There have been few wrestlers since then who trained more seriously than Gotch… and he trained just like a wrestler should. Calisthenics, road work, and sparing gave Gotch a killer’s heart and an advantage in every single match. The “Old Farmer” Farmer Burns understood the game of wrestling better than anyone and trained his student to be the best.
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.”
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.
The Great Gama publicly challenged all comers and easily defeated the likes of the American Champion Dr. Benjamin Roller (who he “threw” 13 times in 15 minutes), Stanislaus Zbyszko of Poland, the European John Lemm of Switzerland, and Maurice Deriaz of France. Interestingly, Gotch and Hackenschmidt refused to face him.
Gama’s daily training routine consisted of thousands of traditional squats and pushups… and after seeing him train, many would-be challengers wanted no part. The object Gama is seen holding here was not a piece of training equipment but an ornamental scepter known as a Gurz, the Indian Wrestling version of the Championship Belt.