Detroit Free Press – April 7, 1936
By Tod Rockwell
The odds were 3,000 to 2 that Dick Shikat, world wrestling champ, would pin one John Leon Grandovich, title claimant, last night at Arena Gardens. Dick did. Twenty-two minutes after Shikat, the stolid German, was introduced to about 3,500 spectators who grossed $3,500 for Adam Weissmuller. Dick had pinned John with the standard hold of grapplers everywhere – the body press.
But it wasn’t all quite that simple. There was plenty of mumbling about the dullness of the main event as the spectators filed from the ringside. Customers at Arena Garden have been accustomed to a heap more “drammer” than Herr Dick and John Leon displayed last night.
Much of the fault can be attached to John, introduced as the man from Yugoslavia. When they took the robe from his ample person, it was the tip-off. John had the bullet head and the thick neck that you look for in wrestlers. And his legs indeed were stout. But his waistline – it would compare very favorably with the distinguished proportions of Bingo Brown, head commissioner of all wrestlers in our state.
So it proved that John Leon wasn’t a good playmate for the plodding German, whose face proved as unemotional as Joe Louis’. Five minutes into the bout, Grandovich was plainly tired out. And so he became a seeker of refuge under the rope.
He reached out for ‘em 15 out of the 22 – minutes. Herr Dick just couldn’t strut his stuff with a guy like that. Dick clamped on some smart armlocks, his famed head chanceries, combination nelsons and hammerlocks, but somehow they didn’t seem to register with the crowd. John kept seeking refuge under the ropes to spoil the show just when the German was about to turn on the pressure.
The champ allowed himself to be rolled into a leg split and toe hold after 10 minutes of the bout and John stormed at him in his native Jugoslavian that he’d tear off a foot. Dick paid him no heed. Instead, he kicked John in the face to register the lone punt of the evening.
From that time until near the end of the bout, it all was rather aimless. Shikat clamped some hammerlocks on the left arm of his opponent and the latter carried on as though his arm was broken. Near the end of the bout, John came out from under his rope refuge for the last time. Herr Dick decided that he had had enough of it all. Stupidly, Grandovich allowed himself to be picked up for a body slam. Dick flopped down on him like a wet mop and decided he’d do it just once more. And, with that, he was the winner.
Far more colorful and entertaining were the other bouts on the card. They follow: Ali Baba defeated Al George in 8:47; Ivan Rasputin pinned Hans Schnabel in 29:50; Walter Podolak defeated Frank Malcewicz on a foul in 10 minutes; Jose Manuel defeated Mike Kilonis in 12:10, and Baby Face Nelson pinned Muny Warham in 11:50. The latter bouts exhibited wrestling as we have come to know it in Detroit.