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WON Wrestler of the Year 1901 - present
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jdw
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Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 17033

PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

re: Wrestlers of the Year
Posted by jdw

Eighties Messages
April 13, 2001
14:11:03 U.S. CST

Responding to re: Wrestlers of the Year

: I look forward to reading this list. I printed it
: out so I can read it during my commute.
:
: A question in the mean time is, what were your
: sources?

Yohe's sources often tend to fall into the following categories:

* His own research in the newspapers and magazines of the day.

* information shared by a fairly small circle of historians, in
which most every shares their information with one another.

* a number of career record books that have been published over
the past decade or so. They run the lines from the Thesz one (not
Hooker), to the Rodgers one, to the Flair one, to the more recent
Szabo one and Steve's own Destroyer and Blassie ones.

* WAWLI, which is similar to the shared circle up above.
J Michael printed up his own stuff, but also printed up most
everything anyone else sent him. ;) A good deal of stuff from
Steve was in it.

* His own memory of stuff in the 60s to the presnt.

* Conversations with people, and on occassion workers... though
he takes that stuff with a grain of salt.

* A handful of books like Hooker, Fall Guys, etc.... all of which
he takes with a massive grain of salt as Hooker and Fall Guys
have proven to be factually challenged on many levels.

I'm probably forgetting something.

One of the problems with wrestling history is that there are very
few source material in book form. The other is that history itself
have been treated like shit by people in the business, and is
treated in strange ways by those trying to report it. As was once
written in legendary "Letter Never Sent":

"Wrestling history is a joke. Even people trying to
capture the history of wrestling treat it with a
disrespect that is almost fitting of a worked,
twisted, back stabbing embarassment of a business.
People bring their own agenda to it, manipulating
history to support themselves, or their livelihood or
their point of view."

;)


John


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jdw
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Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 17033

PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[Yohe List] Wrestlers of the Year - 1901-29
Posted by jdw

Eighties Messages
May 06, 2001
03:23:57 U.S. CST

Responding to Wrestlers of the Year

Well, I've taken my time in getting off my ass to respond to this. ;)

: This is a list of the wrestlers I think would
: have been voted Wrestler of the Year if
: some American sheet such as THE OBSERVER
: had existed since the beginning of the century.
: I thought this would be a good exercise because
: it would tell us something about the longevity
: of the stars of today compared with the other
: greats throughout the twentieth century.

There's a variety of different "types" of Wrestlers of the Year that
we've seen even in the WON era of 1982-2000.

You get guys who have solid enough careers, but really only that one or
two years that stand out as being a WOTY candidate. An example of this
would be Vader, with a number of years where he's a good valuable
wrestler, but really only 1993 and 1994 standing out as being a
reasonable candidate. He did bag one in 1993, and then since most of
his success in 1994 was with UWFi while WCW turned to having runs with
Flair and Hogan, Leon fell off in the voting. Kawada would be another
like this, with only 1994 standing out as a year where he would be a
candidate, and he bagged it there.

On the opposite end, you have guys who are, or should be, candidates
for long stretches, but only take home one. Jumbo Tsuruta in 1991 and
Riki Choshu in 1987 stand out as this type of candidate. Idol joked
about Jumbo's being akin to one of those "life time achivement" votes
like when Newman and Pacino finally won Best Actor Oscars. Much like
Newman and Pacino, Jumbo and Choshu won for years that were something
below their very best, and Choshu's was a goof vote.

Somewhere in between, you have the Tom Hanks type, being a candidate all
the time and taking home a bag of them, even at times when they don't
really deserve them. Flair is the obvious example of this, though
Misawa would be another example.

And of course you have the opposite of the Hanks type, the wrestlers
who are often candidates but never take home the prize. Maybe this is
the Susan Lucci spot. :) But guys like Hogan, Hashimoto, Michaels,
and Takada come to mind.

Going back in history offers the chance to come across wrestlers
who had similar careers of long dominance, flashes of brilliance,
or being the bride's maid.


: John Williams and I are hoping this list will
: lead to interesting discussion or even some
: of those heated arguments that tOA is famous
: for.

Heated arguments on tOA? Nah... ;)


: I've spent the last few years studying the
: early part of the century and I feel comfortable
: I can defend my choices in those years against
: anyone, though around 1970 I become just
: one of the boys with an opinion. So in those
: years I welcome help and expect to be corrected.
: The original list was just the names but John has
: asked me to write something about each selection,
: so I'll try.

Cool.


: 1901. George Hackenschmidt
:
: This was the year Hack won his World
: Graeco-Roman championship Tournaments
: in Vienna (over Hali Adali) and Paris
: (Constant Le Boucher) to become the world's
: first international superstar. Easy pick. Hack
: would have won in 1900 also.
:
: 1902. George Hackenschmidt (2)
:
: Hack increased his fame by performing in
: England and settling weight lifting records.
: The dominant wrestler in America was
: Tom Jenkins but he lost his American title
: late in the year to Dan McLeod.

I would agree on both of these. The popularity, or "buzz", for
pro-wrestling in the US wasn't there quite yet. Jenkins and McLeod
didn't have the buzz, so "tape traders" watching Hack would have
dominated the voting. :)


: 1903. Tom Jenkins
:
: Hack stayed in England most of the year. He
: was unable to compete in the Paris World
: Championship tournament due to rheumatism.
: (It was won by Jess Pedersen.) Frank Gotch
: had developed into a major star but was defeated
: by Tom Jenkins in a major match for the American
: title, so I think a American sheet would vote for
: Jenkins over Hack.

Jenkins would win. Regaining the belt from McLeod and turning back
Gotch would likely carry the day.


: 1904. Frank Gotch
:
: Gotch became one of America's biggest sports star
: by beating Jenkins in a great match in January and
: remained undefeated the rest of the year. Hack defeated
: Jenkins in London later in the year, also beat the Turk
: Ahmed Madrali and traveled to Australia for a tour.
: None of this seemed as dramatic as Gotch's year. Hack
: also had his first knee surgery in Sept. I think Americans
: would have voted for Gotch who was getting the super
: push.

The tape traders would be pulling for Hack based on his more
dominating performance over Jenkins, but the rube vote would back Gotch
in a landslide.


: 1905. George Hackenschmidt (3)
:
: Hack came to America and easily won the first true
: world title by beating Jenkins in MSG. Gotch was
: beaten twice by Jenkins in NYC. Hack seemed
: unbeatable.

The #2 candidate would be Jenkins, and he might pull heavy support for
his "comeback".

The booking of Gotch, Jenkins and Hack here was just perfect stuff to
fleece the rubes.

In 1904 Gotch beats Jenkins via a foul when Jenkins hauls off and
punches him. While Gotch was "stronger" in the match, they left just
enough "doubt" on whether Gotch could actually take a pair of falls
from him that they could run a re-match. Where would the doubt be
strongest? You got it, Jenkins' home town of Cleveland. If there's any
place in the country where you might be able to find some folks willing
to put down some money on Jenkins, both the ticket buying and gambling
type of money, it would be Cleveland. Want better booking? How about
let Jenkins take the first fall in the re-match, and see if you can
shake anymore gambling money out of the woodworks to back Jenkins
between falls. Naturally Jenkins "blows-up" and Gotch comes back to
outclass him in taking the last two falls.

They rematch again in quick order, this time in MSG. All the press and
buzz is on Gotch as the golden boy of pro wrestling. If one had to
hazzard a guess, where do you think the gambling action is this time?
Oh wait, Jenkins "upsets" Gotch and takes back the title. Hmm...

Beyond speculating on fleecing the rubes in a new town, the biggest
town of all in fact, there was beauty here in putting the American
Wrestling Title back on Jenkins setting him up to face Hack in the
match to create a widely recognized World Champion in the US. Jenkins
could put over Hack for the monster that he is, and Gotch would then
be able to challenge a now super over Hack for the World Title. And
that is exactly what happened, as Hack crushed Jenkins to win the title,
and Gotch promptly challenged him. Of course Hack left the country and
that title match wouldn't happen for another three years.

