Tag Archives: Greek George

Noted Wrestlers

Omaha Daily Republican – June 29, 1886

Greek George and Antoine Pierre Behind the Bars.

Two well known wrestlers, Greek George and Antoine Pierre, are prisoners in the central station awaiting the arrival of Denver officers, at whose instance the men were arrested Sunday morning as they stepped from an incoming Denver train. Continue reading

A Modern Hercules

The Pittsburg Press – September 7, 1890

Greek George The Giant Of All The Wrestlers.

He Has Never Yet Been Defeated.
What He Says of the Art of Wrestling.

Since the death of Clarence Whistler, of Kansas City, the recognized American champion athlete, there are many aspirants for the title of “champion mixed wrestler,” and several lay claim to it.

Among those who are classed as the champion is “Greek George,” and until he meets with defeat at the hands of either Acton, Muldoon or Ross he will hold that honor.  He has an excellent record, as his list of victories goes to show.

The “Greek” is a powerfully built man, thoroughly versed in the science of wrestling and has a firm aversion to all kinds of “hippodromes.”  He stands ready to back himself for any amount against any wrestler in the world at catch-as-catch-can.

Invisible Strangle Hold

Invisible Strangle Hold

George came to this country in 1877.  He traveled with Antonio Pannay, the German Hercules, showing in South America, Peru and Chili.  His first public appearance as an athlete in this country was in 1880, at the Athenaeum gymnasium in Chicago, defeating George, the janitor of the gymnasium, in two straight falls, Graeco-Roman style, in seven minutes, Muldoon acting as the referee.

Breaking Bridge With Leg

Breaking Bridge With Leg

He next wrestled a draw, Graeco-Roman style, with Muldoon at the lyceum theater, Chicago.  Time, 25 minutes.

At the Olympic, in Chicago, George subsequently won a fall from Muldoon in 11 minutes.  The affair wound up in a wrangle, the referee refusing to give a decision.

He is truly a remarkable wrestler.  He has almost superhuman strength and marvelously good wind.

That catch-as-catch-can is the most used now is shown by the fact that no other style of wrestling is permitted in the amateur ranks.  Catch-as-catch-can explains itself by its own name.  The restrictions are few, but no striking or kicking is allowed.

“I unhesitatingly give preference to the collar and elbow as being the most scientific and beautiful of them all.”

Continuing he said:
“Next to it and very close behind is the Graeco-Roman.  This last school of wrestling does not originate with the Anglo-Saxon race at all.  It first came into public notice in England and American within the past 30 years.  Its name is a misnomer, as it has nothing whatever to do with the methods known in Greece or Rome.  Its name should be changed to ‘Franco-Roman.’  It is an old German style of wrestling, which was first developed in France.  It came into vogue in England some 20 years ago and then found its way to this country, where it immediately aroused great enthusiasm and was adopted as the favorite style of wrestling.”

It is strange, but nevertheless a fact, that the masters of the Graeco-Roman style at present day are born Americans.

A great number of people are laboring under the idea that the great pugilists are wrestlers.  It is not necessary to be a wrestler in order to be a pugilist, or vice versa.

“The most effective hold,” said Champion George, “is the neck lock.  There are others that are very useful and which every wrestler has to learn. These are the palm lock, body lock and hip lock.  These are all allowed under the rules.  The double Nelson lock is a very hard lock to acquire.  In Graeco-Roman wrestling you are not allowed to catch the legs or to clasp hands so as to break fingers.”

George went on to say that in making the bridge – that is, arching the back and resting on hands, elbows, head and feet, so as to avoid a fall – the man on top is allowed to press his forearm against the under man’s neck, but he must not press his fingers.

“Would not the forearm pressure choke a man as quick as the hand?”

“Yes; but there’s nothing to prevent the under man from rolling over.  This ‘side roll’ is one of the ways of escaping from the bridge.  If you are down you seize your opponent’s wrist and roll him under if he is not watching himself.”

Greek George said in conclusion: “In my opinion the Americans are away ahead of the English wrestlers, just the same as they are in the fighting line.”


Otago Witness – July 6, 1899

“Greek George,” a champion wrestler and weight-lifter, is at present in Dunedin. He will probably give an exhibition of his great strength shortly. He has a standing challenge to the world for wrestling in Graeco-Roman, catch-as-catch-can, collar and elbow, side haul, and Cornish wrestling.  “Greek George” has travelled nearly all over the world. He has credentials to show that he fought in the recent war between Turkey and Greece.


