The AWA Unleashed Podcast, co-hosted by long time CAC supporter Mick Karch reported the passing of AWA wrestler Kenny Jay earlier today on its' Twitter feed.
Jay, real name Ken Benkowski, was a friend to many and a mainstay in the American Wrestling Association wrestling territory.
The Cauliflower Alley Club extends its' sincerest condolences to the family, freinds and fans of the "Sodbuster" and would like to share a bit of a personal memory that Mick shared on the PWI Insider website. For the full article please visit the link below.
"The world of professional wrestling has lost one of its most beloved old school stars, and I have lost a cherished friend. The man known as the "Sodbuster," Kenny Jay, has passed away after a long illness.
Born Kenny Benkowski, he was almost exclusively known for his decades with the American Wrestling Association (AWA.) Though he was given a main event or two along the way (including scoring the winning pinfall in a 6-man tag) over Harley Race, Kenny was one of wrestling's greatest 'enhancement talents,' getting in the ring with the absolute best that wrestling had to offer. It is notable that he was honored by Cauliflower Alley Club some years ago for his wrestling career.
He earned a familiar nickname from the late announcer Marty O'Neill, who would introduce him as "The very capable Kenny Jay." Though he was a lifelong Minnesota resident, he was billed from Cleveland, Ohio and once joked "I don't know where they came up with that. I mean, I might have flown over Cleveland a few times, but that's about it.
As part of the hype for the infamous Muhammad Ali-Antonio Inoki match back in 1976, Kenny was brought in as a sparring opponent for Ali. The 'fight' aired on ABC's Wide World of Sports. Needless to say, Kenny provided miniscule offense and basically was a punching bag for the duration of the short encounter. He once told me, "They told me to go real easy on him. He was a great athlete but I'm sure I could have stretched him. I probably would never have worked again."
During his career, he wrestled them all, from Verne Gagne and The Crusher to Nick Bockwinkel, Ray Stevens, Mad Dog Vachon, Larry Hennig, Harley Race, etc., etc. There wasn't anybody of main event stature that came through the AWA that he didn't get in the ring with. The late Dick (Dr. X/The Destroyer) Beyer, said it best when he acknowledged without the Kenny Jays of the world, there would be no stars. He referred to Kenny and his fellow enhancement talent as the true 'carpenters' of the business. Perhaps it was the late, legendary Harley Race who said it best..."
To read the article in its' entirety please visit: https://www.pwinsider.com/article/167690/mick-karch-remembers-kenny-jay.html?p=1