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Joseph Raymond "Toots" Mondt (January 18, 1894 – June 11, 1976)
/ref> was an American
professional wrestler Professional wrestling is a type of athletic exhibition and entertainment involving wrestling matches whose progress and outcome are planned in advance, typically between performers with established character roles. The wrestling matches are base ...
and promoter who revolutionized the wrestling industry in the early to mid-1920s and co-promoted the
World Wide Wrestling Federation Capitol Wrestling Corporation Ltd. was an American sports promotion company. It was run by Vincent J. McMahon from 1953–1982. Operating as the Capitol Wrestling Corporation (CWC), the company was originally a professional wrestling Prof ...
.Wrestling Perspective: The Founding Father
/ref> Some of the stars Mondt helped create from the 1920s through the 1960s included ,
Jim Londos Christos Theofilou ( el, Χρήστος Θεοφίλου; January 2, 1894 – August 19, 1975), better known as "The Golden Greek" Jim Londos (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( ...
,
Antonino Rocca Antonino Rocca (born Antonino Biasetton, 13 April 1921 – 15 March 1977) was an Italian Argentine professional wrestler. He tag teamed with partner Miguel Pérez. He was posthumously inducted into the WWF Hall of Fame as a member of the cl ...
,
Bruno Sammartino Bruno Leopoldo Francesco Sammartino (October 6, 1935 – April 18, 2018) was an Italian-American Professional wrestling, professional wrestler, best known for his work with the WWE, World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF, now WWE). There, he held ...
,
Stu Hart Stewart Edward Hart (May 3, 1915 – October 16, 2003) was a Canadian professional wrestler, wrestling booker, promoter, coach, trainer, football player, amateur wrestler, and sailor A sailor, seaman, mariner, or seafarer is a person w ...
and
Cowboy Bill Watts William F. Watts Jr. (born May 5, 1939) is an American retired Professional wrestling, professional wrestler, promoter and former American football player. Watts garnered fame under his "Cowboy" Glossary of professional wrestling terms#Gimmick, g ...

Cowboy Bill Watts
.


Early life

Joseph Raymond Mondt was born in Garden Grove, Iowa on January 18, 1894. Joseph (Joe) Toots was his professional name. Toots' father, Frank, was a farmer and building contractor. The Mondt family moved to
Weld County, Colorado Weld County is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is der ...
in 1904.


Professional wrestling career


Early wrestling career

Toots Mondt made his wrestling debut in Greeley in 1912 at the age of 18 in a carnival/wrestling style match, a match he would wrestle in for many years.
Stu Hart Stewart Edward Hart (May 3, 1915 – October 16, 2003) was a Canadian professional wrestler, wrestling booker, promoter, coach, trainer, football player, amateur wrestler, and sailor A sailor, seaman, mariner, or seafarer is a person w ...
claimed he ran into Toots by chance while wrestling in New York City and that Mondt said he received his first wrestling lesson in 1916 from Jack Taylor, and Mondt tried to recruit Hart into a territory in Washington D.C. Around this time, he also tried his hand at acrobatics. However, this was an unsuccessful move and Toots returned to wrestling matches. Toots received his big break when he was discovered by wrestling pioneer Farmer Burns during one of his scouting trips. The nickname ‘Toots’, had to do with either his small feet or his relative youth and
baby faceBabyface or Baby Face can refer to: Nicknames * Lester Joseph Gillis a.k.a. Baby Face Nelson Lester Joseph Gillis (December 6, 1908 – November 27, 1934), known by the alias George Nelson and Baby Face Nelson, was an American bank robber. He be ...
. Mondt was the youngest wrestler in Farmer Burns' camp.


Gold Dust Trio

Until 1919, wrestling matches were slow-moving exhibitions mainly confined to the mat and lasting on an average 60 minutes. Crowds no longer found this to be suitable entertainment and accordingly, they began to dwindle. Wrestling matches slowly and eventually became pre-determined. Toots Mondt joined the camp of
Ed "Strangler" Lewis Robert H. Friedrich (June 30, 1891 – August 8, 1966), better known by the ring name Ed "Strangler" Lewis, was an American Professional wrestling, professional wrestler and trainer. During his wrestling career, which spanned four decades, Lewis wa ...
with the recommendation of Farmer Burns. Toots served in many capacities as a sparring partner, trainer, sometimes as an opponent and as a police officer. As a sparring partner and trainer, Toots Mondt helped Ed Lewis develop new holds and counters. The working relationship and unity amongst wrestling promoters was beginning to wear thin and crowd attendance was still low. Toots conceived a solution and combined features of a boxing ring, Greco-Roman, freestyle wrestling, and the old-time
lumber camp A logging camp (or lumber camp) is a transitory work site used in the logging industry. Before the second half of the 20th century, these camps were the primary place where lumberjacks would live and work to fell trees in a particular area. Many p ...
-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 as opposed to having different promoters controlling them. The team of Mondt, Lewis and Sandow used their connections to convince many other wrestlers to sign up. Under the control of Mondt, Lewis and Sandow, they served as bookers and agents. Toots also instituted time limits as wrestling matches would often go three or four hours. Within six months, the "Gold Dust Trio" controlled the course of professional wrestling in North America. Their product was moved out from venues such as burlesque theaters and back alley halls to the 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 Gold Dust Trio later dissolved from a power struggle between Toots Mondt & Billy Sandow's brother Max. Mondt then formed a partnership with Philadelphia promoter, Ray Fabiani. The new combination wasted little time and found their new title holder in Dick Shikat, a former circus strongman from Germany. Once Dick Shickat's title reign had run its course, Mondt and Fabiani made
Jim Londos Christos Theofilou ( el, Χρήστος Θεοφίλου; January 2, 1894 – August 19, 1975), better known as "The Golden Greek" Jim Londos (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( ...
their new champion and continued their hold on the Northeast. They soon expanded onto New York City, Hartford, Baltimore, and Washington DC. Toots/Fabiani were unsuccessful because rival New York promoter
Jack Curley Jack Curley (July 4, 1876 - July 12, 1937), born Jacques Armand Schuel, was a sports promoter of the early 1900s. He managed several high-profile boxing Boxing is a combat sport A combat sport, or fighting sport, is a competitive contact ...
prevented them from promoting in NYC for years, and it was during this time that he came around an up-and-coming
Lou Thesz Aloysius Martin "Lou" Thesz (April 24, 1916 – April 28, 2002) was an American Professional wrestling, professional wrestler. He was a List of NWA World Heavyweight Champions, three-time NWA World Heavyweight Championship, NWA World Heavyweight ...
, with whom Mondt had a bad history. As Jack Curley was on his deathbed, Toots realized that New York wrestling would fall apart. So Toots & Fabiani immediately formed an alliance with fellow booking heavyweight Rudy Dusek. This formation to take over New York was kept a secret. At Curley's funeral, one of his sons approached Toots about taking over New York and was not aware that Toots had a plan. Toots also gained help from other bookers such as
Jack Pfeffer Jack Pfefer (also commonly spelled as "Pfeffer"; December 10, 1894 – September 13, 1974) was an American professional wrestling promoter during the early-to-mid 1900s. He pioneered an earlier form of sports entertainment, as he was one of the f ...
, the Johnston Brothers and
Jess McMahon Roderick James "Jess" McMahon Sr. (May 26, 1882 – November 22, 1954) was an Irish American professional wrestling Professional wrestling is a type of athletic exhibition and entertainment involving wrestling matches whose progress and outcom ...
. Jess McMahon worked for boxing promoter and
New York Rangers The New York Rangers are a professional ice hockey team based in New York City. They compete in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the Metropolitan Division in the Eastern Conference (NHL), Eastern Conference. The team plays its home ...

New York Rangers
hockey franchise founder
Tex Rickard George Lewis "Tex" Rickard (January 2, 1870 – January 6, 1929) was an American boxing Boxing is a combat sport in which two people, usually wearing boxing glove, protective gloves and other protective equipment such as hand wraps and mouthgua ...

Tex Rickard
, who despised wrestling and prevented bookings in
Madison Square Garden Madison Square Garden, colloquially known as The Garden or by its initials MSG, is a multi-purpose indoor arena in New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from New York State New York is a state Stat ...
(MSG) from 1939 to 1948. Toots found former wrestler turned millionaire Bernarr McFadden, who gave Toots the financial backings. Bernarr McFadden helped Toots promote in NYC and gain access into Madison Square Garden. In 1948, in the main event of the first card held in MSG for 9 years,
Gorgeous George George Raymond Wagner (March 24, 1915 – December 26, 1963) was an American professional wrestler Professional wrestling is a type of athletic exhibition and entertainment involving wrestling matches whose progress and outcome are planned in ...

Gorgeous George
defeated Ernie Dusek. In that same year Toots Mondt was in search for another champion. After several failed attempts, Toots Mondt found Antonino Rocca, who brought in more Latino fans to the matches which financially favored Toots. Mondt, however, was not able to keep Rocca happy and Vince McMahon Sr. was brought into the scene by Ray Fabiani. In 1954, Mondt signed up
Rafael Halperin Rafael Halperin (1924 – 20 August 2011) was an Israeli people, Israeli businessman, Orthodox Judaism, Orthodox rabbi, bodybuilder and professional wrestler who won the world championship in free wrestling. Biography Born in Austria, Halperin mov ...
a rabbi from
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
who wrestled in a blue and white costume emblazoned with the
Jewish star 160px, Star of David The Star of David (✡︎), known in Hebrew as the Shield of David or Magen David (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiat ...
.Wrestling Rabbi loses faith in Toots Mondt
/ref>


Birth of the World Wide Wrestling Federation

In 1963, Toots Mondt and Vince McMahon Sr. broke away from the
National Wrestling Alliance The National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) is an American professional wrestling promotion A professional wrestling promotion is a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a legal entity In law, a legal person is any person A person (p ...
(NWA), renaming
Capitol Wrestling Corporation Capitol Wrestling Corporation Ltd. was an American sports promotion company. It was run by Vincent J. McMahon from 1953–1982. Operating as the Capitol Wrestling Corporation (CWC), the company was originally a professional wrestling Profession ...
to the
World Wide Wrestling Federation Capitol Wrestling Corporation Ltd. was an American sports promotion company. It was run by Vincent J. McMahon from 1953–1982. Operating as the Capitol Wrestling Corporation (CWC), the company was originally a professional wrestling Prof ...
(WWWF). Toots Mondt parted ways with NWA President
Sam Muchnick Samuel Muchnick (born Jeshua Muchnick, August 22, 1905 – December 30, 1998) was an American professional wrestling Professional wrestling is a form of entertainment and performing art, which combines athletics with performance. It compri ...
on good terms so that the WWWF would not be seen as an enemy. Toots and Vince were also in the middle of fighting off an invasion by
Jim Crockett Promotions Jim Crockett Promotions Inc. was a Family business, family-owned professional wrestling promotion headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, United States. Founded in 1931, the promotion emerged as a cornerstone of the National Wrestling Allianc ...
from promoting in the WWWF territories. When Buddy Rogers was crowned NWA World Heavyweight Champion, Toots controlled the bookings for Rogers’ title defenses. Toots would rarely allow 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. In April 1963, Buddy Rogers was awarded the WWWF World Heavyweight title, supposedly for winning a tournament for the title in
Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro (; ), or simply Rio, is the List of largest cities in Brazil, second-most populous city in Brazil and the Largest cities in the Americas, sixth-most populous in the Americas. Rio de Janeiro is the capital of the Rio de Janeiro (s ...