Atlanta Constitution – January 23, 1888

Atlanta – Greek George is in Birmingham trying to get up a match with Duncan C. Ross, who is also there. The Frenchman with many aliases agreed to meet George, and the match was advertised to take place night before last. The Frenchman failed to put up the money, and the Greek declined to wrestle.


Atlanta Constitution – January 8, 1888

Savannah – The crowd of spectators left the hall satisfied that George is a more skillful wrestler than his burly opponent. Ross weighed some twenty pounds more than George was perfectly fresh when he went into the match. George had slept badly for several nights, and was not in his best trim. He did not understand the fancy style and harness business. Ross is au fait at this. Had the wrestling been in the catch-as-catch-can style George would have thrown his antagonist every time. I am willing to back George against any man in the world in catch-as-catch-can. He is admitted to be the champion of the world in this branch.


Atlanta Constitution – January 6, 1888

Atlanta – The crowd of people in Concordia Hall last night saw one of the most exciting wrestling matches ever contested in the United States. The contestants are men who have never suffered defeat, and it is doubtful if they have any superiors in this country. Both claim the championship of the world in the Graeco-Roman and catch-as-catch-can styles of wrestling.

Greek George won the first fall at catch-as-catch-can in 29 minutes; Muhler then threw his opponent in 36 minutes of Graeco-Roman grappling; the third fall was side hold — “A handkerchief tied in a knot was held by both men. Each man held the other by the back of his trunk. Should either relax his hold he would lose. The men tried to trip each other and jerked each other around for several minutes. This is an uninteresting sort of wrestling and the spectators did not enjoy it very much. The contest, however, was soon ended. Through inadvertence, Greek George relaxed his hold on Muhler’s trunk. Time was instantly called.” … “At this juncture, Greek George approached the front of the platform and said, ‘Gentlemen, I am not used to wrestling side-hold; I don’t know anything about it. I never tried it until tonight. But I am willing to wrestle Muhler catch-as-catch-can or Graeco-Roman for $500 a side, and here’s the money.’ As he said this he threw a big roll of bills upon the carpet. ‘Now let Muhler or his backers cover it,’ he cried.

Colonel C. C. Gallaway, of Hilldeer, Texas, rose and exclaimed, ‘Here’s one hundred dollars to back George,’ and a hundred dollar bill was passed up to the stage. In a few minutes this money was covered, and Muhler and George each put a forfeit of fifty dollars. It was decided that the match should take place next Monday night, for $250 a side. The money was placed in the hands of Mr. J. K. Ohl, city editor of The Constitution, who has consented to be the stakeholder. The wrestlers and their backers will meet this afternoon at 3 o’clock in the editorial rooms of The Constitution, where articles of agreement will be signed. The entertainment closed with a series of exciting sparring bouts between Dennis O’Leary and Muhler, and between Greek George and Jim Lynch. This exhibition was enjoyed heartily by everybody, and the two amateurs were complimented upon the skill and pluck they displayed.


Atlanta Constitution – December 28, 1887

Atlanta – The wrestling match in Concordia Hall last night between “Greek George” and John Muhler proved one of the most exciting sporting events ever seen in the south.

In the hall was an immense crowd of spectators, who showed intense interest in the match from the beginning to the close. Many prominent citizens were present. Mayor Cooper occupied a front seat, and enjoyed the sport as much as anybody else. Among other prominent gentlemen who were deeply interested, the following were noticed: Mr. Welborn Colquitt, Mr. H. W. Grady, Dr. Robert Westmoreland, Mr. G. H. Lumpkin, Captain Joyner, Dr. Amos Fox, Mr. Gentry, Mr. Cobb Jackson, Mr. A. J. Kennedy, Mr. Steve Ryan, Mr. H. H. Cabiness, Mr. C. S. Atwood, Dr. A. W. Calhoun, Mr. J. J. Orchard, Mr. H. H. Colquitt, Mr. J. H. Tennant, Mr. Ildo Ramsdell, Mr. E. B. Hook, Mr. Face, Mr. James O’Neill, Mr. Walter Venable, Mr. W. J. Pelot and many others.

It was half-past 8 o’clock when the footlights were turned up and the wrestlers entered their rooms. A young man enlivened the twenty minutes’ wait by playing a sprightly selection on the piano. The crowd became impatient and cries of “Play ball! Let her go, Gallagher! Start the match!” were heard in all parts of the hall.

Mr. Harry Hill stepped out upon the stage and was loudly applauded as he neared the footlights. He made a very neat announcement to the effect that the two greatest wrestlers living would contend for the championship of the world; that the match would consist of the two best in three, Graeco-Roman style; that the victor would receive seventy-five per cent of the gate money, and the other twenty-five per cent would go to the vanquished.

