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Peter Sauer

The massive man shown below is none other than one of America's most famous Pro-Wrestlers, "Ray Steele", born Peter Sauer. Peter was born in Norka on February 2, 1900, the youngest son of Conrad Sauer and Catharina Margaretha (nee Glanz). 

Ray Steele

Peter Sauer also known as "Ray Steele"

In 1901, when Peter was merely 16 months old, his father Conrad Sauer died of a sudden and massive heart attack after drawing water up from a well, tried to quench his thirst and died in front of his oldest son Lüdwig.

Peter was raised by Grandfather's brother Nicolaus Sauer, and his wife Christina (nee Arndt). Together they immigrated from Norka to Lincoln, Nebraska in 1906. Nicolaus, Christina, and Peter became American Citizens together in 1916. Peter's widowed mother, Margaretha (nee Glanz), followed to America, presumably to Lincoln as this is where her oldest son Lüdwig and his new wife lived.

After immigrating to America, Lüdwig changed his name to "Louis" or "Louie" and was the father of the famous George Sauer who played football for the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Green Bay Packers.

Sauer family

Johann George Sauer, Peter Sauer and Katherina Elizabeth Sauer

Peter Sauer was recently inducted into the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame (see article below). A plaque commemorating his accomplishments has been donated to AHSGR and will be displayed at the headquarters in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Lincoln was where Peter first arrived in America, lived, grew and struck out on his own. It was only befitting that Peter's honors return to the place he once dearly loved.

Contributed by Donna Baxmeyer

Below are a series of articles on Peter Sauer known in the wrestling world as "Ray Steele":

Read about the March 7, 1940 match when Ray Steele defeated Bronko Nagurski in St. Louis for the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) Championship. 

The following article on Peter Sauer is from the International Wrestling Institute and Museum

