Top Ten Doublecrosses -

Top Ten Doublecrosses

Top Ten Professional Wrestling DoublecrossesTop Ten Professional Wrestling Doublecrosses

1. Vince Screws Bret



4.Jim Londos Double-crossed by Joe Savoldi

5. Spiderlady beats Wendi Richter


In 1985, after losing and then regaining the title from rival Leilani Kai at the inaugural WrestleMania, Richter was scheduled to defend her women’s title at Madison Square Garden on November 25 of that same year against a mysterious masked opponent known only as The Spider Lady.[1] Moments into the match, The Spider Lady broke from the pre-scripted events and pinned Richter’s shoulders to the mat. The referee—who was in on the plan—delivered a swift three count, despite Richter kicking out after a count of one.[12] Richter ignored the bell and continued to attack the Spider, unmasking the new champion to reveal that it was The Fabulous Moolah in disguise.[12]

It was reported that the plan to rid Richter of the title was concocted by WWF Chairman Vince McMahon, who brought in Moolah after Richter refused to sign a new contract with the WWF.[12] Richter, however, claims she was still under her original five year contract, but that she regularly had disagreements with McMahon about her compensation.[13] She also claims that when she arrived at the arena that day, she was surprised to find Moolah backstage, as she never showed up to events for which she was not scheduled to wrestle.[13] After the match, an infuriated Richter left the arena in her wrestling gear, took a cab to the airport, and booked herself on a flight out of New York.[13] Afterward, she never spoke to either McMahon or Moolah again.[13]

6. Dick Shikat doublecrosses Danno O’Mahoney

7. Bearcat Wright Doublecrosses Freddie Blassie

8. Gorgeous George beats Chief Don Eagle



The original wrestling double cross occurred in 1925 when Stan Zybyszco the great European Greco-Roman champ pinned Wayne Munn……over and over again. Munn who wrestled for Strangler Lewis’s outfit, was a college football standout and not a real wrestler. Supposedly Zybyszco was hired by Joe Stetcher, Lewis’s main rival, to “stretch” Munn and bring the strap to a different organization. Zybyszco did just that and pinned Munn over and over again until the confused referee had no choice but to slap the mat 3 times.

Ironically, Zybyszco may have been double crossed years prior in 1909 by Frank Gotch. Zybyszco and Gotch had wrestled the year before in what may have been a “shoot”. Newspapers of the time report that although the bout was a draw, Zybyszco was beginning to overtake a gassed out Gotch. Gotch probably remembered the 1st bout when they walked to ring center for the rematch…..When Zybyszco extended his arm to shake hands….Gotch dropped low, hooked a leg and secured a pin in approximately 6-8 seconds.




1911 – Frank Gotch vs. George Hackenschmidt: One of history’s most

famous pro wrestling matches ever. Gotch, who became recognized

almost universally as world champion with a win over Hackenschmidt

three years earlier, was defending his title in the first ever rematch of the

century. Before the match ever took place, Ad Santel, a noted “hooker”

(an old term for submission expert or bonebreaker), a sparring partner of

Hackenschmidt who as it later came out, was paid $5,000 by Gotch’s

people to do so, tore out Hackenschmidt’s knee. Because a record

breaking gate was expected and achieved ($87,000 in those days would

probably be like $8 million today), the show had to go on and the

promoters kept the injury a secret from the public. Gotch, knowing about

the injury, reached an agreement with Hackenschmidt, who wanted to

pull out of the match due to his injury, to give him one fall in the best-ofthree

and carry him to a match where he looked credible. But once the

match started, Gotch double-crossed him, winning easily and quickly in

two straight falls.

1920 – Earl Caddock vs. Joe Malciewicz: Caddock, the champion, had

already agreed to drop the title to Joe Stecher just a few weeks later in

New York, but in this match Malciewicz shot on him and hammered him

the entire match and was given the decision. The press, largely controlled

in those days by the wrestling promoters, hushed up the match and the

title change was never recognized.