“Permit me, gentlemen,” Mr. Hill continued, “to introduce to you the combatants. Here is Mr. John Muhler.”

Thereupon Muhler stepped out and made a bow to the audience. He was vociferously cheered. He was naked down to his waist. He wore tights, a trunk and a pair of thick socks.

Mr. Hill announced, “Greek George,” and he came out and bowed. He, too, received a great deal of applause. His costume was the same as that of his antagonist, only its colors were different.

It was announced that Mr. James Lynch had been selected as the referee, and that Mr. Steve Grady would assist him. Judge Hinton Wright was requested to act as timekeeper.

The preliminaries being disposed of, the referee called time at precisely ten minutes before nine o’clock, and the two Greeks walked lightly upon the carpet. This carpet was sixteen feet square and nearly three inches thick. It was firmly tacked down to the floor. The contestants faced each other, shook hands, and then began.

The men presented a similar appearance as they faced each other. Both are wonderful specimens of physical development, and as the crowd measured with their eye the Herculean proportions of the athletes, there was an involuntary burst of applause, which caused the wrestlers to pause a moment to bow to the crowd before them. But not another moment was wasted. At it the Greeks went. From the first it was obvious that Muhler was the favorite, as indicated by such cries as “Go it, John!” and “Throw him, Muhler!” The men slapped each other on the shoulder with smart force and then they began.

Both men were striving to secure an advantage. Greek George took the attack and soon had his opponent’s head as indicated in the position of the above cut. It was thought by the spectators that “Greek George” had a sufficient advantage to throw Muhler. Not so. In a few minutes the tables were turned. Muhler, by a superhuman effort, wrenched loose his head and arms and forced his opponent to the carpet. This feat elicited great applause. The wily George was not to be caught in this way. By a dexterous twist of his back and shoulders he secured his favorite defensive position known as the

Muhler tugged like a giant to force George’s shoulders down to the floor, but all his efforts were futile. In a minute the wrestlers upon their feet. They went at it again, and for ten minutes strove earnestly to down each other. At the expiration of twenty minutes the referee said the first bout was ended, and there would be a short intermission so that the wrestlers could be wiped down.

The wrestlers came out apparently as fresh as when they started. They did some fancy work and then went at it like sluggers. At the end of twenty minutes Muhler was on his side and his adversary was sitting upon him and trying desperately to turn him over. After some very scientific work, Greek George got one of Muhler’s shoulders down. Just how it was done nobody knew, but eight minutes later, “Greek George” was lying upon his back. He could not get the bridge in time. It was a clean fall. The referee declared that Muhler had won the first fall in forty-eight minutes. The hall shook with applause.

The wrestlers came to time smiling for the second round. Muhler this time took the offensive. Some beautiful work was done by both men and they were liberally applauded. The contest became more and more exciting, and the crowd got more and more enthusiastic. At the end of twenty minutes the referee called “time.” During an intermission of fifteen minutes there was a very amusing slugging bout between Mr. Como, a wiry little fellow, and Mr. Noon, from County Galway, Ireland. Both men displayed considerable science. When “time” was called the spectators began showering upon the stage pennies, quarters, half-dollars and dollars. The boxers must have received some $15 and $20 between them.

At 10:45 o’clock the wrestlers came out again. There was some slugging and grappling for position. The men were up one minute and down the next. At the expiration of thirteen minutes, “Greek George,” by a surprising movement, threw his adversary upon his back. The referee gave the fall to George. Great applause greeted this announcement. Honors were easy, and the contest was still more exciting and uncertain. Both combatants seemed to be favorites from this point to the end.

It was exactly twenty before 12 o’clock when Judge Wright said to the crowd that the final round be begun in two minutes, and that if neither wrestler was victor before the clock struck twelve the match would be declared a draw. This announcement did not please the crowd. It was the general desire that the match be contested to the bitter end. When the men appeared upon the carpet they were heartily cheered. There was in the eyes of both a look of determination, which caused their admirers to expect some terrific work.

The exertions of the men were painful to behold. They worked as if their life depended upon the result. As the time passed they fought with increased determination. It wanted only three minutes to midnight. Both men lay upon the carpet, on their sides. If one of them could turn his adversary over, the victory would be his. But his could not be done. While both men were trying to accomplish this, the referee called “time.” Instantly the Greeks were upon their feet.

“Greek George” came to the front of the platform and said he would resume the match either next Thursday or Friday night. The details of this match will be given in tomorrow’s Constitution.


