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George the Animal Steele - June 8

On Sunday, June 8th, the Charlotte Knights will welcome WWE Hall-of-Famer George "The Animal" Steele to BB&T Ballpark to meet and greet fans, sign autographs, and throw out a ceremonial first pitch. "The Animal" will be on hand as part of the Knights annual Bark in the Ballpark celebration. Fans will be able to bring their dogs to the ballpark and fans will also have the chance to adopt dogs at BB&T Ballpark that day! First pitch on Sunday, June 8th is set for 2:05 p.m. as the Knights host the Columbus Clippers. 

About George "The Animal" Steele, from Wikipedia: 

Professional wrestling career

Looking to supplement his income, he got into the world of Detroit-area professional wrestling, but in order to protect his privacy, he wrestled using a mask and the name The Student. Scouted by World Wide Wrestling Federation champion Bruno Sammartino, he began working in Pittsburgh in 1967 on the popular Studio Wrestling TV show broadcast on WIIC-TV (later WPXI-TV) Channel 11. There he dropped the mask, but still looking to hide his real name, adopted the name "George Steele". Some say the name was taken from Michigan High School Hall of Fame Coach George Steele of Warren, against whom Myers coached. Steele states in an interview available on YouTube that he was in Pittsburgh when he was looking for a stage name. Someone suggested Jim Steele since he was in the "Steel City". He didn't like the first name Jim and he suggested George which is what he eventually went with.

Working well with Sammartino, he was invited for a full run in the WWF. He told WWF TV commentator Ray Morgan that he was the nephew of Ray Steele (kayfabe) and had an extensive amateur background. He sold the story by using an array of armlocks on opponents, weakening them for his finisher, the Flying Hammerlock (Steele would lift his opponents off the mat by a hammerlocked arm). He also revealed his teaching background to interviewers that made his in-ring Neanderthal image all the more incongruous. He wrestled Sammartino to an hour-long draw at Madison Square Garden but lost the rematch. In Boston, being set up to face Sammartino for a long series in that city, he got one of the few clean wins over Victor Rivera, a top babyface, with the flying hammerlock submission, at a huge Fenway Park outdoor show. He was then relegated to a feud with Chief Jay Strongbow, and lost to Edouard Carpentier at the Garden before taking a brief hiatus to reinvent his wildman character.

Now his gimmick was fully established. A true crazy heel, he acted like a wild man in the ring, tearing up the turnbuckle with his teeth and using the stuffing as a weapon as well as sticking out his green tongue (an effect accomplished by eating green Clorets breath mints). The Animal had a stooped posture and a hairless head, but a thick mat of fur on his back; wrestling broadcasters often speculated that The Animal was indeed "the missing link." At best, The Animal could occasionally manage to utter a word or two during interviews with one of them usually being "Duh-da-dahh" or "YOU! YOU go!".

George Steele in 2009.

As Steele recalled in a later shoot interview, his infamous "Duh-dahh" interview style happened by accident. Throughout his career, Steele prided himself on being able to cut eloquent and effective promos, and ranked his mic skills with the best in the business. At a WWF TV taping in the early 1980s, he was cutting one of these promos when Vince McMahon cut him off, and reminded Steele that his gimmick was the "Animal", and for an animal he was "making too much sense". Incensed, Steele did a second take of nothing but garbled and incoherent syllables ("Duhh-dahh"). Steele did this deliberately, and out of pure frustration, thinking that McMahon would acquiesce and allow Steele to cut his normal, eloquent promos. Much to Steele's shock, McMahon replied, "That's exactly what I want!", and this would remain Steele's interview style for the rest of his WWF run. Steele started to fully cultivate his gimmick of a menacing imbecile.

Steele eventually became one of the more beloved wrestlers of the early "WrestleMania" era of the mid-1980s. He turned face during Saturday Night's Main Event when his partners in a six-man match, Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik, abandoned him to their opponents, Ricky Steamboat and the U.S. Express (Barry Windham and Mike Rotunda), leading to Steele being taken under the wing of the Express' manager, Capt. Lou Albano. His most famous feud was in 1986 against "Macho Man" Randy Savage, after Steele developed a crush on Savage's valet, Miss Elizabeth. The feud was meant to last only a couple of months (and end with Steele being disappointed), but it proved so popular with fans that it continued well into 1987. In 1988, Steele began carrying a stuffed animal named "Mine" to the ring, He participated in the Wrestlemania IV Battle Royal, but was outside the ring the whole time. Late in 1988 Steele retired due to Crohn's disease. Though he left the WWF without any WWF championships behind him, he left a fan favorite. A decade later, Steele came out of his retirement briefly.

In 1998, during the WWF's "Attitude Era", George Steele returned as part of The Oddities.[1] Then on January 10, 2000, George Steele appeared on an episode of WCW Monday Nitro as one of three legends Jeff Jarrett had to face that night. Eight years later, Steele made an appearance at TNA Slammiversary as a groomsman in the wedding for "Black Machismo" Jay Lethal and So Cal Val, along with Koko B. WareKamala, and Jake "The Snake" Roberts.

George Steele appeared on Monday Night Raw on November 15, 2010. He made a guest appearance during the Kofi Kingston vs. David Otunga match.

George Steele in 2005.

Acting career

In 1994, Steele made his professional acting debut as Swedish wrestler-turned-actor Tor Johnson in Tim Burton's Ed Wood. The casting was particularly appropriate because for many years Steele was often mistaken for Johnson. He tells a story about a New York novelty store, which once sold the popular Tor Johnson mask as a George Steele mask to increase sales due to his popular run in wrestling at the time.

Steele also did a Minolta Office Products commercial with actor Tony Randall.



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