Tom Cannon defeated Antonio Pierro in Scranton on December 20, 1888 in a
catch-as-catch-can match. Cannon won the second, third, and fifth falls to win the $1,000
side bet and 75 per cent of the gate. Cannon called Cincinnati his home and claimed to be
the mixed style world champion. Pierro was from Greece.
[unknown date] John Connors defeated Edwin Bibby at Providence, PA, just outside
Scranton, after 1-hour and 17-minutes. Connors won the initial fall with a wristlock before
over 700 fans and Bibby suffered a dislocated shoulder. BIbby was not able to wrestle any
further. Connors won the $1,000 bet. Bibby weighed 155 to Connors' 170.
On Wednesday, September 4, 1901 in Wellsboro, PA, Jack McCormick and Tom Sharkey
drew tied 1-1. The match was part of the Field Days fair.
At Scranton, Pennsylvania, catch-as-catch-can champion Dan McLeod beat D.A. McMillan
in a mixed-style match on January 20, 1903. McLeod won the first under catch rules, lost
the second in Greco-Roman, and then because he'd won his fall in the quickest amount of
time, he picked the style for the third fall. McLeod picked catch-as-catch-can, and beat
Promoter: Ray Fabiani
Corporation Name: Ray Fabiani Sports, Inc. (1607 Sansom Street) (1938), Philadelphia
Gardens, Inc. (Broad and Lehigh Avenue) (1940)
According to the Associated Press on February 1, 1929, Gus Sonnenberg issued a plea
for college football players, "especially those who are deadly tacklers," to turn to wrestling
as a profession - while he was in Philadelphia. This request occurred over WELK radio on
Rev. Charles Urban made his professional debut in February 1931 at the Philadelphia
Arena. Urban was a member of the University of Pennsylvania football team in 1928. He
won his first match over Frank LaDitzi.
The Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission banned the popular flying tackle wrestling
maneuver popularized by Gus Sonnenberg and others, in February 1933. The INS, which
reported the news, stated "no official reason was given for the action."
One of the most prominent names in Philadelphia wrestling, Everette Marshall was
suspended in December 1933 by the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission for his
actions in a bout against World Champion Jim Londos. Marshall attacked the referee in
the match, earning him an indefinite suspension, a move that, of course, prevented him
from wrestling a high profile rematch against Londos. On January 17, 1934, Marshall
asked to be reinstated, agreeing to a mental examination requested by the commission,
and denied that he was really considering filing suit against the body for $500,000, which
had been reported several weeks earlier. Marshall was soon reinstated (1/30/34), and
immediately booked back into Philadelphia by promoter Ray Fabiani.
Going into another match with Londos in Philly, Marshall - considered to be the next
champion by many and one of the most talked about wrestlers of the 1933-'34 time-frame -
was rumored to be taking on boxing legend Jack Dempsey as his manager. That meant
dumping Billy Sandow. During the first week of February 1934, there was talk that Marshall
and Sandow had officially split. On February 8, however, came the announcement that
Marshall and Sandow were back together. Marshall challenged Londos again on February
9 in Philadelphia, and the two wrestled more than three hours before the champion
retained his title. The huge amount of publicity between Londos and Marshall was
successful in drawing an estimated 15,000 fans to the Convention Hall.
The February 9, 1934 bout ended at 2:00 in the morning and Londos was declared the
victor. Reports claimed that "Billy Sandow, Marshall's manager, had sold his interest in
Marshall to John B. Ellis of Oklahoma City."
The Pennsylvania Athletic Commission, following the lengthy bout, announced that a
midnight curfew would be invoked for all future professional wrestling matches. Any main
event would have to begin no later than 10:00 p.m. All preliminary bouts had to end by
9:55, allowing for five minutes for the main event to start. If a prelim bout needed to be
finished, it could be done after the main event, but as long as it was not yet midnight.
After Ernie Dusek's tactics on the January 15, 1937 wrestling program in Philadelphia, the
Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission suspended him for 30 days and fined him $250 for
his "rough" tactics. Dusek wrestled Dean Detton, the recognized World Champion.
Frank Wiener was a bold leader of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission. In
January 1954, he wanted Pennsylvania to withdraw from the National Boxing Association
for the organization's failure to push Archie Moore into a match against number one
contender Harold Johnson and follow through on the commitment to vacate his title if
Moore didn't agree to a fight by December 24, 1953. Moore was managed by Charley
Johnston of New York City.
On December 7, 1955, the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission charged Philadelphia
boxing promoter Herman Taylor with associated with criminals, bookmakers, and gamblers
or persons of similar ill repute. The commission wanted Taylor to appear and show cause
why it shouldn't revoke his license permanently.
Research by Tim Hornbaker
|Philadelphia & Central Pennsylvania Wrestling Territory