Seattle Post-Intelligencer – March 5, 1933
by Mark Kelly, Universal Syndicate
LOS ANGELES, March 4 — The most interesting sports story that could be written is that of the rise and fall of Ed (Strangler) Lewis, five times heavyweight champion of those beeg, strong fellas, Mr. Lewis will not oblige. He could, but the union rules say he musn’t. His is a game that the light of “pitiless publicity” cannot stand, yet there are times in the ups and downs of every rassler when he wants to hire himself the town lot, a loudspeaker and the radio rights while he tells the cock-eyed world what a frowsy, lousy game rasslin’ really is.
Their peeve usually cools. At least, by the time you get out the pad and pencil, have your fotog get the focus for these “confessions,” the old training bobs up and the gag slips back into place.
Ed Lewis has been wrestling for more than twenty years. Age kept sneaking up on Lewis. One eye went bad. The joints started to creak and easy living had such a holdon Lewis that he disliked training. He was a card and he had a pretty cute guy handling the reins in Billy Sandow.
Came the split with Sandow, Lewis said it was over money and Sandow said it was over Lewis’ absolute failure to keep in condition. On his own, Lewis heard the siren song of the Bowser-Curley factions back east. “Come East,” they sang. “Londos is tough to handle and we’ll throw him overboard, put you in his place and protect you.” Lewis went. They gave him a few push-overs and plenty of protection against the commissions and rival cliques. Lewis didn’t have to train much. But the smart East took two or three ganders at those fleshy overlays around his midriff and gave him the bird. Then they started staying away. Londos, younger and always conditioned, kept drawing them in wherever he went. The New York clique fumed and fussed.
Lewis and Steele drew but $11,000, whereas Steele and Londos in four N.Y. shots averaged close to $60,000 per. To the East, one Ed Lewis was the forgotten man and that New York’s commission awarded him their recognition as champion made no never mind. He was to the Eastern rasslin’ patron “an old man getting a lot of help.” Back he went over a trail that had nothing but doughnuts and coffee at its end — and bitter, deadening illusionment, to say nothing of the double X in profusion.
The other night in New York before a house that grossed less than $5,000, he met Jim Browning, a big kid from the sticks, who meant nothing to anyone and, of course, Lewis assumed that everything was fixed. It was — against him. Browning threw him twice, beat him in humiliating fashion, and that big, good-natured frame squirmed and squawked under the pressure of young leg muscles tortuously locked over that overstuffed paunch.
Ed Lewis is on his way back home to Glendale. He has a little property left, a trust fund, if it isn’t in soak, and some rather poignant memories of a career spent among the X’s and Double X’s. And Londos marches merrily on, grinning and winning. Wonder now what Lewis would say if he were asked to write that “If I Had It To Do Again” yarn?