George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame Inductions August 2-3, 2002 NEWTON, Iowa — Five pro wrestling legends and a former Ultimate Fighting Champion shared the spotlight during Inductions Weekend at the International Wrestling Institute and Museum here. Dick Beyer, Bob Geigel and Jim Raschke were inducted into the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame, along with deceased champions Ed Don George and Ray Steele. It was the fourth annual inductions, and brings to 18 the number of wrestlers now enshrined in the hall. The annual event is the primary fund-raiser for the International Wrestling Institute and Museum, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history of wrestling. The golf tournament is open to the public and attracts considerable media attention around the state. The five former pro stars have played substantial roles in the popularizing of professional wrestling, and all had solid amateur backgrounds. They are: Bob Geigel, a native of Algona, Iowa, who was a big star for 20 years in pro wrestling, and then became a successful promoter in the Kansas City area. Bob won four letters in football and three in wrestling at the University of Iowa and was an All-American wrestler in 1948; Dick Beyer of Buffalo, NY, wrestled and played football at Syracuse University in the late 1950s. After donning a mask, he became a huge star in both Japan and the United States as The Destroyer. He is still very active in kids wrestling in the New York area; Jim Raschke wrestled at the University of Nebraska, where he was a Big Eight Conference champion. He also won two AAU national titles. He was third in the 1963 World Championships in Greco-Roman wrestling, then became a star as the arch villain, Baron Von Raschke; Old-timers Ray Steele, of Omaha, and Ed Don George, also of Buffalo, NY, completed the Class of 2002. George finished 4th in the 1928 Olympics and was NWA world heavyweight champion several times in the early 1930s. Steele was NWA world heavyweight champion in 1940. Dan Severn, Ultimate Fighting Champion, was presented the Frank Gotch Award. The award goes each year to a professional wrestler who has brought prestige and honor to the sport. Severn was a high school superstar, a two-time All-American wrestler at Arizona State University and the winner of 90 amateur titles. He was Junior World champion in 1977 and was NWA world heavyweight champion. He exploded onto the world-wide scene in 1995 when he won the Ultimate Fighting Championships and helped establish wrestling as a respected martial art. “True wrestling ability and impact on the professional side of the sport are the two main considerations about going into the hall of fame,” said Mike Chapman, executive director of the museum. “The selection committee is very proud of this year’s class.” All three inductees and the Frank Gotch Award winner were presented with plaques with their pictures on them and brief biographical sketches of their accomplishments. Identical plaques are placed on the wall of the hall of fame. In addition, artifacts from their careers are on permanent display in the hall of fame. “It is a tremendous weekend, and I am deeply honored,” Dick Beyer told the audience at the inductions. “To be on the wall with people like Lou Thesz and Ed Lewis is unbelievable.” Geigel called the event “one of the absolute highlights of my life. I will never forget it.” Raschke said he was “humbled” by the experience, and never thought he would receive such an honor. “To have my family and several former amateur coaches here today, along with many friends, is just wonderful.” “I can’t believe I’m here, with all these legendary champions,” said Severn. “The minute I heard I was getting the award, I told my wife we were going to Newton. To be mentioned in the same breath with wrestlers like Frank Gotch is a great, great honor.” Other Special Guests Edd Byrnes was one of two special guests with a Hollywood connection at the two-day event. He was one of the top TV stars of the late 1950s and early 1960s, appearing in the hit show “77 Sunset Strip,” playing jive-talking Kookie. At the show’s peak, he received 10,000 fan letters a week. He also starred as dee jay Vince Fontaine in the popular movie “Grease.” The other special guest was Billy Mills, 10,000-meter champion at the 1964 Olympics. Mills’ life story was told in the popular 1983 movie “Running Brave,” starring Robbie Benson. Mills was one of 22 celebrities who played in the Celebrity Golf Tournament. Former professional and amateur champions mixed freely at the weekend event, along with celebrities from major league baseball, the NFL and the world of basketball. There were ten former Olympic wrestlers on hand, including gold medal winners Glen Brand (1948), Bill Smith (1952), Dan Gable (1972), Ed Banach (1984) and Randy Lewis (1984). Among the professional legends in the golf tournament were Verne Gagne, Dan Hodge, Tim Woods (Mr. Wrestling), Dick Beyer (The Destroyer), Jim Raschke (Baron Von Raschke), Tom Drake (winner of the 2001 Frank Gotch Award). Dick Hutton, Harley Race, Fritz Von Goering, and Mad Dog Vachon were in attendance at the banquet, along with CAC officers Red Bastein and Karl Lauer. Radio show hosts Scott McLinn and Scott Casper did a special two-hour live broadcast from the banquet, interviewing the celebrities. “We like to reach out to other sports, and to Hollywood, and make it a fun event for everyone,” said Mike Chapman, the museum’s director. “Last year, we had tremendous cooperation from the businesses in the community, and everyone had a great time.” Chapman also announced that the mortgage on the building has been paid off. He lauded Dean Rockwell, a World War II naval hero and former Olympic coach, and Jason Sanderson, CAC member and current promoter, for their significant contributions. A total of 67 runners participated in the first-ever Frank Gotch Memorial Run at Maytag Park, with Billy Mills firing the starter’s gun. Each runner received a Gotch tee shirt, and winners received medals. The weekend concluded on Saturday night with a special tribute to the late Lou Thesz at the museum. A half-hour documentary about Lou, entitled “The Story of a Wrestler,” produced in the 1950s by legendary TV executive David Wolper, was shown on a large screen TV. Afterwards, friends of Lou spoke of the impact he had on their lives. Charlie Thesz, Lou’s widow, and Helen Haack, Lou’s sister, were in attendance. Among those speaking were Dick Hutton, Fritz Von Goering, Dan Hodge, Tim Woods, Dan Severn and Mike Chapman. “This is a total community effort,” said Chapman. “There is no way we could do this event without support from the Newton business community. We greatly appreciate it and look forward to next year’s Inductions Weekend with great anticipation.” The Class of 2003 will be announced soon. Hall of Fame Classes 1999 - Frank Gotch, Ed Lewis, Lou Thesz, Verne Gagne, and special honoree George Tragos 2000 - Dick Hutton, Dan Hodge, Joe Stecher, Earl Caddock 2001 - Tim Woods, Jack Brisco, Farmer Burns, William Muldoon 2002 - Geigel, Dick Beyer, Jim Raschke, Ed Don George, Ray Steele


