Col. James H. McLaughlin Wins the Diamond Championship Belt

by Mark Long


Colonel James McLaughlin - historyofwrestling.comCol. James H. McLaughlin, a former defeated Barney Smith for the “Diamond Championship Belt.” The match took place in Detroit, Michigan under collar & elbow rules as part of a tournament. The winner of the tournament would be awarded a title belt made of gold and diamonds worth a reported $3,000.00. McLaughlin and Smith made it to the final where the Colonel was routing his opponent (throwing him five times), but was being denied the victory by the referee. Incensed, McLaughlin grabbed Smith and tossed him over his head. Smith landed on his head and neck in the orchestra pit and was carried off. The referee had no choice but to award McLaughlin the first championship belt ever awarded in America and was declared the Collar & Elbow champion of the world.

Barney Smith was reported to be wandering the streets in his underwear during a rainstorm.The next morning in the pouring rain Barney Smith was found wandering the the streets in his pajamas. The injuries to his brain were so severe that he was taken to an asylum where he lived for the rest of his life. The guilt-ridden McLaughlin donated his earnings from the match to Smith’s wife.