Wilbur Snyder (September 15, 1929 – December 15, 1991) was an American professional wrestler. Snyder was known as a football player and champion wrestler. He married Shirlee Ann Snyder in 1948. He played football at the University of Utah and followed it up by playing for the Edmonton Eskimos of the then Western Interprovincial Football Union.
Professional Wrestling Career
Snyder's wrestling debut occurred during the 1953 off-season. He was trained by Sandor Szabo and Warren Bockwinkel in Southern California. In 1954, Snyder retired from football completely to pursue a full-time career in wrestling. Part of his in-ring persona included the use of many football tactics, and it garnered Snyder a lot of national attention. He had already been a regional champion in Montreal, Canada when he made a name for himself by defeating Verne Gagne and winning the United States Championship at Marigold Arena in Chicago on April 7, 1956.
Snyder was a regional champion in a myriad of territories that were affiliated with the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). One of those championships was an offshoot of the world title that he won from Verne Gagne on November 15, 1958 in Omaha, Nebraska.
After the departure of Jim Barnett, Snyder bought into the Indianapolis territory with Dick the Bruiser. The enterprise was known as Championship Wrestling Inc. on April 27, 1965. Snyder's wife Shirlee was listed as the registered agent. Snyder and Dick's mother, M.A. (Margaret) Johnston were listed as directors of the company, to keep the wrestler's ownership of the territory private.
The defeat of Mitsu Arakawa in September 1967 added the WWA title to Snyder's list of accomplishments. The victory resulted in a two-year run as WWA Champion for Snyder. Between 1956 and 1962, he was a ten time United States Champion. Snyder was also involved in long in-ring feuds with Dick the Bruiser and Hans Schmidt. Another accomplishment of Snyder’s was his reign as 13-time WWA Tag Team Champion. During a tour of Japan in 1969, Snyder teamed with Danny Hodge to claim the Japan Pro-Wrestling Alliance's NWA International Tag Team Championship.
Snyder was often billed as "The World's Most Scientific Wrestler". On the Bret Hart's greatest hits video Wilbur Snyder also gets a mention by Bobby "The Brain" Heenan and "Macho Man" Randy Savage. Heenan claiming Snyder basically invented the abdominal stretch.
Snyder's legacy was cemented by WWE announcer Jim Ross who would refer to "shades of the late Wilbur Snyder" anytime somebody used the abdominal stretch for most of the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Finishing and signature moves
- Cobra Twist (Abdominal stretch)
- Airplane spin
Championships and accomplishments
- American Wrestling Alliance
- AWA World Tag Team Championship (Indiana version) (2 times) - with Dick the Bruiser
- American Wrestling Association
- Midwest Wrestling Association
- NWA Los Angeles
- NWA Western States Sports
- World Wrestling Association
- World Wrestling Association (Los Angeles)
- WWA International Television Tag Team Championship (4 times) - Sandor Szabo (2) and Bobo Brazil (2)