Category Archives: 1887


Atlanta Constitution – December 26, 1887

Atlanta – “Greek George” is here. Last night he made an hour’s visit to the editorial rooms of the Constitution. He is unquestionably a man of remarkable physical development. He is in his 36th year — just in his prime. He stands five feet eight and one-half inches in his stockings. His weight is 185 pounds, when in good condition. He is broad-shouldered, and compactly built. At present there is not a pound of surplus flesh on his bones. His neck is reamed with muscles and is abnormally developed. His arms and legs are like those of a giant. He is one of the strongest athletes in the profession. He has lifted 200 pounds with one finger. A few years ago he tested his strength and raised over 900 pounds with comparative ease. His activity is commensurate with his strength. He is as agile as a cat and as strong as a lion.

Seven years ago his professional career as a wrestler began. Since then he has vanquished every person he has encountered. He has wrestled with nearly 500 men, and has never suffered defeat. All the famous wrestlers of the United States have tested his powers to their own discomfiture. The first noted wrestler he met was Arrie Pinnell, of New Orleans, the champion heavyweight lifter of the world. Over this famous athlete he achieved a decisive victory. The next man he met was the noted Tom Cannon, of Chicago, whom he easily downed. Jones Genton was the next professional wrestler to encounter him on the carpet. The match took place in Chicago, and the Greek scored a brilliant victory. The celebrated “Jap,” hitherto unconquered, was decisively vanquished by “Greek George,” who threw him three times in three minutes and a half.

James McClellan, of Chicago, one of the most powerful, all-around athletes in America, was heavily backed by his friends, who felt confident he could throw any man in the world. He met with a signal defeat at the hands of the invincible Greek. The next man he defeated was Sam Mathews, of San Francisco, who was reputed to be an extraordinary wrestler. The Californian met the same fate as his predecessors. Perhaps the most famous contest in which “Greek George” was never engaged was his bout with a monster black bear. This occurred in New Orleans and excited intense interest among the sporting men of the city. Large sums were wagered that the best would prove too much for the man. But the invincible Greek was equal to the task. He gave Bruin one of his fierce hugs and the beast hunted grass. The bear was thrown five times in quick succession. The contest lasted only twenty-five minutes.

Sixteen months ago “Greek George” had his first contest with John Muhler. It occurred in Denver, Colorado, in the presence of a vast crowd of spectators. It proved one of the fiercest and most stubborn combats since the days of the gladiatorial contests in the amphitheatre in Rome. The wrestling match lasted four hours and twenty minutes and ended in a draw. At the conclusion of the contest both combatants were badly used up men. It was the hardest contest in which either of them had ever been engaged. So wonderful was the exhibition that the delighted crowd of spectators made up a handsome amount of money and divided it between the two Greeks.

During the past few months “Greek George” has been giving successful exhibitions in many of the southern cities. He wears several costly medals which were given him by his admirers. He has found no wrestler who afforded him amusement. In Savannah, night before last, he had a bout with Colonel Welch, the champion broad-swordsman of the world. Welch is also one of the most athletic men in the south. He believed he could throw Greek George, and a challenge was sent and accepted. The contest proved so one-sided that it was devoid of interest. The Greek dashed his adversary to the floor with such force that Welch’s arm was broken.

Yesterday morning when the great wrestler reached Atlanta he was met by a crowd. He has scores of admirers and backers in Atlanta. In conversation with a reporter last night he said, “I am anxiously waiting for the match. I feel first-rate and am certain I will make a good stand. I have never suffered defeat and would not lose this match for thousands of dollars. I am going to do my very best. Never was I in such excellent condition. I am just right. I know my task is not an easy one. Muhler is one of the greatest wrestlers in the world. I have felt his hug and know what his iron grasp means. He is not only powerful, but scientific. Our last contest proved how evenly matched we are. I think I can do better now than when I tackled him in Denver. I know some points and will spring something on him that will astonish the spectators. I think I will win. I am pretty confident of it. Whoever wins this match will be the champion of the world. Either of us is a better man, I think, than Muldoon.”

Muhler met Greek George and talked over the details of the match. Both are full of animal spirits. They are jovial fellows and seem perfectly harmless. Their match will be a perfectly fair one. Both men have much at stake, and will exert their utmost powers to win. The probability is that the contest will be the greatest exhibition of scientific wrestling every seen in this country.

A delegation of Savannah citizens will come over tomorrow. Several persons have come all the way from New York City to see this match. In tomorrow’s Constitution will be published some additional details of the contest, and the rules and regulations which will govern it. There is so active a demand for tickets that most of the best seats will be reserved by tonight. Persons who desire to secure eligible places should lose no time in securing reserved seats.



Atlanta Constitution – December 13, 1887

Atlanta – The first professional wrestling match that ever occurred in Atlanta took place last night in Concordia, and it was an exhibition, which amused and interested the large crowd which assembled to witness it.

Muldoon the Victor

The New York Times – July 5, 1887

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio, July 4. – William Muldoon and the Jap, Matsada Sorakichi, wrestled three bouts, Graeco-Roman style, at the fair grounds here this afternoon for a purse of $500.  Nearly 4,000 people witnessed the match.  Muldoon was declared the victor, winning the first and third bouts in eight and seven minutes, respectively.  The Jap won the second in four and a half minutes.


The Observer and Free Lance – May 14, 1887

Sam Mathews, the famous wrestler, defeated, on Feb. 7th, W. H. Hunter of Louisiana, in a wrestling match to decide the Championship.  He won in the 5th round.  In the last round Mathews picked Hunter up and threw him on his head on the bare floor and then pressed him to secure the fall.  When time was called it was found that Hunter had fainted, the cords in his neck having been sprained.