Rio de Janeiro
, a fictitious storyline created by Toots Mondt. In 1965, Toots Mondt stepped down as promoter at Madison Square Garden and Vince McMahon, Sr. took over. When
Bruno Sammartino Bruno Leopoldo Francesco Sammartino (October 6, 1935 – April 18, 2018) was an Italian-American Professional wrestling, professional wrestler, best known for his work with the WWE, World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF, now WWE). There, he held ...
was brought into the WWWF, Vince Sr. predicted that he would be a midcarder for two or three years at best. Toots called Sammartino the future of the company because people instantly liked and responded to him. Toots convinced Vince McMahon Sr. to build the company around Bruno Sammartino. In a June 2012 Wrestling Observer Radio podcast, Bruno acknowledged that Mondt and Vince McMahon Sr. were not on the best of terms during his tenure with the company, with Bruno suggesting it was due to the fallout over the promotion's handling of Buddy Rogers. Changing times and the rise of television saw Mondt's influence in the sport diminishing. Mondt was an arena booker and was never able to get a handle on
television Television, sometimes shortened to TV or telly, is a telecommunication Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire A wire is a single usually cylindrical A cylinder (from Gre ...

television
like McMahon. That fact coupled with Mondt's gambling problems allowed his business-minded partner to muscle him out of ownership of the New York territory. Toots sold off his share to McMahon in the mid-60s. McMahon reduced Mondt to salaried employee for Capitol. Mondt died on June 11, 1976 at the age of 82 after a long battle with an illness. Since then, he has been inducted into the
Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame The Wrestling Observer Newsletter (WON) Hall of Fame is a professional wrestling Professional wrestling is a form of entertainment and performing art, which combines athletics with performance. It comprises of exhibitions, called 'matches', ...
in 1996, the
Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum The Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame (PWHF) and Museum is an American professional wrestling Professional wrestling is a form of entertainment and performing art, which combines athletics with performance. It comprises of exhibitions, ...
in 2008 and the
WWE Hall of Fame The WWE Hall of Fame is a hall of fame A hall, wall, or walk of fame is a list of individuals, achievements, or animals, usually chosen by a group of electors, to mark their in their field. In some cases, these halls of fame consist of act ...
in 2017 as a recipient of its Legacy Award.


Accomplishments

*
Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum The Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame (PWHF) and Museum is an American professional wrestling Professional wrestling is a form of entertainment and performing art, which combines athletics with performance. It comprises of exhibitions, ...
**( Class of 2008) *''
Wrestling Observer Newsletter The ''Wrestling Observer Newsletter'' (''WON'') is a newsletter that covers professional wrestling and mixed martial arts. Founded in print in 1982 by Dave Meltzer, the Wrestling Observer website merged with Bryan Alvarez's Figure Four Weekly we ...
'' **
Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame The Wrestling Observer Newsletter (WON) Hall of Fame is a professional wrestling Professional wrestling is a form of entertainment and performing art, which combines athletics with performance. It comprises of exhibitions, called 'matches', ...
(1996) *
WWE World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., d/b/a WWE, is an American integrated media and entertainment company that is primarily known for professional wrestling Professional wrestling is a type of athletic exhibition and entertainment involving ...
:*
WWE Hall of Fame The WWE Hall of Fame is a hall of fame A hall, wall, or walk of fame is a list of individuals, achievements, or animals, usually chosen by a group of electors, to mark their in their field. In some cases, these halls of fame consist of act ...
(
Class of 2017 ''Class of 2017'' is a 2017 Hindi web series created and produced by Vikas Gupta (producer), Vikas Gupta for Ekta Kapoor's video on demand platform ALTBalaji. The web series revolves around the lives of a few teenagers who get intertwined with d ...
)


References


Further reading

*


External links

*
New York Pro WrestlingToots Mondt's Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame Page
{{DEFAULTSORT:Mondt, Toots 1894 births 1976 deaths 20th-century American male actors American male professional wrestlers Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum Professional wrestling promoters WWE Hall of Fame Legacy inductees