Atlanta Constitution – December 27, 1887

Atlanta – The great wrestling match, an event which has been looked forward to for several weeks, will take place tonight. The contestants will be “Greek George” and John Muhler, the two most scientific wrestlers in the world. The match will take place in Concordia Hall. The stage will be arranged like it was for the wrestling contest between Muhler and O’Leary. A thick carpet will be fastened down securely. This will be about two inches in thickness and will cover a space about sixteen feet square.

The doors of the hall will be opened at 7:15 o’clock, and the match will begin at 8, or a few minutes thereafter. Mr. Dennis O’Leary has been chosen as the second for Muhler and has indicated his willingness to serve. Greek George has not yet named his second. He will select some well-known Atlanta gentleman who is familiar with the rules which govern wrestling contests. Tickets may be had at any of the following places: Steve Grady’s, the New Era saloon, and Jim Lynch’s saloon. Reserved seats cost $1; general admission 50 cents.

The crowd of spectators will select the referee just before the match begins. Either Mr. Jim Lynch or Mr. Henry Beermann will be chosen. Both of these gentlemen are ardent devotees of athletic sports, and are themselves skillful wrestlers and boxers. Besides, they are conversant with the rules of the ring. Either one would be perfectly acceptable to both contestants and their backers. No person will be permitted to go upon the stage except the master of ceremonies, the referee and the wrestlers. A brass band will be present to enliven the entertainment.

The indications are that an immense crowd will be in attendance, and the crowd will be composed of the best class of Atlanta’s citizens.  Doctors, lawyers, merchants and society men will be there in large numbers. Delegations will be here from Marietta, Decatur, East Point, Stone Mountain, Augusta, Savannah and Macon. The only drawback is the limited dimensions of the hall. Only a small proportion of those who are anxious to see the contest can secure seats. The hall seats comfortably between 600 and 700 people, and there is standing room for perhaps 100 more. But the indications point to a crowd of several thousand.

“Greek George” will be naked from his waist up, and will wear the regulation tights from his waist to his feet. He will wear blue and red socks. His tights will be flesh colored. Muhler will be dressed in precisely the same way, only his tights will be blue and his trunk black, and he will wear red socks.

“Greek George” weighs, in his wrestling condition, about 185 pounds, and his adversary is perhaps six or eight pounds heavier. Both men are in perfect fighting trim. They say they were never before in so good a condition. Both wrestlers are brimful of enthusiasm and confidence. They expect to do the best work of their lives. Each man is confident of victory. Many large and small bets have been made on the result. Not the slightest odds are offered on either man.

The Savannah News published a statement day before yesterday that Duncan C. Ross, the well-known athlete, had endeavored to arrange a match with “Greek George,” and the latter had left the city so as to evade him.

Regarding this statement the Greek says: “I tarried in Savannah several days with the express understanding that Ross would make a match with me. I waited for him but he did not come, and I know he had no intention of meeting me. This not the first time I have sought a match with Ross. I challenged him twice when I was in New Orleans, and he was in Texas, but we did not come together. Again I tried hard to get up a match with him when we were both in Denver. Again in Jacksonville. But Ross was always afraid to meet me, at least that is the inference I draw from his behavior. Now, if Duncan C. Ross really desires to wrestle with me, I will cheerfully make a match with him for  $200 a side, just as soon as my match with Muhler is over. I am willing for the match to take place in Savannah, Charleston or Atlanta. I hear that there is an unknown Frenchman here who wants to wrestle with the winner of our match, and I wish to say that whether I win this match or lose it, I am willing to wrestle him for $100 a side in private.”


Atlanta Constitution – December 30, 1887

Atlanta – Neither “Greek George” nor John Muhler is satisfied with the outcome of the wrestling match which took place last Tuesday night in Concordia Hall. Muhler was eager to continue the match until he or his adversary should get the decisive fall but “Greek George” was not willing to prolong the struggle beyond midnight. It has just transpired that George was not in his best condition Tuesday night. Several previous nights he had not slept well. He expects to be in good shape when the contest is renewed. Muhler is full of confidence. He believes he is the better man. Next Monday night the two wrestlers will again test their skill, pluck and endurance. The next match will be “catch-as-catch-can,” the most exciting form of wrestling.

“Greek George” has gone to Savannah to meet Duncan C. Ross, who is a great all-around athlete and fine wrestler. The young men of Atlanta, since the match between Muhler and “Greek George,” have become deeply interested in athletic sports, especially wrestling. Muhler is a skillful boxer, and is teaching several young men how to use the gloves.


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.