But the booking gets even better. Without a Gotch vs. Hack match, New
York gets the third Jenkins vs. Gotch match of 1905 on 5/19/05. Just
a guess, but this likely would have taken the WON Match of the Year
for 1905 even over the Hack vs. Jenkins match, as the two hour and
fifteen minute plus match (1:27:57, 36:27 and 11:10 for the three falls)
was written up as a super classico. And in yet another surprise,
Jenkins retained the belt while Gotch did the equivalent of a stretcher
job after the match. Wait a minute... that means there would be
another rematch down the road between the two. :)

Jenkins had a great storyline for the year. I probably would have voted
for him, but I tend to think Hack would have won it.


: 1906. Frank Gotch (2)
:
: Gotch re-won the American title from Jenkins
: (5-23-06), then dropped and regained it from
: Fred Beell (12-17-06). The big push had begun
: and he would be unbeatable for the rest of his career.
: Hack's only major match was against Ahmed Madrali
: and he toured England most of the year.

Gotch would be a lock in 1906. I suspect people would have enjoyed the
quick title-turn-around series with Beell very much, and probably would
have popped for Gotch getting the belt back from Jenkins and putting an
end to the older wrestlers days on top.


: 1907. Frank Gotch (3)
:
: Hack had a injured knee and returned to Russia to
: rest out the year. Physically Hack was finished.
: Gotch was undefeated. The new superstar and major
: wrestler in Europe was Stanislaus Zbyszko.
:
: 1908. Frank Gotch (4)
:
: Gotch defeats Hackenschmidt in NYC (4-3-08) to
: win World Championship and reconfirm Americas
: superiority over Europe. In this year Gotch would have
: won SPORTS ILLUSTRATED"S "Sportsman of the
: Year award. Let alone the OBSERVER Wrestler of the
: Year.
:
: 1909. Frank Gotch (5)
:
: Defeated Yussiff Mahmout, B. F. Roller, Tom Jenkins,
: and Jess Westergaard.
:
: 1910. Frank Gotch (6)
:
: Defeated Stanislaus Zbyszko in super bout (6-1-10)
: in Chicago.
:
: 1911. Frank Gotch (7)
:
: Gotch won rematch with Hackenschmidt (9-4-11),
: which would be enough to win him wrestler of the
: Year award but also killed wrestling in many parts
: of the country such as Chicago.

These are all Gotch years. Stanislaus did some heavy lifting to set
up the title job in 1910, but Gotch also "put him over" in the
non-title gimmick match the year before by failing to take the
required falls. Reading the major papers, wrestling was Gotch and
no one else drew anywhere near the same level of buzz.


: 1912. Frank Gotch (8)
:
: Weak choice in a bad year but I have no other choice.
: Gotch was semi-retired but was always willing to step
: on any contender before their push challenged him. He
: did refuse to give rematch to Stanislaus Zbyszko.

I probably would have abstained from voting in 1912. Gotch still
was the only wrestler anyone cared about, but he was basically sitting
on his ass by this point. Gotch at this point really needed to create
his own opponent by putting someone over, at the very least for "the
good of the sport" if not to draw a boatload of money. But Gotch seemed
to be loaded to the point that he'd just as soon keep the ego-fuck of
being the "Undefeated World Champ" going rather than cash in on a
series of big money fights.

No on else in this era of 1912-1914 jumps out.


: 1913. Stanislaus Zbyszko
:
: Stanislaus was dominate wrestler during year
: (although he didn't seem to draw at the box-office,
: as nothing did) and Gotch refused to grant him a
: rematch. Gotch only came out of retirement to
: defend title vs. George Lurich (4-1-13). George
: Lurich had a big year also getting a victory over
: Zbyszko in MSG (5-28-13), before losing a
: rematch at Vienna, Austria (7-2-13).

I couldn't vote for Stan due to his job to Lurich, which one will note
was _after_ Lurich already finished his push to a title match against
Gotch. If Stan was truly a WOTY candidate he would have taken the MSG
match in a push to a title match with Gotch, even if it was known that
Gotch would refuse to give it. I seem to recall Stan used a "injury"
excuse to lose to Lurich, which is another negative to me.

"Abstain" is a cop out, but wrestling was dead here.


: 1914. Joe Stecher (1)
:
: This is a very hard pick. In 1914 wrestling was at
: one of it's lowest points with Gotch in retirement.
: Without Gotch wrestling during the whole year, I
: picked Stecher over Charles Cutler. Stecher's push
: was just starting with wins over Marin Plestira
: and Pat Connolly. He was being build up as
: unbeatable, taking everyone in straight falls and
: in a few minutes. Charles Cutler was getting a good
: push around the mid-west and had Gotch's old
: American title. In Feb of 1915, he would claim the
: world title in Chicago, but I feel they were just
: setting him up to be knocked over by Stecher.
: Maybe something was going on in Europe with
: Alex Aberg or Lurich but we have no record of
: it. Zbyszko had some good wins early in the year
: (and probably should have been first choice to
: be world champ) but he didn't wrestle after
: June, returning to Russia. So I pick Stecher.

To me Stecher's push really started getting big the the first half
of the following year leading into his match with Cutler. I couldn't
bring myself to vote for him here, especially without bigger wins in
1914. I couldn't vote for Cutler either, so this would be a third
straight year were the field was so weak I couldn't vote for anyone.


: 1915. Joe Stecher (2)
:
: Stecher dominates pro wrestling winning world
: title easily from Charles Cutler (7-5-15) and
: defeats Ad Santel, Jess Westergaard, Americus,
: and anyone else put in against him in short matches.
: The only person to last any time was Strangler
: Lewis, who Stecher beat in 2 hours at Evansville
: (10-21-15). Promoters build to a supermatch
: between Stecher and Gotch but Frank breaks his
: leg in training.

There were a pair of "International Tournament" in New York in 1915,
with Aberg, Zbyszko, Lewis and The Masked Marvel being the draws.
But Stecher's run to the World Title and defenses thereafter would
make him a lock.


: 1916. Joe Stecher (3)
:
: Stecher remains champion through out the year.
: Dominates Lewis in famous 5 hour draw at Omaha on
: July 4. Does lose match to John Olin on Dec. 12 at
: Springfield when he is injured and UTC after 2 hrs and
: 40 minutes, but continues to be accepted as champion by
: the public.

Stecher would take it again. The Lewis Marching And Chowder Society
hadn't yet taken over the press corp.


: 1917. Earl Caddock
:
: Caddock wins World title from Stecher April 9 who
: is injured and looking for a rest. In match Caddock
: becomes first man to ever win a clean fall over Stecher.
: Ed Lewis defeats John Olin on May 2 to claim Title.
: Wladek Zbyszko also claim title when wins tournament
: in NYC over Lewis on Dec. 22. Caddock's big win gives
: him the year.

Caddock is a bit of a one-note candidate here, and his title win
wasn't without controversy. But Lewis, Waldek and Stecher didn't do
enough to take the WOTY award away from him.


: 1918. Earl Caddock (2)
:
: While serving in the US Army, Caddock wrestles out
: of Camp Dodge and defenses title vs. Wladek Zbyszko
: and Ed Lewis. He defeats both via decision, but they
: both continue to claim the "Olin Line" title. Caddock is
: set to defend title in a return with Stecher but is stopped
: by the Army who sends him to Europe and WWI. Stecher
: is undefeated but Caddock dominates year.

I've never been a fan of Caddock's 1918 year. His decision wins over
Lewis and Waldek just aren't impressive for a World Champion of the
era (i.e. Gotch and Stecher beating everyone except when they jobbed
the title). But the other cadidates don't step up. Stecher had too
many draws with Lewis and Waldek, while those two failed to beat
Caddock. The three are more active than Caddock, but just don't
have the exclamation marks of a WOTY. In the end, Caddock again
with probably the weakest years ever by someone I'd vote for
back-to-back.


: 1919. Joe Stecher (4)
:
: After losing two matches to Lewis and Wladek
: Zbyszko early in year, Stecher comes back to beat
: both in major tournament for the world title shot
: against Caddock. Caddock is busy with WWI most of
: the year and in poor health.

This was Stecher's year, with brilliant booking throughout leading
into his title challenge the following January against Caddock. The year
end wins over Lewis and Waldek seal the deal.


