It has been a significant week for Canadian wrestlers being honored and that includes “Canada’s Greatest Athlete” Gene Kiniski being added to the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame.
It was revealed this past week that Kiniski will be inducted posthumously into the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame after more than a decade of his addition being advocated for. This news comes during the same where it was announced that Bret Hart will be inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame later this year.
In 2019, Steven Verrier released a biography on Kiniski and had been arguing the case for Kiniski’s inclusion into the Hall of Fame after his extensive research on the life and influence of Kiniski. Following the news of Kiniski’s induction, Verrier wrote a piece for SLAM! Wrestling.
Kiniski, who held the NWA Championship from 1966-69, will be inducted into the pioneer category of the provincial sports Hall of Fame with a ceremony scheduled for next spring.
Kiniski left professional football to segue into pro wrestling and rose to the peak of the industry becoming NWA Champion in January 1966 defeating Lou Thesz in St. Louis. Kiniski held the championship until February 1969 losing to Dory Funk Jr. in Tampa.
Kiniski won myriad championship titles including the AWA heavyweight title, the WWA heavyweight championship, Missouri heavyweight title, and many more throughout the U.S, Canada, and worldwide.
He died in April 2010 at the age of 81 after wrestling professionally for four decades and having his final match in 1992.
Kiniski is a member of the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame, the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame, the St. Louis Wrestling Hall of Fame, was named to the inaugural class of the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame, and honored by the Cauliflower Alley Club in 1992.
Kiniski is part of the B.C Hall of Fame class that includes former NHL player Gino Odjick, soccer player Dale Mitchell, and basketball player Eli Pasquale among the twelve that will be honored next year.