Ultimate History of Pro Wrestling - A Time Line of Every Major Event in Pro Wrestling History - 1898

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.


03-26-1898: The first recorded sell out of Madison Square Garden in New York for wrestling matches takes place for a match between Ernest Roeber and Ismael “The Terrible Turk” Yousouf.

06-20-1898: Ismael “The Terrible Turk” Yousouf defeats Evan “Strangler” Lewis in an exhibition match in Chicago, IL. According to newspaper accounts, “… followers of wrestling were on tip toe as to what the Turk would do in the event Evan Lewis got his famous strangle hold to work. Fortunately for Yousouf, he had no observable neck, his head being so close to his chest that there was no apparent chance for a throat hold. This baffled the Strangler, who was soon on the defensive. But the Turk had no intention of trying for a strangle hold. He knew a much better one. It was the ankle hold and he managed to get a clutch on Lewis ankle quite early in the fray. Lewis feared the Sultan’s favorite was about to twist the ankle but that was far from the fact. Jack Curley, the promoter, witnessed the Chicago battle and said, ‘as soon as Yousouf got a good clutch on Lewis’ ankle he began to swing about in a circle and gradually the Strangler’s body was free from the floor and swinging like a windmill. Faster and faster whirled the Turk until Lewis’ body was performing a merry-go-round. When Yousouf decided that Lewis had sufficient swinging he was dropped to the floor and lay there in a daze. Lewis was not fit for any more wrestling then and was dizzy for two weeks afterward…”

07-04-1898: Ismael “The Terrible Turk” Yousouf is killed when the La Bourgongne ocean liner sinks. 549 people died when the French steamer collided with a British ship off of Nova Scotia. Journalist Bill Brown described Yousouf in a 1930 article, “A physical giant, six feet and a half inch tall and weighing 250 pounds. He had an obtrusive paunch and his muscular development hidden by several layers of fat. Yet he stood forth as one of the toughest of modern grapplers.”

11-05-1898: Tom Jenkins battles another “Terrible Turk” Hali Adali to a draw for what is billed as a “world title”.

12-1898: Kara Ahmed wins a tournament in Paris, France.

12-25-1898: Paul Pons of France wins the first European World Greco-Roman championship tournament.

Ismael Yousouf Terrible Turk.jpeg

Ismael “The Terrible Turk” Yousouf

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