: 1920. Joe Stecher (5)
:
: Stecher has a great year re-winning title from Caddock
: in classic match (Jan. 29) and then defended it over
: Lewis (April 16), John Pesek, Wladek Zbyszko, Jim
: Londos, Olin, Joe Malcewicz, Renato Gardini and
: Tom Draak, before losing title to Ed Lewis on Dec. 13.
: I picked Joe over Ed because of the wins over the
: total year.

I'm afraid that the rube vote may have gone to Lewis, especially since
the strong image leading into the voting period would be Lewis
beating Stecher. This would be similar to Kyoko Inoue winning the
Wrestler of the Year in 1996 when she beat Toyota in December, and
people chose to forget that Toyota had dominated the title for the
twelve months prior to that, eleven of which happened to be in 1996.
Lewis had the major organ grinding of the media, and had the great
"story" of chasing the title since 1915 before finally winning it. This
very likely could have swayed the vote over to him.

Like Yohe, I would have voted for Stecher. He has the total year,
from big win over Caddock to putting over Lewis as pay-back for the
job not only in 1920 but also the one in late 1919 leading to the
Caddock match.


: Some may be thinking that perhaps there was some
: wrestler with great work rate and popularity that
: might have gotten more votes over the guys winning
: the Championships. If there were a Kobashi or Benoit
: during this time it would have been Jim Londos. He
: was the first sex symbol in sports and the biggest draw
: where ever he appeared but he only weighted 190 lbs.
: and the promoters didn't feel it would be believable for
: him to be able to defeat big wrestlers like Lewis,
: Stecher, and the Zbyszko brothers.

I think "hardcores" getting into Londos would have happened later.
In the late teens and early twenties, Stecher and Caddock would likely
have been the favorites of hardcores.


: 1921. Stanislaus Zbyszko (2)
:
: Five months after defeating Stecher, Lewis drops
: World Title to Stan Zbyszko. Then seems to take a
: vacation. This was the period supposedly control
: (although it seems to me that NYC promoter Jack Curley
: remained the real power up to this year) by the trio of
: Toots Mondt, Sandow, and Lewis. I've always wondered
: about this short reign. Perhaps Lewis wanted to spend
: time with his new wife and baby in S. F. On Oct. 4
: Lewis wrestled his old friend Joe Stecher in SF and lost
: a close decision. Anyway Stan Zbyszko, who hadn't
: really lost since being tricked by Frank Gotch in 1910,
: defeated Lewis for the title and defended it with wins vs.
: Lewis on two other occasions. He also defeated Stecher
: (twice), Ad Santel, John Pesek, Caddock, Clarence
: Ekland, and Renato Gardini. Londos lost to Lewis and
: Caddock and then sat out the end of the year with eye
: problems. The only trouble with this selection is that he
: was weak at the box-office.

This is a pretty crappy year as Stan didn't set off the box office.
But I think Stan would get one of those "lifetime achivement" votes here,
as much for payback for not getting a fair shake in the early teens
than for anything he did here. He did get the massive push in 1921
by beating all the top wrestlers, which would give a vote for him
credibility.


: 1922. Ed "Strangler" Lewis
:
: Lewis regains title from Stan on March 3 and then
: dominates everyone he meets.
:
: 1923. Ed "Strangler" Lewis (2)
:
: Lewis continues to dominate, wrestling same
: contenders over and over. Doesn't seem like much
: of a year.

I tend to agree that these would be Lewis years. It's possible that
one of these is where Londos would slip in, but Jimmy would need a
series of big wins to offset the fact that someone else is the World
Champ and Jimmy couldn't "beat" him in the ring.


: 1924. Ed "Strangler" Lewis (3)
:
: Lewis again was champion the whole year but he had
: pretty much run through all the contenders in his
: company, mainly Stan Zbyszko, Toots Mondt, Dick
: Daviscourt, and Renato Gardini. So during the year the
: Golddust Trio spent a lot of their energy building up
: footballer Wayne Munn as a wrestling monster. It
: seemed to working on minor level, but 1924 wasn't a
: great year for wrestling.

Munn push in 1924 toward the World Title match of 1/25 would win him
the PWI award, but the WON voters would have hated him. In fact, it
probably would have driven them to support Lewis even stronger as a
"real wrestler" as opposed to the manufactured one in Munn.


: 1925. Joe Stecher (6)
:
: Lewis lost his championship to Wayne Munn on Jan. 8
: in order to set up a supermatch on May 30, but the plan
: falls apart when Stanislaus Zbyszko shoots on the
: non-wrestler Munn and takes title on April 5.
: May 30 turns out to be the day Joe Stecher regains
: control of his World Title as he beats Zbyszko in
: straight falls in St. Louis. Lewis does beat Munn in
: the rematch but is recognized only in Illinois and
: Michigan. Stecher's group grows in power while
: Lewis gains weight. Many of the wrestlers switch
: sides. Joe defeats Daviscourt, Dan Koloff, Gardini,
: Londos, and Stan Zbyszko in at least 3 rematches.
: Stecher defeats Gardni in the first wrestling main
: event at LA's new Olympic Auditorium.

I suspect that Stecher would have won in the biggest landslide ever
in a "competitive" year. By competitive, I mean that you have a new
world champion early in the year in Munn, another new champ in Stan,
Lewis avenging the Munn loss in May, and of course Stecher lifting
the belt from Stan. If the year had been "booked" to go like that,
then Stecher would still have won, but Stan and Lewis would have their
backers for their achivements. But among hardcores, Stan and Stecher
would have been seen as saving the day for "real wrestling" by foiling
the plans of the "sports entertainment" based Gold Dust Trio and Munn.
Munn would have taken home many of the "worst" awards, while the Trio
would have been high up in the Most Hated award. Since Stan was just
a bridge over to Stecher, Joe would have gotten the massive WOTY vote
as the savior.


: 1926. Joe Stecher (7)
:
: Stecher controls title the entire year and tours
: throughout the country. Defends vs. John Pesek,
: Ivan Podulany, Londos, Zbyszko, George Calza,
: Daviscourt, Nick Lutze, and Giovanni Raicevich.
: Ed Lewis drops out of a title unification match set
: up by the Calif. Athletic commission and forfeits
: $5,000 to Stecher (Oct. 9). Jim Londos is biggest
: draw in the sport outside of the champions but is
: unable to beat Stecher.
:
: 1927. Joe Stecher (8)
:
: Stecher tours NY, the East Coast, and the South
: as champion. Lewis still refuses to wrestle Stecher,
: but the match between the two is probably being
: shopped around. Londos remains big box-office.

The Fall Guys likes to write up Stecher as running from Lewis in
these years and being a nothing much champion. The reality is the
Joe was active, and did business. With some luck over the next ten
to twenty years, history will be righted.


: 1928. Ed Lewis (4)
:
: The Supermatch between Stecher and Lewis happens
: in St. Louis (Feb. 20), with Lewis winning. Lewis
: weights 227 lbs for the match. Three weeks later,
: he's gained 20 lbs. Stecher retires after the match to
: his farm and grain business. Londos sets up shop in
: NYC, who's Athletic Commission refuses to
: recognize Lewis until he wrestles Hans Steinke.

Lewis would win based on taking the Super Match. The hardcores
would likely have been pulling for Stecher in that match, however. ;)


: 1929. Gus Sonnenberg
:
: With Lewis aging and losing interest, the Sandow
: boys once again give the title to a non-wrestling
: type football player. This time though the player is
: Gus Sonnenberg, who is a solid worker with star
: power and is credited with changing the style of the
: sport. He introduces flying tackles and stand up
: moves off the ropes. Sonnenberg wins title over
: Lewis on Jan. 4 and beats everyone he meets
: including Lewis in rematches. Also beats the
: returning Stecher twice. Londos is the big draw on
: East Coast but Dick Shikat, a legitimate wrestler,
: is picked to be their first world champ by beating
: the Greek star on Aug. 23.

Sonnenberg had the "wins" of a WOTY, and did do box office. But it
also was during his reign where things started to crumble again. There
may have been a bit of a backlash among "hardcores" against the
Shikat-Londos group for daring to create a world champion which would
have given Sonnenberg the award. But all hell broke loose here.

