Richard Joseph "Dick" Garza (July 16, 1931 – January 7, 2002), better known as Mighty Igor Vodic, or simply Mighty Igor, was a professional wrestler. He is a one time American Wrestling Association World champion. As Mighty Igor, he was frequently billed as the "World's Strongest Wrestler".

Early years

Garza grew up in Michigan and competed in bodybuilding contests. He won the Mr. Michigan title in 1954 before competing in Mr. America and Mr. Universe competitions. At a gym, Garza got into an argument with professional wrestler Brute Bernard and knocked him unconscious. This gained him the interest of wrestling promoter Bert Ruby, who convinced him to enter professional wrestling.

Professional wrestling career

Garza wrestled in Michigan and Ohio during his early career. He competed for a promotion named Wolverine Wrestling, where he won his first title, the Wolverine Wrestling Mid-West Heavyweight Championship, on February 14, 1957. He also competed in California, where he won the Los Angeles version of the WWA International Television Tag Team Championship in 1962 while teaming with Eric Rommel.

Garza later joined the American Wrestling Association (AWA), where he was given the ring name Mighty Igor Vodic by Verne Gagne. On May 15, 1965, he won the AWA World Heavyweight Championship by defeating Mad Dog Vachon. He held the title belt for one week before dropping it back to Vachon. In 1965 and 1966, Vodic also had two reigns as the Nebraska Heavyweight Champion. The following year, he defeated Bob Orton, Sr. to win the AWA Midwest Heavyweight Championship. In the 1970s, Garza wrestled as "The Mighty Igor" in the "Big Time Wrestling" circuit from Detroit, Michigan, performing with the likes of Bobo Brazil, The Sheik, Pampero Firpo, "Big" Tex McKenzie, The Stomper, Flying Fred Curry, and the Fabulous Kangaroos.

On January 7, 2002, Garza died after suffering a heart attack.

Ring style

Garza used the gimmick of a friendly, but unintelligent, Polish man. At times, he would wear nurse's shoes and long underwear in addition to his wrestling attire to make himself look foolish. He was also known for bringing toys and kielbasa to the ring, and he shared the kielbasa with his fans.

The other component of Garza's gimmick was his strength. He performed several feats of strength for the audience, including leaning with his back against a wrestling ring and using his legs to hold back a car driving toward him. Other performances included bending iron bars or placing cement blocks on his head and having someone break them with a sledgehammer.

In wrestling

Championships and accomplishments

External links

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