The WAWLI Papers #164

(ED. NOTE: In the fall of 1934, there was a wrestling "war" of sorts going on in Honolulu. The outdoor cards at then eight-year-old Honolulu Stadium purportedly were drawing big crowds while the middleweight shows at the Civic Auditorium were just scraping by, as was the building's ownership. Still a couple of years off was the advent of Al Karasick's promotional acumen, which would flower in the islands well into the 1960s, when Ed Francis and Lord James Blears would pick up the cudgel and continue to enjoy success with wrestlers criss-crossing the Pacific between the United States and either Japan or Australia or New Zealand. It is no coincidence that the mat game began to flower in Honolulu during the '30s, the same time wrestling was forging great new audiences in Australia and New Zealand.)


(Matchmaker for the outdoor Honolulu Stadium shows was "Vast" Ed Ratsch, representing the Pan-Pacific Athletic Club; financially beleaguered Manuel Calhau operated the Civic Auditorium and the smaller-weight mat shows. He brought in some top young talents, too, as witnessed by the presence of Dangerous Danny McShain, destined to become one of the game's greater stars, whose appearances had the immediate effect of hyping the box office. More about the further adventures of Ratsch and Calhau follows below.)

October 1, 1934 Honolulu Stadium (matchmaker Ed Ratsch)

Shunichi Shikuma beat Jacques Manuel, Rocky Brooks drew Rubberman Higami, Danny Winters beat Ted Shores dcor, Louie Mendonca beat Mike Chrisner (Lord Lansdowne in audience, challenges Higami to a title match) (Att: 6,000)

October 8, 1934 Honolulu Stadium

Shunichi Shikuma beat Rocky Brooks, Rubberman Higami beat Lord Lansdowne cor, Jacqus Manuel beat Danny Winters, Louie Mendonca beat Wilfred

October 9, 1934 (Civic Auditorium, promoter Manuel Calhau)

Louie Miller beat Walter Achiu, Don Hill beat Reed Detton, Curly Freitas drew Marine Brown, Jack Freitas beat L. Jevis

October 15, 1934 Honolulu Stadium

Shunichi Shikuma beat Jacques Manuel, Prof. Higami beat Mike Golden, Lord Lansdowne beat King Tut (wrestler vs. boxer), Danny Winters drew Rocky Brooks

October 16, 1934 Civic Auditorium

Walter Achiu beat Louie Miller DQ, Augie Ornellas drew Mario Freitas, Reed Detton beat Marine Jones, Don Hill beat Ernie Andrade

October 22, 1934 Honolulu Stadium

Shunichi Shikuma beat Doc Bursan, Rocky Brooks drew Harry Johnson, rubberman Higami beat Charlie Hamp, Danny Winters drew Larry Idzikowski, Louie Mendonca beat Antone Aguilar

October 23, 1934 Civic Auditorium

Joe Kirk drew Don Hill, Ernie Andrade beat Gust Steele, Reed Detton beat Augie Ornellas, Lou Mueller beat Walter Achiu

October 29, 1934 Honolulu Stadium

Oki Shikina beat Jacques Manuel, Rubberman Higami beat Doc Bursan, Tony Felice beat Rocky Brooks, Harry Johnson beat Steve Brady

October 30, 1934 Civic Auditorium

Don Hill beat Lou Mueller, Jack Freitas beat Benny Kim, Reed Detton beat Gene Bothelho, Walter Achiu beat Joe Kirk DQ

November 5, 1934 Honolulu Stadium

Tony Felice beat Oki Shikina DQ, Shunichi Shikuma beat Harry Johnson, Jacques Manuel beat Rusty Westcoatt, Rocky Brooks beat Doc Burson

November 8, 1934 Civic Auditorium

Danny McShain beat Don Hill, Walter Achiu drew Louis De La Torre, Lou Mueller beat Lou Heinz DQ, Joe Kirk drew Jack Curtis

November 12, 1934 Honolulu Stadium

Tony Felice beat Shunichi Shikuma, Rubberman Higami drew Jacques Manuel, Rocky Brooks drew Young Aguinaldo, Oki Shikina beat Harry Johnson

