Ox Baker
Baker in 1977
Birth nameDouglas Allen Baker
Born(1934-04-19)April 19, 1934[1]
Sedalia, Missouri, U.S.
DiedOctober 20, 2014(2014-10-20) (aged 80)
Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.
Cause of deathMyocardial infarction
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Doug Baker
Ox Baker
The Ox
The Arkansas Ox
Billed height6 ft 6 in (198 cm)[2]
Billed weight320 lb (145 kg)[2]
Billed fromWaterloo, Iowa
Trained byBuddy Austin
Pat O'Connor
Bob Geigel
RetiredApril 19, 2014

Douglas Albert Baker Sr. (April 19, 1934 – October 20, 2014) was an American professional wrestler and actor, better known professionally as Ox Baker. He was famous for his distinctive eyebrows and finishing move, the Heart Punch, sometimes called the "Hurt Punch", after Baker's famous catchphrase "I love to hurt people!". He appeared in several films including Blood Circus and Escape from New York.

Early life

Baker was an accomplished high school athlete in his adopted hometown of Waterloo, Iowa, but he quit school. Later he began wrestling to provide financial support to his family, having married and had children at a young age.[2]

Professional wrestling career

Baker was trained by Buddy Austin, Pat O'Connor, and Bob Geigel, and debuted in 1964. As time went on, he was winning a majority of his matches by knockout caused by the Heart Punch; he later renamed the move the Hurt Punch when Stan Stasiak, from whom Baker adopted the move, objected. Initially debuting as a kind, horn-rimmed-glasses-wearing country simpleton, Baker later turned into a villain. He was known for his unique look with his shaved head and black bushy mustache and eyebrows and ability to cut a promo.[4] He was also famous for wearing T-shirts to the ring, declaring himself "The Great Heart Puncher".[3]

Baker in December 1975

In 1967 Baker worked for the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) as The Friendly Arkansas Ox. In his first appearance there, Baker teamed with Armand Hussein in a handicap match versus Gorilla Monsoon. Later on, Baker went to fight in different promotions through North America, including Stampede Wrestling in Canada, the World Wrestling Council in Puerto Rico, and the United States-based American Wrestling Association throughout the 1970s. On June 13, 1971, Baker and his partner the Claw were wrestling in an AWA Midwest Tag Team Championship tag team match against Alberto Torres and “Cowboy” Bob Ellis in Verdigre, Nebraska. Torres died shortly after the match with the cause determined to be a result of heart disease.[2] This was worked into an angle in which Baker's Heart Punch was blamed to reinforce Baker's wrestling heel persona. On August 1, 1972, Baker lost to Ray Gunkel. Following the match, Gunkel also died; his death has been variously attributed to a blood clot, which led to a heart attack[5] or simply to heart disease.[2] Again, the death was worked into Baker's character, and in 1974, a riot erupted in Cleveland, Ohio, when Baker continually Heart Punched his opponent Ernie Ladd after the match was finished.[3]

During his career he defeated "Cowboy" Bob Ellis for the World Wrestling Association's World Heavyweight Championship in Indianapolis and Carlos Colon for the WWC Universal Heavyweight Championship in Puerto Rico's World Wrestling Council. Baker beat The Sheik to win the Detroit version of the US Heavyweight title; he also won the NWA American Heavyweight Championship and the NWA Texas Heavyweight title several times. In addition, Baker was a multi-time tag team champion; he teamed with Ole Anderson and Skandor Akbar to capture tag team championships in the National Wrestling Alliance and National Wrestling Federation. Baker teamed with Chuck O'Connor to win the WWA World Tag Team Championship in 1976. He also teamed with Superstar Billy Graham to hold the NWA Florida Tag Team Championship. He is noted for a feud with Randy Savage in International Championship Wrestling, the southern promotion that Savage ran with his father Angelo Poffo and his brother Lanny Poffo. Late in his career, Baker appeared with Central States Wrestling as a face and feuded with Rip Rogers.

Baker in 2010

He returned to the WWF in 1980 and was given The Grand Wizard as his manager. Baker appeared at a TV taping in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on March 25, but left shortly after and never wrestled for the WWF again.

In 1988, Baker returned to the AWA and remained under contract with them until later that same year when he officially retired from wrestling. The following year in 1989, he opened "Ox Baker's Wrestling School", becoming a renowned wrestling trainer. His students include The Undertaker, Bryan Clark,[6] and Ox Baker Jr (Ronald Schell) as well as NWA New England Superstar The Dark Angel and his Kayfabe twin brother Micky Byggs of Wrestling Spotlite Radio/TV. He also did commentary for some IWCCW events in the early 1990s. Baker made an appearance in Ring of Honor in 2004 during their At Our Best event, confronting Dusty Rhodes before the show started and again during the main event that Rhodes was involved in. Baker also made an appearance in Combat Zone Wrestling on December 8, 2007, at Cage of Death 9 as the guest of Cult Fiction (Halfbreed Billy Gram and Toby Klein). In June 2008, Baker fought in two matches defeating Moonshine McCoy for Ultimate Championship Wrestling in Florida. In December 2013, Baker returned to the ring to be crowned the CCW Champion after being a surprise entrant in a thirteen-man battle royal in Ohio.

