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Gotch vs. Hackenschmidt: The Matches That Made and Destroyed Legitimate American Professional Wrestling

Zimmerman Jr., Mr. Ken

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ISBN 10: 1533091137 / ISBN 13: 9781533091130
Editorial: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
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Título: Gotch vs. Hackenschmidt: The Matches That ...

Editorial: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Encuadernación: PAPERBACK

Condición del libro:New

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“Don’t break my leg!” As the two muscular men struggled in the center of the ring, the man on top continued to work on the downed man’s legs. Again, the man on bottom yelled, “Please don’t break my leg!” Frank Gotch looked over at his rival George Hackenschmidt, who was writhing in obvious pain. Despite a severe knee injury, Hackenschmidt went through with the rematch on Labor Day Weekend 1911. Gotch snarled, “What?” Hackenschmidt repeated, “Please don’t break my leg.” Gotch said plainly, “There’ll have to be a fall.” Hackenschmidt hesitated for a minute before laying back for the second and deciding fall, an anti-climactic ending to the second of the most anticipated wrestling matches in the legitimate wrestling era. The match was the second meeting between the men. On April 3, 1908, current World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion George Hackenschmidt met American Heavyweight Wrestling Champion Frank Gotch in pro wrestling’s version of The Match of the Century. Anticipated since 1905, the combatants finally settled on a location and date for the match in early 1908. George Hackenschmidt won the World Greco-Roman Heavyweight Wrestling Championship in 1901. He spent the next seven years touring the world defending his championship. Originally a weightlifter and holder of several world weightlifting records, “The Russian Lion” was one of the most powerful men in wrestling history. Standing only 5’09” tall, “Hack” weighed between 209 and 218 pounds in his prime. As he approached the match with Gotch, wrestling observers believed Hackenschmidt to be nearly unbeatable. The most serious previous challenge to his reign came from “The Terrible Turk”, Ahmed Madrali. Hackenschmidt pinned Madrali in 41 seconds after dislocating his arm with a hammerlock. Gotch started wrestling in the late 1890s about the same time as Hackenschmidt, when he came to the attention of Martin “Farmer” Burns. Going into the first match, the only knock on Gotch was a lack of international experience. Hackenschmidt had been touring the world for seven years. Gotch did all of his wrestling in the United States including a brief stint in the Klondike during 1901. However, the years of touring may have damaged “Hack” more than it helped him. Hackenschmidt had not been defeated in a ring for seven years. He beat every credible challenger not named Frank Gotch. Frank Gotch had lost in 1901 to St. Louis Champion Oscar Wasem, in 1905 to Tom Jenkins and in 1906 to Fred Beell but otherwise maintained an equally impressive record. The anticipation built into the greatest legitimate wrestling match ever held in the United States. After building interest in the sport with the first match, the second match brought back all the doubts about legitimacy and spending hard earned money on wrestling bouts. If the first bout built the sport, the second bout wrecked it.

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