Joseph Bednarski [1941 - Present]
A native of Poland, Ivan Putski emigrated to Texas with his family when he was a young boy. Texas would prove fertile ground as he became a professional wrestler. He would go on to win the NWA American Tag Team Championship (1970) and the NWA Texas Tag Team Championship (1973) with partner Jose Lothario.
"Polish Power" entered the WWWF in 1976 and battled men like "Superstar" Billy Graham, Ivan Koloff, Bruiser Brody and Jesse "The Body" Ventura. He and tag partner Tito Santana captured the WWF World Tag Team Championship from Jimmy and Jerry Valiant in 1979, the same year they earned the PWI Tag Team of the Year. The 1980s marked the decline of Ivan's career. He was inducted into the WWF Hall of Fame (1995).
An avid bodybuilder who competed in the 1978 World's Strongest Man competition, Ivan has retired from wrestling and currently works as a security guard at a local high school.
Today's date is July 10, 2016, and I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that Ivan is alive and well. I see him several times a week at a local gym here in Southwest Austin, and I've known him for 25 years. Now in his mid-70s he still has a tremendous attitude about life and is always willing to offer advice about training, and to tell stories about his long athletic career, which is way more than just wrestling. He mainly goes by Joe, his given name, but some folks still call him Ivan. He is a "common man" type person and totally unaffected by his long list of accomplishments, including playing football for the Detroit Lions.
Iven putski is a man we should all admire . he was my hero as a young man growing up . he had the muscles we all wish we had . I saw him in person more than once . he was the Hercules of my youth. Keep going my friend defy getting old thanks for the memories
it was a pleasure seen ivan putski come inside that ring.true polish power. he would make u feel at home.very clean neat in everyway.he showed everybody that no matter your height,u can battle and be just like the big guys.thank you ivan for all those thrilling moments in our sport.
MR PUTSKI WAS MY ELEM. COACH IN THE 60S AT OLMOS ELM IN SAN ANTONIO GREAT GUY TAUGHT ME ALOT HOPE HE'S DOING GREAT
As a kid my Dad and I watched the Polish Power wrestle on TV prior to my enlisting in the Marines. I loved seeing him come to the ring with his Polish Sasuage. I ran into him in 1985 when I was stuck in the airport over night in Kansas City. I was into body building and this well built gentleman sat down across from me. I had been in Japan for three years at the time and I had not watched wrestling for those three years or several before that. I struck up a conversation with him and asked him what had brought him there. He stated there had been a show there. My next statement was so you are a professional body builder. The answer left me stunned, giddy and completely flabbergasted! He responded he was a professional wrestler and his name was Ivan Putski. I looked at him and said no way! My Dad and I used to watch the Polish Power and you sir look nothing like him, Ivan had his eye burned when the Mongolian's Manager put his cigar out in it! This is where he showed what a gentleman he was. He smiled and then told me the whole story line. I knew the bouts were staged but also understood sometimes things didn't go as planned and he took time to explain. When I asked if he would be kind enough to give me an autograph for my Dad he searched for a picture but had none. He tore a box lid off and wrote a nice autograph to my dad. When I gave it too my dad and told him the story he was as excited as I was. My dad passed away two years latter and I found the autograph wrapped in plastic in his top drawer. Thank you Ivan for being such a gentleman and keeping the bond between a father and son. May you continue to experience good health and live many more years!
Him and Scott Norton the flash should meet each other Scott lives in Texas strong man I ever mit , one big boy
Great memoirs of seeing him on the local small TV station on Saturday morning. We were all proud of him and his class ways of carrying himself. One of my friends of Polish decent that lived down by NYC and worked construction had Polish Power for a plate on his Camaro. Thank you sir.
I got to know Joe and Scott when i lived in Houston. We would all work out at GOLDS GYM. I remember the Wrestling School on Dairy Ashford. That is where Stevie Ray (Lash ) and Junior ( Booker T ) were introduced to Wrestling. They were both ( THE HARLEM HEAT ) ! Joe suggested that with a name like Kowalsky, I should get involved as the return of KILLER KOWALSKI !! Anyway - I enjoyed the Body Building over the Physical beating ! I also supplied Scott and Craig Titus along with others with PURE EGG WHITES. FUN TIMES in HOUSTON and DALLAS !! I miss these guys ! I currently reside in Atlanta GA. i will be talking to my Pals soon. GREAT PEOPLE !!