I'll hit the 30-40s in another post on Sunday... which is the point
where we disagree a bit more. ;)


John


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Posts: 17033

PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

re: [Yohe List] Wrestlers of the Year - 1901-29
Posted by Steve Yohe

Eighties Messages
May 08, 2001
13:13:33 U.S. CST

Responding to [Yohe List] Wrestlers of the Year - 1901-29

I looked this whole post over & its seems we agree on most things from
1901 to 1929. IM happy with that considering what a know-it-all
nit-picker you are. The stuff on gambling & booking is great stuff
& Ive tried to put the theory in print myself, but you always do a
better job. Points I'd make:

1) There were no tapetraders in 1902.

2) Abstaining (1912,1913,1914) is a big time cop out. There is
alway a winner in WON, just like there is never a tie. You wouldn't
let me cop out so you doing it not to look bad is a crime to the our
code of conduct. I may never forgive you. That is, if I remember.
You know how my mind works.

3) Londos was a big star in 1920. When he first apears in Canton in
1917, the newspaper was saying he was in the top 5 in the world. On
Jan. 1, 1918 he wrestled a 2 hr. draw with Ed Lewis & that really put
him in a top position. Lewis, of course, never mentioned this match
when he claimed he beat Jimmy 14 times in a row.

4) Lewis in the press wasn't fooling anyone with his BS in 1920.
Stecher was more respected in the press. After Lewis won people
started believeing all his crap & he was a man of his time. He fited
in well. Over at the Lou Thesz site on Wrestlingclassic, I've printed
some of the press clippings of 1918. Lewis gets riped. I have a lot
more. I think Stecher would have won easy in 1920. He won the
tournament, unifying all the title claims, and beat Lewis clean in
mid year. Smarts would have never liked Lewis. He was all headlocks
& bulk. Smarts hate big guys.

That's all I really want to comment on (1901 to 1929). I'll go over
the other post later. I should congratulate you on being so smart...
you did agree with Yohe most of time. (No kiding, I learn the basics
of this historical stuff from John in our first 4 hr telephone
conversation... 32 years ago!)---Steve Yohe


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

re: [Yohe List] Wrestlers of the Year - 1901-29
Posted by jdw

Eighties Messages
May 08, 2001
13:54:24 U.S. CST

Responding to re: [Yohe List] Wrestlers of the Year - 1901-29

: I looked this whole post over & its seems we agree
: on most things from 1901 to 1929. IM happy with that
: considering what a know-it-all nit-picker you are.

"I'm shocked... SHOCKED! that people think I'm a nitpicker."
-Casa-tOA-blanca

:)


: The stuff on gambling & booking is great stuff & Ive
: tried to put the theory in print myself, but you
: always do a better job.

I think you did a good job in that post over on Wrestling Classics
last year. I need to drag that over here.


: Points I'd make:
:
: 1) There were no tapetraders in 1902.

I know. :) There also wasn't a WON. :) I used "tapetraders" as a joke.


: 2) Abstaining (1912,1913,1914) is a big time cop
: out. There is alway a winner in WON, just like there
: is never a tie. You wouldn't let me cop out so you
: doing it not to look bad is a crime to the our code
: of conduct. I may never forgive you. That is, if I
: remember. You know how my mind works.

*big laugh* :)

I agree it's a cop out. I'm sure that if we lived in the era, we could
have figured out who to vote for. And I suspect that in another ten
years with more rearch becoming available we'll be able to pick someone.
I guess what I was saying by "abstain" was to plead ignorance - I just
don't know about those three years to pick _anyone_. And heck, I've
gone through the NY Times, LA Times and CHI Tribune day-by-day for
those years. Gotch is still thought of as The Man, but he just isn't
doing anything. No one else is doing anything important in the major
cities. It's just a big giant mess, and all Gotch's fault for not
establishing someone else as Champ when he decided to bail out of
working regularly. Because of that, I just don't want to vote for
Gotch in 1912. And Stan and Stech in 1913 and 1914 just never lept
out at me as "strong" when going through the papers of those years.

You know me, Yohe. If I have an opinion I'm always willing to share
it, and then argue it to the death. :) Even on those occassions when
I'm wrong... which never happens. :P

But I just don't have a firm opinion in those years. It's not like
having three candidates to pick from. It's having no strong candidates
to pick from, and trying to figure out if anyone is deserving of the honor.


: 3) Londos was a big star in 1920. When he first
: apears in Canton in 1917, the newspaper was saying
: he was in the top 5 in the world. On Jan. 1, 1918 he
: wrestled a 2 hr. draw with Ed Lewis & that really
: put him in a top position. Lewis, of course, never
: mentioned this match when he claimed he beat Jimmy
: 14 times in a row.

I know of all this. But neither of us thinks Jimmy deserved the award
before 1930. Jimmy was a big star, but Joe and Ed were thought of on
a slightly different level as The Champ.

Of course you see that I'm the big Londos backer later. Though we
disagree a bit on 1932-33 (mostly on how the *voters* would have picked,
not on how each of us would have voted), I tend to be the one in the
late thirties things Jimmy would still be bagging an award or two. :)


: 4) Lewis in the press wasn't fooling anyone with his
: BS in 1920. Stecher was more respected in the press.
: After Lewis won people started believeing all his
: crap & he was a man of his time. He fited in well.

*nod* I agree. The thing is that 1920 would have been _close_. The
year ends and Lewis has the title. Lewis getting the belt is something
that had been built to for more than six years. I think it would have
swayed some of the voters. It's a bit like Kobashi in 1996, as people
had been waiting for Kobashi to get the Triple Crown for most of the
decade. He gets it, doesn't do much with it, doesn't win the Tag League,
yet still gets the WON WOTY award. Hashimoto, Takada, Hogan and even
*Taue* were more deserving of him. But the voters marked out and
gave him the award.

I *don't think* Lewis would have won the award in 1920 over Joe. But
I think it would have been very close, almost as close as Kawada and
Sabu in 1994. :)


: Over at the Lou Thesz site on Wrestlingclassic, I've
: printed some of the press clippings of 1918. Lewis
: gets riped. I have a lot more. I think Stecher would
: have won easy in 1920. He won the tournament,
: unifying all the title claims,

The tourny was 1919, and I think it would have led to Joe winning
in a landslide in 1919.


: and beat Lewis clean in mid year.

Again, I think it's part of the "Lewis Quest For The Title" storyline,
and Lewis backers would have popped for the loss and then eventual win.


: Smarts would have never liked Lewis. He was all
: headlocks & bulk. Smarts hate big guys.

Oh... I think a bunch of smarts would have liked him as a "real
wrestler" and all that crap. I think they would have liked Joe more,
but plenty of people have bought the Lewis Bullshit over the years.
Just look at Lou. :)


: That's all I really want to comment on (1901 to
: 1929). I'll go over the other post later. I should
: congratulate you on being so smart... you did agree
: with Yohe most of time.

:)

I think we've talked about a lot of this stuff over the years. Didn't
that mom at the WWF card yell at us, "If you want to see Joe Stecher
wrestle, why don't you go to a Joe Stecher match!"

Oh wait... that was about Japanese wrestling, not Joe Stecher. :P


: (No kiding, I learn the basics of this historical
: stuff from John in our first 4 hr telephone
: conversation... 32 years ago!)

It does seem like 32 years ago. :)

I think you took my little basics and have run a marathon beyond
them, Steve.

Best,


John


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[Yohe List] Wrestlers of the Year - 1930-49
Posted by jdw

Eighties Messages
May 07, 2001
00:22:10 U.S. CST

Responding to Wrestlers of the Year

Continuing... :)

: 1930. Jim Londos
:
: Londos wins NY World Title from Dick Shikat (June 6)
: when his bosses quit worrying about legitimate wrestlers
: and realize it's money that counts. Londos establishes
: himself as the greatest draw in the history of the sport.
: Also becomes the first wrestler to be recognized by
: a national (well almost) organization the NBA.
: (No... boxing, not basketball). Sonnenberg continues to
: draw but drops his title in a big upset to Ed Don George
: in LA on Dec. 10. It might have had something to do with
: the fact he didn't drive well when drunk.

