Grappling With Tragedy: Ed Virag

Brian Damage

Grappling with Tragedy is a series of articles that deal with unfortunate, tragic incidents that have occurred throughout the history of professional wrestling. It is unlike the ‘Wrestling with Sin’ series that deals more with the seedier side of wrestling like arrests, murders and suicides. Grappling looks more at particular tragic incidents that have in some instances altered pro wrestling in some way.

Ed Virag

Ede Ebner was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1912 and would grow up training in amateur wrestling. Ede represented Hungary at the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin, Germany. After the Olympics, Ede began a career in professional wrestling, where he changed his name to Ed Virag. He wrestled all throughout Europe, winning various regional titles. Virag could fluently speak six different languages including Hungarian, Polish, Italian, French, German and English. Virag also helped train the Italian national Olympic team in 1939. He would flee his native Hungary at the start of World War II and make his home in Wichita, Kansas.

Virag would continue his pro career wrestling for the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) in the United States. Virag was used mainly as an undercard performer, but did have a few main event matches against the likes of Lou Thesz and Everett Marshall. After World War II ended, Virag returned to Europe to wrestle frequently. He also used his grappling skills to help teach the South African police force in hand to hand combat.

On October 22nd, 1951…Ed Virag was touring Greece with a wrestling troupe. He was involved in a car crash which took his life. Ed Virag was just 39 years old at the time of his death. Since Virag never had a permanent home for more than two or three years…he was buried in a small town in Greece.

2 thoughts on “Grappling With Tragedy: Ed Virag

    • Right!? It almost makes you wonder if that brag about Air flight being statistically better than driving is pretty accurate when you compare the deaths of wrestlers in car crashes to plane crashes.

      Like

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