Big Champion Takes Two Falls In A Row

The San Francisco Call – April 12, 1911
By William J. Slattery

Ordeman Shows Skill as Defensive Performer, But Is Easily Tossed to the Mat

San Francisco took its first look at Frank Gotch, world’s heavy weight champion wrestler last night.  It was the first time that a mat champion has shown here since the days that William Muldoon reigned as champion, but for all this the small sized crowd did not even show a flash of enthusiasm.  Incidentally, Gotch won the match by throwing Henry Ordeman in two straight falls, the first time in 19 1/2 minutes and the second time in 16 ½ minutes.  Perhaps he might have ended the match in half the time had he tried.

The contest proved one thing conclusively—wrestling will never do in San Francisco while the boxing game thrives.  Just imagine Jack Johnson or Ad Wolgast appearing before a $500 house.  Horrors!  This is what greeted Gotch, and he was lucky to get even that.

No one seemed to take the affair seriously. Those who did pay their money to gain admittance to Dreamland went because they wanted to see what manner of man this mighty Gotch is.  One peek at him and the crowd was satisfied.  His opponent did not figure, for nine-tenths of those present were firm in their belief that he is simply in the employ of the champion, and that he goes around the country and does what Gotch tells him to do.  They may be wrong, but it’s hard to convince them at that.

The fans of San Francisco do not understand the finer points of the ancient game.  Few of those present last night knew not the difference between a hammer and lock and a half nelson, but every one could tell you very readily whether a boxer, if he were in the ring, were trying to hook his left for the jaw or attempting a right rip for the body.

The experts who watched the match closely were agreed that Gotch is the most wonderful big wrestler who ever appeared before a crowd in this city and that he well deserves the proud title which he bears.  He did not try to extend himself last night, and therefore we don’t know what he can do or what he might have done had he been put to a serious test.

When Ordeman entered the ring, nobody knew him. Some of the fans must have thought that he was a towel swinger or an assistant to the janitor, for they invited him to get busy with the rosin giant.  Ordeman, hailed as the “Norwegian giant,” is a big, husky fellow, fine looking and quick as a cat, but he is not in the same class with the champion.

Gotch assumed the aggressive from the moment the bell sounded till the shoulders of the Norwegian were pinned to the floor for the second and last time.  If the men had an understanding before they went into the ring, they surely carried things out to a T, for the game worked like clockwork.  It was so smooth and even as to eliminate any possible chance for excitement.

Ordeman proved a very clever defensive man.  Time after time he wiggled away from the champion when he seemed hopelessly gone. Time after time Gotch tried his world renowned toe hold, but each time the Norwegian broke it cleverly and quickly.  However, the superior size and strength of the conqueror of Hackenschmidt was telling on Ordeman all the time.

The first fall was the result of a crotch and half nelson, which Gotch secured on his man after making many a futile effort.  Ordeman was on the floor most of the time and Gotch bent over him, trying every hold he knew.  The Norwegian was as slippery as the eel which we sometimes read about, and every time he got away the crowd cheered him. The San Francisco crowd is always with the under dog.

Finally Gotch pinned the arms of his man and slowly but surely bore him flat on his back.  Ordeman made a splendid resistance up to this time, but once the champion had him where he wanted him, the Norwegian stood no chance in the world of making a successful resistance. Gotch seemed to have him tired, bewildered and out-generaled.

As was expected, the second fail came much quicker than the first. The crowd looked for this and it was even surprised when Ordeman lasted 16 1/2 minutes.  The Norwegian created one little flurry by hurling Gotch against the ropes and assuming the aggressive for a few seconds, but it was only a flash in the pan and did not count at all.

The final fall was secured on a head and notch hold, after the champion had tried many a half Nelson, several hammer locks and his noted toe hold.  Ordeman broke all of those successfully and was cheered for his efforts.  It looked as though Gotch simply waited till his man was tired and then applied the necessary finishing touches.

In the preliminary bout Bob Evans of Portland and Frank Smith of Oakland started.  Evans had an easy time with his man, throwing him twice inside of 10 minutes.

Roger’ Cornell refereed both contests and the watch was held by Dr. George M. Chase, the noted pugilistic and wrestling authority and time keeper.


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