Raicevich’s Neck Bridge

Posted on Thursday, June 17th, 2021 by John Wood
We’ve covered Giovanni Raicevich before. Raicevich was known for his thick, strong neck — which is obviously of great use in the mat game for a variety of reasons. Here, Raicevich performs a wrestler’s bridge with at least 200 lbs.
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Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2021 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.

Paul Belling

Posted on Tuesday, June 15th, 2021 by John Wood
Paul Belling was billed as the national champion wrestler of Austria in the late 1800’s. He scrapped with the best of them including: Alex Aberg, George Lurich, Ursus Jankowsky, Stan Zbyszko, Ivan Poddubny, John Pohl, Tom Cannon, George Hackenschmidt, Magnus Bech-Olsen, Jess Pedersen, and Franz “Cyclops” Bienkowski. When his competitive career came to a close Belling took his winnings and opened a cafe on the west end of London (which was eventually raided for being an illegal casino.)

Nat Pendleton on The Cover of Physical Culture

Posted on Monday, March 1st, 2021 by John Wood
Nat Pendleton was a fantastic college wrestler at Columbia University (team captain and 2x EIWA Champion, 1914-15) who went on to take the Silver medal in Heavyweight class the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium. (He was defeated by Robert Roth of Switzerland in a match that many say Pendleton really won.)

After that, Pendleton went to Hollywood and landed many bit parts and minor roles, typically thugs, gangsters, and policemen due to his imposing muscular stature. Pendleton stuck with it in Hollywood and rather amazingly, parlayed this into some fairly substantial roles. Of particular note to those with Iron Game interest, Pendleton portrayed Eugen Sandow in the movie The Great Ziegfeld (1935) and another very Sandow-like strongman character (known as Goliath) in the 1939 Marx Brothers movie “At the Circus.”

Above, Pendleton was featured on the cover and interview in the May, 1940 issue of Bernarr MacFadden’s “Physical Culture” magazine. As you can see, Pendleton didn’t miss many workouts and his condition would certainly still be impressive today.

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2021 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 © 2005-2021 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.

Don Leo Jonathan

Posted on Sunday, June 30th, 2019 by John Wood
Don Leo Jonathan, the famed “Mormon Giant,” was a great pro-wrestler who also understood the value of weightlifting. Here he is doing some pressing with a fantastic globe barbell at Brown’s gymnasium in Coffeeville, Kansas, circa the early 1950’s.

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2021 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 © 2005-2021 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.

Harry Ekizian

Posted on Sunday, May 19th, 2019 by John Wood
Harry Ekizian
As a boy, Harry Ekizian escaped the Armenian Genocide. As if that wasn’t bad enough, a short time later he was sold as a slave to Arabs. After four years of hard labor, he escaped and eventually made his way to the United States and joined the Navy where he worked as a fireman. There, he learned wrestling and won the Fleet Championship in the middleweight, light heavyweight, and heavyweight divisions and after an international match in Copenhagen, Ekizian was awarded the title of World Champion Navy Wrestler. Here, Harry exhibits his immense strength on the deck of the airplane carrier Lexington as he resists twelve sailors pulling a thick rope around his neck. Harry had an unusual diet: he ate eight pounds of onions a day!

Ekizian eventually retired from the Navy in 1932, shaved his head, and became the well known “heel” wrestler “Ali Baba.” He wrestled all the greats of the day, including Milo Steinborn on one occasion. On April 24, 1936, Ekizian defeated World Heavyweight Champion Dick Shikat in front of over 8,000 spectators in Detroit, Michigan and was formally declared the World Heavyweight Champion a month later when he defeated Shikat a second time at Madison Square Garden.

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2021 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 © 2005-2021 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.

Carl Busch

Posted on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019 by John Wood
Carl Busch
Another look at Carl Busch as he performs a Crucifix lift with a pair of German Kettlebells. At one time Busch had an act where he wrestled a bull (Busch always won.)

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2021 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 © 2005-2021 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.

Giovanni Raicevich

Posted on Thursday, August 16th, 2018 by John Wood
Giovanni Raicevich was an Italian professional wrestler known for his great strength. He won many international tournaments and two world championships in 1907 (defeating Laurent le Beaucairois.) and 1909 (defeating Paul Pons). Raicevich fought (but lost to) Frank Gotch in November of 1909 in a 2-out-of-3 falls match. Raicevich retired after his last professional match, a win against Hans Kavan, in 1929. His brothers were Roberto Massimo and Emilio Ruggerio Raičević who were also champion wrestlers.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2021 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 © 2005-2021 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.

Otto Arco

Posted on Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 by John Wood
Otto Arco on the cover of the November, 1925 issue of Bernarr MacFadden’s Muscle Builder Magazine. In 1907, Arco became the second man in the world to hoist double bodyweight overhead with a 278-1/2 pound lift at 138 pound of bodyweight. He was also the first to one hand snatch over bodyweight with a 145-pound lift. Arco was a great wrestler, gymnast and hand balancer. He and his brother Pete performed with several different circuses in the US and abroad. Arco achieved his tremendous form through a variety of training methods, traditional weight lifting, gymnastics and Muscle Control.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2021 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 © 2005-2021 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.

Martin “Farmer” Burns

Posted on Thursday, March 8th, 2018 by John Wood
Iowa-born Martin “Farmer” Burns was a champion wrestler and America’s premier grappler at the turn of the last century. The “Old Farmer” trained hard, and that made him hard to beat. Plenty of wrestler’s bridges gave him a 20″ neck at a bodyweight of only 165 pounds and his level of conditioning was legendary, regularly tiring out much larger and stronger opponents until they could easily be pinned. Burns wrestled over 6000 matches, lost only 7 and held the World’s Championship on two separate occasions. Once his competitive career came to an end, the “Old Farmer” as he was known, focused on managing and training other wrestlers and athletes. His most famous pupil was Frank Gotch, who, thanks in large part to Farmer Burns’ coaching, became arguably the greatest wrestler of all time.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2021 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 © 2005-2021 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.

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.