First Important Match
Meeting Farmer Burns
Off to Alaska
His Two Greatest Foes
Frank Gotch, Superstar
At His Peak
Meeting Top Celebreties
His Fame Endured
Others' Words on Gotch
Frank Gotch, Superstar
Gotch became an athletic super star for his times. He was in demand for public
appearances everywhere. He starred in a play called "All About A Bout," and whenever
he walked on stage he was greeted by a standing ovation. He was invited to the White
House by President Teddy Roosevelt, and wrestled a Japanese jui jitsu expert in the
East Hall, making the Japanese expert submit. He attended a Chicago Cubs baseball
game at Wrigley Field and took his seat down front. After the game, nearly every member
of the Cubs team came to his private box and asked for his autograph.
Gotch traveled overseas with his play and was a huge hit. It seemed everywhere he went,
fans wanted to see him. He made wrestling "big time" almost over night.
The fans clamored for a rematch between Gotch and Hackenschmidt, and it was held
September 4 in Chicago. Comiskey Park, just a year old, was the site. Gotch stayed
in the Morrison Hotel, and the night before the match an estimated 1,000 fans stood
outside the hotel and shouted his name, refusing to leave until he made a brief
appearance. A crowd of 33,000 showed up for the epic match. Gotch won easier than the
first time. He won the first fall in 27 minutes and the second fall in just six minutes.
It was rumored that Hackenschmidt had suffered a serious leg injury in training several
days prior to the match, but a doctor had the injury x-rayed and it appeared okay. In
an article for Ring Magazine in 1931, the promoter, Jack Curley (also a close personal
friend of Hack's) said the injury was not of any degree that should have caused a problem.
"Disappointed as I was at Hack's defeat, I was pleased with the way the match had been
conducted. I could see no fault with it. I had thought Hack would win but I had been
wrong. The better man won." (The Ring, June 1931, page 45).
Earlier, in 1910, Gotch had defeated the great Polish wrestler Stanislaus Zbyszko in
Chicago. The extremely powerful Zbyszko, who stood 5-10 and weighed nearly 245 pounds,
was said to have won over 900 consecutive bouts before entering the ring against Gotch.
Gotch won the first fall in seven seconds with a lateral drop, and the second fall in
27 minutes and 33 seconds.
After beating Hackenschmidt a second time, Gotch was considered invincible. He was
without question the top box-office draw in all of sports. He continued to wrestle until
April 1, 1913, when he defeated another Russian strong man, George Lurich in Kansas City.
At that point, Gotch had not lost a match since 1906. His official record was 154-6, and
he won 88 consecutive matches and hadn't even had a close bout for nearly eight years.
He had also wrestled hundreds of exhibition matches without a single loss. He decided
to retire in late 1914.