User:Kris Classic/Dick Shikat

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Dick Shikat
Birth name Richard Schikat
Born (1897-01-11)January 11, 1897
Ragnitz, Tilset, East Prussia
Died December 3, 1968December 3, 1968(1968-12-03) (aged 71)
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Dick Shickat
Billed height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Billed weight 220 lb (100 kg)
Retired 1953

Richard I. "Dick" Schikat (born in Ragnitz, Tilset, East Prussia January 11, 1897 - December 3, 1968), better known as Dick Shikat, was a German professional wrestler who rose to prominence in the late 1920s and most notable won the Unified World Heavyweight Championship from Danno O'Mahony in 1936.

Wrestling career[edit]

Early career[edit]

While in his homeland of Germany, Schikat befriended fellow wrestler Johannes Steinke, with whom he toured Germany and Europe. On October 9, 1923, Schikat and Steinke arrived in the United States from Dresden at Ellis Island.

On Thursday, November 29, 1923, Steinke and Schikat performed at the Mechnics Building in Boston for George Tuohey. In the main event, Steinke lost to Wladek Zbyszko in 1:18:30. He was locked in a toe hold at the end of the first fall, and was unable to continue for the second. Schikat, who was still adapting himself to the quicker catch-as- catch-can style, wrestled Dr. Stajker in a 10-minute exhibition of wrestling holds. Steinke and Schikat were well received by American promoters, providing an international flavor that many were searching for.

After that Schikat parted ways with Steinke (who settled in Chicago) and joined the Ed Lewis-Billy Sandow national circuit and later signed a year-long contract with Rudy Miller, a prominent German manager.

Schikat was successful in 1924 on the West Coast, defeating both William Demetral and Stanislaus Zbyszko in San Francisco.

In 1925 he again toured the United States, alongside his wife Ereka and his brother Joe, who was a middleweight wrestler. Schikat and Ereka settled in Philadelphia. The San Francisco area still held an opening for Schikat, and he returned to the territory in 1926. During his time in San Francisco he wrestled a man who would have a major impact on his career, Joe “Toots” Mondt.

Collaboration with "Toots" Mondt[edit]

By early 1928, Mondt was a partner in the New York office. Schikat, who shortened his name to Shikat, was still under contract to Miller. Miller was also a member of the Jack Curley-Mondt promotion circuit, promoting in Brooklyn, New York. During this time Mondt took Shikat under his wing to become his manager. Miller was still going to benefit financially and was amicable to the decision, as a finely-tutored Shikat would do better at the box office.

In 1929, while working with Jim Londos’ manager Ed White, Philadelphia promoter Fabiani guaranteed a total purse of $35,000 for a bout between Londos and Shikat, after which the winner would be recognized as a World Champion. On August 23, a crowd estimated at 30,000 turned out at the Municipal Stadium to see Shikat pin Londos in 1:15:12. After the win, Shikat was quoted by the Philadelphia Inquirer: “I am happier tonight than I have ever been in my life and I want to get out of here as soon as possible and cable my wife, who is in Germany visiting relatives. I am grateful to the people of Philadelphia and to the commission of the State of Pennsylvania, for it was here that I was first recognized as of wrestling championship calibre, and it was here that I was given this opportunity of realizing my ambition. The title will not be nursed by me.”

Shikat would go on to defend against top names such as Everette Marshall, Rudy Dusek, Gino Garibaldi, Ed "Strangler" Lewis, and George Zaharias. The win and subsequent 10-month reign established Dick Shikat as a top star and he would be a drawing card for years to come.

Shikat vs. O'Mahony[edit]

Shikat’s second World Championship win was an infamous bout on March 2, 1936 in Madison Square Garden, where he dethroned Danno O’Mahony when Shikat unexpectedly turned the scripted bout into a shoot match.

O'Mahony's management filed a lawsuit against Shikat. Before the suit could make much headway, Shikat dropped the Championship to Ali Baba.

Personal life[edit]

Schikat began wrestling in the Greco-Roman style at the age of fifteen. Prior to his wrestling career, he was a sailor in the German Navy during the first World War prior to his wrestling career.

In 1925, Schikat returned to his homeland and married Ereka Dain.

Shikat’s wife died soon after he lost the World Championship in 1936 and he sunk into obscurity after that. He wrestled off and on into the 1950s, before making his final in-ring appearance in 1953.

In wrestling[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

02.03.1936 - 25.04.1936 World Heavyweight Champion 54 days Matches 23.08.1929 - 06.06.1930 NYSAC World Heavyweight Champion 287 days Matches 23.08.1929 - 06.06.1930 NWA World Heavyweight Champion 287 days Matches


Info to sort:

As Steinke was having success in New York in a high powered position for Jack Curley in 1928, Schikat would perform a similar role in Philadelphia for Ray Fabiani. By early 1928, Mondt was settled in as a partner in the New York office, and was a major player in local promotions. Schikat, who shorted his name to Shikat, was still under contract to Rudy Miller, but Miller was also a member of the Curley-Mondt combine, and promoted steadily in Brooklyn. When Mondt decided to take Shikat under his wing, and become his “manager,” Miller saw no problem. After all, he was going to benefit financially either way. A finely tutored Shikat would do better at the box office, in all actuality, and Mondt had big plans for his new protégé.

