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Hans Schmidt

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Guy Larose (February 7, 1925 - May 26, 2012), better known by his ring name of Hans Schmidt, is a retired Canadian professional wrestler famous in the 1950s and '60s.

Wrestling career

Larose used a background in amateur wrestling to break into the pro business after World War II, with little success early on. Then in 1951 the Boston-area promoter Paul Bowser, who thought the tall Québécois looked like a German, rechristened him Hans Schmidt. Playing the character of an 'evil German', Schmidt became one of the first great heels of televised wrestling in the 1950s, drawing the hatred of fans as he battled their American babyface heroes of the squared circle. In the 1998 A&E documentary The Unreal Story of Professional Wrestling, Hans Schmidt was labeled "the classic foreign villain" - tapping into lingering anti-German sentiment in America following World War II, Schmidt was a forerunner of many other wrestling characters that successfully used the "anti-American foreigner" gimmick to enrage the crowd, such as Nikolai Volkoff and The Iron Sheik.

Nicknamed The Teuton Terror, Schmidt wrestled a rough, aggressive rule-breaker's style. He often finished his opponents off with a backbreaker, and he also had the then-dreaded piledriver in his repertoire. Schmidt wrestled in territories all over North America but was a particularly big name in Chicago, Milwaukee and Toronto. By 1954 he was so thoroughly hated by wrestling audiences that he turned "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers into a face simply by wrestling a match against him. He later said that at the peak of his career, between live events and TV tapings he was wrestling as many as eight matches a week.

Schmidt wrestled Lou Thesz several times for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, and faced many other legends of the era such as Verne Gagne, Antonino Rocca and Whipper Billy Watson. He was naturally partnered up in tag team action with other 'evil German' wrestlers around at the time, such as Karl von Hess and Ludwig von Krupp. He also frequently tag teamed with Dick 'The Bulldog' Brower. In the wake of Schmidt's success in drawing heel heat, other wrestlers took the 'German heel' gimmick and pushed it to greater extremes with goose-stepping, fascist saluting and use of Nazi iconography. Schmidt never took it to this level himself, though he did shave his head and wear a helmet to the ring later in his career.

Near the end of his career in the 1970s, Schmidt worked around the Montreal region, still a heel but billed as hailing from Chicago. Guy Larose had two children and lives quietly today in the Laurentians north of Montreal.

In wrestling

Championships and accomplishments

External links

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