On Friday, the wrestling world learned that a true legend had been lost as George “The Animal” Steele passed away at the age of 79. Known for his green tongue, strange promos, and ripping apart the turnbuckles to eat them, he will always be remembered and loved as a pioneer in professional wrestling. As word of his death began making the Internet rounds, superstars from WWE and many other promotions began honoring and paying tribute to “The Animal.”
The official website of WWE reported that William James Myers, better known as “The Animal” did die and it is a great loss to the wrestling community. Anyone that ever witnessed him in the ring knew he was incredibly unorthodox, but he was just so much fun.
He was an amateur wrestling coach at a high school in Michigan and needed to get a bit of extra income, so, he took to wrestling under a mask to conceal his identity. Over time, he ended up in WWE (then WWF) and the rest is pure history, but it didn’t hurt for him to work with the likes of Freddie Blassie, Mr. Fuji, The Grand Wizard, and Capt. Lou Albano.
He will never be forgotten, and the wrestling world surely wasn’t going to let his death go by without remembering every single thing about him. WWE superstars and many others in other wrestling organizations took to social media to pay their respects.
God Bless. George “The Animal” Steele. A friend over the years. RIP
— Hacksaw Jim Duggan (@OfficialHacksaw) February 17, 2017
The wrestling world lost one of the best today and I lost a good friend. RIP George”the animal” Steele. My prayers are with his family. pic.twitter.com/2b5ITY5Q7l
— Ted DiBiase (@MDMTedDiBiase) February 17, 2017
I feared him as a kid.
I cheered him as a teenager
I became friends w/him as an adult
Never be another like
George the Animal Steele pic.twitter.com/TdrIfod68i
— Tommy Dreamer (@THETOMMYDREAMER) February 17, 2017
I had the pleasure of meeting the great George “The Animal” Steele not just a kind man but a true ICON of our industry. #RIPGeorgeSteele
— TAZ (@OfficialTAZ) February 17, 2017
Sorry to hear of the passing of George “The Animal” Steel! He was an Agent/ producer when I first came to @WWE and was always very kind.
— Brian G. James (@WWERoadDogg) February 17, 2017
As reported by ESPN, Steele has been honored in numerous ways for the many things he has done in his life. Under his real name, Myers was inducted into the Michigan High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1996. His alma mater even renamed its football field to Jim Myers Stadium in 2012.
In 1995, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, and rightfully so. The man may not have been a multi-time champion or someone who was the best looking on the roster, but he knew how to wrestle and he knew how to entertain.
George”the Animal”Steel,RIP my brother,only love,only grateful. HH
— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) February 17, 2017
George Steele was a one of a kind performer who could make fans smile or boo…and his competitors laugh or cry…
— Triple H (@TripleH) February 17, 2017
One of his greatest and most memorable feuds was with the late Randy “Macho Man” Savage as Steele had developed an “obsession” with the lovely Miss Elizabeth. For years, “The Animal” and Savage would be against one another and it led to a lot of historic WWE moments.
The tributes will very likely continue to roll out all weekend as superstars and talents from all walks of life and different wrestling promotions will want to honor “The Animal.” He touched the lives of so many people, in and out of the WWE ring, and it is only right for him to be remembered as the great person that he always was.
It is never easy to lose a wrestling personality that fans grew up watching and learned to love over the years. For those actually in WWE, TNA, or other promotions and those that knew George “The Animal” Steele personally, it is even harder. They not only lost a peer and a legend, but they lost a friend and family member who they’ve actually known most of their lives. These tributes are just a small way they can show their appreciation for him and how much he will be missed.
[Featured Image by WWE]