The Observer and Free Lance – May 14, 1887

Evan Lewis, ‘The Strangler,’ and Jack Carkeek, formerly of Grass Valley, wrestled a catch-as-catch-can match for $1000 a-side at the Grand Opera House in Milwaukee, Wis., on the evening of March 3rd.  The match, while it lasted, was one of the most terrific on record, almost murderous at times, and resulted in the defeat of Carkeek, who was so badly injured internally, that he is probably forever disabled from wrestling, if not fatally hurt.

Lewis And Acton

Chicago Tribune – April 12, 1887

The Strangler Finally Gets The Better Of His Famous Adversary

The catch-as-catch-can wrestling match between Joe Acton of Philadelphia and Evan Lewis of Madison, Wis., was decided at Battery D Armory last night. It was announced as for $500 a side, best three in five falls, three points down to constitute a fall.

For years, Acton has been regarded as invincible and also an honest wrestler. Ugly rumors, however, were current yesterday afternoon, and these no doubt caused many to doubt the honesty of last night’s match and remain away from the Armory. It appears that an effort was made to start betting on the contest yesterday afternoon at Dowling’s, and the result was such a rush to get money on Lewis at any odds that the crowd began to shout “Rats” whenever an offer was made.

Nobody offered a dollar on Acton. Finally, one man offered $100 to $30 on Lewis, another “raised” him by offering $180 to $200 that he could call every fall. At this Dowling ordered the names off the blackboard, saying: “This match is already won; we don’t want any betting here on a race of that kind.”

At the call of time the men closed immediately, Acton grabbing Lewis around the neck. In a few seconds Lewis was forced to the carpet, but got up quickly, with Acton having a back body-hold. They struggled for a few moments without result. Then Acton started Lewis for the carpet. Lewis turned and landed on top of Acton. The latter slipped out from under him like an eel and recovered his back body-hold. Then he got Lewis two points down, the Strangler saving himself by a bridge, which Acton tried to break. In a scuffle Lewis was forced half-way through the ropes. Lewis wriggled out of the hold and back on the platform.

Instantly Acton was on top of him and in a running scramble sent him again to the edge of the platform, where a hold on the ropes and a bridge came into service. Lewis escaped again. Acton, always on top, got hugged and jolted him until his bridge gave way, and, in ten minutes and forty-two seconds, a fall was awarded to Acton, who was loudly cheered. During the intermission Mr. Rueschaw gave an exhibition of club swinging.

When the men came out for the second bout Acton appeared blown, while Lewis was perfectly fresh. Lewis assumed the aggressive. There was a great deal of twisting and wriggling, some very clever work on both sides, and Lewis tried a hip-lock once more, raised Acton into the air, and landed him flat on his back. Time, 3 minutes and 4 seconds.

The third bout was comparatively tame. They closed quickly and, after a little maneuvering, went to the floor with Acton uppermost. The bout terminated by Lewis getting another hip-lock on Acton and again planting him on his back. Time, 5 minutes, 40 seconds.

The fourth bout settled the contest. Almost at the outset Lewis got a strangle hold, by which he held Acton for about a minute. Acton then slipped out of it, got on top of Lewis, and tipped him over his head. Lewis spun around on the top of his cranium and extricated himself. By a movement that brought down the house Acton with a back body hold slipped down behind Lewis and pitched Lewis backward over him.

The “Strangler” nearly landed on his back but managed to turn to his side. After this they stood up and indulged in efforts at tripping until Lewis once more hip-locked Acton and floored him, winning the match. Time, 6 minutes and 33 seconds. In this bout Lewis showed more skill than he has heretofore been given credit for. The contest as a whole was an interesting and at times exciting exhibition, and the spectators were pretty well satisfied.

However, the transparent fact that Acton was in no condition for a hard struggle, coupled with the peculiar betting, caused a great deal of unfavorable comment.

Joe Acton’s Victory

The New York Times – February 8, 1887

CHICAGO, Feb. 7. – Joe Acton, the champion catch-as-catch-can wrestler of America, defeated Evan Lewis, of Madison, Wis., to night, at Battery D Armory, in the presence of 4,000 spectators.  The winner took 75 per cent of the gate receipts and the loser 25 per cent.  A number in the audience pronounced the affair a hippodrome, but also declared it probably the best exhibition of skillful wrestling ever seen in Chicago.  Only once during the match did Lewis secure a “strangle” hold, and then Acton broke it immediately.  The men wrestled under special rules, which provided that two shoulders down should constitute a fall instead of two shoulders and a hip as is generally the case.  The terms were the best three in five falls, and Lewis won only the second.  At the conclusion of the match both men posted $100 to wrestle again according to regulation rules.


Augusta Evening News – November 25, 1887

Augusta – The crowd was badly disappointed, and as many left, they paid their compliments to the captain in language far more expressive than polite … It was bad, very bad, and the Greek and his manager, Mr. Hopper, are in righteous indignation. Muhler says he came here to have a fair, square contest, and he has certainly conducted himself in a proper way and has won hosts of admirers.


Atlanta Constitution – December 2, 1887

Atlanta – John Muhler challenges the world. His agent authorizes the statement that he will give $100 to any man in Atlanta who will throw Muhler one time in the course of an hour.


Atlanta Constitution – December 11, 1887

Atlanta – John Muhler has met and conquered such wrestlers as Duncan Ross, James Faulkner, Tom Cannon, Jack Connors, ‘the Jap,’ Lucien Marc Cristol, Edward Bibby, Joe Acton, Greek George and others. A match between him and Muldoon is a probability.