Ultimate History of Pro Wrestling - A Time Line of Every Major Event in Pro Wrestling History - 1874

By: Karl Stern (@wiwcool)

Much of the text of this entry comes from issue 82 of the DragonKing Press Newsletter available as a downloadable .pdf in the digital downloads section.


1874 (unspecified): A former slave named Viro Small begins wrestling in New York. While perhaps not the first, he was certainly one of the earliest African-American pro wrestlers of note in the United State. There is debate over whether his wrestling career started at this point or in 1881. There was a wrestling match in 1881 which was a collar-and-elbow match against Mike Horogan. While Viro Small lost, Horogan was very impressed with Small's ability and agreed to train him. Viro Small's career began to take off after this. Wrestling under the name Black Sam, Small won 63 matches between 1882 and 1892 and the Vermont Collar and Elbow Championship twice.

1874 (unspecified): Richard K. Fox arrives in America from Belfast, Ireland as a penniless immigrant. By the early 1900s, Fox is a millionaire and the most powerful man in organized wrestling and boxing. The publisher of The National Police Gazette and a boxing and wrestling promoter. Richard K. Fox would end up being a major force behind such careers as William Muldoon and Frank Gotch.

Viro Small.JPG

Viro Small (AKA: Black Sam)

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