World’s Oldest Pro Wrestler Abe Jacobs a Class Act
Chatham Islands-born Abe Jacobs, the oldest known living professional wrestler in the world, has died in Charlotte, North Carolina in the United States, at the age of 95. Mike Mooneyham looks back on his illustrious career in a story published by The Post and Courier.
Born Abner Robert Jacobs on 18 June 1928, the New Zealander prided himself in keeping in tip-top shape during a wrestling career that spanned nearly 40 years – three decades as a pro and one as an amateur, Mooneyham writes.
In his prime he stood 6-2 and weighed in the 108kg-range. His great conditioning and keen wrestling skills made him a favourite opponent for many of the top performers in the business.
“You have to look like an athlete,” Jacobs once said. “In wrestling you have to be able to get heat, and you do that by getting the other guy over at the right time. You do a move that looks good to the people.”
Jacobs compiled an impressive record during his career, but said it probably wouldn’t have been possible without his famed move known as the Kiwi Roll. It was his “best friend” in professional wrestling, he said, and it won him the vast majority of his matches.
“I learned the hold coming along as an amateur,” he said. “One day I was working out with someone in the gym, and I happened to grapevine a leg and kind of rolled with it. The guy screamed, ‘Hey, hey, hey, my knee, my ankle.’ That’s when I knew I had something special.”
Jacobs caught his first big break in 1958 when the New Zealand Wrestling Union gave him a start as a professional in his own country. Encouraged by his success, the one-time New Zealand amateur champion packed his bags at the end of the 1958 season and headed for the United States.
Jacobs would travel the globe four times and wrestle on all seven continents. He would have a Hall of Fame career going up against the best in the business, facing such stars as Buddy Rogers, Johnny Valentine, Gene Kiniski, Ric Flair, Dick “The Destroyer” Beyer, Dick The Bruiser and Killer Kowalski.
Original article by Mike Mooneyham, The Post and Courier, August 23, 2023.