November 13, 1934 Civic Auditorium

Cowboy Lou Heinz beat Jack Curtis, Mike Caddock drew Don Hill, Louis De La Torre beat Danny McShain DQ, Joe Kirk beat Lou Mueller

November 19, 1934 Honolulu Stadium

Shunichi Shikuma beat Tony Felice, Herry Markus beat Rubberman Higami, Elmer Lindberg beat Rocky Brooks, Young Aguinaldo beat Harry Johnson (Oki Shikina and Rusty Westcoatt in crowd)

November 20, 1934 Civic Auditorium

Joe Kirk beat Louis De La Torre, Danny McShain beat Walter Achiu, Lou Mueller drew Jack Curtis, Cowboy Lou Heinz beat Don Hill

November 26, 1934 Honolulu Stadium

Tony Felice beat Shunichi Shikuma, Rubberman Higami beat Jerry Markus cnc, Dean Detton beat Rusty Westcoatt, Einar Lindberg beat Harry Johnson, Jim Meeker beat Doc Burson

November 27, 1934 Civic Auditorium

Danny McShain beat Cowboy Lou Heinz, Walter Achiu beat Don Hill, Joe Kirk beat Lou Mueller, Jack Curtis beat Louis De La Torre

December 3, 1934 Honolulu Stadium

Tony Felice beat Jacques Manuel, Shunichi Shikuma beat Einard Lindberg, Rubberman Higami beat Jim Mekker, Jerry Markus beat Harry Johnson, Tony Aguinaldo beat Steve Brady

December 4, 1934 Civic Auditorium

Cowboy Heinz beat Danny McShain, Don Hill beat Joe Kirk, Lou Mueller beat Louis De La Torre, Jack Curtis beat Walter Achiu

December 10, 1934 Honolulu Stadium

Rubberman Higami beat Jerry Markus (junior middleweight world title), Shunichi Shikuma beat Jim Meeker, Rusty Westcoatt beat Harry Johnson, Jack Manuel beat Einar Lindberg

December 11, 1934 Civic Auditorium

Jack Curtis beat Danny McShain (final of battle royal), Lou Mueller drew Mike Caddock, Walter Achiu beat Louis De La Torre (Joe Kirk, Cowboy Heinz also in battle royal)

December 17, 1934 Honolulu Stadium

Tet Higami beat Jerry Markus (nontitle), Shunichi Shikuma beat Jacques Manuel, Young Aguinaldo drew Einar Lindberg, Jim Meeker beat Harry Johnson, Tony Felice beat Rusty Westcoatt

December 18, 1934 Civic Auditorium

Jack Curtis beat Joe Kirk, Augie Ornellas beat Al Jevins (sub for Louis De La Torre), Mike Caddock beat Walter Achiu, Don Hill beat Lou Mueller


(Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, December 23, 1934)

Featuring an ex-world's champion, Gus Sonnenberg, and a present title holder, "Rubberman" Higami, a holiday wrestling card will be presented at the Honolulu Stadium on Thursday, December 27.

The great Gus Sonnenberg will meet Tony Felice (who can move me) in the top spot of a double main event supported by an all star card. Rubberman Higami will tackle Einar Lindberg in the other spot.

The semi-final will flash an old favorite in jack manuel against Dr. Freddie Meyers, a newcomer to Honolulu. Meyers has been down in New Zealand and Australia and met and defeated the best there. He will appear at the Stadium in a couple of matches before returning to the Mainland. Meyers won the amateur heavyweight champ;ionship of the world at Antwerp, Belgium, in 1920. Since then he has been wrestling professionally.

Jerry Markus will meet Reed Detton in the special feature bout on the card, and Jim Meeker will take on Harry Johnson in a return match in the opening bout. Johnson claims he was robbed and wants a return bout to prove he is the best of the two.

With the arrival of Gus Sonnenberg next Thursday, wrestling activities will be resumed at the Moilili plant. Sonnenberg, former Dartmouth football star and the one who revived wrestling several years ago on the Mainland, has brought to the mat the football tactics now used by many of the leading mat men. His flying tackle has laid many a wrestler low and it was with this that he defeated Ed (Strangler) Lewis for the heavyweight championship.

