K: Johnny Katsulos
British wrestling has never been short of a few “Golden Greeks,” some more golden and some more Greek than others. Well Johnny Katsulos satisfied the criteria of being golden in the sense that he was a most capable wrestler and was definitely Greek, in an almost sort of way.
His name at birth on 28th October, 2015 was Jacob Katsulos, and that was in Toronto, Canada, of Greek descent. We understand Jacob was a waiter in Toronto before coming to Britain in 1937 and gaining work as a printer. He lived in Brixton Road, London, a road familiar to all wrestling fans.
Not necessarily his first match in Britain but our first documented match came on 5th February, 1937, billed as the Middleweight Champion of Greece and wrestling Rene LaBelle at Exeter.
A skilful and clean wrestler (by 1930s standards at least) Johnny was a popular figure as he wrestled some of the best lighter weight men in Britain, including Harold Angus and George de Relwyskow. He certainly seems to have been in demand by promoters during his British stay from early 1937 until 1939.
With war in Europe approaching Johnny and his wife, Anne Marie, crossed the Atlantic on 27th May, 1939 on board the Cunard White Star Line “Ausonia” and returned home. Johnny continued his wrestling career and we have found him wrestling in Quebec during the remainder of 1939 and 1940. The website www.wrestlingdata.com lists one of Johnny’s matches as one of the longest on record. His drawn result against Arthur Prouix in Montreal on 11th October, 1939, lasted 90 minutes.
With the world at war Johnny joined the war effort and enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force. In early 1945, shortly before being demobbed, he was stationed in France.
Post war Johnny continued to wrestle in Montreal and Quebec. We also found him in the United States, working in Ohio between 1947 and 1951. On his retirement from the ring Johnny became a hotel and restaurant manager in Toronto.
Johnny and Anne Marie parented two children, Joan and Jack. Joan is the mother of Wrestling Heritage member Paul Sinclair.
Johnny Katsulos died in 1970 and is buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto. Anne Marie was reunite with her husband in 2012.