WRESTLING HERITAGE

P: Dropkick Johnny Peters


Dropkick Johnny Peters

Skilful, exciting, fast, Dropkick Johnny Peters had it all. Not to forget the looks which made the Brighton based matman a popular figure for many years. In the 1950s and 1960s there seemed to be an unwritten rule that wrestling fans could not utter the name Johnny Peters without the prefix of "Dropkick." Those feet were magic, and the way they sped across the ring and propelled themselves at his opponent meant that he was always Dropkick Johnny Peters.

Although he was London born in 1921 Johnny resided in Brighton for many years, a popular figure at the Brighton Sports Stadium and venues around the country. His fast, furious and exciting style meant that his appearances were always welcomed by wrestling fans, but his popularity reached a crescendo in the early 1960s when he formed a hugely successful tag partnership with Dazzler Joe Cornelius. The style of the two wrestlers made them a natural partnership and they were one of the heavyweight pairings that helped build the popularity of tag team wrestling in Britain.


Johnny's professional career had its foundations in a successful amateur career that brought him various titles at several weights whilst serving in the navy in the Far East during World War Two. It was in the Far East that he started wrestling professionally and we have found him wrestling in Malaya in 1945 "The terror of the Navy" and a year later billed as the welterweight champion of the Royal Navy.


Back in Britain he was hailed as a newly discovered wonder boy and could be seen wrestling the top stars of the day. A championship contest materialised but ended in disappointment when wrestling Jack Dempsey for the British welterweight championship, a match which ended prematurely - due to rain! Consolation came in Paris in 1953 when he defeated Gilbert Le Duc to snatch the European Welterweight Championship.


Johnny continued to climb through the weights to heavyweight and the Wrestler magazine claims a drawn decision against Bert Assirati when he wrestled the Islington Hercules for his British title in the independent rings.


Opponents ranging in weight from George Kidd to Bert Assirati must make this popular wrestler quite unique. Whilst the British heavyweight championship remained illusive he was holder of the Southern Area Heavyweight title for many years.


Johnny retired from wrestling rather abruptly in 1965, reportedly due to an ear injury. From around 1960 Johnny and his wife Violet had run a greengrocery business, which Johnny combined with wrestling promotion. His wrestling promotion, Continental Promotions, at times worked in collaboration with Dale Martin Promotions, and at other times independently.


Dropkick Johnny Peters died on 25th May, 2011.


Dropkick Johnny Peters. Always was and always will be.

Page added 25/05/2022