Karl Charles Istaz (August 3, 1924 – July 28, 2007) was a Belgian professional wrestler and trainer, best known by his ring name Karl Gotch. In Japan, Gotch was known as the "God of Wrestling" due to his influence in shaping the Japanese professional wrestling style.
Early life Edit
Istaz was born in Antwerp, Belgium, but grew up in Hamburg, Germany. He learned Greco-Roman wrestling in his early years and from the beginning he was a very well known sportsman. He wrestled in "The Hippodroom", a notable sports center in Antwerp, where amateur fights like boxing matches and wrestling matches were fought.
Amateur wrestling Edit
Istaz excelled in amateur wrestling and experienced a major breakthrough in his career by competing as Charles Istaz for Belgium in the 1948 Olympics in both freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling. Gotch also trained in the Indian martial art of Pehlwani. This training led to Istaz's regime of calisthenic bodyweight exercise, which were used by Indian wrestlers and other athletes to build leg endurance and strength. He also adopted other Indian exercises, such as the bridge, Hindu squats, and Hindu press ups in his wrestling. Gotch's philosophy was later passed on to several of his students.
Professional wrestling Edit
During the 1960s, Gotch began wrestling in other countries. He wrestled in Australia as Karl Krauser, and in 1965 he defeated Spiros Arion to win the International Wrestling Alliance's Heavyweight Championship. He had also begun working in Japan, where he became very popular due to his amateur wrestling style. He wrestled in the main event of the very first show held by New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) on March 6, 1972, defeating Antonio Inoki. His final match occurred on January 1, 1982, when he pinned Yoshiaki Fujiwara with the German Suplex. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Gotch worked as both the booker and trainer for NJPW. He trained several wrestlers in Japan, including Hiro Matsuda, Satoru Sayama, Osamu Kido, Barry Darsow, and Yoshiaki Fujiwara.
Personal life Edit
Legacy and death Edit
Gotch became known as "Kamisama" in Japan, which translates to "God [of Wrestling]". Gotch's wrestling style had a big impact on Inoki, who adopted and popularized his submission-based style. Some of Istaz's trainees founded the Universal Wrestling Federation in Japan in 1984, which showcased the shoot-style of professional wrestling. The success of UWF and similar promotions influenced Japanese wrestling in subsequent decades, and changed the style of matches in NJPW and All Japan Pro Wrestling.
The German suplex is named after Gotch. Gotch was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame as part of the inaugural class in 1996. In 2007, he was inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame.
In wrestling Edit
- Finishing moves
- German suplex
- Gotch-Style Piledriver (Cradle piledriver, sometimes while kneeling down while holding the opponent in a belly to belly position) – Innovated
- Signature moves
- Bow and arrow hold
- Cross armbar
- Cross kneelock
- Crossface chickenwing
- Gotch Special (Chickenwing with headscissors)
- Underhook suplex
Championships and accomplishments Edit
- American Wrestling Alliance (Ohio)
- AWA World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum
- Class of 2007
- Tokyo Sports
- Lifetime Achievement Award (2007)
- World Championship Wrestling (Australia)
- IWA World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- World Wide Wrestling Federation
- WWWF World Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Rene Goulet
- Worldwide Wrestling Associates
- WWA World Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Mike DiBiase
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (Class of 1996)
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Gallipoli, Thomas M. 2007-08-22. SPECIALIST: List of Deceased Wrestlers for 2007 with Details (Updated as needed) . Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved on 2013-01-14.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Karl Gotch . Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved on 2013-01-14.
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 Oates, Robert K.. Karl Gotch . Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. Retrieved on 2013-01-14.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Caldwell, James 2007-07-29. Etc. News: Wrestling legend Karl Gotch dies at age 82 in Florida . Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved on 2013-01-14.
- ↑ 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 Schramm, Chris 2007-07-29. "God of Wrestling" legacy on wrestling may be forever Karl Gotch dead at age 82 . Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved on 2013-01-14.
- ↑ "Karl Gotch, The Quiet Man, Speaks His Piece" – December, 1968
- ↑ Zavisa, Chris 2002-09-15. 5 Yrs Ago: Zavisa on the 25th Anniversary of New Japan Pro Wrestling . Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved on 2013-01-14.
- ↑ http://www.thehistoryofwwe.com/82.htm
- ↑ Five very European maneuvers for Antonio Cesaro . WWE. Retrieved on 2013-01-14.
- ↑ ja:東京スポーツ プロレス大賞 (in Japanese). Tokyo Sports. Retrieved on 2014-01-20.
- Catch: The Hold Not Taken. [DVD]. 2005.
- Website of the film 'Catch – the hold not taken', a documentary featuring Gotch on the history of Catch wrestling and Riley's gym, where Gotch trained
- An Interview with Karl Gotch (Karl has stated that he was egregiously misquoted in this interview and his responses were changed when he spoke outside of "kayfabe".)
- Overview of Shootfighting and Karl Gotch with large gallery of Gotch and Catch Wrestling photos