Remembering Dowagiac’s Gentle Giant Chris Taylor
It was one month ago today that Chris Taylor would have turned 72 years old on June 13th, sadly, the story of Dowagiac's Chris Taylor is one of celebration, success, and tragedy. There are many things he accomplished not only on the mat but in the squared circle, and his Amatur Wrestling career was quite remarkable, as he was honored by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum:
Taylor won individual titles in 1972 and 1973, leading his team to NCAA tournament titles in both seasons. The Gentle Giant pinned his way through the NCAA tournament in 1973, becoming only the second wrestler to pin his way through a 32-man bracket. Taylor’s overall career record at Iowa State was 87-0-1 with 70 pins. After he won his first NCAA title in 1972, Taylor pulled off a rare double for the United States by wrestling in the freestyle and Greco-Roman competitions at the Olympic Games.
Stepping Into The Ring
When I saw the video of them remembering Chris I recalled seeing him somewhere in the professional wrestling world, but I couldn't recall where. I looked into it and recalled that he was actually primed to be a major star in the AWA, American Wrestling Association, even having gone one on one with Ric Flair. Then I searched on Youtube and remembered seeing him in multiple pro wrestling specials like The Definitive Ric Flair Collection and The Spectacular Legacy Of the AWA, as well as being featured on Ric Flair's 30 for 30.
Sadly, he was never able to achieve stardom, and his life ended much too short. He died of cardiovascular complications on June 30th, 1979, and was laid to rest in Riverside Cemetery in Dowagiac, Michigan.
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