Frank Gotch

Posted on Wednesday, February 20th, 2019 by John Wood
Frank Gotch
Frank Gotch defeated George Hackenschmidt twice, and the likes of Tom Jenkins, Benjamin Roller, and Stanislaus Zbyszko on his way to holding the Heavyweight Championship longer than any man before or since. It was Gotch’s technique that made him a Champion (Gotch’s feared step-over-toe-hold was nearly impossible to defend) but it was his training that made him a Legend.

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.

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.

Antonino “Argentina” Rocca

Posted on Tuesday, March 6th, 2018 by John Wood
Antonino “Argentina” Rocca was one of the greatest pure athletes to ever enter the squared circle. His incredible jumping feats and aerial maneuvers left an indelible mark on the world of pro-wrestling. His signature move was the “Argentine Backbreaker” although it was flying dropkick after flying dropkick which often put his foes down for good. Rocca was trained by Stanislaus Zbyszko. It should also be noted that this magazine was published by none other than Joe Weider.
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.

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.

The Vindobona Athletic Club

Posted on Saturday, October 8th, 2016 by John Wood

A look a the Vindobona Athletic club (Vienna) and some of their excellent training equipment, circa 1900. Their most famous member, the great strongman and wrestler Stanislaus Zbyszko, sits front and center.
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.

Magnus Bech-Olsen

Posted on Saturday, May 4th, 2013 by John Wood

Magnus Bech-Olsen

Denmark-born Magnus Bech-Olsen won the wrestling world championship in 1892 and held the title until 1903. During his competitive years, Bech-Olsen had many memorable battles with the likes of Karl Abs, Stanislaus Zbyszko, Alex Aberg, Antonie Pierri,Paul Pons, “Ursus” Jankowski, Paul Belling, Ernst Roeber, Constant Le Marin and even Frank Gotch. A few years after retiring from wrestling, Bech Olsen established his own traveling circus.

The Great Gama: Lion of The Punjab

Posted on Sunday, March 4th, 2012 by John Wood

The Great Gama: Lion of The Punjab

Ghulam Muhammad, The Great Gama, is the greatest Pehlwan, or Indian wrestler, who ever lived. He is the only wrestler to remain undefeated throughout the course of his entire career which spanned over 5000 matches.

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.