Tag Archives: Joe “Toots” Mondt

On The Hoof

Saturday Evening Post – December 14, 1935
By Milton MacKaye

The standing of wrestling as a profit-making enterprise has received little attention in the economic journals, and even those publications devoted to the fevers of sport have been niggardly in space and headlines. There has been a general tendency to regard wrestling as a sort of little country cousin of the opulent boxing profession, a rude and primitive trial of strength persisting feebly in the backwoods sections, but destined ultimately to become as extinct as the broadsword. As a public spectacle, it has been rated just ahead of long-distance walking contests and the hop, skip, and jump, and considerably behind the breath-taking thrills and romance of puss-in-the-corner and the potato race. Continue reading

Stein Pins Stahl In 19:24 At Yonkers Club

New York World Telegram – December 11, 1931

Sammy Stein, Newark, threw Richard Stahl, Germany, in 19:24 of the feature finish match at the Columbus Sports Club in Yonkers last night. Stein used a series of flying tackles before he could pin his opponent. Stein weighed 200, Stahl 210. Continue reading

Gotham May Glorify Grapplers

United Press – December 28, 1938
By Jack Cuddy

NEW YORK – Big, cauliflower-eared Toots Mondt is in town now, preaching the gospel of grapple. He carries an olive branch in his huge hand. He is trying to elevate wrestling to the froglegs and beefsteaks to which it was accustomed – in the late Jack Curley’s day. Continue reading

Legion To Help Stage Wrestling

Wichita Eagle – January 29, 1925

Wrestling matches will fall thick and fast in Wichita soon, if a plan announced yesterday by the American Legion goes through. Frank Priest and Glen Thomas, members of the Legion athletic committee, state that they are working on an arrangement whereby the Legion will assist in the promotion of wrestling matches. “Doc” Reed, well known referee from Kansas City, will be the matchmaker. Reed stated yesterday that he would use Eustace, Zbyszko, Lewis and other men commonly referred to as the “trust.” Continue reading

Heroes & Villains

Time – February 16, 1959

Q. What becomes of old, broken-down wrestlers?

A. Nothing. They are still wrestling.

Half fact and half fancy, the old gag is not really funny—not to wrestlers, at any rate. Out on the grunt-and-groan circuit the oldtimers are still working because the old act is still packing them in. Flabby characters who once had the lean, handsome muscle of the stock-company hero now fill in nicely as villains. And week after week, in more than 300 arenas across the country, the good guys tangle with the bad guys in the stylized, make-believe mayhem that has made professional wrestling one of the most prosperous trades in show business. Says bulb-nosed, cauliflower-eared Joseph (“Toots”) Mondt, the 12-year veteran of the mat and now one of the most successful wrestlers’ agents: “You don’t see punch-drunk, slap-happy wrestlers. I know at least 60 of them that got out of it rich, and no more harm to ’em than cauliflower ears. This ain’t like other sports.”

As a matter of fact, pro wrestling ain’t even a sport. It has not come close since the mid ’30s, when the public began to tire of watching such “shooters” (honest wrestlers) as Jim Londos the Golden Greek and Ed (“Strangler”) Lewis sweat through stolid hours of dull, defensive wrestling. Then, as the gate receipts began to fall off, the beef trust made a discovery: wrestling fans are suckers for fancy holds with fanciful names. Any one of the new maneuvers could have wrecked a man for life; yet everyone kept his health. It was obvious to the simplest fan that the bouts were fixed. But the crowds began to come back, and from a dead sport grew a new branch of show business.

No More Queens. In the post-World War II heyday, when everything on television was new and attractive, pro wrestling boomed. Desperate for new acts, new gimmicks, promoters began to push such gaudy huskies as “Gorgeous George,” a marcelled, peroxide blond who made the sham slaughter seem even more ridiculous by his coy shenanigans in the ring and out. “The queens are passe now,” says Columnist Jimmy Cannon, but wrestlers are still getting away with their hammy histrionics, still faking pain, anguish and angry violence with steady success.

Now, whether the night’s show is in Washington, D.C. or Houston, St. Louis or Bridgeport, it is still a staple on TV.

