Earl Caddock became the World Heavyweight champion when Joe Stecher forfeited their match. The match was signed in March 1917 and was held in Omaha, Nebraska in front of a sold out arena of 7,500 people for a gate of $14,000.00. Stecher outweighed the challenger by 25 lbs. and was positioned as aas a 3-to-1 favorite.
Stecher started the match by trying to take Caddock down, but Caddock successfully blocked every attempt. Eventually the champion’s onslaught began taking its toll and Caddock was knocked from the ring, hitting his head. Dazed and confused, Caddock re-entered the ring and was pinned after one hour and 22 minutes, after being trapped by a body scissors and wrist-lock.
After the ten minute break in the action, they began the second fall. The quicker Caddock was able to get behind the champion and get the best of him, pinning him after 50 minutes. The referee balked at calling the pin, however, arguing that both men were partially off of the mat. This sparked a near riot before the action was restarted. Eventually, Caddock was able to continue his dominance and used a reverse nelson which he transitioned into a head hold to pin Stecher to win the second fall in one hour and forty minutes.
Having been pinned for the first time, Stecher was expected to come out of the dressing room fighting after the break, but instead his manager, Joe Hetmanek entered the ring and announced that Stecher would be unable to continue. Caddock was awarded the match, and therefore the World title.04-09-1917: Joe Stecher forfeits the World championship to Earl Caddock after refusing to finish a match in Omaha, NE. Caddock serves in the U.S. infantry in World War I and Stecher in the Navy. The title lay undefended through much of the war.
Steve Yohe – Biography of Earl Caddock