Earl Caddock vs. Joe Stecher (1920): Oldest Pro Wrestling on Film

This is about as OLD SCHOOL as it can get (or at least since it’s a miracle that the film survived)!

Here’s some old-school newsreel footage from the second Earl Caddock-Joe Stecher match for the World Heavyweight Championship of professional wrestling on January 30th 1920, at the second Madison Square Garden in New York City. The match ended in just over 2 HOURS as Stecher pinned Caddock using a wristlock and his “body scissors” finishing hold.  In truth this match is pretty entertaining to watch.  Thank God for public domain!!

This is probably the earliest and oldest professional wrestling match on film that’s still available today. While many fans and experts have argued that the style of this match was a more traditional way of “working” (performing) than what would soon follow in future years in pro wrestling, others feel that this match was the last great “shoot” (real) match in wrestling history.  Even while looking at old matches around this time period (or even years later), it is still difficult to determine when professional wrestling became pure performance over being “real,” but even during the 1920s many matches had predetermined results.

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