Wrestler John McMahon, collar and elbow champion, refereed a boxing match between
John Brooks and John Ward in Milwaukee on August 5, 1882. Ward won the bout in the
In June 1888, D.A. McMillan was looking for a match with Graeco-Roman World
Champion Charles Moth and posted $100 with the Milwaukee Journal as proof of his
seriousness. McMillan was said to be the mixed champion wrestler. McMillan wanted a
mixed match for $300 to $1,000 a side bet.
In a catch-as-catch-can match, Evan Lewis defeated Charles Green in Milwaukee on July
21, 1889. Green was said to be the heavyweight champion of England. The match took
place at a baseball park.
On February 15, 1890 in Milwaukee, Jack Carkeek beat Tom Connors by winning the
first, third, and fourth falls. The catch-as-catch-can match was said to be for the world
championship and a $250 side bet. A few days earlier, Connors beat Schumacher in
In January 1891, it was reported that Carkeek had been engaged in a match at Beloit
against John Kline when he took a carpet tack in his knee. He then suffered from blood
poisoning and there was talk that he might lose the use of his right leg. Carkeek
recovered from the serious injury.
Because of injuries, Evan Lewis had to call off all scheduled matches in October 1891. A
Madison physician named Dr. W.W. Gill brought suit against him that same month to
obtain the hundreds of dollars he was owed for medical attention services provided.
On March 6, 1895 in Milwaukee, Farmer Burns beat J.C. Comstock of Michigan and
promptly signed for a match against Evan Lewis to be held on April 17.
Marshfield grappler Fred Beell was challenged by D.A. McMillen in March 1897. McMillan
was said to be from Minneapolis.
In Milwaukee on July 13, 1900, Jack Carkeek beat Hjalmar Lundin in two-straight falls and
won the $500 side bet. A match between Jack Carkeek and John Rooney of Chicago
was signed "for the championship of the world and a $250 purse." In that match, held on
August 7, 1900 in Milwaukee, Rooney beat Carkeek. The match was under
Greco-Roman rules and Rooney took the first fall before Carkeek claimed a broken rib
and was unable to continue.
On July 23, 1901 in Milwaukee, Tom Jenkins won two falls from Charles Moth in a
handicap match, accomplishing both in 24-minutes. Jenkins had to beat Moth, who
claimed Milwaukee as his home, twice in an hour. It was under catch rules.
Future pro wrestler Frank DuCray was a football star at Lawrence University in Appleton,
Wisconsin in December 1902.
In March 1905 at Racine, The Terrible Turk "No. 3" was unable to throw three men
six-times in 90-minutes when John Rooney beat him after 10-minutes of wrestling. The
Turk defeated his first opponent, Mort Henderson. Rooney was a Chicago policeman,
and won $400 with his victory.
Known as the undisputed World Heavyweight champion, Frank Gotch suffered a broken
leg during an exhibition bout in Kenosha, Wisconsin on July 18, 1916. Gotch had been
wrestling Bob Managoff, a member of his circus troupe. Boxing champion Jess Willard
rushed to Gotch's aid after the incident occurred and along with Tom Jones carried him
to a car to take him to an area hospital. The broken leg was going to keep Gotch out
indefinitely and postpone a possible match with Joe Stecher - which, incidentally, would
For many years, the Milwaukee wrestling promotion was booked from Chicago by Fred
Kohler. That meant that Kohler "owned" Milwaukee and was in charge of the wrestlers
who appeared there and was basically more powerful than the local promoter. The
Thursday night programs were broadcast on WTMJ-TV and sponsored by Gettelman
Brewing Company of Milwaukee.
The October 1956 edition of Wrestling Life included a piece on a wrestling show in
Milwaukee on August 4, 1956 at County Stadium. Promoter Fred Kohler claimed that
20,000 fans were in attendance for the show. Kohler announced from the ring that
Wilbur Snyder retained his United States TV championship despite the fact that referee
Jack Dempsey raised Verne Gagne's hand. Snyder was disqualified and a title could not
change hands on a DQ.
Research by Tim Hornbaker
|Wisconsin Wrestling Territory