16,800 See Londos Pin Stecher; 59 Minutes

Chicago Tribune – March 4, 1933
By Charles Bartlett

James Londos still is in control of at least 51 per cent of the world’s wrestling championship, despite the earnest efforts of Joe Stecher, once the main stockholder in the corporation, to persuade him to relinquish it at the Stadium last night.

The venerable Joseph, who held Londos to a draw at the Coliseum six weeks ago, did well for a large part of the entertainment, but his years began to tell on him before an hour was up, and James finally made him hold still with a series of body slams and a reverse head lock in 59 minutes and 9 seconds.

The ageing Nebraskan, who has held the title three times, found that not even his patented scissors hold could daunt Londos.

The boxing impresarios present wept and gnawed at their fingernails when they viewed the large numbers peopling almost all of the red seats in the big house, a fine tribute to Dr. John Krone, the patron saint of Chicago wrestling, who was moved beyond words by the attendance, which was officially 16,820 with receipts of $29,579.

After the preliminary acts had been disposed of and a hireling had gone to the prop room to dig up the bouquet in use at all of Londos’ Chicago bouts for the last year, the curtain rose on the feature number of the evening. In comparison with the lesser acts on the bill, the Londos-Stecher business was heavy drama. Stecher was particularly serious about his work, and Londos, obviously respectful of Joe’s deadly scissors, mounted his bicycle early and nearly climbed on Referee Emil Thiry’s shoulders once to escape it. Stecher finally caught up to the champion and twined his legs around Jim while kneading the latter’s jowls with his knuckles for nearly fifteen minutes.

Londos eventually squirmed out of this at about the thirty-minute mark and gave Stecher a bit of agony himself with an armlock. The Nebraskan repaid him plenty with a split hold which caused James no end of pain.

Stecher began to develop a fondness for the corners after fifty minutes, with the idea of luring Londos into another scissors hold, but James didn’t like the idea and surprised all present by getting that grip on Stecher himself and applying it so strenuously that it appeared the match was over.

They did a polka along the ropes after Joe finally freed himself, and Londos once more found the Nebraskan’s legs wound around his withers, a situation which endured for five minutes. Then Jim found the key to the puzzle and came out of it to repay Stecher for his split hold earlier in the performance.

Within 57 minutes of the allotted time consummated, the boys lightened the burden of the script with a few comedy lines. These included the hurling of Stecher into the laps of the commission and the subsequent pursuit of Londos around the ring for about five furlongs. Then came the curtain with all of the old Londos flourish.

It was 8:20 o’clock when the clang of steel bars and an ominous rumbling emanated from the nether regions of the building, indicating that the first twosome of the evening’s herd had been released from the cages below.

This number was composed of Jack Smith of Chicago and Lou Plummer of Waukegan and was a decided triumph for clean play and sportsmanship. The crowd howled its approval when Smith overcame Plummer with a series of headlocks and a flying mare in 10 minutes and 59 seconds.

Jim McMillen, the old Illinois football player, and Hans Steinke, the original German oak, lumbered up for the second skit on the bill, but arrived at no decision, Referee Managoff finally calling it even after 20 minutes.

After trailing for three quarters, Joe Savoldi, the people’s choice of Three Oaks, Mich., who used to lug a football for Notre Dame, rallied and scored four touchdowns in the last period to defeat Joe Cox of Cleveland with a body slam formation in 16:46.

The shortest priced favorite on the program went to the post when Abe Coleman, the Bronx chimpanzee, waddled into the ring. The railbirds took tickets on Abe, not because of any especial information on him, but because they did not like his opponent, George Zaharias of Colorado.

It was this performance which gave the ringside customers their money’s worth, for only they could glimpse the touch that is Zaharias, which makes him the foremost ham of this grappling art. Coleman proved to be no slouch at crying himself, and finally earned a dead heat in 30 minutes, a new track record for a match race with Zaharias.

Ray Steele, one of the troupers of the Londos stock company, and Pat O’Shocker, who wasn’t even playing butlers in the grunting guild’s production of two years ago, but has since risen to some fairly fat parts, appeared in what was called the semi-windup. Steele finally brought down the house and O’Shocker with a reverse body lock in 19:55.

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