Jack Reynolds was a Farmer Burns protégé and perennial welterweight championship claimant throughout the late 1910s, 1920s and into the 1930s. Born in Iowa he became proficient at both baseball and catch wrestling, finally settling on the latter as a profession.
Widely respected as one of the all-time great mat artists, his personal life however was frequently lived in the fast lane. He and his wife were once arrested in Louisville, Kentucky, engaged in a knock-down, drag out street fight with one another. Another time he and his spouse were involved in a late night club shootout that claimed two lives. During a sensational trial they were acquitted of any wrong-doing.
On brighter notes, it was said that Reynolds never turned down a request to wrestle for a charity event; and from 1920 to 1926 he coached the Indiana University mat squad with great success. Jack died in 1945 at fifty-one years of age.
Thanks to historian Mark Hewitt
Reynolds was considered a legitimate grappler, meaning he was a shooter capable of wrestling in a straight match of competition, not just scripted performances. On Tuesday, November 24, 1914 in Lincoln, Nebraska, Reynolds was disqualified in a match against Owen Daily. He was scheduled to meet Tom Doctor at Mankato, Kansas on Thanksgiving night. Reynolds was said to be from Idaho.
Reports of a Springfield, IL match between Reynolds and George Roumas on December 28, 1914 stated that the bought “ended in a fist fight.” Roumas suffered a broken rib. In April 1916, Reynolds beat Adam Krueger in Cedar Rapids when the latter failed to beat him twice in an hour. It was reported that three weeks earlier in Fullerton, Krueger was able to beat Reynolds with a hammerlock. The Fullerton bout occurred on Tuesday, March 21, 1916 at the Star Theater and Krueger beat Reynolds in two-straight falls. Reynolds’ manager claimed that Krueger was strangling his wrestler. It was said that Krueger “out-grappled his opponent and earned a merited victory.” Reynolds was scheduled to wrestle Owen Daily on Friday, June 22, 1917 in Minden.
The United Press, on June 12, 1931, stated that Reynolds announced his marriage to Alice Dale of Cincinnati, which was to take place at Newport, Kentucky. Last Monday, he was granted a divorce from his first wife.
The Charleston Daily Mail (4/14/34, Charleston, WV) reported that World Welterweight Champion Jack Reynolds called promoter Cliff Binckley, telling him that he was going to have to cancel his scheduled match next Monday at Springfield, Ohio against Everett “Silent” Rattan of Kansas City. The decision was made on account that Reynolds had been indicted for second degree murder in Cincinnati, and the wrestling champion was cancelling all of his appearances. Around 1937, Lord Lansdowne Finnington was said to be a member of the Reynolds troupe, and likely trained under Reynolds. In July 1937, Reynolds reportedly drew a $4,000 house in Amarillo.
Research by Tim Hornbaker