*big laugh*

Londos was a massive draw and would have gotten that huge East Coast
Vote. :) Sonnenberg, while drawing, starts getting shakey as a champ
and leaves the last impresion of getting beat by George. Londos, but
perhaps not in a landslide.


: 1931. Jim Londos (2)
:
: Londos has one of the greatest years in history filling
: up MSG and Yankee Stadium etc. George lost his title
: to Lewis (April 13), who lost it to Henri Deglane
: (May 4).

This one would be a landslide for Londos. This is a bit like Austin
in 1998 opposite all the WCW stuff falling apart. Even those who
wouldn't vote for Londos in 1930 would almost be forced to vote for
him in 1931. There really wasn't any other cadidate, and his
accomplishments were large.


: 1932. Jim Londos (3)
:
: Londos is driven out of NYC for being too hard to
: handle, with Old Ed Lewis being brought in and made
: the new world champ in New York. Fans hate Lewis and
: the bottom falls out of the territory without Jimmy.
: Londos continues to pack in the crowds all over the
: country. In Dec. he loses one fall in a 2/3 fall match to
: George Zaharias in LA, (which Londos won). It may
: have been the first fall he had lost since losing to Shikat
: in Aug. 1929.

It's possible that the New York Vote would have turned on Londos, since
the New York press did a excellent job of making Londos look like a
wimp running from Lewis. In addition, you have the old Lewis Marks
who'd vote for Strangler making the comeback to glory in New York.
In addition, you might get some of the old-time hardcores who fondly
remembered the Stecher-Lewis era throwing their support behind the
"real wrestler" rather than the sports entertainer Jimmy. Combine all
of those a year after Lewis got "screwed" out of the title in the
DeGlane match, and this would be a bit like Bret Hart going down to
WCW in 1998 after Montreal and getting a World Title run in the place
of Hogan and Goldberg.

I think it would be close, but this would be like Flair winning the
WON WOTY in 1990 and 1992 - awards he didn't deserve in the slightest,
but people voted with their hearts rather than their brains. I think
Lewis would have bagged it.

I would have voted for Londos.


: 1933. Jim Londos (4)
:
: The Londos story continues as he dominates
: another year. He is doublecrossed in match vs.
: Joe Savoldi on April 7, but story is revealed and
: he continues to be recognized as World Champ.
: Tours Europe for 6 weeks in Aug. and Sept.
: Ed Don George beats Henri Deglane on Feb. 10
: and does well as AWA Champion in Boston.
: Jim Browning takes NY world title from Lewis
: (Feb. 20) and does well in the ring but NYC
: market remains in a depression.

There probably would have been a block of voters who enjoyed Londos
getting double crossed, and popped for Savoldi going to New York to
job his "claim" to Lewis and Browning. I think this would have been
fairly close. Many voters would have ignored the box office of New York
and focused on the fact that they were having "big matches", again
similar to the Flair effect where people ignored the fact that NWA/WCW
was doing horrible business with him from 1988 on forward, and the WWF
was doing terrible business in 1992. In addition, George was doing
business up in Boston. And finally, the last impression of the year
would be Browning and George facing each other on 12/18/33 in a title
unification draw.

While Londos was a performer and perhaps the Flair of work at this
time, he also was getting the Hogan rep as well, which we've seen turns
off the hardcores in WON voting. In the WON people looked for any
reason *not* to vote for Hogan, even when he was doing record business
and changing the business in the US. They found it within themselves
to vote for Maeda when he "changed" the business to a far lesser degree
in 1988, but Hogan just pissed them off. I think especially by 1933
this would have been impacting Londos in the vote. Browning gets the
New York Vote, the Anti-Londos Vote, since he beat Lewis he gets some
of the old Stecher-Lewis Vote, and then his match with George gets some
of the undecided as well as some of the Boston Vote who might otherwise
vote for George. I think it would have been enough, and the backlash
against Londos would be well underway.

I'm not sure who I would have voted for. When I looked at this era ages
ago, this seemed like a year where Londos massive dominance at the
box office cooled just a bit. I probably would have voted for Browning,
with the unification match with George being the thing pushing me over
the edge. I'm a bit of a mark for unifiaction matches. :)


: 1934. Jim Londos (5)
:
: Londos screws over a few people and jumps back to
: the NY promotion. He wins a rematch vs. Savoldi
: in Chicago on Jan. 31 drawing 20,206. He then wins
: the NY version of the world title from Jim Browning
: on June 25 in title unification match at the MSG Bowl
: which draws 25,000. Londos wrestles to a 4 hr draw
: in a title unification match with Ed Don George in
: Boston on July 18, drawing 30,000 fans. Londos
: and George would wrestler another draw on August 1
: in Buffalo. He finally beats Lewis in Chicago on
: Sept. 20, drawing a record-breaking 35,265 fans.
: Then he draws a real 23,765 fans (which the
: newspapers would report as 37,700) in LA on
: Oct. 10 to see him defeat Man Mountain Dean.
: A huge year.

Londos, of course. This would be a year where even Londos Haters would
have to vote for him. The year was just too huge.


: 1935. Danno O'Mahoney
:
: O'Mahoney, one of the creations of Boston promoter
: Paul Bowser, become the last truly undisputed
: World Champion (if you don't count Vincent
: Lopez's claim that year in Calif.) by beating Londos
: and Ed Don George. He drew huge in Boston. He
: was the last man ever to defeat Londos. Jimmy,
: who received one of the largest payoffs in
: wrestling history to do the job, retired for the rest
: of the year.

I think half the old-school Stecher-Lewis hardcores would have hated
O'Mahoney for not being a "real wrestler". But the other half would
have loved finally having a undisputed champ again for the first time
since Lewis beat Stecher. For the rest of the voting blocks, there
really isn't another candidate. O'Mahoney would have won in a landslide.


: 1936. Yvon Robert
:
: The undisputed world champion's reign lasted
: seven months. On March 2 Dick Shikat shot on
: Danno O'Mahoney in MSG and relieved of his
: title. Chaos followed. By the end of the year at
: least 10 men had laid claim to the "World" Title
: (Shikat, O'Mahoney, Ali Baba, Daniel Boone
: Savage, David Levin, Everett Marshall, Yvon
: Robert, Dean Detton, Vincent Lopez and Cliff
: Olsen.) and three major title lines had been
: formed. I picked Yvon Robert over Everett
: Marshall and Dean Detton.. Robert, who had
: one of the greatest wrestling careers in history,
: defeated Danno O'Mahoney (still recognized by
: the AWA and Paul Bowser) on July 13 and was a
: big star in Northeast including Boston and
: Montreal. Marshall defeated Ali Baba June 26,
: but even with wrestling talent and good looks he
: lacked color and was a poor draw in the East.
: He wrestled most of the year in the weaker Ohio
: area. Detton was recognized by RING
: MAGAZINE as the true champ after his win
: over Levin on Sept. 28 and drew big through out
: the US and in Calif. Lopez and Levin also drew
: large in LA. The Daniel Boone Savage hillbilly
: was a major draw in Texas. I would say it was
: very close but I'm going with Robert over
: Detton. Robert did defeat Detton March 9
: in Philadelphia, before Detton would beat
: Levin.

I would think Detton would win it. Robert's "claim" came from beating
a "champion" who had been completely discredited. The claim also came
after the Levin and Marshall Lines were created, and really came across
as a regional claim. Detton got a fairly big national push, and was
pimped hard by the media with a "wrestler" lable. Roberts would have
finished behind both Detton and Marshall.

I'm not sure who I would have voted for. It was a horrendus year for
pro wrestling. I guess I would have voted for Detton.


: 1937. Bronko Nagurski
:
: Nagurski was football's best player and a
: cross over star. He defeated Dean Detton on
: June 29 and had the strongest claim to the title.
: Jim Londos was back and was still a major draw,
: but also wrestled in Europe and Africa. Tom Pack,
: promoter in St. Louis tried to develop a new star in
: Lou Thesz and he was given the MWA world title
: after a COR victory over Everett Marshall on Dec. 29.
: Paul Bowser was pushing another Irishman Steve
: Casey and running Boston cards with Robert, Marshall,
: Casey, and Thesz promising one World champion.

I agree that Bronko would have won this one.

