Ultimate History of Pro Wrestling - A Time Line of Every Major Event in Pro Wrestling History - 1921

By: Karl Stern (@wiwcool)

Much of the text of this entry comes from issue 83 of the DragonKing Press Newsletter available as a downloadable .pdf in the digital downloads section.


01-14-1921: Joe Malcewicz double crosses former World champion Earl Caddock in a match in Utica, NY. Malcewicz claims the championship. Wrestling historian Steve Yohe states that the famous Caddock vs Malcewicz match that supposedly happened in Utica in January 1920 and was covered up by promoters of the Caddock-Stecher title unification match did not happen in 1920. Yohe states, “The match took place on January 14, 1921, almost a year after Caddock lost his claim to the title. Historians were never able to find the 1920 match and it took master historian Don Luce to find the real date… Seems the whole story was made up around 1926 after Stecher took the world title from Stanislaus Zbyszko. We think that it was made up and published by Ed “Strangler” Lewis’ people, perhaps Toots Mondt or Billy Sandow, to make Stecher look bad. Since most of wrestling’s history had come from the lies of this group, the story lived a long life. It was published in Ring magazine in 1931.”

03-04-1921: Stanislaus Zbyszko returns from Europe to defeat Joe Stecher in New York to put Zbyszko back into contention for the World title.

03-05-1921: After his defeat of two high ranking Judoka in 1914 and claiming the title of “World Judo Champion”, World lightweight wrestling champion Ad Santel defeats fifth degree Judo black belt Reijiro Nagata by TKO. Santel then battles fifth degree Judo black belt Hikoo Shoji to a one hour draw.

05-06-1921: Stanislaus Zbyszko defeats Ed “Strangler” Lewis for the World heavyweight title in New York City.

10-04-1921: In a battle of two top world title contenders, Joe Stecher defeats Ed “Strangler” Lewis by decision in a close match. Historian Steve Yohe writes, “Stecher is superior to Ed Lewis in the ring until February 20, 1928 match, when Joe sells everything, including the title, to Ed. Stecher then quit and went back to farming. The depression and need for money brought him back in 1929 to do jobs for Lewis and Gus Sonnenberg. Lewis never, in his lifetime, defended the title against Stecher.”

11-14-1921: John Pesek, feared shooter, works over Marin Plestina at Madison Square Garden giving him numerous injuries.

1921 (unspecified): An article is published in the sports papers by Al Spink concerning the wrestling trust of promoters. He focuses on two non-trust or trust-busters, Marin Plestina, who he calls the greatest wrestler in the world, and Chris Jordan who he calls champion middleweight wrestler of the world. The article states that “As a result of their position, these men are barred from taking part in any wrestling bout with other, so-called, champion wrestlers… Jack Curley’s right name is Armand Schultz, born in Chicago of poor, but honest parents, as they say in the fairly tales… He [Curley] managed the Gotch-Hackenschmidt wrestling match in Chicago, cleared a fortune in it and then lost it all in promoting the Jack Johnson-Flynn fight [boxing] for the championship.”

Ed Strangler Lewis.jpg

Ed “Strangler” Lewis

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