Frank Gotch


Frank Gotch Biography

By: A-Dust

Real Name: Frank Alvin Gotch

Wrestling Debut: 1899
Birthday: 04/27/1878

Height: 5'11''

Weight: 210 pounds

From: Fort Dodge, Iowa

On 27th April 1878 Frank Gotch was born. He was born on a farm, 3 miles south of Fort Dodge in Iowa. He was one of nine children and would work on the farm. His parents married in Germany and immigrated to America in 1863, 8 years after getting married. Frank would attend a one room school in the winter months when he was not needed on the farm. Frank Gotch liked to wrestle and box at a young age, usually against boys older than himself. At 21, Frank had his first match against former World champion John McLeod. They wrestled for almost 2 hours but McLeod came out on top. Frank's life would change just 13 days before the new century broke. Farmer Burns was offering $25 for anyone who could stay in the ring with him for 15 minutes. Frank challenged but only made 11 minutes. Farmer Burns would take Frank under his wing to train. Frank would then be off to Alaska. He became Frank Kennedy and became the champion of Klondike. In his 6 months, Frank made $30,000. Frank would take on Frank Slavin in a boxing match. Slavin beat Gotch bloody but Gotch would throw Slavin into the crowd and get disqualified. Frank Gotch almost died on his way back home. Frank was saved by friends who wanted to have a good send off. Frank missed the Skagway, which sunk with his possessions on. 36 people also went down with the ship. When Frank did return to Iowa he would be looking to win the American title, held by Tom Jenkins. In 1903 Frank lost to Tom Jenkins but in a re-match in 1905 Frank won the title, ending Tom Jenkins 6 year reign as American champion. Frank and Jenkins would fight eight times, with Frank winning 5 (the last three in a row). At Frank's peak, Jenkins was no match. Frank Gotch would then meet the Russian Lion, George Hackenschmidt. Hackenschmidt was both World champion and European Greko-Roman champion. He had unified the two titles, to become an undisputed world champion. After two hours Hackenschmidt conceded the first floor and refused to wrestle. Frank was then crowned World champion. In their next meeting it was a different story. Hackenschmidt was injured, and was not going to compete. Frank said he to was injured and match went on. However it became obvious Frank was not and he defeated Hackenschmidt with ease. Frank Gotch quickly rocketed to become a superstar. Frank starred in All About A Bout, and when he walked on stage he was greeted by a standing ovation. Frank was also asked by Teddy Roosevelt to go to the White House. Frank defeated George Lurich. He was undefeated for 9 years, during this time he also defeated Stanislaus Zbyszko. In late 1914 Frank retired. After Frank would offer $250 to any man who could last 15 minutes in the ring. He never had to pay anyone though. In 1916 he became ill, and he would be bed ridden. On December 17th 1917 Frank Gotch passed away from Uremic Poisoning, aged 39. The Uremic poisoning caused a kidney failure. At one point Frank could not even lift his head of his pillow. Almost 20 years later Farmer Burns passed away. George Hackenschmidt though lived until 1960. Frank was the last American champion and the World champion. Things involving Frank like posters carried on years after his death.