The wrestling scene in Philadelphia in 1929 saw regular programs at the Arena promoted by Fabiani and the Philadelphia Inquirer printed “probable winners” in the newspaper the day of the show. Among the stars appearing besides Steinke and Shikat were Jim Londos, Kola Kwariani,

Fabiani worked in a Shikat-Steinke bout for July 12, 1929 with both men getting $4,000. That night, Shikat beat his pal in 1:04:29 an outdoor arena. Around two weeks later, Fabiani announced that he had signed Shikat and Londos for a highly important match in Phildadelphia. His inbility to bring World Champion Gus Sonnenberg to the city to wrestle any of his top liners, gave him incredible leverage with the State Athletic Commission. Fabiani “outbid” several cities for the match including New York, Chicago, and St. Louis. He also had to break a contract with the corporation behind the Arena that forbid him from promoting in other Philadelphia venues.

Working with Londos’ manager Ed White, Fabiani filled in the blanks and guaranteed a total purse of $35,000 for the bout. To give credibility to the match, promoters stated that Londos and Shikat were finalists in a make-shift tournament to determine a champion to replace Sonnenberg. On August 7, the Pennyslvania State Athletic Commission decided that they would officially recognize the winner as the new World Titleholder. Shikat trained at Lillian-on-the-Lake in Hammonton, New Jersey with Mondt, while Londos worked out at a gym in Philadelphia with Steinke and Jack Washburn.

With a height and weight advantage, Shikat was the favorite to win. On Friday, August 23, 1929, a crowd estimated at 30,000 turned out at the Municipal Stadium to see the match. After 1:15:12, Shikat pinned Londos and captured championship. Shikat was more popular than his opponent, and the audience expressed their favorable opinions following the decision. Fabiani presented Shikat with a brand new, 18 karat gold championship belt with 19-diamonds worth $5,000.

After the win, Shikat was quoted by the Philadelphia Inquirer (August 24, 1929): “I am happier tonight than I have ever been in my life and I want to get out of here as soon as possible and cable my wife, who is in Germany visiting relatives. I am grateful to the people of Philadelphia and to the commission of the State of Pennsylvania, for it was here that I was first recognized as of wrestling championship calibre, and it was here that I was given this opportunity of realizing my ambition. The title will not be nursed by me. I stand ready tonight if necessary to sign a contract to defend it against any man in the world nominated by either the public or the State Commissions, which are the voice of the public, as a worthy challenger. The championship will not be placed in moth balls.”

The New York State Athletic Commission followed Pennsylvania in recognizing Dick Shikat as World Champion. Fabiani and his wife went to Montreal for a vacation following the match, while Shikat planned to venture to New York, where he was going to meet a director for a motion picture taping. Then Shikat and Fabiani would meet before Ray returned home. Shikat arrived at Pennsylvania Station in New York City on Friday, August 30, 1929, carrying his newly awarded and costly championship belt with him in a protective case. He got into a taxi and rode to his destination. At that point, he escaped the vehicle without a problem, and went about his business. He soon realized that he was no longer carrying the belt, and that it was most likely driven off into the sunset by a mysterious driver never to be seen or heard from again. Needless to say, Fabiani was not thrilled by the news, thinking and hoping at first it was a prank. There was no hoax, and a $5,000 belt representing the World Heavyweight Title was missing.

When most think back to the greatest wrestlers in the history of wrestling, not many come up with the name Dick Shikat. It is not because he was not talented because he was. It’s not because Shikat was this or that…it is because he was simply overlooked by most publications. Shikat was a former two-time World Heavyweight Champion during a time in which Jim Londos and Ed Lewis were running the country’s landscape. Often the underdog, Shikat performed at a high level of expertise in the ring. He developed his game and was often in top contention when he was not ruling the ring’s heavyweights.

Shikat was born on January 11, 1898 in Libait, East Prussia. He was a sailor in the German Navy. Shikat turned professional wrestler in 1924. Billed as the underdog, Shikat received a chance of a life-time. A match held in Philadelphia to determine a new World Heavyweight Champion in Pennsylvania and in the state of New York. The bout was held on August 23, 1929 at Municipal Stadium in Philadelphia. Over an hour went by before Shikat scored a decisive victory over Jim Londos and captured a rival claim to the World Title then what Gus Sonnenberg was holding. In the weeks and months that followed, Shikat was guaranteed $1,000 and all expenses if he defeated newcomer Everette Marshall in Seattle by F.A. Musgrave. Musgrave telegraphed the “winner-take- all” offer to Shikat on January 14, 1930. The champ did not take it.

Shikat was brought to Miami, Florida by promoter Lou Magnolia, and defeated Rudy Dusek in two-falls on February 18, 1930, a day before rival champion Gus Sonnenberg appeared in a southern Miami coliseum. With two champions in the same city, it brought talk of a unification bout there. The controversy continued as both left with title’s intact. He pinned Gino Garibaldi on April 29, 1930 in Springfield, Massachusetts. Jim Londos beat Shikat in Philadelphia on June 6th and took the World Title. Despite the loss, Shikat followed the champion all over the country demanding shots. He received plenty of them. Shikat won a decision over the famous “Strangler” Ed Lewis in St. Louis, Missouri on March 1, 1934. Lewis was disqualified by the official in charge of the bout for slugging and for brawling with the referee. The incident drew a fine and suspension.

After an apology and loss of $100 bucks, a second Lewis-Shikat match was signed by Promoter, Tom Packs and the state athletic commission chairman, Seneca C. Taylor, for March 15th. He won the rematch by countout in 34:36. Shikat immediately elevated to the top challenger spot in Missouri and earned an important World Title Match with Londos upon the latter’s next tour stop in St. Louis. Londos defended his title against Shikat on April 11th at the Arena drawing more then eleven-thousand fans. After an hour and ten minutes, Shikat suffered an arm injury after falling from the ring. He forfeited the rest of the match. Londos retained, but it had been a good showing. He traveled south to Memphis along I-55 and wrestled George Zaharias on April 16th. The two went to a 90-minute draw.

Shikat faced a sincere challenge in Everette Marshall in St. Louis on April 26, 1934, and overcame him in 44-minutes. His weak arm was worked on by the Coloradoan, but it hadn’t been enough. Looking at Marshall’s national status at the time, Shikat’s victory put him close to the top of the charts. It earned him a second title match against Londos. On May 16th, Shikat wrestled Londos in front of over 10,100 fans at the St. Louis Arena. He was pinned in 45:09. Shikat wrestled on April 1, 1935 in New York against Danno O’Mahoney. He lost by disqualification after the referee found his consistent kicking illegal. He lost to Chief Little Wolf in New York on May 6, 1935. Shikat teamed with renegade promoter Jack Pfefer to pull off a heist that would give him his second World Heavyweight Title and dethrone the man who had unified all of the different American claims to the belt.

On March 2, 1936 in Madison Square Garden, Shikat dethroned Danno O’Mahoney for his claim to the Unified World Title. The match’s ended was not planned as many thought it would have been, and if it was, Shikat had not gone along with the script. O’ Mahoney’s career had gone from headliner on his way down, and Shikat was riding again. The NWA did not recognize Shikat, but in the state of New York, he was the champion. He lost a disputed claim to Ali Baba in April 1936 at Detroit. Later in the month, Shikat was sued by Joe Alvarez, who was in the corner of Paul Bowser of Boston. Alvarez stated that he was the manager of the champion, but Shikat denied any of the man’s words. Shikat, instead, signed with Al Haft of Columbus and of the Midwest Wrestling Association. He traveled back to New York and lost to Baba on May 5th, giving him New York recognition. Shikat wrestled into the 1950s. He appeared on a April 6, 1953 Card in Washington D.C. at Turner’s Arena, where he wrestled Jack Dillon.

Shikat was a legendary grappler and in terms of pro-wrestling history, his name ranks right up there with all of the other greats. +

Copyright 2010 by Tim Hornbaker

Other Career Notes:

Lucy Jeanne Price wrote, in an article dated February 6, 1925, that a man named "Richard Schikat" had arrived in New York City from Breman, telling immigration officials that he was an artist. After additionally questioning, it was found that he was a wrestler. Schikat told them: "But I am quite right in calling myself an artist because I throw my opponents in a most artistic manner."

On Saturday, December 28, 1929, New York City promoter Jack Curley made a $25,000 offer to World Heavyweight Title claimant Gus Sonnenberg to wrestle his rival, title claimant Dick Shikat, in a 30-minute match. Knowing that Sonnenberg was in a lesser class as a legitimate wrestler, Curley wanted to get him into a match in which Shikat could shoot on Sonnenberg, and take his title. Although the challenge was good publicity, the bout was never going to happen.

Based on the claim that Joe Alvarez of Boston (of Paul Bowser's employees) held a contract with Shikat and that there was a breach of contract, the Missouri State Athletic Commission suspended Shikat on March 23, 1936. There was also the claim that Shikat was backing out of a scheduled match against Ed "Strangler" Lewis on April 3.

More retaliation against Shikat's double-cross came in the form of another suspension by the Tennessee State Athletic Commission on March 24, 1936. This time, he was banned for failing to appear in Memphis on March 23.