G: Grasshopper - Greenhill
Wrestling Heritage A-Z
A popular 1980s shaven headed. barefoot welterweight was Grasshopper, otherwise Phil Johnson from Leabrooks in Derbyshire. The clean and skilful wrestler made around ten television appearances against mostly unremarkable opponents, but also faced up to Dave Finlay and Jim Breaks. Prior to wrestling Phil was a regular competitor in judo competitions around the country. Had wrestling not disappeared from our television screens we may well have seen much more of this young man. Please get in touch if you can help us to improve this entry.
See the entry for Jan Gotch
With a name like Kyriakos Anastasiadis wouldn’t you be happy just being known as the Greek. A very stylish, skilful Greek,though, 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, very popular amongst the Greek communities of Sydney and Melbourne.
A moment of glory came in 1962 when he was the winner of the first ever (and only) Australian TV Light Heavyweight title in Melbourne, defeating Olympian and British Empire Games bronze medallist Bruce Arthur. He held the title for six months before losing it to Melbourne wrestler Bruce Milne. In 1962 he made his way to Britain, based himself in Leeds and worked for Joint Promotions, most particularly Relwyskow and Green Promotions. We last saw him wrestling Gorilla Reg Ray in Preston in 1966 and he left Britain shortly afterwards. He was a popular figure in Britain and Europe, wrestling the light heavyweights of the day. He returned to Australia in 1968, albeit temporarily as he was soon off to Germany.
El Greco returned to Australia in 1975, apparently settling in Australia as his name appears in the record every year of his death. El Greco’s death was one of wrestling’s tragedies. Climbing the ropes during a match with Bret Small in Australia El Greco slipped and hit his head. He completed the match but collapsed in the dressing room and died before he reached hospital.
See the entry for Carl Van Wurden
Twenty year old Bill Green stood 6 feet tall and nudged the top end of the light heavyweight division. He trained at the United Amateur Wrestling Club before going along to the Dale Martin gymnasium in preparation of his professional career. He made his professional debut in 1964, a Normal Morrell Promotion at the Lime Grove Baths, and the combination of judo and amateur wrestling knowledge made him a promising star of the 1964-5 season. Alas it was not to be. After sixty or so bouts Bill decided professional wrestling was not for him. His short lived career included bouts against Tug Holton, Sean Regan and Ray Fury. He was the son of the Wigan heavyweight Charlie Green.
Read our extended tribute: Personality Parade – The Lancashire Globetrotter
Rotherham's Cliff Green started out on his professional career during the war. We'd like to know more about this man who was a regular worker between 1942 and 1950, often in the North East of England, opponents including Les Kellett, Jackie Harris and Granville Lawrence.
Blackpool's Jim Green worked regularly throughout the midlands, north and Scotland from the 1950s until 1984, when he returned to the ring to wrestle on Bobby Barron's wrestling booth on Pleasure Beach. For decades prior to that Jim had been a bill topper, wrestling Bert Assirati. He was mostly known in the guise of his alter-ego, a very well known masked man. So unlike his alter-ego was the real life Jim that promoter Cyril Knowles relented to his requests to advertise him in his local Blackpool in his black mask but with his real name prominent on the poster. Apparently Jim was having trouble persuading his friends that he was the rule-bending hooded terror.
Read our extended tribute: An Artist of the Canvas
Some wrestlers were big. A few were absolutely huge. Tiny Greenhill fell into the latter category. Seven feet tall according to the wrestling posters. The man was enormous; he weighed over 18 stones and was said to be seven feet tall. Promoters are prone to exaggeration but the daughter of fellow wrestler and good friend, Midge Cowan, told us that she thought this was about right. Fellow wrestler Eddie Rose confirmed it too. Our research suggests 6 feet 10 inches would be closer to the mark. Eddie remembered working with him on the independent shows of the late 1960s. His name was Barry Greenhill, born 1st May, 1944, and he was nicknamed Tiny by his friends.
Tiny Greenhill was a man we had sought for many years. He made an impression when we saw him in a 1960s BBC documentary about fairground wrestling booths.Sadly we have uncovered little of his wrestling career. We did find out that in 1962 he signed up for the army, the 11th Regiment Royal Corps of Signals at Catterick. The Army had to have special clothes and shoes (size 14) made for him. In later life he moved to Brixham in Devon. Barry Greenhill died from heart failure in 1997, aged 52.
Page revised 06/01/20: Revision of El Greco entry
26/10/2019 Addition of Tiny Greenhill