G: Grasshopper - Green
Wrestling Heritage A-Z
A popular 1980s shaven headed. barefoot welterweight was Grasshopper, otherwise known as 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 the much more challenging 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.
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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, this time apparently settling in Australia as his name appears in the record every year yp to the time of his death in 1982. El Greco’s death was one of wrestling’s tragedies. Climbing the ropes during a match with Brett 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. El Greco died on 25th April, 1982.
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.
Page revised 06/01/20: Revision of El Greco entry