Dan Parker
New York Daily Mirror - June 9, 1941

Reprinted in The WAWLI Papers, Volume 1, Number 76

What is happening throughout professional wrestling these days shouldn't even be occurring to a pigeon- toed Madagascar weasel.    Opponents who are utter strangers like Amos and Andy are wrestling each other, once and for all, mind you, to decide which of the two shall hold the title neither possessed in the first place.

There are shooting matches, challenges, recriminations, and even $200,000 libel suits! If the situation gets any more complicated, all factions may get together and prevail upon Marcus Griffin, promoter of honest wrestling, to come out of retirement and restore order to the sport.

One of the 27 world's heavyweight wrestling championships contested for recently was the National Wrestling Association version, which has the benediction of a high-minded gentleman named Col. Harry J. Landry who, like Mr. Griffin, is interested in cleaning up wrestling.    With such cleansing motives, Col. Landry really should have a "u" in his name, but that's neither hither nor yon.    The vital fact is that in Minneapolis, on March 12, with Col. Landry's blessing, Bronko Nagurski wrestled Ray Steele for the National Wrestling Association's title and won.    That would seem to have made Bronko the N.W.A. champion.

This suspicion was verified when Bronko wrestled Sandor Szabo in St. Louis last Friday night in a match advertised as being for the N.W.A. title.    Szabo won on a foul and was proclaimed champion.    Commissioner Griffin of Missouri, who is not to be confused with Mr. Griffin of New York lately interested in the promotion of honest wrestling in Madison Square Garden, although said to be a distant relative, jumped into the ring after the bout and announced that Szabo would be recognized as champion in 34 states.    How Commissioner Griffin could speak for 34 states when he is commissioner only for one wasn't explained, but perhaps the answer lies in the fact that he is from Missouri (home state also of Promoter Tom Packs).

While all this was going on in St. Louis, a match for the N.W.A. title was being advertised out in Los Angeles for tomorrow night between Dzimmie (Stromberries and Crim) Londos and Ray Steele, who is advertised as the N.W.A. champion!

This was billed as a match to "decide once and for all" who is the real world's champion.    Londos had admitted right along that HE was, but his action in agreeing to meet this almost stranger Steele (whom he hardly knows -- since he has been wrestling him for only 15 years or so, both under the name of Steele and Pete Sauer) indicates that he is now in doubt as to his own status.    The bout, of course, will be a shooting match, with Londos winning "once and for all." It is also to be a benefit for the Greek relief fund.    In most of these wrestling benefits every cent that's taken in over 100 per cent is turned over to the fund, the wrestling mob merely retaining the one hundred per cent.    But with the charitably inclined Mr. Londos wrestling and stricken Greece the beneficiary, the fund is likely to get something besides a shellacking.

Mr. Jack Pfefer, the Plotter from Pinsk, offered yesterday to clear up wrestling's problems overnight by shaving the chestnut tresses off the cantaloupe- shaped skull of John Grimek, alias Mr. America, and tossing this amazing mass of muscles against the whole list of 26 champions in one night.    Although Pfefer will not admit it, it is believed General John Phelan of the New York State Athletic Commission has prevailed upon him to induce Grimek to become a wrestler and mow down the entire field.    Neither could it be ascertained for certain whether or not it was General Phelan's suggestion that Pfefer have Grimek's mallet shaved and call him "The Chesty-Slovak Angel." If both these reports are false, there are still many who think wrestling's problems could be settled at a round-table triple-talk conference to be attended by General Phelan, Plotter Pfefer and Strong Man Grimek.    The title problems would then be really settled, and I do mean once and for all.