1925 – Wayne Munn vs. Stanislaus Zbyszko: Munn was a 6-8 giant,

especially for his time, and a college football hero, but he actually couldn’t

wrestle but he could draw football fans, so I guess that made him

decades ahead of his time. Seeing box office, Strangler Lewis, who

controlled the world title with promoter Billy Sandow as the Hulk Hogan

and Vince McMahon of their eras, dropped the title to Munn to build up a

successful run leading to it being returned in due time. Rival promoter

Tony Stecher, whose brother Joe was a legendary wrestler and rival of

Lewis at the time for who really was the best wrestler around, put

Zbyszko up to stealing the title. Two months earlier, to prove his loyalty

to Sandow, Zbyszko put Munn over cleanly and professionally so they had

no fear in giving him a title match. Once this match started, Zbyszko, one

of the great true wrestlers of his era, although nearing 60 by this point,

shot and beat him so badly the referee, one of Sandow’s most loyal

employees, had no choice but to stop the match and award the title to

him to save Munn from more of a beating and prevent the Philadelphia

fans from rioting from the farce of any other decision. Sandow got the

commissions in Michigan and Illinois to erase this match and still bill Munn

as champion, and as quickly as they could arranged for him to drop it to

Lewis, creating two champions, while Zbyszko, on the same night as

Lewis beat Munn, put over Joe Stecher as planned.

1926 – Joe Stecher vs. John Pesek: This match was at the Olympic

Auditorium in Los Angeles. The two worked the first two falls of a title

match with Stecher defending. In the third fall, Pesek, another wrestler

who most experts of the time would rank as among the greatest wrestlers

ever, double-crossed Stecher and beat the hell out of him, putting him in

a double wristlock. But this was all for naught because the referee at that

moment ruined the double-cross by disqualifying Pesek for no apparent

reason. There was a major investigation by the athletic commission, but

as was likely during that time period, the promotion probably bought off

the commission and Stecher retained the title.

1931 – Ed Don George vs. Strangler Lewis: At this point, Lewis and

Sandow had been in business with Northeast promoter Paul Bowser and

all were making big money with Gus Sonnenberg, another football hero

who couldn’t wrestle, as champion. After Sonnenberg was beaten up on

the street by a middleweight wrestler in a situation set up by their rival

promoters, Bowser, without consulting Sandow and Lewis, had

Sonnenberg drop the title to George, who had just come out of the

Olympics and was another great wrestler. Lewis was waiting for his

revenge, but did jobs for Bowser’s wrestlers to show his loyalty, and a

title match was set up for Los Angeles. As they got into the ring for a

match George was supposed to win, Lewis came out and casually said

that he was going to take the title and they could do it the hard way or

the easy way. Since George knew he couldn’t beat Lewis, he chose the

easy way.

1931 – Strangler Lewis vs. Henri DeGlane: It took only three weeks before

Bowser signed Lewis to defend the title in Montreal against Henri

DeGlane, the 1924 Olympic gold medalist who had become a big draw.

This was the famous battle of the bite we wrote about after the Tyson-

Holyfield fiasco. Lewis went into the ring knowing he was going to win in

three falls. After the second fall (in those days wrestlers returned to the

dressing room between falls so they could have intermissions and sell

concessions), DeGlane bit himself in the arm near the armpit until he

drew blood. He kept the arm covered, went out for the fall, immediately

started screaming like Holyfield did, Lewis backed off having no idea what

was happening. The ref saw the blood and teeth marks and disqualified

Lewis awarding the title to DeGlane. Lewis was so furious about the

double-cross that he went backstage to do to Bowser what Hart did to

McMahon, however Bowser was a little more ready, having six

bodyguards all armed with baseball bats covering him, and Lewis, trying

to play it cool, said he was quitting anyway and left for Europe.

1933 – Jim Londos vs. Joe Savoldi: In the history of American wrestling,

Londos ranks with Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant as the biggest

drawing card ever. However, he had made enemies at this time with the

promoters in New York, who had their own world champion in Jim

Browning. The New York promoters set up the double-cross in Chicago by

buying off both Savoldi and referee Bob Managoff (whose son was a

champion wrestler of the next generation). Savoldi put on a submission

and as planned, Londos made the ropes, but Savoldi then put real

pressure on, the ref pretended he didn’t see Londos touch the ropes,

called for the submission and awarded Savoldi the title. Savoldi then

brought the title to New York and lost a unification match to Browning,

giving the New York promoters a champion with even more credibility.

The irony of all this is that over the next year, the crowds in New York

started falling and they begged Londos to come back, and gave him the

world title from Browning to get him back to save their business. The

moral of this story is obvious.