Sonnenberg now uses an invention of his own called the crossbuck, far more dangerous than the flying tackle and he never fails to win once he uses it on an opponent. Sonnenberg will stop over in Honolulu for a couple of matches before continuing on to the Coast.

There will be no advance in prices for his feature card. Football fans who want to see Sonnenberg in action had better make their reservations now.

December 26, 1934 Civic Auditorium

Walter Achiu beat Mike Caddock DQ (final of battle royal), Augie Ornellas beat Gene Botelho, Mike Caddock beat Don Hill, Lou Mueller beat Jack Curtis


(Honolulu Advertiser, December 28, 1934)

The wrestling bouts scheduled for last night in the Honolulu Stadium have been postponed, the date to be announced later by Ed Ratsch, the matchmaker.

Gus Sonnenberg and Tony Felice were to have featured this show and will also be the headliners when the new date is announced.

Reason for the postponement was that the high wind yesterday ripped the newly made canvas covering from its moorings and did considerable other damage. The rain undoubtedly would have kept many away.

Wrestler Sonnenberg arrived from Australia where he won all of his mat bouts except one. He looks fit as a fiddle and is ready to go to work, he said. Sonnenberg probably will show in at least four matches down here.


(Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, December 30, 1934)

Next Friday is the date set for the postponed match between Gus Sonnenberg, former heavyweight wrestling champion of the world, and big Tony Felice, the terrible wop. Due to an unexpected heavy wind that tore the canvas covering last Thursday evening the management decided to poostpone the holiday wrestling card until after the New Year.

There had been a heavy advance sale and the management did not want to disappoint the fans by having them get wet during the heavy rainstorm.

Sonnenberg is in great shape, his forty matches down below have made him as fine as a fiddle. His weight is 207 pounds, and he is eager to get into action against the best Honolulu has to offer.

Tackling Tony Felice he has a man cut out for him. The big Italian is down to 215 pounds which is his best weight. Felice has made quite a name for himself, having defeated all comers with apparent ease, handling them like babies, tossing them around and pinning them whenever he feels like it, but with Sonnenberg it might be a different story.

Wrestling fans are still talking about the three great matches the ex-champion wrestled here several years ago. Gus is bringing to Honolulu for the first time his famous cross-body block used by football linesmen. He has laid all his opponents with this vicious butt of his and promises to use it on Felice when they tangle on Friday.

Rubberman Higami will meet Einard Lindberg in the other half of the double main event.

Dr. Freddie Meyers, a newcomer, will meet Jack Manuel in the semifinal while Reed Detton and Jerry Markus will furnish the fireworks in the special event.

The opening bout will flash Harry Johnson and Jim Meeker. Those who purchased seats for last Thursday night will find their tickets honored next Friday, also reservations will be held.

January 4, 1935 Honolulu Stadium

Gus Sonnenberg beat Tony Felice, Rubberman Higami beat Einard Lindberg, Fred meyers beat Jacques Manuel, Jerry Marcus beat Reed Detton, Jim Meeker beat Harry Johnson DQ


(Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, January 6, 1935)

By William Peet

Dismissal of "Big Ed" Ratsch as matchmaker of the Pan-Pacific Athletic Club will not in any way curtail the activities of that club, according to word received last night, and announcement is made that next Friday night the following card will be presented:

Gus Sonnenberg goes against "Doc" Meyers in the main bout of eight rounds. Tony Felice again clashes with Shunichi Shikuma in the other end of the main windup. Jack Manuel and Einard Lindberg clash in the special, while Professor Higami and Johnson provide the fireworks for the second bout. The show opens with Jim Meeker and Jerry Marcus strutting their stuff.

The Pan Pacific A.C. served notice on Ed Ratsch yesterday that he was no longer the matchmaker, but "Big Ed" tied up the receipts of the Friday night show, with a court order for back salary, and this will be threshed out in the courts Monday afternoon.

The Ratsch civil suit is interesting in more ways than one, and it is doubtful if all the details will ever be made public, for the reason that it is just one of those squabbles, like a free-for-all-fight with both sides making demands and neither one willing to give in.

The less said about it the better, for after all, the public is not interested in family squalls but is interested in wrestling.

Manuel Calhau, through his 19-year-old daughter, Lucille, has written to President Roosevelt citing the case of the "forgotten man" and asking that steps be made to halt foreclosure sale of the Civic Auditorium and that the loss of this property to her father would practically ruin him financially, and that he was battling against odds to control possession of the sports palace.

In this letter she is said to have appealed to the President to use his good offices to bring about an investigation of the elements which are attempting to wrest control of her father's property from him and bring about his financial ruin. She further appealed to the President in the name of the "Forgotten Man," detailing the struggle of her father to retain his interest in the auditorium against the outside pressure to bring about a forced sale of his property at this time.

Last week Miss Calhau received a letter addressed to her from the President's secretary announcing that he had been instructed by the President to refer her letter to Governor J.B. Poindexter for a report on the case to be sent to his office.

Poindexter, when questioned, admitted that he had received a letter from Washington covering this subject. He declared he had referred the investigation to William B. Pittman, territory attorney general, to make a report on the case.

Pittman, it was learned, is now attempting to bring about a meeting of the creditors of Calhau and if possible effect some compromise which will present the sale at public auction of the auditorium.

Calhau, when questioned, admitted the part played by his daughter in an attempt to p;revent his loss of the auditorium property. He added that he knew nothing about her letter until it had been called to his attention by the governor's office.


(Associated Press, January 8, 1935)

LOS ANGELES -- Bull Montana, wrestler, screen character and known throughout the United States, was today given a license by the State Athletic Commission to referee wrestling bouts in Southern California. Montana in his day was one of the most colorful wrestlers the game ever produced. He makes his home in this city.


(Honolulu Advertiser, Saturday, January 12, 1935)

By William Peet

Professional wrestling shifted last night to the Civic Auditorium and for the present there will be no opposition. Professional wrestling drew a small house, and the gate totaled something like $800, but it was a sizeable gate at that, and things are looking up.

Gus Sonnenberg and "Doc" Meyers furnished the excitement for the main bout and Sonnenberg won, taking the necessary two out of three falls.

The other bouts were not so hot, although the preliminary showing Joe Kirk and Jim Meeker was a corker, as was the battle between Jerry Marcus and Lou Mueller. In fact the fans enjoyed these mat battles more than the others, judging by the wise cracks and applause.

The big shots fiddled around during the first canto (as the boys down the street would say) and there were no falls, but in the second round, Meyers gained a fall in 3:48 with a body press and the crowd gave him a cher.

Sonnenberg came out of his corner as the bell rang to open the third round and in less time than it takes to tell, applied a leg hold to win in 26 seconds.

The bout ended in the fifth round when Sonnenberg, rushing off the ropes, kicked Meyers in the jaw, laid him cold, and then jumped on him for the fall that won the match. The time was 2:52.

The one sour note on the card was the Tony Felice-Shikuma scrap, advertised as the other end of the main event. Shikuma cannot wrestle a lick when it comes to catch-as-catch-can, but he placed a so-called "Japanese death lock" on Felice in the second round after four minutes to take the match.

This match was further enlivened when Jacques Manuel, for some reason or other, jumped into the ring and socked Shikuma in the jaw.

Felice, as he left the ring, started after a spectator who had been razzing him but was overpowered before he could use his fists. It was quite a party and apparently the fans enjoyed the show.

Other results: Einard Lindberg beat Jacques Manuel; Joe Kirk beat Jim Meeker; Jerry Marcus drew Lou Mueller.

January 15, 1935 Civic Auditorium

Gus Sonnenberg beat Shunichi Shikuma, Tet Higami beat Tony Felice (judo jacket match), Jim Meeker beat Harry Johnson, Joe Kirk drew Jerry Marcus

January 22, 1935 Civic Auditorium

Gus Sonnenberg beat Rubberman Higami, Jacques Manuel beat Harry Johnson, Lou Mueller beat Jim Meeker, Shunichi Shikuma beat Tony Felice

January 29, 1935 Civic Auditorium

Gus Sonnenberg drew Oki Shikina, Jerry Marcus drew Lou Mueller, Joe Kirk drew Sailor Gilberson, Young Daruma beat Jim Meeker