Two Worlds Collide: Bill Kazmaier and Cactus Jack

The internet can be a truly wonderful way to occupy one’s time and recapture childhood memories. As a child of the 1990s, who grew up with television shows from the 1980s, I had two twin loves, wrestling and the World’s Strongest Man (WSM) competitions. Sadly for me, television broadcasting in Ireland during that time meant that I was often limited in my consumption of either. Despite these limitations, I still found my sporting heroes, two of whom feature in today’s post.

As a WSM fan, there was little anyone could do to dissuade me from following Bill Kazmaier. In a recent article on Barbend.com, I had the opportunity to detail Kaz’s significance for the sport of strongman, as well as his numerous achievements in powerlifting. During my time researching the article, I stumbled across some of Kaz’s old professional wrestling matches, which quickly caught my attention. Powerlifting and the WSM were not lucrative sports during Kaz’s time. They were, oftentimes, a financial strain on competitors who did it for the love of the sport. This explains, in part, why one of the strongest men to ever grace the planet ended up wrestling in World Championship Wrestling.

His opponent, Cactus Jack, was another of my wrestling heroes. As a child cursed with little natural athleticism, Mick Foley’s various personas – Dude Love, Cactus Jack and Mankind – always caught my interest. As Foley himself has joked about on several occasions, he rarely caught others’ attention in the gym. Indeed, his rise to stardom was largely down to an unrelenting work ethic and ability to do what others simply wouldn’t. For anyone doubting this, look up his Hell in a Cell fall against the Undertaker in 1998.

Seeing Kazmaier wrestling Cactus Jack reminds me of wrestling’s intimate relationship with strength sports and bodybuilding more generally, a point discussed several times on this website. It also reminds me that I can usually find anything and everything online!

So for wrestling and strength fans, I suggest you sit back and enjoy Kaz versus Cactus.