In Memoriam



“I was leaping off the rope, and Yukon Eric, who had a cauliflower ear, moved at the last second,” Kowalski told The Chicago Tribune in 1989. “I thought I missed, but all of a sudden, something went rolling across the ring. It was his ear.”

Yukon Eric was taken to a hospital, and the promoter asked Kowalski to visit him and apologize for severing his ear. Reporters were listening to their chat from a corridor.

“There was this 6-foot-5, 280-pound guy, his head wrapped like a mummy, dwarfing his bed,” Kowalski said. “I looked at him and grinned. He grinned back. I laughed, and he laughed back. Then I laughed harder and left.

“The next day the headlines read, ‘Kowalski Visits Yukon in the Hospital and Laughs.’ And when I climbed into the ring that night, the crowd called out, ‘You animal, you killer.’ And the name stuck.”

Kowalski came to incur the wrath of the fans. As he told Esquire magazine in 2007: “Someone once threw a pig’s ear at me. A woman once came up to me after a match and said, ‘I’m glad you didn’t get hurt.’ Then she stabbed me in the back with a knife.


14 thoughts on “In Memoriam

  1. The last thing I expected to see when I clicked on the ISB today was the Killer’s grizzled mug, but good on you for recognizing his passing. He might have been a miserable bastard, but Killer was also one of the greatest heels in wrestling history, and one of the toughest men on the planet. He’ll be missed.

  2. As someone who’s gotten great mileage out of an anecdote about the time my uncle (in his wilder, less sober days) attacked Ole Anderson with a knife at a wrestling match, I feel obliged to point out:

    It happens more often than you might think.

  3. At least a couple of times a year, some drunken moron tries to run in to the ring during a WWE show. I don’t care how drunk you are, that’s just stupid, since security usually allows the wrestlers a few extra seconds to beat the shit out of you before they come drag your ass to the back. The best fan run-in was a few years ago when some jerk tried to run in during a Dean Malenko match on Nitro, and promptly got his butt handed to him by the refferee.

    Just once I want to see someone stupid enough to try and attack the Undertaker. THAT would be a massacre.

  4. Oh here we go:

    During his time in WCW, he earned the nickname The Shooter after a fan attempted to interfere in a live WCW television match on September 8, 1997. As the invading fan slid under the bottom rope to enter the ring, Hildebrand, who happened to have glanced over just as the man jumped the guard rail, dropped to the mat, placed the man in a guillotine choke, and held him there until WCW security could take him into custody. Play-by-play announcer Tony Schiavone and then-color commentator Bobby “The Brain” Heenan found this amusing, with Heenan observing “The smallest referee in the world just took him down.”

  5. Chris, thanks for taking the time to honor a legend.

    I was watching with a group of friends when Mark “the Shooter” Curtis took out that dumbass. We all cheered.

  6. I saw Kowalski live about six, seven years ago. He was at one of the last tapings of Arthur Black radio show here in British Columbia, and he taught the host how to correctly attack a guy. Even in his seventies, and looking pretty gaunt, he was huge. He looked like Frankenstein’s monster. Awesome.

  7. The fan run in that I remember most happened a few years at at a RAW taping. I can’t remember all the participants, but I know Eddie was part of it, and it was a ladder match. All of sudden this bald guy in a jersey is in the ring and tries to tip the ladder over. I actually mistook him for Austin for a second.

  8. The best Eddie-vs-fan incident was on some Thunder episode where a fan hopped the rail to go after Eddie, only he slipped on the mat and fell down. Eddie sized the guy up and just PUNTED him right in the face. It was epic.