In The Beginning:
Toots Mondt grew up on a farm in Iowa and was shifted to Greeley, Colorado when his father went broke..
Toots Mondt began learning the art of wrestling through correspondence courses from Farmer Burns..
Toots Mondt combined the teachings with his strong body shape from working on the family farm..
1902: Toots Mondt made his wrestling debut in Greeley at the age of 16 in a carnival-wrestling match..
Toots Mondt wrestled in carnival shows for many years and also tried his hand as an acrobatics.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~This was an unsuccessful move and Toots returned to wrestling matches..
Toots Mondt received his big break when he was discovered by wrestling pioneer
Farmer Burns during one of his scouting trips.. ~~~Working with Farmer Burns was the wrestling equivalent of a PhD–Burns was also responsible for Toots Mondts’ nickname..
Toots Mondt & Farmer Burns: Toots Mondt was the youngest wrestler in Farmer Burns’ training camp..
~~~The nickname ‘Toots,’ had to do with either his small feet or his relative youth and baby face..
~~~Many believe if not for the guidance and tutelage of Farmer Burns, Toots would not have succeeded onto the next level..
~~~Wrestling was about to take a huge turn, which would change the face of the entire professional wrestling industry..
~~~Before 1919, wrestling matches were slow-moving exhibitions mainly confined to the mat lasting on an average 60 minutes..
~~~Crowds no longer found this to be suitable entertainment and accordingly, the attendance figures began to dwindle..
~~~The time was right for a new approach. This approach came from the mind of none other than Toots Mondt..
~~~Wrestling matches slowly and eventually became pre-determined, but Toots was far from done with revolutionizing wrestling..
Toots Mondt & Ed “Strangler” Lewis: 1919: Toots Mondt joined the camp of
Ed “the Strangler” Lewis with the recommendation of Farmer Burns.. ~~~Toots served in many capacities as a sparring partner, trainer, sometimes as an opponent and as a valuable police officer..
~~~Few wrestlers were as tough as Mondt and he made sure that every Lewis opponent knew the ‘rules’ of the nights match..
~~~As a sparring partner and trainer, Toots Mondt helped the legendary Ed Lewis develop new holds and counters..
1915: The working relationship and unity amongst wrestling promoters was wearing thin and crowd attendance was still low..
~~~Toots conceived a groundbreaking solution, which would shape and determine the face of pro wrestling, as we knew it..
Toots Mondt, the revolutionary: Toots Mondt’s first solution was to change the style of the entire wrestling concept..
He combined the features of a boxing ring, Greco-Roman, freestyle wrestling and the old-time lumber-camp style of fighting..
~~~Toots had called it ‘Slam Bang Western Style Wrestling’..
~~~Toots Mondt’s second plan was to promote this new style of wrestling on a much higher scale..
Toots convinced Ed Lewis and his manager Billy Sandow of forming their own promotion instead of being controlled by others..
The Gold Dust Trio: Toots Mondt, Ed Lewis, & Billy Sandow used their connections to convince many other wrestlers to join them..
~~~This new approach to wrestling caused literally hundreds of wrestlers to sign contracts with the trio..
~~~~~Under the control of Mondt, Lewis, and Sandow, they served as bookers and agents for the promotion..
~~~~~Wrestlers were paid well and on time and the new style of Slam-Bang Wrestling was completely over with fans..
~~~~~Toots Mondt invented time limits as main event wrestling matches would aften go three or four hours!
~~~~~These events drew huge gates and provided huge payouts for management and their grappling employees..
~~~Within six months, the “Gold Dust Trio” controlled the course of professional wrestling in North America..
~~~Their product was moved out to venues such as theatres and back alley halls into major sports venue in each city..
~~~All new talent was tested in Billy Sandow’s private ring while routines and finishes were carefully determined by Toots..
~~~The art of ‘working’ was born and the Gold Dust Trio had made their mark on the history of professional wrestling..
~~~The Gold Dust Trio later dissolved from a power struggle between Toots Mondt and Billy Sandow’s brother Max..
~~~Toots gave Billy Sandow the ultimatum to pick between him or Max–To Monts surprise, Sandow chose his brother..
Toots Mondt & Ray Fabiani: Toots Mondt then formed a business partnership with Philadelphia promoter, Ray Fabiani..
The new combo wasted little time and found their new title holder –
Dick Shikat, a former circus strongman from Germany.. ~~~Once Dick Shikat’s title reign had run its coarse, Toots Mondt and Ray Fabiani made
Jim Londos their new champion.. ~The pair of Mondt & Fabiani struck success as Jim Londos went on to become one of the most well known wrestlers in history..
~~~Toots Mondt and Ray Fabiani continued to hold control of the Northeastern United States territory..
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~They soon expanded onto New York City, Hartford, Baltimore and Washington DC..
