Dr. Benjamin Roller

Posted on Wednesday, November 1st, 2017 by John Wood
Dr. Benjamin Franklin “B.F.” Roller was an early catch wrestler who sparred with the likes of Frank Gotch, George Hackenschmidt, The Great Gama, and Stanislaus Zbyszko. Aside from wrestling, Roller was a great athlete in other sports, captaining the football and track teams at DePauw University where he attended in the late 1800’s. Roller briefly held the world record in the discus.

Roller was actually a legitimate Doctor having graduated from medical school at the University of Pennsylvania. Roller played a bit of professional football to pay the bills after that but eventually accepted a professorship at the University of Washington. Shortly after, in a rather interesting twist, he instead chose to chase fame and fortune — mostly fortune — as a professional wrestler.. Roller’s first professional match was against Jack Carkeek whom he defeated in two falls after 17 minutes and for which he received $1600 which was a rather princely sum in the early 20th century.

Roller was a very good (but not great) wrestler although he did win his fair share of matches, and held the American Heavyweight title on three occasions. Roller wrestled the likes of Farmer Burns, Fred Beell, Raymond Cazeaux, Hjalmar Lundin, Raoul Le Boucher, George Lurich, Jim Londos, Ed Lewis, and Joe Stecher (among others.) Eventually he became a training partner for George Hackenschmidt during the time Hack famously tussled with Frank Gotch.

In the years after, Roller wrote a syndicated column for newspapers around the country on health and physical culture topics and even came up with his own training system dubbed “Rollerism.”

Raymond Cazeaux

Posted on Thursday, October 19th, 2017 by John Wood
Born into a family of farmers in the Ossau Valley of Southern France in 1881, Raymond Cazeaux went on to became of the greatest French wrestlers of all time. He fought over a thousand matches, tussling with champions from all over the world, the likes of: Ed ‘Strangler’ Lewis, Constant le Marin, Stanislaus Zbyszko, George Lurich, Dr. Ben Roller, Paul Pons, Jess Petersen, Yussif Hussane, Nikola Petroff, and Ivan Poddubny. During his travels, Cazeaux would happily give free wrestling lessons to police officers wherever he went. Needless to say, he made many friends.

Cazeaux was actually not his real name, his given name was Cazeau but early in his career, a promoter thought the added “X” on the end looked better on a poster, and so it was! Cazeaux stood six feet and weighed around 220 lbs.

Rather remarkably, Cazeaux’s fame did not end a century ago, his likeness, was featured as the exotic boxer who was the namesake of Uncle Pastuzo, in the delightful 2014 children’s movie Paddington.