Marshall did run around with his title for nearly the whole year, but
the last impression of him jobbing to rising star Thesz would probably
have taken the wind out of his sails. Londos was running around with
his International version of the world title, foreshadowing Lou Thesz
in a way that I doubt Lou would appreciate. :)

But Bronko was a phenom here.


: 1938. Steve Casey
:
: On Feb. 11 Casey defeated Lou Thesz for the AWA
: and MWA World title and then defended them in
: Northeast (Boston) and St. Louis. Jim Londos returned
: full time to the U.S. in 1938 and established his old
: drawing power on the East Coast (NYC) and LA.
: On Nov. 18 he took his old World Title from Bronko
: Nagurski to complete the comeback. I had a hard time
: deciding between the two but went with Casey who beat
: Marshall and Thesz. I've seen the Londos/Nagurski
: match on film and I feel Jimmy was living off his
: reputation and power from being the top star for
: 20 years.

Despite working a bit in St. Louis, Casey always struck me as
regional. Boston isn't New York when it comes to getting national
media pushes. No regional wrestler has ever won the WON WOTY award.
The whole strange stuff with Marshall in September did help. I'd have
to see some compelling evidence that not only did Casey regulary
work outside of the Boston territory in 1938 in places other than
St. Louis, but also that he was a draw.

Bronko and Londos appear to have been the national draws in 1938.
Bronko did spend most of the year as champion of the Levin Line. I
would be interested in seeing more data on what his drawing power
was with the title. He did dropped it to Londos, and it would be
seven months before he took the NWA title from Thesz. We can debate
whether Londos was a top worker anymore, but he did have enough
drawing power that a group of promoters chose to take the belt off
of the other top draw in wrestling and put it on Londos. I think
Londos would have won the PWI WOTY award.

For the WON, I don't know who would win. It would be very close.
The following year would be close as well between the two, as Londos
ran around with the Levin Line world title while Bronko would have
the NWA title. Bronko would win in 1937. I have Londos winning only
in 1930-31 and 1934 prior to this, compared to Steve having him take
1930-34 straight. I'll split the baby and say that Londos would
have won 1938, while Bronko comes back to win in 1939.

I'm not sure which of the two I would vote for. Again, I'd like to
see more detail on their drawing power.


: 1939. Bronko Nagurski (2)
:
: Still a major crossover star, Nagurski was given
: Lou Thesz's NWA Title on June 23 in Houston. Thesz
: was having a great year, establishing himself as
: St. Louis' biggest star with a NWA Title win over
: Everett Marshall (Feb. 23) and Steve Casey (March 10)
: in a rematch, but was injured in the Nagurski match.
: Londos continued being Londos in Philly and LA, but
: nothing memorable seemed to be going on. Londos spent
: the last part of the year in Hawaii, New Zealand and
: Australia.

I think Bronko narrowly over Londos.


: 1940. Ray Steele
:
: Originally I had this year a tie but John tells me that
: that's a cop out, and I have to pick only one for each year.

Well, that is the way the WON WOTY award goes, right? :)


: Maurice Tillet, The French Angel, was a 5' 9'' 280 lbs.
: strongman-freak who was the Andre the Giant of the
: early 40's. Working out of Boston he was famed as the
: ugliest wrestler in the world. He had one of the most
: remarkable records in the game's History. In 1940 he
: beat Robert, Longson, Rudy Dusek, Gino Garibaldi,
: Sonnenberg, O'Mahoney, Golden Terror, Dean Detton,
: and won the AWA World Title from Steve Casey on
: May 13. He would hold the AWA title for 2 years. The
: success of the French Angel may have represented 1940
: better but I'm picking Ray Steele, who had been one of
: wrestling's best workers and shooters for 22 years. In
: 1940 Steele stepped out of the shadow of Jim Londos to
: win the NWA title from Nagurski on March 7 in St.
: Louis. He defended it the rest of the year vs. Thesz,
: Bronko, Marshall, etc throughout the mid-West, The
: South and the West Coast. My feeling are that
: Observer-type voters would have voted for the worker
: over the freak. Some other contenders would have been:
: Londos, Orville Brown (who was setting up shop in the
: Mid-West by beating Dick Shikat for the MWA Title on
: June 27.), Nagurski, Robert, and Lou Thesz.

I agree that WON voters would have picked Steele over a gimmick
performer. No gimmick performer has ever taken the WON WOTY award,
unless one counts Maeda. Vader won it in a year when people thought
he was one of the best workers in the world.


: 1941. Yvon Robert (2)
:
: Robert was Montreal World champ for most of the
: year, losing and winning the belt from Lou Thesz.
: Sandor Szabo won the NWA Title from Nagurski
: (June 5) by DQ and defended it throughout Calif. Jim
: Londos was still a big attraction in Calif. and The
: French Angel (AWA Champ) toured the country as a
: great gimmick performer. I like Robert over the rest
: but it's not a clear choice.

I still don't see Robert winning the award. It's a bit like Jerry
Lawler winning the WON WOTY award, which he never came close to
winning. Sure, Robert was a vastly bigger star than Lawler, but he
was still a regional superstar.

One would be tempted to tab Szabo, but there is the slight problem
that he jobbed on 2/5/41 and 2/12/41 to Londos in Levin Line world
title matches in LA. He then jobbed to Londos again in Philly on
3/7/41. It's pretty clear that Londos still was a bigger star. Szabo's
match with Bronko where he won the world title drew less than 4,000
fans, though their rematch in St. Louis popped over 9,000. (all from
the Szabo Record Book) We don't have a full record of his matches
as champion, for example only 8 matches from October and November
are in the book, and obviously he would have worked more often. From
the results it's not a bad run, but it also isn't a blockbuster run
either.

Londos would probably still have his marks among the voters, but by
this point probably wouldn't have enough to win the award. Tillett
has the gimmick thing working against him.

A very weak crop. I can't offer up a clear candidate, so I have to
agree with Steve on this and say I'd vote for Robert. I'm not sold
he would have won the award, but no alternative stands out.


: 1942. Bill Longson
:
: Bill Longson won the NWA Title from Sandor Szabo
: Feb. 19 and seems to have been the first true heel world
: champ. Those who saw him say he was a great performer
: who's style resembled Bruiser Brody. In 1942 he began
: his dominance of the St Louis market defeating Szabo,
: Everett Marshall, Ray Steele, Chief Little Wolf,
: O'Mahoney and Thesz. Longson also won a Title
: unification match from Yvon Robert on Aug. 19 in
: Montreal. Ed Lewis had a minor comeback drawing
: 12,986 in a loss to Longson in St Louis. The Strangler
: also won the MWA title from Orville Brown during
: Nov. Robert had another good year regaining his
: Montreal World Title from The French Angel (June 25)
: and then winning the NWA title from Longson (Oct. 7).
: Fifty days later(Nov. 27) he dropped the NWA title to
: Bobby Managoff , who is one of the most underrated
: champions in history. Steve Casey regained his AWA
: Title from The French Angel (May 14). I think Longson
: was special. He would draw better in other years but it
: was the first year of WWII.

I tend to agree that Longson would have won it. Old-time readers of
the WON would have hated his "heel champion" gimmick and longed for
the old days where a champion was a "wrestler". Those people probably
would have voted for Thesz and later Gagne until the day they died. :)
Newer readers of the WON would have loved Longson.


: 1943. Bill Longson (2)
:
: Dominated year re-winning NWA title from Bobby
: Managoff (Feb. 19). Probably averaged between 9,000
: and 10,000 in St. Louis. Defeated Robert at least twice.
: Nagurski returned to football and won NFL world title.
:
: 1944. Bill Longson (3)
:
: Retained NWA title all year and averaged around 10,000
: in St. Louis.

Agreed on these.


: 1945. Bill Longson (4)
:
: Longson still gets my pick, didn't seem to lose a thing.
: Frank Sexton wins AWA title from Sandor Szabo, loses
: it and then regains it from Steve Casey. Sexton ends
: Casey's control over Boston by beating him all year to
: become the East Coast version of Lou Thesz. Buddy
: Rogers begins gaining popularity working in Texas.

I tend to agree on this as well.


