Ultimate History of Pro Wrestling - A Time Line of Every Major Event in Pro Wrestling History - 1931
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.
01-09-1931: Former World heavyweight champion Wayne “Big” Munn dies at the age of 35. He died from Bright’s disease (in modern medicine as acute or chronic nephritis). The Victoria Advocate newspaper ran the following on his death: “SAN ANTONIO, Texas, Jan. 9. – (INS) – Wayne Munn, former world’s wrestling champion, died at the base hospital at Fort Sam Houston here today. He had been confined to the hospital for sometime suffering from Bright’s disease. Munn served as a first lieutenant of the infantry during the World War.”
01-24-1931: Jim Londos defeats Jim McMillen at Madison Square Garden to retain his version of the World heavyweight title. Jim Londos is presented with a “$10,000 diamond studded belt” which would become Londo’s “own property” after three title defenses.
03-19-1931: A New York Times article is written about professional boxing drawing poorly and making little money. Journalist Westbrook Plieger writes about the success of Jack Curley’s wrestling promotions saying, “Mr. Curley produced 14 contests of exhibitions in New York, paring and cross-paring the members of his own herd without once going outside the fold for talent, and the winter has been for him a season of successive happy surprises. Jim Londos, the champion of his firm, in his first appearance in the Garden, established a new high for a championship wrestling bout indoors, $37,000, and continued to establish new highs at each of the four subsequent appearances, finally reaching the resounding figure of $61,000 at which point the Garden turnstiles, no longer accustomed to such pressure, had to be packed in ice… The gross royalty on the other appearances of Mr. Curley’s wrestlers under lease to promoters in other cities. The proprietors of the Sandow, (Paul) Bowser herd, offering Ed Don George, the former Michigan football player as champion, and Gus Sonnenberg, the Dartmouth-Detroit football player, as first vice champion, were taken somewhat by surprise by this unexampled business in New York. It is only fair to add that Mr. Curley was so taken by surprise too with this difference that he was well prepared to clamp a combination three-quarters Nelson and on-quarter Samson hold on the opportunity, shake well and serve.”
03-21-1931: John Pesek defeats Marin Plestina to win the first Mid-West Wrestling Association title. Al Haft & Heywood Allen are the promoters.
05-04-1931: Henri Deglane defeats World champion Ed “Strangler” Lewis by disqualification in Montreal, Canada after allegedly being bitten by Lewis. Deglane then claims the Paul Bowser recognized American Wrestling Association world championship. This match has become legendary of the original Montreal Screw-job as Deglane, apparently, bit himself in the locker room between falls and hid the bite until the match restarted thus getting the DQ win over Lewis.
07-20-1931: George Walker defeats Kara Pasha in Wellington, New Zealand. Walker win by the sudden application of a back scoop slam. Pasha had been a major drawing card in New Zealand for the last year, however, according to later news paper accounts from this point forward, Pasha’s drawing power waned and he was subsequently twice defeated by Walker and the feature called him, “the first of the showmen.”
09-13-1931: Stan Stasiak (the original, not the 1970s WWWF champion) dies after acquiring an infection from an injury sustained in a match against Ed Don George in Canada.
09-15-1931: Boxer Jack Dempsey defeats wrestler Bill Longson in a boxer verses wrestler match in Salt Lake City, UT by knock out. Both men wore boxing gloves.
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