Toots Mondt

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Career Highlights

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..