Name: Edouard Carpentier
Year Inducted: 2010

Edouard Carpentier

Edouard Carpentier was already 30 when he came to North America in 1956, but he made up for lost time very quickly. The flying Frenchman incorporated a style of acrobatics into the sport, with flips, twists, and spins that never had been seen before. Just a year later, he was National Wrestling Alliance world champion, beating Lou Thesz, who was injured and could not continue in a match in Chicago. His title reign remains the subject of confusion to this day; a disagreement between NWA President Sam Muchnick and Montreal promoter Eddie Quinn led to a title reversal in 71 days. But the bizarre circumstances reflect well on Carpentier, since he clearly had a unique skill set that enabled him to rise to the top shortly after his North American debut. "I'm a heel fan, and even I liked this guy," said Art Williams, a longtime referee in the Los Angeles area, where Carpentier starred in the late 1950s and early 1960s. "His athletic ability, the back flip off the top rope, and all that. I'd never seen anything like it." Actually of Polish extraction, Edouard Weiczorkiewicz wrestled in Europe before crossing the Atlantic for Quinn and Bob "Legs" Langevin, important figures in the Montreal scene. His new surname came from Georges Carpentier, a famous French boxer, though the supposed family connection was strictly for promotional purposes. But he was the idol of French Canada in his legendary Montreal battles against Killer Kowalski, and he also became a top star for Fred Kohler in the Midwest in the early 1960s. By the estimate of one sportswriter, Carpentier was responsible for drawing one-third of the money Kohler pulled in Chicago in 1957. "Carpentier was creating considerable excitement among mat devotees in Chicago, champion or no champion," concluded Frank Mastro of the Chicago Tribune. Carpentier wrestled into his 50s, served as an announcer, and promoted in Quebec, where he still lives.

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