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Provided by J Michael Kenyon through WRESTLING AS WE LIKED IT.

by Leo Melzer

Associated Press, April 3, 1948

LOS ANGELES -- A man who grossed $16,000,000 in 6,200 wrestling matches predicted today that the sport is gradually becoming "scientific" again.

Ed (Strangler) Lewis, who spent 43 of his 58 years on the mat, declared that wrestling will revert to the "old style, back to science" in less than eight years.

The most famous proponent of the headlock earns his living these days as an instructor at the Los Angeles Athletic Club.

He thinks modern wrestling is merely showmanship today.

"It's the public," said Lewis, "and the trend of the times that makes wrestling the show it is today. Too many persons have read of murders and killings -- and that's what they expect to see when they go to a wrestling match.

"They want bloody noses and slugging. They want to see guys going over the ropes, under ropes, through the ropes. Give 'em drama, murder, comedy, blood. So they get a show."

Lewis, who held the world's heavyweight wrestling championship five different times from 1917 to 1936, said his toughest opponent was Joe (Scissors) Stecher.

Stecher was a gent who entwined his two feet around the midsection and then gently applied the pressure of a boa constrictor. There followed some of the toughest matches in mat history.

Ed and Joe wrestled four matches in four years. They battled a total of 15 hours, 18 minutes until Lewis finally won out in the last match.

Lewis sports two cauliflower ears, a 54-inch chest and a 22-inch neck. He sincerely believes he could "take" Joe Louis within three minutes in a wrestler versus boxer bout.

A former millionaire, the Strangler is comparatively "well off." He values money, but not too highly.

"The unhappiest time I ever had," he recalls, "was when I used to live in big houses and had too much dough."

He's not worrying about that phase any more.

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