1936 – Danno O’Mahoney vs. Dick Shikat: O’Mahoney, an Irish star who

wasn’t much of a wrestler, had turned into a monster draw in Boston for

Paul Bowser, drawing several stadium crowds of around 30,000, and also

drew well in New York for Jack Curley, and throughout the Northeast. In a

match in Madison Square Garden, Shikat, considered one of the

legitimately toughest men in the business at the time, was put up by rival

promoters Jack Pfeffer and Al Haft, who were at war with Curley, to shoot

on O’Mahoney and he destroyed him. The ref had no idea what to do

about it. Shikat won the title, but then his promoters had him drop it just

a few weeks later. Bowser in Boston continued to bill O’Mahoney as

champion until he lost it a year later in Montreal to Yvon Robert. Many

point to this match as the match, because it was a shoot, that exposed

wrestling and killed the business in New York that it wasn’t until the

advent of Argentina Rocca some 15 years later that wrestling became

lucrative at the Garden.

1950 – Don Eagle vs. Gorgeous George: Eagle was recognized primarily in

Boston as world champion, and was defending his version of the title

outside the territory in Chicago. This was in many ways the most similar

to Hart-Michaels as ref Earl Mollohan double-crossed Eagle and counted

him down when Eagle kicked out, then bailed out of the ring as quickly as

he could with an enraged Eagle chasing him down the aisle. We’ve also

heard disputes on this one saying that was actually planned as a

controversial finish but the general feeling from those viewing the tape is

that it was remarkably similar to Hart-Michaels.

1979 – Antonio Inoki vs. Bob Backlund: The previous week in Japan,

Backlund dropped the WWF title to Inoki with the agreement that he’d win

it back in their rematch and return to the U.S., with no title change ever

being acknowledged in the U.S. The match is completely worked, and as

planned, in the finish Tiger Jeet Singh interferes causing Inoki to lose the

title back. Inoki gives the title back to Backlund. However, in the doublecross,

after the match WWF President Hisashi Shinma ruled the match a

no contest and said that Inoki was still the champion. This was a set-up

by Inoki and Shinma, primarily because New Japan was scheduled to do a

television taping about seven weeks later in Madison Square Garden on a

WWF show and they wanted for their own TV purposes and ratings, for

Inoki to main event the Garden, where he’d drop the title to Backlund.

Vince McMahon Sr. was already building up Bobby Duncum as the big

man of the month to work with Backlund. McMahon basically ignored

everything, and as a face saving gesture, brought in Inoki to wrestle Iron

Sheik and billed his match as for the WWF World Martial Arts

championship, a title Inoki would continue to use for many years in the

future both in Japan and the U.S. For Japanese television, neither

Backlund nor Duncum entered the ring for the belt, nor was Backlund

introduced as champion, and he was then given the belt after beating

Duncum. However, all the pre-match hype in the U.S. for the match had

Backlund defending against Duncum.

1983 – Bob Backlund vs. Iron Sheik (see page seven)

1985 – Wendi Richter vs. Spider Lady (see page seven)

1991 – Nobuhiko Takada vs. Trevor Berbick: While technically not a world

title match, this was one of two mixed matches on a UWFI show in Sumo

Hall. This match, featuring a former boxing heavyweight champion, and

another featuring James Warring, at the time recognized by the IBF as

the world cruiserweight champion, against pro wrestler Billy Scott were

expected by the Americans to be worked. However, once the bell

sounded, Takada shot on Berbick, laying in a few hard leg kicks. Berbick

freaked out, left the ring at 2:52 of the first round, and refused to come

back out. Scott and Warring had worked out a match, and Scott was

working with Warring early. When it came time for Warring to make his

comeback and win, Scott shot on him, took him down and controlled him

on the ground for the rest of the fight, which turned into a shoot, and

Scott won the match via decision.

1994 – NWA title tournament: While also not at the time a major league

world title, the NWA name was being resurrected by a number of small

promoters, who had Tod Gordon’s Eastern Championship Wrestling,

ostensibly and really controlled by booker Paul Heyman, host a

tournament to crown a champion. There was no double-cross in the ring,

as it was agreed ahead of time, although reluctantly by some, for ECW’s

champion, Shane Douglas to win the tournament. It was after the match

that Heyman, Gordon and Douglas double-crossed the rest of the NWA,

throwing down the title belt and grabbing his own title while a shocked

NWA President Dennis Coraluzzo was in the ring watching. Coraluzzo was

tricked after the speech into doing a promo for ECW television stripping

Douglas of the title, allowing Gordon to announce they were splitting from

the NWA and forming a new company, Extreme Championship Wrestling,

and recognizing Douglas as their first champion. Coraluzzo and ECW had

been territorial enemies in the past, had mended fences for this show,

and have remained enemies ever since with the exception of a peace

truce between the two sides in 1997 that lasted for about 15 seconds

before both sides claimed the other had double-crossed them again.