Joe Stecher

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Real Name - Joseph Stecher
Lifespan - 4/4/1893 - 3/29/1974
6'1" 220 lbs. - Dodge, NE
Athletic background - Wrestling, Baseball, Swimming, Tennis, Golf
Peak Years - 1910s-1920s

Place in History - Regarded by many as the greatest technical hooker of all-time, Joe Stecher is often an overlooked legend because people always remember Frank Gotch or Ed Lewis. Both of those men were great personalities and were held in high regard their whole lives, while Stecher was a reserved man who didn't get into the politics of the sport, he just wrestled as much as he could to prove himself. A natural athlete as a teen, Stecher the farmboy gave the fabled Dr. Benjamin Roller a helluva fight when he was only a senior in High School. He turned pro afterwards and again came across a famed grappler in Farmer Burns who sent a hooker to take care of the lad, but didn't get the job done. Not since Frank Gotch had their been such a gifted young wrestler and upon winning a "world title" at only 22. Gotch was still the real champion in the eyes of many and a formal match never allowed Stecher to defeat him. Regardless Joe Stecher was the world champion and took on all comers. A new up-and-comer, Ed Lewis, posed an interesting threat to the champion. After a screwy match with Lewis, a controversial loss to John Olin and one with Earl Caddock that saw Stecher lose the title. Before he was able to reestablish himself, the first World War erupted and Stecher enlisted with the army. Continuing to wrestle in the States, Stecher continued to battle elite grapplers and maintained a solid standing. Finally a series of wins over Ed Lewis, Wladek Zbyszko and John Olin set up a big rematch between Stecher and Caddock. Stecher won with his trademark body scissors at just over two hours. Over the next year, Stecher defeated the creme of the crop before falling to rival Ed Lewis for the first time. An injury in the match argubly effected Stecher to such a degree that he never regained the form he had built his name on. Despite getting big wins in the increasingly worked matches. The Gold Dust Trio were changing the sport and Stecher was struggling to keep it legit according to many. Following a strong run with his third world title before losing yet another controversial marathon to Ed Lewis. A few more losses came when Stecher was simply looking for a payday. Joe Stecher spent the last three decades of his life institutionalized before dying in 1974. While there were more popular, more successful, more recognized hookers, Joe Stecher might have been the most talented.

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