: 1946. Frank Sexton
:
: In my original paper I had this year a draw between
: Longson and Sexton but big John Williams made the no
: draw rule so I'm going with Sexton. On Jan. 10 the two
: world champs met in a title unification match at Toronto
: and the result was a draw. Sexton also had a unification
: match with Babe Sharkey who had a piece of Jim
: Londos' claim in Baltimore and parts of the East Coast
: since the Greek was striped in March 1944. Sexton won
: that match to hold two titles that had a stronger in ring
: claim to a world title than Longson's NWA title. Buddy
: Rogers became very popular in St. Louis drawing 17,621
: in a match with Longson, but Buddy was kept in his place
: by doing jobs to Longson and Thesz. Primo Carnera, the
: first worked World Heavyweight Boxing Champion (that
: we know about), turned wrestler in 1946 and toured as
: wrestling biggest box office attraction. I think Sexton
: would have won this year because he had more votes on
: the East Coast.

I'd go with Sexton as well. The East Coast thing, along with his
willingness to tour for unification matches.


: 1947. Bill Longson (5)
:
: Longson ends four years as NWA champ by losing to
: Billy Watson by DQ.(Feb 21). Comes back later in the
: year to defeat Watson and regain Title over Lou Thesz
: (Nov. 21). Thesz holds belt most of year and is becoming
: the real power in St. Louis. Sexton defeats Minneapolis
: NWA champ Sandor Szabo in LA and draws with Calif.
: World champ Enrique Torres while defending his AWA
: title on both coasts and St. Louis. Buddy Roger spends
: year doing jobs for Thesz and Primo Carnera but is
: developing into wrestling's greatest performer. I would
: like to make this year a draw between Longson and
: Thesz, but Williams will get upset so I'm going to pick
: Longson.

As Steve says, this is a tough choice between Longson and Thesz, with
Sexton on the wings touring around the country with his version of the
world title. I tend to think Thesz would have won it. At the time,
Longson already would have had three or four of them in the bag. At the
time no one ould have guessed that nearly two decades later Thesz would
still be a world champion. Thesz would have gotten the old-school vote,
and the vote of people tired of voting for Longson. :) I probably would
have voted for Thesz at the time, though in hindsight I might go for
Longson.


: 1948. Frank Sexton (2)
:
: Wrestling greatest year mainly due to TV and the
: development of major stars such as Rogers, Gorgeous
: George, and Antonio Rocca. The National Wrestling
: Alliance is formed and recognizes MWA ruler, Orville
: Brown, as their first champion. Sam Muchnick uses
: Brown and Buddy Rogers in his promotional war with
: the Thesz/Pack company in St. Louis. Thesz takes control
: of the old Pack promotion and it's title when he defeats
: Longson on July 20. Rocca shows up in Texas and is a
: big hit. Of course many will want to pick Gorgeous
: George because it was in 48 that he became the greatest
: crossover star in the history of the game. I feel that
: George gets more credit than he deserves. It's probably
: true that he sold out (10,000) the Olympic Auditorium
: every time he appeared but on the cards he wasn't
: booked The Dusek Brothers were doing 9,000. I see
: George as a creation of TV and an agent who also
: controlled Bob Hope. You couldn't really work a
: program with him and the LA promoters refused to put
: him over their World Champ Enrique Torres. I think the
: non-casual fans of a sheet like THE OBSERVER would
: resent him as another Freak Attraction like Wayne Munn,
: Maurice Tillet, and Primo Carnera and not vote for him.
: In June Buddy Rogers showed up in LA's secondary
: promotion at The Hollywood Legion Stadium claiming a
: Jack Pfefer world title and catches fire. Later that year he
: is used by Muchnick in St. Louis and does so well it
: worry's Thesz. Frank Sexton continues to control the East
: Coast and SF. On Oct. 20 he and Thesz wrestle to a draw
: in LA. In Nov. Sexton defeats Minneapolis World champ
: Cliff Gustafson. Sexton also has wins over Rogers. I
: wanted to have a four-way tie but in having to pick I take
: Sexton over Thesz, George, and Brown.

I agree with all of this. I doubt WON readers would vote for a
gimmick performer like George when there are other strong candidates
out there. I don't think Brown would have been a strong candidate, as
the National Wrestling Alliance would have just been starting out at
the time. Rogers being used by Muchnick in the war with Thesz, and
doing well, makes me drop down Thesz just a bit here.

I'd go with Sexton. I again find the willingness to tour the country
with his title and put it on the line in unification matches to be
impressive. That he didn't job the title in any of those matches is
even more impressive.


: 1949. Lou Thesz
:
: Thesz defends title all year beating George, Longson,
: Rocca etc. In Nov. Orville Brown is injured in a car
: wreck before a big title unification match between
: both NWA title and Thesz ends up with both. He and
: Muchnick join forces in St. Louis after Sam gains ground
: using Buddy Rogers. Decision is made by promoters that
: because of national TV there should be just one World
: Champion and Thesz will be that person. Rogers is over
: in LA, St. Louis, Ohio and anywhere he appears. Rocca
: screws promoters in Texas and moves to NY and LA
: (for TV). For this he has his head handed to him in a
: match with Thesz. The Gorgeous George tour continues
: but bombs in NYC when he is used to reopen MSG
: (Feb. 22). Frank Sexton and Orville Brown have a title
: unification match in Cleveland March 15 that results in
: a 1 hr and 45 minutes draw.

This would have been Brown's award had he not gotten injured, as he
would have won the unification match with Thesz. Thesz gets the
belt instead, and would likely get the award.

I might have been tempted to vote for Rogers for his drawing and
working ability. At the time as 1949 closed, it possible that a
jaded wrestling fan who watched the promotional and world title wars
from 1925 on would have found it suspect that the National Wrestling
Alliance would be able to unify the country's promoters enough to make
the NWA Title into something akin to the world title of Stecher and
Lewis. Being such a jaded wrestling fan ;), I probably would have
been swayed more by Rogers' tangible accomplishments than the
possible pipe dream that Thesz represented.

Of course come the 50s, things would change...


John


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

re: [Yohe List] Wrestlers of the Year - 1930-49
Posted by Steve Yohe

Eighties Messages
May 08, 2001
15:39:13 U.S. CST

Responding to [Yohe List] Wrestlers of the Year - 1930-49

We agree most of the time on these years also, so I'll just comment on
where we don't.

: : 1932. Jim Londos (3)
: :
: : Londos is driven out of NYC for being too hard to
: : handle, with Old Ed Lewis being brought in and made
: : the new world champ in New York. Fans hate Lewis and
: : the bottom falls out of the territory without Jimmy.
: : Londos continues to pack in the crowds all over the
: : country. In Dec. he loses one fall in a 2/3 fall match to
: : George Zaharias in LA, (which Londos won). It may
: : have been the first fall he had lost since losing to Shikat
: : in Aug. 1929.

: It's possible that the New York Vote would have turned on
: Londos, since the New York press did a excellent job of making
: Londos look like a wimp running from Lewis. In addition, you
: have the old Lewis Marks who'd vote for Strangler making the
: comeback to glory in New York. In addition, you might get
: some of the old-time hardcores who fondly remembered the
: Stecher-Lewis era throwing their support behind the "real
: wrestler" rather than the sports entertainer Jimmy. Combine
: all of those a year after Lewis got "screwed" out of the title
: in the DeGlane match, and this would be a bit like Bret Hart
: going down to WCW in 1998 after Montreal and getting a
: World Title run in the place of Hogan and Goldberg.
:
: I think it would be close, but this would be like Flair winning
: the WON WOTY in 1990 and 1992 - awards he didn't deserve
: in the slightest, but people voted with their hearts rather than
: their brains. I think Lewis would have bagged it.
:
: I would have voted for Londos.

Once again, I think smarts would have disliked Lewis. A big guy &
rest holds. Fans liked the Sonnenberg style. Just like they pushed
for a lucha style in 1994. Londos was great looking, fun & in vogue.
Lewis was fat & sweaty, even after training for six weeks before
comming to NY. He had been driven from NYC in 1921. (11-28-21-MSG
Zbyszko/Lewis drew 2,000.... 2-6-22-MSG-Zbyszko/Caddock drew 12,000)
It's true he did a gate of 25,000 (6-9-32) against Shikat but I
think everyone thought Shikat was going to defeat the old star. The
night (10-10-32) he won the NY World title vs the famous hooker Jack
Sherry they drew 5,000 in MSG, who hated the show. When he met Ray
Steele, a star Londos filled Yankee Statium with, Lewis did 7,000.
That turned into a shoot & a DQ mess. Lewis bombed in 32.


