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How Charlie Santen Became Wally Dusek

By Frank Dusek

In 1936 my dad had just returned from Europe. He had no manager and was booking his own dates. Then he got a call from Rudy Dusek.

Younger brother, Ernie Dusek was pretty severely injured in a car accident.  Among his many injuries was a broken leg. He’d be out of action for several months, perhaps as much as a year.

Making arrangements, my dad, Rudy and Ernie Dusek met in a gym. Before accepting my dad “into the family,” they had to see for themselves that he could uphold the “family name.”

For 90 minutes, my dad and Ernie Dusek wrestled a "contest" as Lou Thesz so elegantly put it, with Rudy Dusek looking on. According to my dad, he held his own against Ernie. He managed to gain the advantage on a few occasions.

Finally, unsatisfied with Ernie’s progress, Rudy got into the ring to wrestle. Rudy was known to be the best wrestler of the four Dusek brothers. For 45 minutes they shot on the mat.  Neither man gained the advantage.

My dad’s trainer, John Pesek, had taught him to use a unique “cross-handed” stance which appeared to leave the leg open to a dive. This was just a ploy however, as he was quite adept at turning that leg dive into a disadvantage to an unsuspecting opponent.

It was Rudy who finally figured out dad’s unique style. The match ended in a draw. My dad was welcomed into the “family as “cousin” Wally Dusek.

In the ring, my dad never again wrestled under his real name. As Wally Dusek, my dad wrestled until 1960. Then he became a road agent for Jim Crockett Promotions.  He continued to uphold the tradition of the Duseks. For 62 years, he was active in the business until he retired in 1987 at the age of 78.

Frank Dusek is a second-generation wrestler from one of the most famous wrestling families ever. He had a solid career as a wrestler and later managed several wrestlers to major titles. He also spent time as a broadcaster, promoter and matchmaker. His first memories of the wrestling business are selling programs for his father when he was 4 years old.


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