Klondike Bill

Klondike Bill. (Photo Provided)

Longtime pro wrestling fans, especially those in the old Mid-Atlantic territory, have fond memories of a bear of a man known as Klondike Bill.

With dark, shaggy hair and thick beard, and blue jeans supported by a white rope, Bill struck an imposing figure in the squared circle.

Not many knew him by his real name - William Soloweyko. He was, instead, “Klondike,” or simply “Bill,” to his many fans and friends.

During an in-ring career that spanned from 1959-78, he was the “Kodiak Bear,” a 350-pound behemoth who entertained fans with superhuman feats of strength, squashing the bad guys with his bear hug and big splash. His dedication and reliability earned him a permanent spot with the Crockett family and later WCW following the buyout of Crockett Promotions in 1988.

Bill passed away at the age of 68 on Oct. 3, 2000, from a neuromuscular disorder in Pineville, N.C.

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