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Jim Kershner’s This day in history

Mon., Jan. 17, 2011

From our archives, 75 years ago

Local authorities were dealing with the aftermath of a “wrestling riot” that occurred during a 1936 match at Spokane’s Masonic Temple.

The action got a little out of hand between “Brother Jonathan” Heaton (so nicknamed because he was an ex-Mormon deacon) and Paul “Bombshell” Boesch. Brother Jonathan apparently got Bombshell into a chokehold and wouldn’t release him until he went limp and unconscious. When the referee, a much smaller man, tried to intervene, Brother Jonathan swatted him aside and resumed kicking and choking Bombshell.

A half-dozen angry spectators leapt into the ring and started pounding on Brother Jonathan. A number of policemen and firemen in the crowd jumped in and tried to restore order, but they were in plain clothes and ended up mistakenly fighting each other. The melee lasted five minutes, yet no one was critically hurt, not even Bombshell.

After the dust settled, the Spokane police chief announced that “such rowdyism will never again be tolerated.” The state boxing and wrestling commissioner informed Brother Jonathan that similar shenanigans would now be “strictly taboo – or else.” And then he fined him $10.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1893: Hawaii’s monarchy was overthrown as a group of businessmen and sugar planters forced Queen Lili’uokalani to abdicate.

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