L: Lewis - Linton
Wrestling Heritage A-Z
Mancunian Jim Lewis was known as Gentleman Jim, though his style failed abysmally to reflect the nickname.
It took only the swagger of an over-confident champion, the flicking of the blond hair and the slow-motion use of the mirror and comb as he preened himself for Jim to have the crowd at fever pitch. Then the bell would ring for the first round. The blind-side moves, blatant punches and more of the swagger would confirm that here was the villain of the night. Keep in mind that all this took place at a time when the likes of Adrian Street and Bobby Barnes were still at home doing their homework.
A claimant of the World Welterweight title on and off for the best part of twenty years Lewis could mix it with the best of them. His clashes extended beyond the wrestling ring as he was the first secretary of one of the various short lived attempts by wrestlers to form a union, which led to a period in exile amongst the independent promoters.
Lewis was a fine wrestler, one of the greats amongst the likes of Dempsey, Colbeck and McManus. Here at Wrestling Heritage we believe his union activities did present an obstacle which prevented Jim Lewis becoming one of the biggest names in television wrestling.
Following his retirement from wrestling he worked fro the British Shoe Machinery Company in Leicester. Jim Lewis was born in January, 1917 and passed away at Leicester Royal Infirmary on 10th September, 1982. Our thanks to Jim's son for this cutting from the 1971 BSMC staff magazine.
A veteran of the all-in days of the 1930s Leo Lightbody, known as the “The Miracle Boy from Huddersfield” resumed his wrestling career after the Second World War and continued working in northern England until 1950, when he turned to refereeing.
Leo was the opponent of Martin Schultz one fateful night at Belle Vue in April 1946 when he swerved away from Schultz who crashed through the ropes, broke his neck and subsequently died.
Leo was also involved in the promotional side of wrestling, in the late 1940s managing British Wrestling Enterprises from their offices in The Strand, London.
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Born in Sydney, Australia, Lincoln turned to wrestling after gaining a reputation as a fine amateur playing both cricket and rugby. Following school he was employed in the advertising department of the St James Tobacco Company.
It was an advertising campaign for the wrestling tournament at the Leichardt Stadium that got the youngster interested in wrestling and he joined the Sydney Police Boys Club to learn how to wrestle.
It was in the same Leichardt Stadium that had sparked his early interest that Paul made his professional debut, against Ray Green. A short time later promoter Jimmy Sharman enrolled Paul as one of his team of wrestlers and he began to travel further afield in Australia and the Far East.
In 1951 he left Australia for Britain, where he started wrestling the following year. He established himself as a popular and respected wrestler, particularly in the south of England. Paul met up with a school friend who was also a wrestler, Ray Hunter. In 1956 they pooled their savings to buy a coffee bar in Old Compton Street, London, the “The Two I’s.” The name was retained from the previous owners, the Irani brothers.
Under Paul Lincoln and Ray Hunter management the coffee bar established itself as a home for many young entertainers, giving them the chance to display their talent to fellow customers. Amongst the many who took this opportunity and went on to greater fame were Tommy Steele, Adam Faith, Marty Wilde and Cliff Richard. Lincoln also opened an Italian restaurant in Soho and together with Ray Hunter, Bob Anthony Al ' Hayes he purchased The Cromwellian bar, restaurant and casino.
In 1958 Paul and Ray turned to the promotional side of wrestling, setting up Paul Lincoln Managements. They overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to become serious rivals of the established Dale Martin Promotions.
Paul pulled on a mask and appeared on his own bills as one of Britain's top masked men. Even without television exposure his masked persona became a household name, often imitated but never equalled.
Lincoln shows combined established wrestlers such as Mike Marino with overseas visitors such as Ricky Starr, Quasimodo and Ski Hi Lee. He introduced new talent including the Cortez brothers, Bob Anthony, the Borg twins and Bob Kirkwood. aul Lincoln passed away on Tuesday 11th January, 2011. The story of Paul Lincoln the wrestling promoter can be read in Men in Suits and Men of Courage and Vision.
Stockport’s Pete Lindop usually adopted the name Lindberg in the professional ring.
After training as an amateur at the Manco Club, Manchester, he turned professional at Rochdale, losing to Colin McDonald.
Here was a real mighty atom; a very powerful man inside his thirteen stone frame. One of the hard men and best wrestlers on the northern circuit. Pete claimed to be Britain’s strongest middlweight, and entertained fans prior to his matches by blowing up hot water bottles until they burst. The anticipation of waiting for the bottle to burst was incredible, but burst it did and we all jumped. Then Steve might well bend a few iron bars before actually getting down to the business of wrestling.
During the 1960s Pete was very busy working the northern independent circuit where the industrial conglomerates of Lancashire and Cheshire called for wrestlers to work two, and sometimes more, venues in one night. In the 1970s Pete worked for Joint Promotions, particularly Best Wryton, where he entertained the fans but never reached top of the bill status.
On many occasions Pete wrestled as one half of a masked tag team the most notorious and successful of whom can be discovered in the Wrestling Heritage Top 20 Masked Men.
His favourite move, the pile driver, led to victories over some of Britain’s top wrestlers, including the much heavier Steve Veidor.
One short 1961 visit to the UK was sufficient for us to select American Luther Lindsay for our A-Z. Few visitors, if any, could boast a KO win over Mike Marino at the Royal Albert Hall, or destruction of Josef Zaranoff on television. Luther Lindsay could.
In his native United States Luther Lindsay was one of the first African American wrestlers to achieve star billing, being billed as the Coloured American Heavyweight Champion. During the 1950s Luther took part in many inter-racial contests, which was something of a rarity in those days. He was a frequent challengers for Lou Thesz's world title, often holding the champion to sixty minute draws.
World Heavyweight Champion, Lou Thesz, said of Lindsay,
“the best black wrestler ever. Luther had a fantastic body and limitless energy to compliment his skill. Like many other industries, wrestling was not open to African-American wrestlers during his career, so it was an amazing accomplishment for Luther to even learn his craft. His place in history is not because he was black; it is in spite of the fact he was black."
Lindsay died, aged 48, from heart failure following a match against Bobby Paul on February 21st, 1972.
Known as “The Leeds Tornado” Hardy Lingus worked for the independent promoters in the midlands and north during the second half of the 1960s and 1970s.