I was another one of his PE students at Olmos elementary in San Antonio around 1968, and watched him play full back for the then nation's best semi-pro football team, the San Antonio Toros, before he started his wrestling career. I remember the first day of PE class he let the boys hit him in his well muscled stomach. I knew enough to aim a little higher in the solar plex . . . he never flinched. What I remember most is what a nice guy he was. It's ironic to find out here both Joe Bednarski and I ended up living in southwest Austin.
The first time I ever saw Joe was early one morning in the gym at Southwest Texas State College (now known as Texas state University, LBJ's old alma mater - located in San Marcos, TX.) in the Summer of 1965. I think he had just graduated the year before but somehow was still associated with the athletic department there at SWT (I got there too late to see him play football but was told by some upperclassmen friends of mine that as a running back Joe was a real force to be reckoned with ... I can just imagine as back then he weighed 225 pounds and according to the head coach he could bench press 405 pounds ... and Joe was in the room when the coach announced that to my first PE class). Anyway that morning was the first time I had been to the gym (this was long before the PE class), and I was there early on my own (it was still fairly dark as it was just before sunrise), And I was in the weight room alone - or so I thought. I noticed that the bar on the squat rack was really loaded down. I checked to see how much was on it ... it was 325 pounds. And I thought, "Wow ... someone's doing squats with 325 pounds! I was impressed. I went back over to the bar I was using and about that time this guy came walking in ... huge diamond calves and just really muscled up. And I thought this must be the squat rack guy. And sure enough he meandered up to the squat rack and took the bar off the rack. And I thought, "Good night ... he's going to do front squats with that weight!". I just watched him ... I wanted to see this. But he didn't do front squats. No instead he just ripped off 7 reps of standing front presses ... and then set the bar back in the rack he left the room. He didn't strain with it at all ... the last rep looked like the first one. He literally ripped them off without breaking a sweat. It just blew me away. And that's what he would do. He'd work out either in the morning (or afternoon) doing one exercise. But he'd do that exercise the entire morning (or the entire afternoon as the case may be). He'd do a set and then wander off (for 15 minutes or so), and then come back a do another set. How many sets? Who knows ... whatever it was it was a huge number. I would generally do 8 sets on my exercises (and I may do 2 or 3 different exercises while I was there). But when I came in Joe would already be well into his routine (with multiple set behind him) and when I left Joe was still there (and probably for another couple of hours) ... doing that one exercise (whatever it might be for that day). That early morning in 1965 was his day to do standing front presses. And I got to watch him do a few sets. He was well into his routine before I got there and it continued on after I left. That was something I'll never forget ... I was really amazed. Anyway ... that's the Joe Bednarski I remember (there was no Ivan Putski back then). It was back in the days long before Nintendo were invented ... and long before "the friendly college on the hill" thought it wanted to be Texas State (a shrine to LBJ).
I really enjoyed watching him It was truly a blessing. There is nothing like him. Thanks so much for your years.
I REMEMBER JOE FROM MY DAYS AT SOUTHWEST TEXAS STATE COLLEGE. JOE LET A FEW OF US AVID WEIGHTLIFTERS WORK OUT WITH HIM. HE WAS THE STRONGEST MAN I'VE EVER SEEN. WHEN I WAS ATTEMPTING TO BENCH PRESS 300 FOR THE FIRST TIME HE SAID HE NEEDED TO DO SOME STRETCHING AND DID 15 BENCH PRESS REPS WITH THE 300. HE WAS A CHARATER.
The wwwf was the best as a young kid, Vince rujne (It when he started rock and wrestling it been down hill since SO FAKE it was pedro bruno backlund putski and strong bow and many many more stars that brought us to the spectrum on a monthly basis. Today its such a joke I would be ashamed to even engage in conversationz on fthe subject nuff said.