: : 1933. Jim Londos (4)
: :
: : The Londos story continues as he dominates
: : another year. He is doublecrossed in match vs.
: : Joe Savoldi on April 7, but story is revealed and
: : he continues to be recognized as World Champ.
: : Tours Europe for 6 weeks in Aug. and Sept.
: : Ed Don George beats Henri Deglane on Feb. 10
: : and does well as AWA Champion in Boston.
: : Jim Browning takes NY world title from Lewis
: : (Feb. 20) and does well in the ring but NYC
: : market remains in a depression.
.
: I'm not sure who I would have voted for. When I looked at this
: era ages ago, this seemed like a year where Londos massive
: dominance at the box office cooled just a bit. I probably would
: have voted for Browning, with the unification match with
: George being the thing pushing me over the edge. I'm a bit of a
: mark for unifiaction matches. :)

The Browning/George match (12-18-33) drew 8,000.

Londos return to NYC vs Abe Coleman against the Curly group 1-11-33
& soul out a 6,000 building turning away 1,000. Jan. 20 did a 10,000
sell out in Chicago vs Stecher (a draw) turning away 1,000. On Feb. 8
in LA he drew 10,400 vs Steele & turned away 3,000. On March 3 in Chicago
he drew 16,800 vs Stecher. On April 4 he did 9,000 vs Steele in LA. In
Aug he toured Europe as champ & you know that made tons. On Nov. 22 in
chicago he drew 12,314 vs Jim Mc Millen. Browning was a improvement
over Lewis but everyone knew who was the man. NY knew brought him back
the next year for a ton of money & look who he was booked over for the
title. Browning.


: : 1936. Yvon Robert
: :
: : The undisputed world champion's reign lasted
: : seven months. On March 2 Dick Shikat shot on
: : Danno O'Mahoney in MSG and relieved of his
: : title. Chaos followed. By the end of the year at
: : least 10 men had laid claim to the "World" Title
: : (Shikat, O'Mahoney, Ali Baba, Daniel Boone
: : Savage, David Levin, Everett Marshall, Yvon
: : Robert, Dean Detton, Vincent Lopez and Cliff
: : Olsen.) and three major title lines had been
: : formed. I picked Yvon Robert over Everett
: : Marshall and Dean Detton.. Robert, who had
: : one of the greatest wrestling careers in history,
: : defeated Danno O'Mahoney (still recognized by
: : the AWA and Paul Bowser) on July 13 and was a
: : big star in Northeast including Boston and
: : Montreal. Marshall defeated Ali Baba June 26,
: : but even with wrestling talent and good looks he
: : lacked color and was a poor draw in the East.
: : He wrestled most of the year in the weaker Ohio
: : area. Detton was recognized by RING
: : MAGAZINE as the true champ after his win
: : over Levin on Sept. 28 and drew big through out
: : the US and in Calif. Lopez and Levin also drew
: : large in LA. The Daniel Boone Savage hillbilly
: : was a major draw in Texas. I would say it was
: : very close but I'm going with Robert over
: : Detton. Robert did defeat Detton March 9
: : in Philadelphia, before Detton would beat
: : Levin.
:
: I would think Detton would win it. Robert's "claim" came from
: beating a "champion" who had been completely discredited.
: The claim also came after the Levin and Marshall Lines were
: created, and really came across as a regional claim. Detton got a
: fairly big national push, and was pimped hard by the media
: with a "wrestler" lable. Roberts would have finished behind
: both Detton and Marshall.
:
: I'm not sure who I would have voted for. It was a horrendus
: year for pro wrestling. I guess I would have voted for Detton.

Robert beat O'Mahoney in a unoffical match in some kind of a angle
before Shikat screwed him & I think Robert was going to get the title
from him at some point. Robert had Boston & Toronto, two of the biggest
wrestling territorys. Boston drew better (if you believe what you read)
in 1935 than any city in history. That's my thinking. Minus was him
breaking a leg late in the year vs Olsen. Maybe your right about Detton,
I thought a lot about it, but went with Robert. Detton is more well
known because he was put over in FALL GUYS. Compair the two's career
post titles & tell me who the bigger star was.


: : : 1938. Steve Casey
: :
: : On Feb. 11 Casey defeated Lou Thesz for the AWA
: : and MWA World title and then defended them in
: : Northeast (Boston) and St. Louis. Jim Londos returned
: : full time to the U.S. in 1938 and established his old
: : drawing power on the East Coast (NYC) and LA.
: : On Nov. 18 he took his old World Title from Bronko
: : Nagurski to complete the comeback. I had a hard time
: : deciding between the two but went with Casey who beat
: : Marshall and Thesz. I've seen the Londos/Nagurski
: : match on film and I feel Jimmy was living off his
: : reputation and power from being the top star for
: : 20 years.
:
: Despite working a bit in St. Louis, Casey always struck me as
: regional. Boston isn't New York when it comes to getting
: national media pushes. No regional wrestler has ever won the
: WON WOTY award. The whole strange stuff with Marshall in
: September did help. I'd have to see some compelling evidence
: that not only did Casey regulary work outside of the Boston
: territory in 1938 in places other than St. Louis, but also that he
: was a draw.
:
: Bronko and Londos appear to have been the national draws in
: 1938. Bronko did spend most of the year as champion of the
: Levin Line. I would be interested in seeing more data on what
: his drawing power was with the title. He did dropped it to
: Londos, and it would be seven months before he took the NWA
: title from Thesz. We can debate whether Londos was a top
: worker anymore, but he did have enough drawing power that a
: group of promoters chose to take the belt off of the other top
: draw in wrestling and put it on Londos. I think Londos would
: have won the PWI WOTY award.
:
: For the WON, I don't know who would win. It would be very
: close. The following year would be close as well between the
: two, as Londos ran around with the Levin Line world title while
: Bronko would have the NWA title. Bronko would win in 1937.
: I have Londos winning only in 1930-31 and 1934 prior to this,
: compared to Steve having him take 1930-34 straight. I'll split
: the baby and say that Londos would have won 1938, while
: Bronko comes back to win in 1939.
:
: I'm not sure which of the two I would vote for. Again, I'd like to
: see more detail on their drawing power.

Boston was the Northern part of the East Coast, Toronto, big parts of
Canada, Buffalo & Philly. Casey also was champ in St. Louis & later SF.
This regional thing doesn't really hold up. Sammartino is regional. All
the Japanese? I think we should stay away from it. Once again you may
be right, but I didn't think it was believeable picking Londos. Casey
controled his area for a long time & the win over Thesz is major history,
so I wanted to take him. You may be right but I made my pick & I think
I'll stick with it. Life is hard.

Not much else to say. IM glad you stuck with me on my picks on Longson
& Sexton. My picking of Sexton in 48 will be riped by a lot of people
who will want Gorgeous George winning for a number of years. I thing I
may get taken apart in the 70's, so IM not looking forward to that. I
should have just made Andre the winner 74 to 79 & defended that.---Yohe


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a feeling that if I was doing that project today, some of the results in the late 30's would be different...and Londos would have 2 to 3 more wins.

I would want to look at it closer but Nagurski probably is overrated.

Sence doing it I've worked on O'Mahoney, Orville Brown, & the Londos book & I have more info to play with.--Yohe
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you probably would dump Casey in 1938 as well when looking at it in the context of the time. A win over Lou seems "major" now. In 1938, it wasn't that big of a deal. Lou wasn't the HOFer year. Londos beating Bronko was a bigger deal.


John
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2020 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've decided to do a 2020 version of this project & post it here & at WC. I'd do it today but I'm stuck on two other projects. Thought it would be fun to compare my thinking today to 2000. Probably add 5 runner ups to each year. Maybe add a few years before 1900. There will be changes.---Steve Yohe
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