWF World Tag Team Championship with Big John Studd. After retiring in 1977, Kowalski started a professional wrestling school in Malden, Massachusetts and trained many professional wrestlers, including Triple H.

Early Life

The man later known as "Killer Kowalski" (he legally changed his name in 1963) was born Edward Walter Spulnik on 13 October 1926. The son of Polish immigrants, he and his brother Stanley were raised in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Years later, he would tell interviewers that he never expected to be a wrestler. By the age of 14, he was already 6 feet 4 inches (193 cm), and because he was skinny for his height, he began working out at the local YMCA, but he had no plan to go into athletics at that time. When he entered college, his major was electrical engineering. He worked part-time at the Ford plant in Detroit to help pay his way.


Wladek (aka Walter) Kowalski wrestled from 1947 to 1977 in a number of organizations, including the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) and American Wrestling Association (AWA). Always a fearsome heel, the genuinely intimidating Kowalski stood a good deal taller than most of his opponents and was known for a mean, unrelenting attack on any and all comers. Kowalski became the main antagonist of Bruno Sammartino in the World Wide Wrestling Federation in the 1960s & 1970s.

Most famously, in a 1954 match in Montreal versus Yukon Eric, Kowalski kicked his opponent in the side of the head, causing Yukon Eric's ear to fall off and roll around the ring. In reality, Eric's ears were already badly caulifloured due to years of abuse and the injury was an accident, but it fortified Kowalski as being a ruthless villain who ripped his opponents' ear off. Further, Kowalski attempted to visit his opponent in the hospital and began laughing along with Eric at how silly the bandages looked, with Kowalski recalling years later, "I swear, the first thing I thought of was Humpty Dumpty on the wall. Yukon Eric looked at me, shook his head, and smiled. I started laughing and he laughed, too.". When the incident was reported in the paper the next day, it stated that Kowalski showed up at the hospital and laughed at his victim rather than with him, furthering Kowalski's image as a heel.

On May 11, 1976, Kowalski won the WWWF Tag Team Title with Big John Studd. Both men wore black masks and tights and called themselves The Executioners.

In 1967, the top-rated talk show host Don Lane irritated Kowalski during an apparently friendly interview and was attacked with the Kowalski claw hold - Lane needed medical assistance and was off the show for a week.

After his retirement Kowalski started the very successful Killer Kowalski's professional wrestling school. Among the alumni of this school are Perry Saturn, John Kronus, Triple H, Chyna, and Big John Studd. Kowalski has also trained Damien Kane, Chris Nowinski, A-Train, April Hunter, Frankie Kazarian, Nikki Roxx, and Kenny Dykstra.

He also made numerous post-retirement television appearances including Late Night with David Letterman in 1982, and was featured in a comic role in Michael Burlingame's surrealist film To a Random in 1986. "Lost in the B-Zone," a music video for Birdsongs of the Mesozoic which was derived from this film also prominently featured Kowalski.

He is a member of the Wrestling Hall of Fame.

On June 14, 2007, Kowalski was inducted into The National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame.

Personal life

Kowalski married for the first time to a woman named Theresa Ferrioli on June 19, 2006. He had known her since 1998, and she was surprised when he proposed, since he was known as a life-long bachelor.]

Kowalski claimed to be the only vegetarian in professional wrestling. He became a vegetarian in the late 1960s.

Kowalski began to suffer escalating health problems and had to go to a rehabilitation center in Everett, Massachusetts, where he was recovering from a knee injury, according to a blog on The Sun received the report on Kowalski from his friend, another wrestling legend, Bruno Sammartino. It seemed he was getting better, until he suffered his August 8th heart attack, from which he did not recover.


On August 8, 2008 Kowalski suffered a major heart attack. He remained hospitalized in intensive care. According to Slam! Sports, Kowalski was taken off life support on August 18, 2008, and subsequent news reports erroneously stated he had died. However, family members were not hopeful that he would recover, according to the Quincy Patriot Ledger and other sources. Kowalski later died on August 30, 2008. He was 81 years old. (Credit: Wikipedia).


Students of Killer Kowalski Wrestling School include:

Triple H


Killer Kowalski Wrestling School


13th November 2003 - Walter Killer Kowalski



Wrestling Legends

Media Man Australia public thank you for the memories Killer Kowalski