George Gordienko

Canadian Wrestler, Artist and Renaissance Man

Not Yet Published


New 2021 Pre-Order

Available for pre-order / backorder

About the Book

George Gordienko (1928–2002) may be the greatest wrestler you’ve never heard of. From humble, Ukrainian immigrant roots on the Canadian Prairies, he endured a tough childhood during the Great Depression to emerge as a leading “shooter” and one-of-a-kind artist on the mat. Excluded from wrestling in the U.S. during the McCarthy era for his one-time membership in the Communist Party, he was deprived of a shot at the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, for which he was hand-picked by the great Lou Thesz. After retirement, Gordienko transitioned to a different sort of canvas and became a successful painter. This first full-length biography traces his remarkable career.

About the Author(s)

Steven Verrier has previously written works of short drama, fiction, and nonfiction published in the United States, Canada, and Japan. He lives in Bonney Lake, Washington.

Bibliographic Details

Steven Verrier

Forewords by Bret Hart and Greg Oliver

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Bibliographic Info: ca. 65 photos, 8 page color insert, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8769-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4563-6
Imprint: McFarland

Book Reviews & Awards

• “George Gordienko may never be truly celebrated for his achievements as his life and career fail to fit into a single box that so often defines one’s greatness. Yes, he was a phenomenal wrestler, but also an accomplished artist, world traveler and a gentleman. At so many points in this book, you feel like George had reached the pinnacle—arrived at success to which so many aspire—only to be surprised with the next pursuit and complete mastery that resulted in further successes. There is no single honor high enough to acknowledge the lifetime contribution of George to sports, arts and culture.”—Vance Nevada, author, Wrestling in the Canadian West

• “George Gordienko’s name is spoken in awed whispers among veteran professional wrestlers and those familiar with the history of ‘shooting,’ or the competitive side of the professional art. Until now, however, most of his life was a mystery. Finally, Steve Verrier lifts the veil on Gordienko in a way that deftly illuminates both the man and the world he lived in.”—C. Nathan Hatton, PhD, author, Thrashing Seasons: Sporting Culture in Manitoba and the Genesis of Prairie Wrestling

• “I always knew there was more to the [Gordienko] story, more to explore; I wanted to do a proper biography on him …. Fortunately, Steve Verrier has capably taken up that task.”—Greg Oliver, Producer, Slam Wrestling, and coauthor of The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame series