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The Former World Heavyweight Wrestling Champ Who Lived In Wyoming

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Long before Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair and The Rock, there was Jack Taylor. In the 1920s, Taylor was the World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion and he called Casper home.

Taylor was already famous when he arrived in Wyoming after World War I. Born in Canada, he came to the United States and travelled around the country staging public exhibitions.

In those days, professional wrestling was much different. The matches weren’t choreographed and the outcomes weren’t always decided in advance. Promoters would often invite members of the audience to challenge the big stars.┬áTaylor once offered $5, a considerable sum at the time, to anyone who could last one minute with him in the ring. He pinned 15 men in 15 minutes.

One of Taylor’s most legendary matches was held at the Iris Theater in Casper on October 31, 1921. John Pesek was a Nebraska native who earned the nickname “Tiger Man” after defeating future World Champions Wladek Zbysko and Ed “Strangler” Lewis.┬áBoth Taylor and Pesek placed a $1,000 wager on the match. The grueling back-and-forth battle lasted over 3 hours before a groin injury forced Taylor to submit.

 

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