Frank Gotch Defeats George Hackenschmidt For The World Title

by Mark Long

Frank Gotch vs. George Hackenschmidt 1 - historyofwrestling.comFrank Gotch, the American Heavyweight champion, defeated World Heavyweight champion George Hackenschmidt in front of more than 10,000 raucous fans in Chicago, Illinois. Hackenschmidt entered the ring standing 5′ 9″, and weighing 208 lbs. while challenger measured in at 5′ 11″, 196 lbs. Gotch marveled at the champion’s physique, declaring “Picture the most perfect man, and you’ve described George Hackenschmidt.”

The match took place on a warm night at the Dexter Park Pavilion, and was made even hotter by the brights light brought in for the film cameras. Thus, both wrestlers were soaked in sweat in the middle of the match. At one point, Hackenschmidt called to the referee to stop the match, suggesting that both men clean and dry off so that they might get a grip on the other. The referee demurred arguing that he should have complained about the slippery conditions before. Hackenschmidt later appealed to Gotch to call the match a draw, to which Gotch laughed. After wrestling for more than two hours, Gotch was able to get the champion in a toe-hold, forcing him to concede the match and the championship.

While Hackenschmidt was gracious in the post-match interviews, he complained bitterly after returning to Europe, He accused Gotch of covering his body with turpentine to make himself slippery. He also accused Gotch of showing poor sportsmanship, not only physically (using head butts and slaps to the face, but also of trash-talking throughout the match. Ringsiders argued that Gotch was guilty as accused, but also said that Hackenschmidt fought roughly as well. In his book “Fall Guys,” author Marcus Griffen called it “one of the most disgraceful exhibitions ever witnessed.