Name: Dick Shikat
Year Inducted: 2013

Dick Shikat

“Shikat is as good a wrestler as ever lived,” once said Toots Mondt (PWHF Class of 2008), proceeding to give himself a little credit. “He is a most colorful figure and it has largely been due to his perfecting the crotch and half-Nelson, which I taught him, that he has become well nigh invincible. I learned the hold from Farmer Burns, who also taught it to the late Frank Gotch, so you can see that at least two world’s champions have been made by virtue of it—Gotch and Shikat.”

Richard I. Schikat was born on January 11, 1897 in Ragnitz, Tilsit, East Prussia, and began wrestling as early as 15 years old. During World War I, he served with the German Navy. While in Germany, Schikat formed a bond with a fellow grappler, the 6’6” Johannes Steinke. The two toured Germany and Europe. On October 9, 1923, Schikat and Steinke arrived in the United States from Dresden at Ellis Island.

Steinke and Schikat were well received by American promoters, providing an international flavor that many were searching for. After the friends went their own ways, Schikat joined the Ed “Strangler” Lewis-Billy Sandow national circuit and later signed a contract with Rudy Miller, a prominent German manager.

In 1926, after having gone home to get married, Schikat returned to the U.S. and wrestled a man who would have a major impact on his career, Joe “Toots” Mondt. By early 1928, Mondt was a partner in the New York office. Schikat, who shorted his name to Shikat, was still under contract to Miller. However, Miller was also a member of the Jack Curley-Mondt combine and promoted steadily in Brooklyn. When Mondt decided to take Shikat under his wing to 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.

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, 1929, 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.”

Indeed, he fought top names such as Everette Marshall, Rudy Dusek, Gino Garibaldi, “Strangler” Ed Lewis, and George Zaharias.

Shikat’s second world title win was an infamous bout on March 2, 1936 in Madison Square Garden, where he dethroned Danno O’Mahoney who was apparently not going along with the script.

 

Shikat died in 1968.

 

– Tim Hornbaker, LegacyOfWrestling.com



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