Back when the world was young and the earth's crust was still forming (OK, circa 1972), I first discovered professional wrestling flickering onto my dad's 14 inch black and white TV on some obscure UHF station. With my 5 year old brother, I would watch the WWF matches out of Allentown, PA and we both loved Johnny Powers: http://slam.canoe.ca/SlamWrestlingBios/powers_johnny.html and hated the heels Waldo Von Erich and Ernie "The Big Cat" Ladd.
Ladd was such a great performer that he really scared the bejesus out of a little 8 year old kid in upstate NY, and I often wondered how they ever let him play pro football when he was obviously such an awful bad-ass.
I only got to watch Ladd for 2 years before my mom made us stop watching wrestling (cuz bro got injured for about an hour -- we would return around 1977 and watch Greg Valentine and Ric Flair go at it on Channel 4), but it always mystified me as a kid why: 1) Ladd's injured thumb (from "an old football injury") never healed in the 2 years I watched, 2) Ladd treated the serious and chronic injury by just wrapping tape around the thumb; and 3) why if it hurt so much did he use it to jam it into his opponents' throats and choke out his opponents????
RIP, Big Cat..............