Doug Lindzy, better known to wrestling fans as Doug Gilbert or the Professional, passed away at the age of 76 on Monday. He was inducted into the Georgia Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2011.
Lindzy took the name Gilbert when he began teaming with Johnny Gilbert, and it stuck throughout his career. His career began in the 1950s, and his first big break came as a partner to Dick Steinborn in the AWA, as a tag team known as Mr. High (Gilbert) and Mr. Low (Steinborn).
Gilbert also wrestled in Florida, Omaha, Amarillo, Montreal, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Indianapolis, and the WWWF, winning titles almost everywhere he went, but his most lasting impression seems to have been his run as the Professional in Georgia.
The first time Georgia fans saw Gilbert was in 1959 when he and Johnny Gilbert first appeared being billed as brothers, which led to a mild mid-card run for a brief period. Gilbert returned solo the following year for a short run, but in 1968, he came back to Georgia wearing a mask as the Professional.
He quickly won the Georgia Heavyweight Title and became a top challenger for Gene Kiniski’s NWA World Heavyweight Title, with Kiniski claiming it was Bruno Sammartino under the hood. Amid short feuds with Johnny Valentine and Dale Lewis, trading the Georgia crown with them, he was probably the first person to ever beat a masked Kiniski, who wrestled once as the Blue Destroyer, losing to the Professional on television as part of their ongoing feud.
At the peak of his success in Georgia, the Pro joined forces with the Assassins, winning the Georgia Tag Team Title with Assassin #2, and feuding with the top babyfaces throughout the territory in an endless series of six-man matches. It didn’t take long for the affiliation to end and the Pro to become a babyface and feud with the Assassins, teaming with El Mongol, and soon after even feuded with a masked man billed as Professional #2, who Lou Thesz later unmasked to reveal as Paul DeMarco, who was now aligned with the Assassins.
Eventually, the Pro began teaming with Tex McKenzie to feud with the Assassins and a new masked man called the Super Pro, who turned out to be Aldo Bogni, and later El Diablo, who would be revealed later as Frankie Cain. Near the end of 1969, Gilbert removed the mask per a stipulation and continued his feud with the Assassins in every possible combination, often teaming with Mongol, Ray Gunkel, Joe Scarpa, Bobby Shane, and Nick Bockwinkel.
As the feud came to an end and 1971 rolled around, Gilbert’s stint ended with mid-card matches, and he stayed through the summer. When Ann Gunkel launched the All-South Wrestling Alliance to compete with the NWA office, Gilbert was one of the men the NWA relied upon, and he spent the last several weeks of 1972 in the state.
He would return in 1974, not under the mask but being billed as the Professional, and he joined the top babyfaces and feuded with the Andersons and Super A, later discovered to be Mike McCord, but he couldn’t quite recapture the magic. He came back as Gilbert in 1978 for a final run, but in a string of mid-card matches.
His career came to an end during the late 1970s, and he would retire to the Omaha area.
No details as to cause of death are known at this time.
We pass along our condolences to his family and friends.