Ultimate History of Pro Wrestling - A Time Line of Every Major Event in Pro Wrestling History - 1915

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.

1915

01-29-1915: Frank Gotch writes to a reporter at the New York Times. He again announces his retirement, stating, “Please announce positively that I am through with wrestling forever. My wife and myself have gone over the matter thoroughly and nothing will induce me to change my mind. The call of the foreigners and the offer of the big New York purses, $25,000 for three bouts, will never make me leave my farm again. I would suggest that Fred Beell and Americus (Gus Schoenlein) get together and let the winner of that match defend the world title. I will willingly waive my rights to the title in favor of the winner of the Beell - Americus match.”

02-20-1915: Charlie Cutler, the American champion, walks into the office of the Chicago Tribune and claims the World championship due to the recent retirement of Frank Gotch. His manager posts a bond to meet all comers.

04-05-1915: Rodrick James “Jess” McMahon, grandfather of wrestling mogul Vince McMahon, promotes a boxing match between Jess Willard and Jack Johnson in Havana, Cuba.

05-19-1915: Alexander Aberg wrestles Wladek Zbyszko to a draw in a Greco-Roman tournament finals in New York.

06-25-1915: Wladek Zbyszko defeats Alexander Aberg in three hours and forty minutes in New York.

06-28-1915: Frank Gotch wrestles his first match since 1913 defeating Henry Ordeman in Humboldt, IA.

07-04-1915: Joe “Scissors” Stecher defeats Charlie Cutler for the claim to the World title. Stecher wins in two straight falls using his famous leg scissors hold. Frank Gotch is in attendance. Gotch is offered $25,000 to meet Stecher.

10-20-1915: Joe Stecher defeats Ed “Strangler” Lewis in just over two hours in Evansville, IN to retain the claim to the World championship. Lewis is thrown over the ropes striking his head on a chair. Doctor’s announce that Lewis is not injured to any major extent but Lewis does not continue the match. The next day it is announced that Lewis suffered a groin injury.

10-21-1915: Mayor Bosse of Evansville, IN confiscates the $2,756 in ticket sales from the previous nights wrestling match between Joe Stecher and Ed “Strangler” Lewis on the basis he believes the match was “not on the square”. He stated that he and the Sheriff had taken the money because they felt the match had been rigged. They then told the local newspaper that Lewis and Stecher would be paid from the money that amount they would have made had the ticket prices not been increased and the rest of the money would go toward “the poor of the town”. Mayor Bosse then proclaimed that there would be no more wrestling in Evansville. Show promoter W.F. Barton was left with just $13 after the incident and claimed to owe $400 to the wrestlers.

10-25-1915: Alexander Aberg defeats Wladek Zbyszko to lay claim to the World Greco-Roman title in New York at Madison Square Garden. The two had wrestled to a draw earlier in the year.

11-18-1915: Kansas City promoter W.D. Scoville announces that Frank Gotch will return to wrestling to face Joe Stecher for $25,000. Gotch would, “wrestle two or three men in the west” before a match with Stecher. The match never takes place.

11-30-1915: Ed “Strangler” Lewis draws with Wladek Zbyszko in New York.

12-04-1915: Alexander Aberg draws with Ed “Strangler” Lewis at the Manhattan Opera House.

12-07-1915: Ed “Strangler” Lewis does to a draw with Charles Cutler in New York. On the show, the Greek wrestler Tofalos sang several Opera selections then went on to defeat Herman Schilling in a lightweight match. Alexander Aberg defeated Dr. Benjamin F. Roller. Mort Henderson debuted his masked gimmick as “The Masked Marvel” and issues an open challenge.

12-08-1915: Alexander Aberg defeats Charlie Cutler in a Greco-Roman match.

12-09-1915: The Masked Marvel (Mort Henderson) defeats Wilhelm Berner. Ed “Strangler” Lewis draws with Alexander Aberg at curfew.

12-10-1915: Ed “Strangler” Lewis goes to a draw with Wladek Zbyszko in New York.

12-11-1915: Ed “Strangler” Lewis again goes to a draw with Wladek Zbyszko in New York.

12-14-1915: The Masked Marvel (Mort Henderson) defeats George Lurich at the Manhattan Opera House. Charlie Cutler draws with Wladek Zbyszko. Ed “Strangler” Lewis defeats Tofalos.

12-15-1915: Wladek Zbyszko draws with the Masked Marvel (Mort Henderson) at the Opera House.

12-16-1915: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle revels that the Masked Marvel is Mort Henderson, through the Marvel’s manager Ed Pollard denies it. The Eagle states that Henderson is a wrestler from Pennsylvania. That night the Masked Marvel goes to a draw with Alexander Aberg.

12-17-1915: The International Tournament at the Manhattan Opera House sees Wladek Zbyszko fail to throw the Masked Marvel (Mort Henderson) who has become the buzz of the tournament. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle again states that the Marvel is Mort Henderson, a former brakeman on the Hollidaysburg and Morris Cove division of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

12-20-1915: The Masked Marvel (Mort Henderson) is defeated by Ed “Strangler” Lewis at the Opera House.

12-22-1915: The Masked Marvel (Mort Henderson) draws with Ed “Strangler” Lewis in the International Tournament at the Manhattan Opera House. For some reason the Brooklyn Daily Eagle has turned on Lewis with a scathing review of Lewis, “the marvelous person last night tackled Robert Friedrich [Lewis’ real name] of Wisconsin, who should get 90 days with no good conduct allowance, for taking the name of the original Strangler Lewis… we [the newspaper] had great hopes that the Marvel would twist the alleged Strangler into such a human pretzel that the latter would have to take a new moniker of the mat…”

12-27-1915: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle sends a reporter to tail the Masked Marvel. The reporter states he followed the Marvel to the Crescent Athletic Club and saw the Marvel enter through an employee’s only door. The reporter also tailed him on a motorcycle but lost him. The paper continued to report that he was really Mort Henderson and gave more of his history and states at various times in his life he was a fireman, a brakeman, and a policeman. That night the Masked Marvel went to a draw with Alexander Aberg.

12-28-1915: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle has this to say about the ongoing International Tournament at the Manhattan Opera House. “Professional wrestling has for so many years been tainted with open or covert fraud that it is a wonder the tournament was ever taken seriously. Somehow, promoters got by and introduced a really interesting featuring in the Masked Marvel, who is beyond all per adventure, one of the cleverest grapplers extant… a hippodrome may be entertaining as an exhibition but is absolutely without interest as a contest.”

12-29-1915: Alexander Aberg defeats Ed “Strangler” Lewis in the International Tournament. Alexander Aberg had been promoted as the World Champion of Greco-Roman rules and Lewis as “Catch-As-Catch-Can” champion. Strangler Lewis said of Aberg, “he is the strongest wrestling man before the public today.” On this same show there was a bizarre gimmick of a wrestler named Lindow who put George Bayley “in a trace” during their match and forced him to let go of holds “by using his eyes”.

12-20-1915: The Masked Marvel (Mort Henderson) goes to a draw with Wladek Zbyszko in the International Tournament.

Masked Marvel.jpg

Masked Marvel (Mort Henderson)

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