~~~~Promoting in New York City was difficult because promoter Jack Curley prevented them from promoting in NYC for years..
Toots Mondt & Ray Fabiani: 1936: In Los Angeles… Lou Thesz & Toots Mondt had a bad history, stemming from Mondt’ treatment of Thesz years earlier..
~~~Lou Thesz never forgot how Toots Mondt often shorted pay and provided lousy bookings when Thesz first debuted..
1937: As promoter Jack Curley was on his deathbed, Toots Mondt realized that New York City wrestling would fall apart..
~~~So Toots & Fabiani immediately formed a vigorous alliance with fellow booking heavyweight
Rudy Dusek.. ~~~They decided to keep powerhouse formation of this alliance to take over the state of New York a complete secret..
~~~At Jack Curley’s funeral, one of his sons approached Toots about taking over New York – unaware of the current plan..
Toots Mondt also gained help from other bookers such as Jack Pfeffer, the Johnston Brothers and Jess McMahon..
Jess McMahon worked for boxing promoter Tex Rickard, who despised wrestling, preventing bookings in MSG (1939-1948)..
Toots Mondt & Jess McMahon: 1948: Toots Mondt found former wrestler turned millionaire Bernarr McFadden, who gave Toots the financial backings..
~~~Bernarr McFadden helped Toots Mondt promote in New York City and gain access into Madison Square Garden!
1948: In the main event of the wrestling first card held in MSG for nine years, Gorgeous George defeated Ernie Dusek..
1948: Toots was in search of his next champion, and after several failed attempts, he hit the jackpot with
Antonino Rocca.. ~~~Antonino “Argentina” Rocca brought in more Latino fans to the matches which financially favored promoter Toots!
~~~Toots Mondt wasn’t able to keep Antonino Rocca happy and
Vince McMahon (Sr.)was brought on the scene by Ray Fabiani.. Toots Mondt & Vince McMahon (Sr.): Toots & Vince McMahon would eventually put their differences aside to form Capital Sports, a territorial member of the NWA..
~~~Toots & Vince McMahon slowly began work to break away from the NWA in order to form their own seperate promotion..
~~~Within a year of their partnership, Toots Mondt and Vince McMahon controlled 70% of the NWA champion’s bookings..
~~~Toots Mondt taught Vince Sr. and nearly everyone in the company how to book and book good wrestling matches..
1963: Toots Mondt & Vince McMahon finally broke away from the NWA, renaming Capital Sports Corporation to the
WWWF.. Toots Mondt & Vince McMahon (World Wide Wrestling Federation): Toots parted ways with NWA President Sam Mushnick on good terms so that the WWWF would not be seen as an enemy..
Toots & Vince were also in the middle of fighting off an invasion by Crockett Promotions from promoting in the WWWF territories
Toots Mondt controlled his wrestling desk from the New York State Athletic Commission from the mid-1950s until the mid-1960s..
When Buddy Rogers was crowned NWA World Heavyweight champion, Toots controlled the bookings for Rogers’ title defenses..
~~~Toots Mondt would rarely allow “The Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers to defend the title outside the Northeastern region..
~~~This would be one of the factors which led to the World Wide Wrestling Federation splitting from the NWA..
Toots Mondt & Vince McMahon (World Wide Wrestling Federation): April 1963: Buddy Rogers was awarded the first
WWWF World Heavyweight title.. ~~~A fictitious “phantom” tournament explained that
Buddy Rogers won the title in Rio de Janeiro.. ~~~This storyline was created by Toots Mondt and this ‘explanation’ was later used in the birth of the Intercontinental title..
~~~The “Rio De Janiero” storyline was a rib towards Bobo Brazil– Toots used his witt in developing many of his ideas..
1965: Toots Mondt stepped down as promoter at Madison Square Garden and Vince McMahon Sr. officially took over..
Toots Mondt & Vince McMahon (World Wide Wrestling Federation): When Bruno Sammartino was brought into the WWWF, Vince Sr. predicted that he would be a midcarder for 2 or 3 years at best..
Toots Mondt, on the other hand, called Bruno the future of the company because people instantly liked and responded to him..
Toots Mondt convinced Vince McMahon Sr. to build the WWWF company around
Bruno Sammartino! Toots Mondt sold his shares (he needed money) to Willie & Vince Sr. in the mid to late 60’s but he remained on the payroll..
One of Toots Mondt few and rare weaknesses was TELEVISION, which he never understood and it scared him..
Toots Mondt and Vince McMahon Sr. had a love hate relationship that lasted for at least a decade..
Toots Mondt did a lot more than revolutionize the face of professional wrestling..
~~~The most important thing, is that Toots Mondt had a vision..
June 11, 1976: Toots Mondt died after a long battle with illness at the age of 82..