Santel Hurts Another Wrestler
Ad Santel entered professional wrestling a generation too late. By the time he started wrestling in the 1910s, professional wrestling transitioned from contests to prearranged exhibitions. Santel possessed strong submission skills, which would have allowed him to beat most of the wrestlers in legitimate wrestling contests.
Santel did take part in several legitimate contests with Japanese jujitsu practitioners. He used his superior strength and submission skills to win most of these matches. Santel did achieve success in professional wrestling even though the contests were prearranged.
Santel won the Pacific Coast Championship in late 1915. Santel “defended” his championship in 1916 but like a former wrestler Evan “The Strangler” Lewis, Santel struggled to control his temper. A couple of wrestlers learned the hard way how dangerous it was to anger a skilled submission wrestler like Santel.
Nick Daviscourt was the first to learn the hard lesson. During a January 1916 title defense, Daviscourt made Santel angry. The men began fighting for real. Daviscourt left the ring that night with a dislocated shoulder from one of Santel’s arm locks.
In June 1916, Santel put the title on the line against Charley Cutler, a wrestler from Chicago. Santel, who was lining up a title shot with World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion Joe Stetcher, was undoubtably scheduled to win. However, Cutler did something in the match to upset Santel.
Frank Gotch trained Cutler for the ring. Cutler is credited with at least 87 matches between 1906 and 1927. Cutler won 47 matches and lost 40 bouts but his record is suspect because most of them occurred after the second Frank Gotch vs. George Hackenschmidt in 1911. Promoters arranged most of the bouts after this match.
If Santel took liberties with Daviscourt, he absolutely savaged Cutler. After a few minutes of Santel’s rough treatment, Cutler was left with a broken hip and internal injuries. Santel was skilled with leg locks, so he could have injured Cutler with a leg hold. However, the internal injuries seem to indicate Santel slammed Cutler to the mat several times.
Santel’s propensity for violence probably kept him from being World Champion. If promoters put the belt on him, how could they get it off of him. It would also be dangerous to let Santel injure wrestlers, who could make the promoters a lot of money. Santel would be a local champion but never the World Heavyweight Wrestling
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Sources: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 28, 1916, p. 13Pin It