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This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History: Ed Don George

   (Born June 3, 1905) -- Think that wrestlers aren't the smartest guys in the sports business? Ed Don George's story will convince you otherwise.

   George was born in North Java, went to Canisius High School, and quickly became a good-sized name in wrestling circles. He grappled for both St. Bonaventure and the University of Michigan, where he earned a degree in engineering. George wrestled at the Olympics in Amsterdam in 1928.

   In 1929, he took on the name of Ed Don when he gave up a job as a tire salesman and turned pro, even though his middle name was Nicholas. It took him only a year or so to win the heavyweight title. Later in the 1930's, George had the championship again, this time for two years. He was a major box office attraction.

   After serving in the Navy in World War II, George moved into promoting. He even set up matches in Havana's casinos in the pre-Castro days of the 1950's.

   George died in 1985, and he was inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2006.

--- Budd Bailey

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