WRESTLING HERITAGE

G: El Greco

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El Greco


Not the most imaginative of names but it was understandable that Kyriakos Anastasiadis opted for a name that would save a bit of time when signing autographs. He was a very stylish, skilful Greek, and one that had been brought up in Australia before moving to Britain and marrying a girl from Harrogate.


He gave up an interest in soccer to turn professional wrestler in 1960, finding huge popularity among the Greek communities of Sydney and Melbourne. .By 1962 a moment of glory came when he became the first ever (and only) Australian TV light heavyweight champion in Melbourne, defeating Olympian and British Empire Games bronze medallist Bruce Arthur. Six months later he lost the title to Bruce Milne. This may well have been one of those pre-arranged conveniences that happened in professional wrestling because El Greco was off on his travels.


In September, 1962 El Greco arrived in Britain. Initially matches were for Relwyskow & Green but he was soon to receive bookings from other northern promoters and eventually Dale Martin Promotions caught on that this bearded Greek was someone the fans had taken to. By the end of 1963 El Greco was travelling extensively throughout the country.


There must have been something that Kyriakos Anastasiadis liked about Britain because he was set to stay until the summer of 1966. During that time he wrestled just about all the top light heavyweights in the country. It was among these wrestlers that he was able to best display his skills. Occasionally he was allowed to play with the big boys, invariably a villain such as Danny Lynch, Alan Garfield and Yuri Borienko. Yearsley was the opponent in one of his five televised matches. His results were not outstanding but he did establish himself as a popular and skilful wrestler who was welcomed by the fans. In tag matches he often formed a popular partnership with George Passalaris.


Highlight of his time in British rings was undoubtedly the night he defeated Frank O’Donnell at the Royal Albert Hall. Towards the end of his time in British rings we had just the one opportunity to watch him live. El Greco certainly had the support of the fans as he worked his way to victory over Gorilla Reg Ray, who was disqualified.


El Greco returned to Australia in 1968 but was soon off on his travels once again, back to Europe and wrestling in Germany. By 1975 he was back in Australia, this time apparently settling there as there are records of his matches every year up to his untimely death in 1982.


We turned to Australian enthusiast Graeme Cameron for details of his death, which was one of wrestling’s tragedies.


El Greco died on 25th April, 1982. It was Anzac Day, when the people of Australia and New Zealand remember those who have lost their lives in war. Veteran servicemen march through the cities and then gather with their families in RSL (Returned Services League) Clubs. Lunch is followed by entertainment, which on that day was wrestling. El Greco was on the bill, popular as ever. Climbing the ropes during a match with Bret Small he slipped and hit his head. He completed the match but collapsed in the dressing room and died before he reached hospital.

Page added 24/04/2022