On February 4, 1903 in Baltimore, Carl Pons beat Tom Jenkins in a mixed-style match.
Pons won the first and third falls, both in the Greco-Roman style, while Jenkins won the
second under catch rules.
Americus was a Baltimore wrestling hero for many years.
Ed Contos was a longtime promoter in Batlimore.
On October 4, 1937, a temporary grandstands at the Auditorium in Baltimore collapsed
during a show featuring the headline match, Jim Londos vs. George Pencheff. 4 people
were taken a local hospital.
Benito Gardini, called "Mr. Five by Five," was originally from Baltimore and a "name"
wrestler in the industry during the early 1950s. Wrestler Lou Plummer was another
prominent name from Baltimore.
The trouble with the Manhattan Booking Agency began in 1953, shortly after Pedro
Martinez sold the company back to "Toots" Mondt and partners, and escalated very
quickly. Contos was fed up with the lackluster talent being sent to Baltimore and wanted
to drop his affiliation to Mondt and Jim Crockett, and switch to the agency of Al Haft out of
Columbus. On September 25, 1953, J. Marshall Boone, the Chairman of the Maryland
State Athletic Commission, wrote a letter to NWA President Sam Muchnick, telling him
that he had "dealt with Edward A. Contos, who promotes wrestling matches in this city,
and have found him to be honest and straightforward in his dealings and also that he
enjoys the confidence of the press, radio and television."
Boone told Muchnick that Contos' gate receipts had diminished greatly and Contos
attributed it to problems within the Manhattan Booking Agency. According to the letter,
Boone was told that it was "to a greater extent [because of] the bad manaegment or
mismanagement of its affairs." Boone felt that if this standard was to continue,
professional wrestling in Baltimore was going to "die out here," and wanted Muchnick "to
do something in this matter so that Contos here can get his talent from any source that
can supply suitable men so that this territory may again flourish as it has for over 25
On September 28, 1953, Muchnick sent a telegram to Mondt at the Holland Hotel, telling
him about Boone's letter. He explained that "this seems to be very serious so please
advise me at once regarding your stand."
This move made Mondt very angry, and he filed a grievance with the NWA. Since the
Alliance had removed protection of the territories from the organization By-Laws in an
attempt to comply with Government regulations, there was little anyone could do to force
Contos to work with Mondt. Baltimore was a free city, and the promoter there had the
right to bring workers in from wherever he wanted. Contos took that freedom and signed
a working arrangement with the Al Haft agency out of Columbus.
On June 15, 1954, Muchnick told Lou Thesz that "Al [Haft] is in Baltimore now, and the
gates are now four times as big as they have been."
Contos, the longtime Baltimore wrestling promoter, passed away in March 1959. The
Associated Press (3/17/59, Chicago Tribune) estimated that he'd promoted 1,500 shows
locally over a 30 year period. He was 70.
In early May 1960, promoter Harry Smyth booked Baltimore Colts guard Charles "Bull"
Robinson for a wrestling show at the Baltimore Coliseum. Robinson also had played
football at Morgan State College. Reportedly, by this point, Robinson had been
grappling professionally for four years.
Research by Tim Hornbaker
|Baltimore Wrestling Territory