|Birth name||Douglas A.Baker|
April 19, 1934|
Sedalia, Missouri, United States
|Died||October 20, 2014
Hartford, Connecticut, United States
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Doug Baker
The Arkansas Ox
|Billed height||6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)|
|Billed weight||340 lb (150 kg)|
|Billed from||Waterloo, Iowa|
|Trained by||Buddy Austin
Douglas A. Baker (April 19, 1934 – October 20, 2014) was an American professional wrestler and actor, better known professionally as Ox Baker. He was famous for his finishing move, the Heart Punch, sometimes called the "Hurt Punch", after Baker's famous catchphrase "I love to hurt people!". He has appeared in several movies including Blood Circus and Escape from New York.
Baker, the oldest of five siblings, began as an amateur high school wrestler, boxer and football player in his adopted hometown of Waterloo, Iowa before getting thrown out of school. He also played football for two years in the armed forces.
In the early 1960s Baker approached Kansas City, Missouri promoters about wrestling and was paid $300 for his first night. Following that night he went into training with Buddy "Killer" Austin, Pat O'Connor, and Bob Geigel. A couple of years later he was ready, standing 6'5" and weighing 342 pounds (hence the nickname "Ox"). He began his wrestling career by defeating Frank Hickey in Kansas City, and later the Missouri Mauler as well. As time went on he was winning a majority of his matches by knock out caused by the Heart Punch; he later renamed the move the Hurt Punch when Stan Stasiak, from who 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.
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 and the American Wrestling Association throughout the 1970s. On June 13, 1971, Ox and his partner the Claw were wrestling in an AWA Midwest Tag Team Championship tag team match against Alberto Torres and his partner Cowboy Bob Ellis in Verdigre, Nebraska. Torres was injured during the match and died three days later. Though evidence indicated that Torres died of a ruptured appendix, Baker's Heart Punch was blamed; the death was worked into Baker's wrestling persona, reinforcing his heel character. On August 1, 1972, Baker lost to Ray Gunkel. Following the match, Gunkel died in the locker room; his death was attributed to a blood clot, which broke off from a hematoma caused by Baker, which led to a heart attack.
Baker returned to the WWF for a brief time in 1980. During his career he defeated "Cowboy" Bob Ellis for the World Wrestling Association title in Indianapolis and Carlos Colon for the WWC Universal Heavyweight Championship in Puerto Rico's World Wrestling Council. 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 Tag Team title in 1976. He also teamed with Superstar Billy Graham to hold the NWA Florida Tag Team Championship. 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. 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.
In 1988, Baker returned to the AWA. Under contract, Baker teamed up with The Russian Brute of ICW fame. The following year he opened "Ox Baker's Wrestling School", becoming a well-renowned trainer. His students include Mark Calaway and Bryan Clark. 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 show, confronting Dusty Rhodes before the show started and again during the main event. 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 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.
Baker has worked in movies from time to time, most notably in the late 1970s and early 1980s, as a fighter in Jackie Chan's The Big Brawl and as Kurt Russell's gladiatorial opponent in John Carpenter's Escape From New York as well as the professional wrestling film named for his catch phrase, I Like to Hurt People. On February 12, 1981, Baker was a contestant on the game show The Price is Right. He won his way on stage (winning Poker Game) but lost on the Big Wheel. In 1985, Ox Baker played the Russian in the wrestling movie Santo Gold's Blood Circus.
In 2005 a documentary on Baker's life and career 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. Also filmed during this time was a short comedy feature titled My Smorgasboard with Ox, co-written and co-starring Baker and Gram. Both remain in post-production.
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 a cookbook, which included recipes and stories from his time in wrestling.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ox Baker.|