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At the top were the elites, or the hookers, named for their ability to use arcane wrestling hooks to inflict damage and serious injury on the competition without much effort.During the late 19th century-early 20th century, wrestling was dominated by Martin "Farmer" Burns and his pupil, Frank Gotch.During this time, wrestlers were often athletes with amateur wrestling experience who competed at traveling carnivals with carnies working as their promoters and bookers.Grand circuses included wrestling exhibitions, quickly enhancing them through colorful costumes and fictional biographies for entertainment, disregarding their competitive nature.Wrestling's popularity experienced a dramatic tailspin in 1915 to 1920, becoming distanced from the American public because of widespread doubt of its legitimacy and status as a competitive sport.
In fact, wrestling's popularity was second only to baseball from 1900 to the early 1920s, launching trading cards and competitive wrestling programs in colleges, high schools, and athletic clubs, legacies that have endured to the present day.
He became the world's champion by beating European wrestling champion Georg Hackenschmidt, both in 19, seen by modern wrestling historians as two of the most significant matches in wrestling history.
The popularity of wrestling during the early 20th century was highest in the Midwest, where ethnic European communities, many of them German, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Greek, and Scandinavian in ancestry, continued to carry on fighting styles practiced in their home nations.
The lowest were the journeymen, young performers with promise and some skill, but who relied mainly on showmanship to gain fans.
The actual wrestlers, called "shooters" because of their ability to "shoot", or fight real matches competitively, were more successful and less common.