One of the sports greatest pioneers and one among what the historians consider Gods of Wrestling, he is more known for the later generation for his last name which was taken in tribute by Larry Zbyszko.
Starting out with the carnival days when he defeated the travelling strongman in an open invitation, he joined a promoter based on success of Georg Hackenschmidt as Europe's greatest grappler which was well supported by his physicality and build to match the strength he brought in.
He quickly rose the Greco-Roman ranks in Europe registering a first victory in a Paris Tournament beating the then established stars. His first controversies among others started when he had a intense rivalry with a Turkish Champion who turned out to be a paid set up to lose to him starting the "fake" trend. He however kept up with his skill learning catch wrestling and peaked when he took on Frank Gotch to an hour draw. He went on to beat Dr Roller and Mahmout establishing himself as one of the greatest leading to him challenging Frank Gotch for becoming the undisputed world champion in what happens to be another controversial match, a screwjob if you will.
Before the actual start of the match, a customary handshake was supposed to happen which was converted to a pin in seconds by Gotch and was legally counted much to the fury of Zbyszko and helped Gotch win the match with a second pin half an hour later. Gotch made sure he never faced Zbyszko again. He then set his eyes on the next and possibly the biggest challenge any wrestler ever had at that time, The Great Gama who many feared and did not take on and the match ended in a draw mainly because of Zbyszko's defensive tactic of staying on the ground for more than two hours after being taken down in minutes for most of the match, damaging his reputation badly even though he was the only wrestler till then who faced the Gama and did not lose. A rematch was scheduled but Zbyszko no showed making Gama the winner of John Bull Tournament, a third controversy.
But the most famous and highest impacting controversy of his career was when he shot on Wayne Munn during a match he was supposed to lose, took the world title and left to join the rival camp of Joe Stecher
dropping the title to him permanently damaging the Gold Dust Trio and starting the trend of using only grapplers to hold the title in fear of being shot on and ending his career in the process as a two time world heavyweight champion.
He went on to train the likes of Antonio Rocca
, Harley Race
, Johnny Valentine
. A forgotten legend.