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Born Fred Thomas Koury, Sr., Bull Curry (May 2, 1913 to March 8, 1985) was an American of Lebanese descent who was best known as a professional wrestler. Bull Curry is recognized as the originator of the hardcore style predating even legends such as The Sheik and Abdullah the Butcher. Curry’s tumultuous career spanned 5 decades of in ring action.
Professional Wrestling Career
At the age of sixteen Curry joined the circus in order to help provide for his four brothers and sisters. His job at the circus was that of the “tough man” who took on all comers from the audience in a fight. Curry was quite skilled, racking up 65 straight wins without anyone going past one 5 minute round. When he was in his twenties, Curry became a policeman in his hometown of Hartford, Connecticut where he put his “tough man” background to good use in the streets, quickly earning him a reputation for toughness. On one occasion a wild steer bull broke out of the Hartford stockyard and ran wild in the streets. Curry literally grabbed the bull by the horns and managed to wrestle it to the ground earning him the nickname “Wild Bull” that stuck with him for the rest of his life.
In the 1930s, Curry began wrestling in Detroit, Michigan under promoter Adam Weissmuller (uncle of Olympic swimmer and Tarzan actor, Johnny Weismuller) who also trained him for his professional career. Curry stayed in Detroit for several years developing the brutal, hardcore style of wrestling that made him a top name in the territory. Curry was so well known that he even faced legendary heavyweight pro boxer Jack Dempsey in an exhibition match in 1940. Years later Curry would often claim that he knocked Dempsey out in the match but the truth is that Curry was stopped in the second round.
In the early 1950s Bull Curry relocated to Texas to work. Curry’s combination of unpredictable violence, unique look and intensity made him a big star in Texas more or less immediately upon arrival. Curry’s brawling style made him a success but it also kept the promoters from giving him the “main” title of the territory despite being the biggest draw in the territory. Instead of letting Bull Curry win the top title of the Texas territory the bookers created a brand new title to match Bull Curry’s hardcore style of wrestling: the NWA Texas Brass Knuckles Championship which Bull Curry won in a tournament final over Danny McShain on March 6, 1953. Between 1953 and 1967 “Wild Bull” Curry personified the Texas Brass Knuckles Championship and held the title 20 times defeating such names as Fritz Von Erich, Tony Borne, Waldo Von Erich, The French Angel, Killer Karl Kox and Brute Bernard. In 1953 Curry would also briefly hold the Texas version of the NWA World Tag Team Championship with Lucas Pertano as well as the NWA Texas Heavyweight Championship for three weeks but soon focused solely on the Brass Knuckles Title.
In the 1960s Bull Curry’s son Fred Thomas Koury, Jr. took up wrestling under the name "Flying" Fred Curry. Unlike his father Fred was a clean cut, high flying face but the two Currys did team on a regular basis especially early in the younger Curry’s career. The father/son duo won the NWA International Tag Team Championship in 1964 and held it until 1966 as well as beating Nikolai and Boris Volkoff for the NWA Ohio World Tag Team Championship.
Later in his career Fred Curry struck out on his own more and more trying to get away from his father’s legacy of rule-breaking and violence to establish a legacy of his own. Fred’s attempts to get out of his father’s shadow never caused any problems between the two Currys.
The Walking Riot
One of the trademarks of Bull Curry was his “wildman” look with bushy eyebrows, maniacal facial expressions and insane eyes that could scare the crowd just by looking at them. In one case he scared a girl at ringside so badly she had to be carried from the ring in terror. Curry's wild look coupled with his wild brawling style made him one of the most hated rule-breakers in wrestling. Curry was so reviled in places that riots broke out more than once as irate fans attacked Curry in the ring.
- 1955: A match between Curry and Ray McIntyre resulted in more than a 140 fans being taken to the hospital after a riot broke out.
- 1956: Curry was jumped by a fan who was displeased with Curry’s brutal treatment of local star George Becker. Curry broke the fans jaw with a single punch.
- 1958: During a match with Pepper Gomez in Galveston, Texas a fan struck Bull Curry with an iron pipe. Curry chased the fan out of the ring, catching up with him in the balcony where he beat him up.
- 1968: While wrestling Emil Dupreé in Worcester, Massachusetts a fan jumped in the ring and jumped on Curry’s back. Curry punched the fan so hard that he was reportedly unconscious for two days.
- Year unknown: During a match in Texas, Curry got a bucket of yellow paint dumped over his head by an irate fan.
- Late sixties: During a televised match, Curry used a cinder block on his opponent. His opponent was taken to the hospital for stitches and Curry was arrested and sentenced to jail for his actions. The only time he was allowed out was to wrestle, so for the next four weeks of televised matches, he was escorted to and from the ring in handcuffs by police, being cuffed and returned to jail when he was finished with his match for that week.
Retirement and Death
Curry retired from wrestling in the mid to late 1970s, well into his sixties. He died on March 2, 1985.
- Finishing moves
- Punch to the face
Championships and Accomplishments
- Cauliflower Alley Club
- Posthumous Award (2004)
- Maple Leaf Wrestling
- Mid-South Sports
- New England Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame
- Class of 2013
- Southwest Sports, Inc. / NWA Big Time Wrestling