Cornish wrestling champion Jack Carkeek was sailing for England in May 1887 with
his backer W.D. Pascoe and "Parson" Davies. Carkeek was going to wrestle John
Pierce of Cornwall, England for the "championship of the world."
In May 1897, it was reported that Evan "Strangler' Lewis and his financial backer
John Kline of Beloit were headed to England to obtain matches and wrestling all
comers. Kline was willing to put up as much as $5,000 for a match.
Reports in early September 1899 stated that Jack Carkeek was venturing to New
York, and then boarding the Teutonic for England. He planned to wrestle all comers.
This was Carkeek's second tour of England, as he'd been in the country in 1887.
At Liverpool on November 16, 1899, Jack Carkeek of Wisconsin wrestled Joe Carroll
before a large crowd with a "gold championship belt" to be given to the winner. The
two individuals wrestled for two hours with no victor decided.
Farnworth, England: April 13, 1900
(Larkhill grounds) … (back fall style) Clayton (champion of England) beat Jack
Carkeek (2-1) … (Att.-3,000)
Brighton ENGLAND: May 24, 1900
Jack Carkeek beat McIverney (of Liverpool) (2-0)
In June 1900, Carkeek returned to the United States after his European tour. "In his
possession a gold and a silver belt which were won in Graeco-Roman and catch-as-
catch-can contests." He claimed the tour was financially successful as well.
Wrestler Jim Parr sent Curley Supples, a lightweight boxer from Buffalo, to England in
the early 1900s and Supples was managed by Greco-Roman wrestling star Tom
On September 20, 1904 in Yarmouth, England, George Hackenschmidt failed to
throw Pickford in 15-minutes, losing $125 in the process. Pickford was said to be an
Tom Jenkins talked about his London match with Hackenschmidt on March 14, 1905
(Daily Northwestern, Oshkosh, WI), saying that: "In London, I met him on his own
battlefield in a straight Graeco-Roman match and it seems to me that he ought to
meet me on my own battleground at my own style." Jenkins wanted Hackenschmidt to
wrestle a catch-as-catch-can bout in New York for their anticipated rematch.
Hackenschmidt, it was reported on May 11, 1905, was going to bring George Bothner
back with him to England once his tour of North America concluded on May 20.
In London on January 30, 1908, Hackenschmidt beat Joe Rogers at the Oxford Music
Hall. A large crowd was in attendance to see "Hack" win in two-straight.
Reports in the United States on May 14, 1908 stated that Frank Gotch had agreed to
venture to London to wrestle Stanislaus Zbyszko at the Olympic Hall on June 10. The
terms were a purse of $5,000 and a side bet of $5,000.
By mid-November 1908, Gotch was in England and working at the Empire Theater in
London. Hackenschmidt met with Gotch and the two shook hands, which in itself
received press. There was talk of a Gotch-Hackenschmidt match almost immediately
with potential terms being discussed. A report on December 4, 1908 claimed that the
two had agreed to wrestle in March 1909, but within days, the agreement was off and
the terms were still being debated. It was said that Gotch was willing, but
Hackenschmidt wasn't. One thing was for certain, Gotch didn't want to wrestle "Hack"
in England. He wanted the match in America.
While at Sheffield, England in December 1908, Gotch beat George Dinnie in quick
fashion, defeating his opponent in two-straight falls.
A track and field superstar, A.A. Cameron of Scotland was going to begin a wrestling
career, the Washington Post announced on July 21, 1912. 34-year-old Cameron
held more than a dozen world records and was abnormally strong. He wrestled
previously as part of a troupe that toured Russian along with Aberg and George
Lurich. At London, he wrestled Podoubny and gave the latter a tough match.
On November 17, 1944, the Public Control Committee of the London County Council
recommended a ban on professional wrestling. The "free-for-all" style of wrestling
was popular before the war "after its inauguration by American wrestlers," according
to the Associated Press. The council stated that "all-in" wrestling "cannot be
regarded as true wrestling," and that they didn't "consider that it contains any elemet
of sport, and we regard it as a degrading and unhealthy form of entertainment."
A USO plane flying from England to Paris crashed on March 3, 1945, killing 16
people. Those killed were George Matkovich, Jack Ross, Mrs. Ruth G. Donor, Lester
Chapman, H.A. Sabath, Gaius W. Young, Ben Reuben, Captain F.F. Foster, Lt. L.L.
Heideman, Spec/1c John Garfield Hope, Sgt. Albert J. McVey, 1st Lt. Robert
Dearstine, 1st Lt. Herbert H. Hirth, 1st Lt. Paul A. Mansell, PFC Alfred E. Barschdorf,
PFC Paul J. Heeger. The Associated Press reported that the European Division of
the Air Transport Command stated that this ended a safety run in which 5 million
miles of flying by that division had occurred a loss of life. Matkovich, Reuben, Young,
Chapman, and Ross were professional wrestlers.
Research by Tim Hornbaker, Ronald Großpietsch
|United Kingdom Wrestling Territory