Schmidt Splits On Mat; Bows To O’Connor, Beats Referee

Moline Daily Dispatch – June 27, 1961

Wrestler Hans Schmidt battled a pair of adversaries in Davenport last night – world heavyweight champion Pat O’Connor and referee Bob Sabre.

At the end of the wild evening, some doubt remained as to who beat whom, but officially, O’Connor beat Schmidt and Schmidt beat Sabre.

O’Connor didn’t take much more punishment than the defenseless referee.

Sabre battled Schmidt with threats of disqualification, while Schmidt battled Sabre with forearm blows and body tosses.

Soon after the match began, Schmidt, the huge man with the perpetual sneer, began his familiar act of choking, kicking, and whatever else is illegal in wrestling to wear down the champion.

When referee Sabre tried to intervene Schmidt turned on him, knocked him down and threw him out of the ring.

Meanwhile, O’Connor sat dazed on the mat, gasping for air. Schmidt returned to work on O’Connor, but when Sabre crawled back into the ring, the German started playing with both of them.

Deciding this situation was completely out of control, Sabre disqualified Schmidt and awarded the match to O’Connor, who after about five minutes of struggling, got free of Schmidt and left the ring.

But Schmidt remained in the ring, so incensing the crowd that O’Connor decided to return to see what he could do to calm the big man down.

Sabre allowed the match to continue, and Schmidt took up his choking act again.

Several times, however, O’Connor got in blows that flattened the big German. Sabre fared no better in this interlude, as he again shot out of the ring with Schmidt’s assistance.

With messed-up hair, and brown dirt on his white shirt and black pants, Sabre again climbed into the ring to attempt to establish order.

He promptly got jammed into the corner, with O’Connor in front of him. Schmidt enclosed both of them and rammed them against the turnbuckle.

O’Connor got free, but Sabre remained long enough to get belted in the chin by Schmidt, who then grabbed him by the hair and a leg and tossed him out of the ring again.

Schmidt grabbed O’Connor’s towel from the corner, wrapped it around the champion’s neck, choked him for a while and tossed him over his shoulder by using the towel.

O’Connor recovered sufficiently to belt Schmidt a few times, and the climax came when the champ bounced Schmidt off the ropes, landed on top of him, and pinned his shoulders, while Sabre hastily pounded three times on the mat.

Sabre moved in to declare O’Connor the winner, but as before, succeeded only in getting thrown out of the ring.

After the match, the breathless, perspiring referee said, “This guy Schmidt is really a nut.”

When asked if he has ever been battered like this before, Sabre said:

“Sure. It happens continuously, especially in Iowa and Wisconsin. These states don’t have wrestling commissions, so you take a wrestler’s license away or penalize him.”

From the time right before Schmidt’s disqualification, many of the nearly 2,000 who attended the match jammed around the ring, screaming for revenge. Police had trouble controlling the fans who wanted to help O’Connor and Sabre.

Police did succeed in removing a 10-foot beam that Schmidt brought up from under the ring with the intention of smashing the champion.

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