Monday, October 17, 2011


During the late 1950s and early 1960, a good-matured walrus of a man who liked cigars and a good joke was the toast of the western part of the USA. He called himself The Mighty Jumbo and was the subject of many magazine articles, though he held few belts in his heyday. He was also fast for a big man and could do loads of moves one would not have attributed to someone with his girth.

He made various tops in Arizona, where he faced a number of different opponents. At times, when he chose to break the rules, he teamed with the evil Tokyo Joe, while at other times he wrestled against him.

I am not sure of the date and location, but I think it was in one of the southwestern states that a real and very bloody fight took place between Joe and Jumbo, away from the ring. One of them stabbed the other. Neither man died, but there was a big scandal over the whole affair, somewhat like the Sid/Arn incident in England decades later.

Perhaps Jumbo was not as jovial as some people thought.

Jumbo comes up in my The Garden Will Not Die book and photos of him may be found on varied websites dealing with wrestling from decades gone by.

Jumbo's real name was Jim Hesser and he was born in Iowa in 1923. He died at a relatively young age due to a brain tumor in his native Des Moines in 1974.

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