Ivan Putski was awesome...the polish hammer. I couldn't wait to watch putski wrestle when I was a kid. Remember when he used to sing before the matches. Hahaha. He was great. I loved watching him wrestle.
I remember seeing him on Houston. Sitting in the ring with cement block on his head Standing behind him was someone with a sledge hammer. The next thing you knew the block was being busted over His head.
I love this guy, he was my coach at Olmos Elementary in San Antonio Texas in the late 60's. He could kick a football so high you could barely see it!
Ivan brought me years of entertainment. Both as a wrestler and a body builder. I admire the devotion he put forward to chisel his body from over 250 lb. to a lean 215 lb. When Ivan left wrestling it left a void in the sport even though his son was a powerful wrestler in his own right. I had hoped to see Ivan remain with the WWE in some other capacity. He is still missed... Good luck in all tat you do...
He was our P.E. teacher here in San Antonio at an elementary school. My husband and I both remember him. Though his size was intimidating (for a 3rd grader) I always remember that he was kind to us. Later my father spoke of his wrestling career and how good he was.
just looking at some pictures and so glad to know all is well.
My Uncle Joe is a great man and he was an amazing wrestler in his time! I'm so proud to be his niece!
One of my favorite wrestlers to watch. They don't make them like that anymore. Big heart, muscles, loveable and great to talk to.
I remember watching Ivan Putski the Polish strongman wrestle in Minnesota in the league there ran by Verne Gagne. a man with class and loved by all!!!
Putski sucked he could Never win the Big one
My dad used to watch him back in the day thought he was all that and a bag of chips
In the early 80's, I won "lunch with your fav Wrestler" from a contest in the WWF mag. I picked Ivan Putski. He came to my house, signed autographs and took tons of pictures. Then a limo took me to the Hilton for lunch with just him. It was great asking him questions. Then later that night limo came back, took me to match. I sat front row, brought into ring, and given a kiss & a rose. Its been the best thing Ive ever won. Pictures were then published in next issue. Great conversation peace. Ivan was a true gentleman. He is still my favorite 30 years later.
He was are security guard at my high school in Buda tx back in 2004
Joe Bednarski was a outstanding college player at SWTSU and Played for several years with the San Antone TOROS..............along with Luz Pedraza, Alfredo Avila, Freddy Edwards and Others from the 1961 DONNA HIGH SCHOOL State CHAMP REDSKINS coached by Earl Scott. All of these guys are still alive and Joe was an oustanding athlete as they all were. People should get their facts straight especially aholes that dont know diddley.
I'm glad to see your still with us,I watched you growing up.I always liked you and you were a Good Guy.I think it helped me when I was a kid!!!!! I would like to meet you.
Mr. Bednarski is definitely alive, i live next door to his famous football kicker brother. UT 59
Ivan Putski 1 przedstawiciel Polski w WWE! Jest moim idolem! A jak nie rozumienie to użyjcie se Google Tłumacz...
I used to love Ivan flex his pecs, it was so cool. That is talent.
Beans! Eat more beans! One of my favorite wrestlers of all time.
Ivan or Joe Bed is very much alive, when he was a boy he lived in Smithville Tx my father who spoke czech and polish helped teach him to speak english. He know Lives in South Austn working at a local high school as a security guard. I saw him at the airport and the Lubys in South Austin, his brother Freds owned a grocery store in town.
GLAD TO SEE YOUR IN GOOD HEALTH.
iam a male latvian janis pronounced yohn-iss in english it means john where the latvian language is older than greek led me to believe janis joplin was a girl named john, i have been a fan of joe since i was a kid & loved to watch ivan even when my dad tried to convince me that that style of wrestling was fake, but it didn't matter to me because ivan had style & i recently met the love of my life & we both still love out memories of joe & wanted to say hi
Ivan worked for a while in Bill Watts' old promotion in 1972 and '73. He was teamed up with Ricky Ferrara as Ivan & Igor - the Putski brothers. Ferrara was primarily a jobber in various companies throughout the '70s.