Acting career and other media

Ox Baker speaks at the Killer Kowalski Memorial Show in Malden, Massachusetts, on October 26, 2008

During the midst of his professional wrestling career, Baker appeared in many films from time to time, most notably during the late 1970s and early 1980s. He appeared as a fighter in Jackie Chan's The Big Brawl (1980) and as Kurt Russell's gladiatorial opponent in John Carpenter's Escape from New York (1981).[3] In addition, he was cast in the professional wrestling film named for his catch phrase, I Like to Hurt People. On January 19, 1981, Baker was a contestant on the game show The Price is Right.[3] In 1985, Ox Baker played the Russian in the wrestling film Blood Circus, and in 2013, appeared in Chilling Visions: 5 Senses of Fear as The Butcher.[7]

In 2005, a documentary based on the life and career of Baker was filmed, directed by Halfbreed Billy Gram, with the working title of I Love the People I Hurt: The Life and Legend of the Mighty Ox Baker. A short comedy feature titled My Smorgasboard with Ox, co-written and co-starring Baker and Gram, was also filmed during this time, with both remaining in post-production status.

In 2006, the North Carolina-based indie band the Mountain Goats released a song on their Babylon Springs EP titled "Ox Baker Triumphant", in which Baker is betrayed by the wrestling community and rises up to strike vengeance upon them. In 2011, Baker self-published his own cookbook, which included recipes and stories during his time in the wrestling business.[4] In 2015, Veteran Pro Wrestling out of Groton, Connecticut held the first annual Ox Baker Memorial Cup. The winner for 2015 was Bad News Walter Swan and US Army Veteran "The Patriot Paul Severe", aka Jared Keefe. In 2016, the winner was "Rescue 911", aka Christopher Annino.[8]

Personal life

Baker was married to Peggy Ann Kawa from 1996 to her passing in 2010. He had one son, Garren, who died in 2022, and one daughter, Meghan, two grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.


Baker died on October 20, 2014, in Hartford, Connecticut,[9] due to complications from a heart attack he suffered earlier that year.[10][11]

Championships and accomplishments

See also


  1. ^ "2014 Finishes (RIP)". Cauliflower Alley Club. Archived from the original on August 19, 2014. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e Russo, Ric (June 15, 2000). "WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO . . . OX BAKER?". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved April 19, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d e Held, Kevin S. (October 20, 2014). "Missouri native, wrestling legend Ox Baker dead". KSDK. Archived from the original on March 18, 2023. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  4. ^ a b Oliver, Greg (July 14, 2011). "Ox Baker: Wrestler, chef, author". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
  5. ^ Johnson, Steven (June 27, 2008). "How Ray Gunkel's death changed wrestling". Slam Wrestling. Archived from the original on September 28, 2022. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
  6. ^ Oliver, Greg (July 14, 2011). "Ox Baker: Wrestler, chef, author". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
  7. ^ Barnes (October 20, 2014). "Ox Baker, Pro Wrestler Turned Actor, Dies at 80". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  8. ^ https://www.facebook.com/rescue911prowrestler/[user-generated source]
  9. ^ Johnson, Mike (October 20, 2014). "Douglas 'Ox Baker' passes away". PWInsider. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
  10. ^ "Wrestling legend Ox Baker passes away". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. October 20, 2014. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
  11. ^ Namako, Jason (October 20, 2014). "Wrestling legend Ox Baker passes away today". WrestleView. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
  12. ^ NWA Australasian Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  13. ^ AWA Midwest Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  14. ^ a b Duncan, Royal; Will, Gary (2000). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  15. ^ NWA United States Heavyweight Title (Chicago/Detroit) history At wrestling-titles.com
  16. ^ "List of CAC Award Winners". Cauliflower Alley Club. Archived from the original on March 24, 2016. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  17. ^ Florida Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  18. ^ NWA Southern Heavyweight Title (Florida) history At wrestling-titles.com
  19. ^ IWA North American Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  20. ^ NWA Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  21. ^ NWA Georgia Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  22. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). "Texas: NWA / World Class American Heavyweight Title [Von Eric]". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. pp. 265–266. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  23. ^ "NWA United States Heavyweight Title (1967-1968/05) - American Heavyweight Title (1968/05-1986/02)". Wrestling-Titles. Retrieved December 26, 2019.
  24. ^ Will, Gary; Duncan, Royal (2000). "Texas: NWA Texas Heavyweight Title [Von Erich]". Wrestling Title Histories: professional wrestling champions around the world from the 19th century to the present. Pennsylvania: Archeus Communications. pp. 268–269. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  25. ^ "NWA Texas Heavyweight Title". Wrestling-Titles. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  26. ^ NWA Americas Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  27. ^ NWA World Tag Team Title (Los Angeles version) history At wrestling-titles.com
  28. ^ NWA British Empire/Commonwealth Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  29. ^ NWF North American Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  30. ^ "PWI 500 PWI Years 2003". Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  31. ^ NWA Southeastern Heavyweight Title (Southern Division) history At wrestling-titles.com
  32. ^ Stampede Wrestling North American Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  33. ^ NWA Austra-Asian Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  34. ^ WWA World Heavyweight Title (Indianapolis) history At wrestling-titles.com
  35. ^ WWA World Tag Team Title (Indianapolis) history At wrestling-titles.com
  36. ^ WWC Puerto Rico Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  37. ^ WWC Universal Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com