The average card has a tag match (two-man teams with the members taking turns mauling each other) that eventually degenerates into a crowd-pleasing, pier-six free-for-all. Midgets may be there to jazz up the act. Here and there, where lenient local authorities permit it, women wrestlers appear to slap each other around. Someone is sure to take a mean-looking poke at the referee (an illegal maneuver in Missouri); someone is sure to heave someone else through the ropes (never over; that, too, is frowned upon).

Comin’ & Goin’. As wrestling styles have changed, so has wrestling’s audience. The joints are filling up with women fans. “It’s natural, ain’t it?” asks Mondt. “Women like to look at well-developed fellas.” They seem to like to crowd close to ringside, curse the villains, cheer the heroes, and punctuate the performance with strategically planted hatpins. In Manhattan, where wrestling fans bought out Madison Square Garden seven times last year and caused two small-scale riots, the most popular musclemen make up the tag team of Antonino Rocco and Miguel Perez. Rocco does so well that he is the highest paid wrestler now in the racket. He owns a ranch in Argentina and earns close to $180,000 a year. At least ten others, Mondt insists, make $80,000 or more; the majority earn between $18,000 and $25,000.

Even the bush-league hams who stick to the tank towns eat high on around $12,000 a year. Everywhere the violent routine is just about the same: drop kicks that could snap a man’s neck if the act were honest and they really landed in the face, bullet heads pounded boomingly against unyielding ring posts, ear biting, eye gouging, hair pulling, and plain, old-fashioned strangling.

The elaborate pretense that all this nonsense is on the up-and-up is carried into all levels of wrestling. The actors themselves insist that no one writes a script for them. Carried away with enthusiasm for the cash they rake in, agents and matchmakers join the chorus. “You oughta see the casualty list,” says Mondt. But there are a few practitioners who have escaped to higher arts, and they are prone to tell it straight.

“Many years have passed since my rasslin’ days,” said the late Herman Hickman, who tried grunt-and-groan for a while before he graduated to football coaching, “but I know there have been few legitimate professional matches since Theseus laid down the wrestling rules in 900 B.C. I even have my doubts about whether that historic match between Ulysses and Ajax was a shoot. I still don’t think you can get a better night’s entertainment than you will by seeing your favorite hero tangle with a villain. This plot has had the longest run in show business, so it must have something.”

Stan Zbyszko Wins Easy Bout In L.A.

San Francisco Call & Post – July 31, 1924

LOS ANGELES — Stanislaus Zbyszko, former heavyweight wrestling champion of the world, defeated Demitre Martinoff, Russian matman, after ten minutes of grappling here last night. Martinoff was thrown from the ring, injuring a leg, and was unable to continue. “Toots” Mondt, Colorado cowboy, defeated Nick Velcoff, Bulgarian grappler, in two straight falls, gaining the first in 38 minutes and the second in 13 minutes.

Londos Winner In Mat Contest

Associated Press – April 27, 1929

PHILADELPHIA — Jim Londos, powerful Greek wrestler, threw Toots Mondt, Colorado giant, at the Arena last night with a flying tackle and head scissors in 1 hour, 41 minutes and 39 seconds. After the match, Londos issued a challenge to Gus Sonnenberg, world’s champion, for a title match.

Joe Mondt Downs Wayne Munn In Armory Contest

Miami Daily News And Metropolis – November 23, 1926

NEW YORK, Nov. 23. – Joe “Toots” Mondt, known as the Colorado Cowboy, downed Wayne (Big) Munn, the Nebraska Giant, who held the world’s heavyweight wrestling title for a short time as the result of a victory over Ed (Strangler) Lewis, Monday night in the Seventy-first Regiment armory, where another contest resulted in a serious accident.  In this bout Hans Steinke, the German giant, came down on his opponent, Tony Hatches, with all the force of his 242 pounds.  Hatches was still unconscious one-half hour later when he was removed to Bellevue hospital.  The injured wrestler was said to be suffering from concussion of the brain and a possible fracture of the skull.

Charley Hanson was given a soft one in Tony Rocco, whom he tossed with a crotch and hammerlock in 18 minutes and 72 seconds.  Cyclone Ress and Martin Ludecke wrestled 30 exciting minutes to a draw in the opening bout.  Waldek Zbyszko and Alexander Garkaweinko were also supposed to have had it out, but the latter very suddenly disappeared and defaulted to Zbyszko.