In Mankato on January 17, 1900, John J. Rooney beat Bob Faulkner of Guelph, Ontario
(3-1). Rooney again beat "Robert" Faulkner (3-2) on February 26, 1900, also in Mankato.
Minneapolis was one of the most popular wrestling locations in the country in the early
1910s. In the span of a week, fans could be privy to seeing Frank Gotch, Stanislaus
Zbszyko, Fred Beell, Dr. B.F. Roller, or a host of middleweight stars like Walter Miller and
Joe Carr. It was also the homestead for prominent heavyweight figure, Henry Ordemann,
who was a claimant to the American Heavyweight championship, and holder of many
notable victories. There were wrestling shows regularly at the Auditorium and the Gayety
Theater in Minneapolis, plus at the St. Paul Auditorium, and Duluth also featured many
In 1913, Dan Larkin was known in the Twin Cities as the local welterweight champion. In
March of that year, he planned to tour Iowa and Southern Minnesota, taking on various
wrestlers. The Minneapolis Morning Tribune called him "one of the classiest little
wrestlers," in its March 15, 1913 edition.
The lightweight star of Minneapolis professional wrestling was Harry Mills, a teacher of
grappling to amateurs at the local YMCA. Mills reportedly held the lightweight
championship of the city in 1912.
The UPI reported that on Thursday, November 8, 1973, Chris Taylor, well known Iowa
State wrestler, signed a contract to turn professional in Minneapolis. The contract was
said to have been worth more than $400,000.
A profile of wrestlers Jim Brunzell and Greg Gagne was included in the November 26,
1974 edition of the Sheboygan Press (Sheboygan, WI). The youthful tag team were
going to appear in the city at the Armory against Rock Riddle and Jugo Babich. Gagne
was said to be in his second year as a pro with over 200 bouts under his belt. He was 6'
and weighed 205 pounds at 24 years of age. He attended Mound High School in
Minnesota and the University of Wyoming, where he was a quarterback on the football
squad. Gagne acquired mono, which hurt his football future. He instead trained under
his father, Verne, Red Bastien, and Billy Robinson for pro wrestling "for nearly two years,"
and went through "four hours of work a day - and then came 10 weeks of six-hour days in
training camp." The article stated that "as a rookie, he probably grossed over $30,000 -
and a tag team championship can mean $200,000."
The article said that Brunzell attended White Bear Lake High School in Minnesota and
was a star in football and track and field. He attended the University of Minnesota, then
turned pro wrestler, training under Verne Gagne.
Research by Tim Hornbaker
|Minneapolis Wrestling Territory