Otto Wanz (June 13, 1943 - September 14, 2017) was an Austrian former professional wrestler and boxer. He made his professional wrestling debut in 1976. He is a one time American Wrestling Association champion and former operator of the Catch Wrestling Association. Among his most famous international opponents were Antonio Inoki, Bull Power and Andre the Giant. He was one of only a few to bodyslam both Andre the Giant and Yokozuna. Today Wanz organizes strong men competitions in Austria called "Austrian Giants". He also held several records for tearing telephone books.
Proffessional Wrestling Career
Wanz made his pro wrestling debut in 1968 working in and around his native Austria. Later on he would work as "Bulldog" Otto in Japan, primarily working for New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). In the early 1970s he created the Catch Wrestling Association based in Austria but promoting shows in the surrounding countries as well. On August 2, 1973 Wanz defeated Jan Wilkens on a show in Cape Town, South Africa to become the first holder of the CWA World Heavyweight Championship, bringing the championship back to Europe once the tour was over. Over the next two years Wanz defended the championship in Austria and Germany on several occasions, before losing to Don Leo Jonathan on September 1 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Wanz brought Don Leo Jonathan to Graz, Austria to win the championship for a second time in front of a home town crowd. He often pitted himself against American wrestlers like Sgt. Slaughter, Ron Shaw, Chief Jay Strongbow, Big John Studd and Dizzy Ed Hogan ( Ed Leslie ). He also fought Andre The Giant and bodyslammed him. While in the US during a 1982 tour he worked for Verne Gagne's American Wrestling Association (AWA) where he defeated long-reigning AWA World Heavyweight Champion Nick Bockwinkel to win the AWA title. The reign ended 41 days later as Bockwinkel regained the championship. There have been persistent rumors that Wanz actually paid Gagne for the title run but that has never been confirmed by anyone. Returning to the CWA Otto Wanz spent several years as the champion until March 22, 1987 where an American power house wrestler known as Bull Power ( Leon White ) defeated him for the championship. Wanz regained the title a few months later but Bull Power would start a second reign in 1989. During Bull Power's CWA reign he became a champion in Japan and Mexico as well under the name Big Van Vader. On June 30, 1990 Otto Wanz won the CWA Championship for a fourth time. Immediately after the match Wanz retired from active competition to focus on promoting the CWA.
- Finishing moves
- Big Otto Splash (Corner body avalanche splash)