Some historical research has taken me into the archives of the long-since-defunct New York Tribune newspaper. In its February 16, 1921 edition (p8), I found the following letter, reproduced here for the edification of you and the BOD readers.
FOR THE GOOD OF WRESTLING
To the Editor of the Tribune--
Sir: Although the ban has been put on the head lock, the toe hold and the scissors hold, it seems to me that this was extreme and unnecessary.
I realize that such holds are dangerous to the life and limb of contestants, but so is the knock-out in boxing.
In other words, would it not be feasible to permit the head lock, etc, and give the decision to the one holding it if his adversary cannot wriggle out within a certain limited time.
This ruling would also serve to shorten wrestling contests, which are now so long to be at times tiresome, thereby losing in popularity.
S. W. Taylor
Editor, The Rider and Driver
New York, Feb 14, 1921
Well you have to understand that it's a bit misleading. When they say "head-lock" in 1921, the move they're referring to is the tombstone piledriver, but since Undertaker wasn't born for another 50 years they didn't have the proper name for it. The "toe-hold" was closer to a Canadian Destroyer, and the scissors hold was literally stabbing someone in the face with scissors. So really, today's workers look like pussies next to these guys. You don't even want to know what the irish whip involved.
Clearly the business got a lot safer after the second World War.