Upon his arrival to America, O’Mahoney made his way to the top of the wrestling ranks faster then
anyone ever in the history of the sport. He was almost immediately gunning for the title, defeating
the top heavyweights all across the country. From former World Champions, to mid-card
wrestlers, O’Mahoney made a huge impact on the states.
O’Mahoney arrived in the United States in December 1934 and his win streak began on day one.
On April 1, 1935, he met Richard Shikat in New York. He won by disqualification when referee,
George Bothner ended the bout. Shikat’s rough style of kicking was too much for the official and
the match could not go on. He made history on the night of June 27, 1935 in Boston. It was the
night promoters had been waiting for. Their Irish superstar was meeting the recognized World
Heavyweight Champion, Jim Londos. O’Mahoney won the single fall after an hour and ten minutes
of wrestling and captured the World Title.
The victory marked another accomplishment. It was his 50th consecutive victory in the U.S. It
seemed no one could stop O’Mahoney’s reign of power. He had nearly defeated all comers prior
to getting the shot at the title and promoters made sure he would not be backing down after he
had the belt. O’Mahoney was not done. On the 30th of June, Danno faced another claimant to
the World Title in an attempt to further unify the World Championships. The match was in Boston
and O’Mahoney was victorious. On July 30th, O’Mahoney and a third claimant were matched in
Boston. He wrestled Ed Lewis and beat him.
Danno O’Mahoney was unbeatable. He had unified the three broken claims of the title, unifying
the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission with New York, Philadelphia, California and with
thirty-plus states in the union. He was a power house not to be denied. O’Mahoney had
accomplished what promoters would not allow Lewis, Londos or George accomplish. The “trust” of
promoters led by Jack Curley and Paul Bowser pointed in a direction and their champion went. A
financial backing, world-wide respect and a long winded winning streak, O’Mahoney couldn’t lose.
Of course, the promoters and O’Mahoney could not predict the future.
He was recognized by the National Wrestling Association as the World Champion on September
16, 1935 in Louisville, at the NWA’s annual meeting and unified all the major wrestling
conglomerates. The belt had not been so clear since 1929-30 when Gus Sonnenberg reigned. O’
Mahoney failed to wrestle a scheduled match against Juan Humberto in Galveston, Texas on
February 8, 1936 and things began to go downhill.
A week later in Friarspoint, Mississippi, the President of the NWA, Col. Harry J. Landry, announced
the suspension of O’Mahoney. The ban would be recognized in 37-states in the Union, as well as
in parts of Canada. The World Title was not declared vacant and the suspension would be lifted if
he returned to Texas and answered the charges. Promoters in the New York area had already
scheduled a match for O’Mahoney against Dick Shikat on March 2nd at Madison Square Garden.
More controversy was brought to the table. The title unexpectedly changed hands that night and
in that sense, no promoters, no matchmakers, not even O’Mahoney knew that was going to be the
outcome. Shikat beat O’Mahoney and took the unified World Championship in quick fashion.
The news shot across the world like a bullet. There was something sneaky going on behind the
scenes. The government began to ask questions. The NWA stripped O’Mahoney of his title
despite the loss in New York. Officials in Montreal continued to recognize him until July 16, 1936
when Yvon Robert beat him in Montreal and captured the World Title. O’Mahoney drew with Dean
Detton in Toronto, Ontario with zero falls on May 20, 1937. On the 26th of that month, O’Mahoney
wrestled Tor Johnson to a 90-minute draw with no falls in Worcester. He lost to Ray Steele, World
Champion Bronko Nagurski, and Roy Dunn in early 1940. The loss to Dunn in Denver at
Mammoth Garden put a exclamation point on the streak. On February 28th, O'Mahoney scored a
victory over Leo Numa in Pittsburgh.
Danno continued to wrestle, but could never get back into the upper echelon of the business. He
met up with Orville Brown, MWA World Champion, on October 17, 1946 in Kansas City’s Memorial
Hall. O’Mahoney won the second fall against the champ, but lost the other two. On October 31st,
O’Mahoney again received a match with Brown for the title. Marshall Esteppe watched over the
two combatants, and counted O’Mahoney’s first fall victory, but gave Brown the remainder of the
bout. The title remained in Brown’s possession.
O’Mahoney returned to Ireland. He suddenly died of injuries suffered in an automobile accident
on November 4, 1950. He was 37 years of age.
Other Historical Notes:
Danno O'Mahoney made his American debut on January 4, 1935, toppling Ernie Dusek in Boston.
Boasting O'Mahoney's credibility, he received some supportive words from two well-known
wrestling figures, according to the November 4, 1935 edition of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat.
Tony Stecher said: "Danno looks just like Joe [Stecher] did when he started out as a younger.
You know Joe was barely 20 when he won the world title, and he did not look too impressive.
However, his scissors cut all opponents down." Charles Cutler said: "he has all the earmarks of
Stecher. Tall, nimble and very strong. I have never seen a youngster who looks more like Joe
than Danno does. According to indications, he should go far in the wrestling world."
On November 12, 1935 O'Mahoney denied that he had gotten married to Julia Esther Burke on
October 26 in Cambridge, claiming that he was in New York that day. However, the Associated
Press (11/13/35) reported that the marriage was recorded by the Cambridge City Clerk and the
marriage had been performed by Rev. Francis Murphy at St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church.
O'Mahoney even said that he was only 25 "and I have lots of time to think about marrying." He
admitted that he was engaged to Julia Burke.
The Associated Press reported that O'Mahoney's car crashed into a tree in Winchendon,
Massachusetts on November 18, 1935 as he going to Montreal for a scheduled match. The car
was driving by his brother-in-law John Burke. Also in the car was his wife, who suffered an injured
neck. The champion and his wife went to Gardner Airport, and got on a plane to Montreal to fulfill
the date. O'Mahoney was not injured.
According to the Wednesday, December 25, 1935 edition of the Chicago Daily Tribune,
O'Mahoney wrestled challenger Jim Browning "sixteen times during the year." Among them were
July 18 in Philadelphia, August 9 in Toronto, September 24 in New York, and October 17 in
Toronto. Their last meeting was on December 5, in Baltimore.
Research by Tim Hornbaker
|Danno O'Mahoney Wrestling History
Legends of Pro Wrestling