Eric Froelich, the barefooted German wrestler who helped make professional wrestling more athletic in North America, has died. He was 85.

His wife, Pamela Biddle-Froehlich, posted the news on Facebook on February 10, 2023: “My dear husband, the love of my life, my best friend passed away tonight….. Eric Froehlich my heart is so broken….💔 How do I live without you I want to know….”

Eric and his wife, Pamela, in 2021. Facebook photo

Most of Froelich’s career is detailed in a lengthy 2001 story — Erich Froelich a rarity as a good guy German — so we will leave it to some of his peers, most of them gone before Eric, to praise his skills. (And we have simplified his real name, Froehlich, to the commonly used Froelich, in wrestling; he also wrestled as Eric Rommel, primarily in Texas.)

“Eric was the first guy that I ever saw run the ring ropes. He’d run all four ring ropes then dropkick you,” said Dutch Savage. “When I’d body slam him, I’d crotch him and he’d push up so high that he’d arch back and look like he was flying over my head.”

There was more, said Savage. “Eric was a fantastic worker. His interviews, he just couldn’t get it done on the interviews. He was a great, great worker. You tag him up with somebody and you’d get him over like gangbusters. But once he opened his mouth, he killed it.”

John Quinn was much bigger than the 5-foot-11 Froelich, who carried anywhere from 195 to 230 pounds.

“I liked technical wrestlers. Even when I came out here [to British Columbia], I was 340 pounds from New York,” said Quinn. “Eric Froelich, a technical wrestler and his ability, I wanted to be like that. I wanted to wrestle. … I couldn’t catch him either. Straight-up, if it had been a fight, I wouldn’t have been able to catch him. Froelich could have beat me to death. Seriously. I couldn’t catch the guy. He was like water on top of you, you just couldn’t get anywhere with him.”

Duncan McTavish (Matt Gilmore) said that he really found his own stride as a pro wrestler after facing Eric Froelich on TV in British Columbia. “We got so much mail. But if you put that match in the arena, you wouldn’t have drawn nothing with it. People just didn’t want to see the holds and everything, they wanted to see somebody splitting one another with a chair.”

Mike Rodgers inducted Froelich into the Ring Around the Northwest Hall of Fame in 2009, writing:

Eric Froelich debuted in the Northwest in 1961. He wrestled well into the mid ’80s. So his main qualification is longevity. However he was also a very good worker and a very exciting acrobatic worker. TV always told us he had been a gymnast turned wrestler to explain his style and he always wrestled barefoot. He did hold the Canadian tag titles once with Guy Mitchell. Despite usually being in the undercard he has a laundry list of wins that include Might Ursus, Red McNulty (Ivan Koloff), Tony Borne, Clay Spencer, Rocky Montero, Haru Sasaki, Frank Shields, Sailor White, Bill Wright, Roy McClarty among others.

Froelich stopped wrestling in 1982.

He had been married to Pamela Biddle-Froehlich for over 40 years, and they lived in Mission, BC, east of Vancouver. His first wife was named Marian, whom he met when he was wrestling in California.

Eric Froelich with daughter Jade and son Brandon. Facebook photo

Froehlich had three sons, Brandon, Josh, Jordan, and two daughters, Kristiana and Jade.