Danny Hodge, a pro wrestling legend who won a silver medal at the 1956 Olympics in Australia, has died. He was 88 years old. WWE released a statement, saying Hodge was a “true trailblazer” for winning national titles in wrestling and boxing.
“The Oklahoma native’s highly decorated career included recognition as a three-time NCAA Champion, Olympic silver medalist, National Golden Gloves heavyweight champion, and eight-time NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion,” WWE said. There were a number of pro wrestlers to pay tribute to Hodge including William Regal.
“I’ve just seen the saddening news from my friend ?[Gerald Bisco] that the legendary Danny Hodge has passed away,” Regal wrote on Twitter. “Please take the time to google this incredible man and his career both in Wrestling and Boxing. I always loved talking to him. My deepest condolences to his family.” Hodge was inducted into the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2007. Fellow Pro Wrestling Hall of Famer (and WWE Hall of Famer) Bret “The Hitman” Hart gave a lot of praise to Hodge when he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
“I look at Danny Hodge, he’s one of the most, one of the greatest wrestlers in pro wrestling or amateur wrestling there’s ever been,” Hart said, as the Baltimore Sun reported. “To be in this room with Danny Hodge is a big, big honor to me.” Hodge was a three-time NCAA Champion at Oklahoma before joining the pro wrestling ranks. He went 46-0 over four seasons and was a three-time conference champion. Hodge also competed in the 1952 and 1956 Olympics while winning the Silver medal in 1956.”
Along with being a top wrestler, Hodge was also had a strong boxing career. He won the 1958 Chicago Golden Gloves as a heavyweight and finished his amateur career with 17 wins and no losses with 12 KOs. In his pro wrestling career, Hodge won multiple titles including the NWA North American Heavyweight Championship (Tri-State version) three times. He made two appearances on WWE’s Monday Night Raw in 2005 and 2012 in which he honored Jim Ross.
Hard to believe that my boyhood hero, riding partner, and mentor, the great #DannyHodge has passed away.
— Jim Ross (@JRsBBQ) December 26, 2020
WWE is saddened to learn that Danny Hodge passed away today at age 88. https://t.co/hKWUuiMZ7r
— WWE (@WWE) December 26, 2020
Legitimately one of the toughest guys in a boxing or wrestling ring, Danny Hodge was a mentor to many and a groundbreaking competitor. No apple stood a chance in his hands!!
Rest In Peace, Danny. https://t.co/SZyZXTSVYi
— Triple H (@TripleH) December 26, 2020
Very saddened to learn of the loss of Danny Hodge. I always absolutely loved spending time with him and sitting under his learning tree. From speaking to him you’d never know all that he accomplished. Please do yourself a favor and look it up. Truly legendary. Rest in power. pic.twitter.com/aoBmcIYtmG
— Adam (Edge) Copeland (@EdgeRatedR) December 26, 2020
RIP to Danny Hodge, who was basically Bruce Willis’ character in “Unbreakable.” In 2006, I wrote about his superhuman strength and how he once cheated death. He was a great amateur wrestler & boxer. In pro wrestling, foes didn’t want him to “get real.” https://t.co/uLMBS37MLf
— Jimmie Tramel (@JimmieTramel) December 26, 2020
One of the best professional and amateur wrestlers ever, has passed away. Danny Hodge is gone to be with the Lord. Our loss, Heaven’s gain. RIP my friend. pic.twitter.com/hM99cY8fYE
— Ted DiBiase (@MDMTedDiBiase) December 26, 2020
+++++++++++From our Morning Run Show at GreensboroSports.com, going back to Friday Friday December 4, just 3 weeks ago….++++++++++
Next up on The Morning Run Show, let’s turn our attention to the Top Ten Professional Wrestlers of all time…This being based on wrestling ability and the ability to draw money….Lots of wrestling talk on the site this week, and now let’s bring on The Top Ten…
Top Ten Wrestlers
4)“Stone Cold” Steve Austin
10)Tie:Lou Thez/Danny Hodge/Bruno Sammartino
**********from www.wikipedia.com:Daniel Allen Hodge (May 13, 1932 – December 25, 2020 was an American wrestler and boxer. He is renowned for his wrestling career, both amateur and professional. He was born and raised in Perry, Oklahoma, where he continued to live. He was famous for the ability to crush apples with one hand, a feat which he demonstrated live on ESPN during the 2006 NCAA Wrestling Championships. He said his strength was due to having double tendons in his hands.**********