Carl Busch

Posted on Friday, February 2nd, 2018 by John Wood
Carl Busch was a great strongman and wrestler who was active in the early 20th century. After winning the 1901 German national title, he toured Europe performing feats of strength and wrestling all comers. He even wrestled the great Frank Gotch to a draw under Greco-Roman rules. Busch also wrestled the likes of George Hackenschmidt, Professor Roller, Heinrich Weber, Yousef Holusane, Fred Beell, and even Farmer Burns. As far as feats of strength, Busch could bent press 250 pounds at a bodyweight of only 175 pounds. In 1891, Busch started his own circus which is actually still going strong today if you can believe it.

Heinrich Rondi

Posted on Sunday, December 10th, 2017 by John Wood
Shown here is a rare picture of the German strongman Heinrich Rondi, one of the strongest men of the early 20th century. Rondi had a good year in 1906: he won the the European Lifting Championships, a World Greco-Roman wrestling title and a Gold Medal in the Tug O’ War at the 1906 Olympics (where he also won two Bronze Medals in the weight lifting events.) In 1907, he added World Lifting Championship by besting his countryman Heinrich Schneidereit. In 1910, Rondi set two Amateur records with a right hand snatch of 203-1/2 pounds and a left hand snatch of 186-3/4 pounds.

The Wrestler’s Bridge

Posted on Friday, December 11th, 2015 by John Wood

THIS is why wrestlers practice bridging ~ a strong neck may just be the only thing keeping the shoulders off the mat. This outstanding example of bridging occurred at the 1936 Berlin Olympics Greco-Roman wrestling event. The fellow doing the bridging is Germany’s Kurt Hornfischer (who won the Bronze medal) while Estonia’s Kristjan Palusalu is up top going for the pin. (Palusalu quite impressively took the Heavyweight gold in both the freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling events in Berlin.)

Nikola Petroff

Posted on Sunday, September 6th, 2015 by John Wood
Here’s a rare shot of the great Bulgarian wrestling champion, Nikola Petroff and, like most wrestlers of the day, Petroff was impressive from a physique standpoint as well. Petroff became the World Greco-Roman champion in 1900 by defeating Paul Pons. Over his 25 year career, Petroff only suffered defeat once, and it was at the hands of Marijan Matijevic.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Marijan Matijevic

Posted on Tuesday, December 30th, 2014 by John Wood

Marijan Matijevic was a great Croatian strongman and Greco-Roman wrestler who was popular during the turn of the century. Nicknamed the ‘Lika Samson’ after the town where he was born Matijevic won his first medals for strength feats and wrestling when he was only 21 years old and collected many more as the years passed. He had a standing offer that anyone who could defeat him in feats of strength could have the entire collection of medals that he had accumulated. He was adept at bending steel bars, barrel lifting, teeth lifting, stone breaking and lifting thick-handled globe barbells. Interestingly, in 1912 he was examined by doctors in Chicago while traveling and performing in America and it was found that he had double the amount of bone tissue as a normal human being. The doctors believed this was one of the sources for his great strength.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

The Iron Sheik’s Persian Club Challenge

Posted on Saturday, February 22nd, 2014 by John Wood

he Iron Sheik's Persian Club Challenge

Many oldschool Pro-Wrestlers had their own strength challenge to confound their opponents and sometimes members of the crowd.
The Iron Sheik had “The Persian Club” challenge where he offered $2000 to all comers if they swung a pair of “75 pound” traditional meels for as many reps as he could.

To my knowledge The Sheik was never beaten, and what’s more, Sheik used the Persian Club Challenge to injure then-champion Bob Backlund before their title match back in ’83 (it wasn’t the first time he used the clubs to get the upper hand against his opponents either, see below.)

He’s a crafty one, that Sheik.

Also of note is the Takhteh Shena (traditional Zurkhaneh pushup board) at his feet. Before his pro-wrestling gig, the Sheik was a bonafide stud on the amateur mat and competed for the Iranian Greco-Roman team in the 1968 Olympics.

George Hackenschmidt in 1902

Posted on Wednesday, October 9th, 2013 by John Wood

George Hackenschmidt

1902 was a pretty good year for “The Russian Lion,”George Hackenschmidt. That year he won the European Greco-Roman wrestling championship and took 3rd
place in World weight lifting championships in Vienna, Austria. This rare picture was taken in January, 1902 and Hackenschmidt certainly looks ready to compete for just about anything.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Karl Abs ~ The German Oak

Posted on Thursday, November 17th, 2011 by John Wood

Karl Abs, Holding a Globe Barbell

Karl Abs, known as “The German Oak” was the first man in Germany to continental and jerk 330 pounds… he accomplished this feat back in 1885. Abs also won the European Greco-Roman Heavyweight Championship in 1894.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.