As a kid, I remember watching this short strong young man coming out of the audience on TV at the Austin Coliseum and putting Johnny Valentine in a bear hug. I believe that Joe Blanchard used to run those matches in Austin. I believe they signed up Joe Bednarski and his trade mark move was the bear hug. The only problem was sometimes his opponents would ball on him and he would get pinned, but he wouldn't let go of the bear hug. Eventually he became Ivan Putski and I saw him in Commerce, Texas wrestling against the Brute. I was always proud that Ivan Putski and I were from Austin, and went to Lone Star Conference schools. He went to Southwest Texas State and was a very powerful fullback, at least that is what I heard from the East Texas State coaches. It would be a thrill to shake his hand, and tell him my memories in person.
Ivan Putski is one of the greatest wrestlers. I enjoyed watching him on TV and seeing him in person at many wrestling matches. Happy to see he is doing well. Does anyone know what the name of the wrestler was that wore a mask when he was in the ring during the time that the Polish Power was active. He was a good looking guy. I assume he was young. I have searched all over and cannot find his name. Thanks for looking.
I remember as a kid cheering on Ivan Putski The Polish Power would love to see what he looks like today....
we were wondering if there is an ivan putski fan club or ways to find some memorabilia?,
He was one of my favorites. I always wanted to see him beat the crap out of Jessie The Body for mis-pronouncing his name.,, Ivan Puduski. I'd still pay to see that!
Ivan was a great guy and football coach when we played for chiefs in south austin
Ivan putski was the strongest & greatest wrestler of all times . he was a professional & also true athlete pf wrestling . no one comes close to ivan the polish power !!!!!
I used to watch the AWA Wrestling with my Dad when I was just a tiny gal. I remember seeing Ivan wrestle. I met him once and he thought I was cute because I was so short. My Mom liked him because he was Polish and she could cheer for him in Polish.
when i was 3 or 4, i used to follow Ivan down the aisle at the Dallas Sportatorium with a big all day sucker. and once, Ivan picked me up and carried me a few feet, and at that age, i was in love with this man. I always rooted for him and really am glad he's alive and well in TEXAS. I LOVE YOU IVAN PUTSKI
Mr. Putski, Where are you? Please consider doing autograph singings for the public. Many of us remember you from tv and in person. You are one of the best.
Ivan Putski was one of my favorite heros in wrestling as Jessie The Body was my favorite comical heels. I always wanted to see him go toe to toe with Jessie , especially when Jessie misspronounced Ivans' last name on purpose
I loved Ivan, never will forget him crushing a steel barrel, I was standing in a line at the Pittsburgh airport and he was just behind me, I asked "arent you Ivan Putski"? He just smiled.
I hate to tell you but most of the bodybuilders and pro wrestlers were taking steroids in the 70's. It was just legal then:)
The man is a legend. My father knew him in college and knows that Joe Bed took pride and the utmost care of his health. Nowadays anyone that has great strength and a muscular physique is assumed to be on roids. Very sad.
An absolute disgrace to wrestling nothing more than an unathletic steroid freak
Connie's name is Homer Hoffman and he lives in Arvada, Colorado. He has a State Farm Insurance agency in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. He tried looking up Joe Bed's number but was unsuccessful. He would really like to talk to Joe to see how he is. Thanks.
Hey guys just an update, We were at Scotts this past weekend for his sons birthday party and Ivan was there. My god the guy(Ivan)is hard as nails and still ready to go at the sound of the bell! So for you out there the Polish Strongman Is still ready to rumble.
I'll be more than happy to pass this on to Ivan. Yea he is really a cool guy. It's just so sad that the wrestling industry doesn't have guys like Ivan around anymore. He is truly a one of a kind gentleman.
I am glad to see that Mr. Bednarski is alive and well. I went to college with his son Kent at Texas A&I, and had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Bednarski then. He is a prince of a guy.
My father is an old college friend of Ivan's. My dad knows him as "Joe Bed". Could you ask Scott if he could ask Ivan if he remembers Connie Hoffman from SWT?
You may want to check your info.Ivan is very alive and doing well living in Austin. His son Scott and I are very good friends and in fact Scott spoke with his father two weekends ago while we were looking at Iron Horse motorcycles. So Ivan is very much alive!!!!
You need to check your info on this one. Ivan Putski is dead.
I loved him...they should a show showing him