“Judo” Gene Lebell
A grappling technique that works is seldom changed. Gene at 3 and 65 years later. The importance of a belt is not its color, rather its fuction of holding up your pants.
Wrestling has been in existence since the beginning of man, and the famed master of the sport is none other than “Judo” Gene LeBell, former World Professional Heavyweight Wrestling Champion and two time A.A.U. All Around Judo Champion. Gene LeBell has been a pioneer and cornerstone in every sporting fields he has entered. In the martial arts he captured the National A.A.U. Heavyweight and Overall class Judo Championships in 1954 and again in 1955., long before Judo became an Olympic sport and enjoyed a broad scope in the western world.
From judo he jumped into the hectic ring of professional wrestling and garnished many titles during his long and highlighted career. Between the years of 1955 through his last professional wrestling match in 1981 he claimed the America's title, North America's title, the Hawaiian Heavyweight Championship, the All Texas Championship, the California Beat The Champ title and the World's Tag Team Championships with Wild Red Cherry, just to name a few.
The ultimate win in wrestling, just as in other sports, is to be crowned world champion and thereby claiming the championship belt. LeBell won that title and held it for an unprecedented twelve seconds. That's correct, 12 seconds. After his win, the exuberant title holder was presented with the gold and diamond studded championship belt.He grasped it and swung it over his head victoriously as the capacity crowed cheered and screamed. Accidentally the belt hit the wrestling commissioner over the eye and the blood began to flow. The crowd began to riot and the commissioner took away the new champ's title and belt. He suspended LeBell from competition in Texas for one year and never allowed to rematch.
It is not surprising that competition is in his blood. His mother is famed Aileen Eaton, boxing's first and longest reigning boxing promoter. His brother, Mike LeBell has spanned three decades as a wrestling promoter. With Gene's talent, everything else just fell into place.
Although retired from active competition, LeBell is never out of touch nor out of shape for what ever is going on in any of the fields he excels in. LeBell feels that the only investment a person has in life that means anything is his body and his mind, and so he continues to learn, teach and train.