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L: Lewis - Linton


Wrestling Heritage A-Z


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Gentleman Jim Lewis
Mancunian Jim Lewis was known as Gentleman Jim, though his style failed abysmally to reflect the nickname. It took only the swagger of an over-confident champion, the flicking of the blond hair and the slow-motion use of the mirror and comb as he preened himself for Jim to have the crowd at fever pitch. Then the bell would ring for the first round. The blind-side moves, blatant punches and more of the swagger would confirm that here was the villain of the night. Keep in mind that all this took place at a time when the likes of Adrian Street and Bobby Barnes were still at home doing their homework. 

A claimant of the World Welterweight title on and off for the best part of twenty years Lewis could mix it with the best of them. His clashes extended beyond the wrestling ring as he was the first secretary of one of the various short lived attempts by wrestlers to form  a union, which led to a period in exile amongst the independent promoters. 

Lewis was a fine wrestler, one of the greats amongst the likes of Dempsey, Colbeck and McManus. Here at Wrestling Heritage we believe his union activities did present an obstacle which prevented Jim Lewis becoming one of the biggest names in television wrestling. Following his retirement from wrestling he worked fro the British Shoe Machinery Company in Leicester. Jim Lewis was born in January, 1917 and passed away at Leicester Royal Infirmary on 10th September, 1982. Our thanks to Jim's son for this cutting from the 1971  BSMC staff magazine.

Jim Lewis featured in the British Shoe Machinery Company magazine.

Eric Leyland

See the entry for Eric Turner

Leo Lightbody  

An all action combatant of the All-In rings no one was safe when Leo Lightbody was riled, including the referee should he have admonished the wrestler for something Leo considered unjustified. The revival of professional wrestling was well underway when Lightbody first came to our attention in 1933, billed as a middleweight but often facing much heavier competition. 

Posters proclaimed Leo as “The Miracle Boy from Huddersfield,” but our efforts have failed to uncover the reason for this description. One report described Leo as debonair with handsome features crowned by hair that was so beautifully smooth he must have used Vaseline.

He was fast, exciting but tenacious as well. Reports from Belle Vue, Manchester, tell of the time Leo's opponent, Canadian wrestler Carl Van Wurden wrestled “for twenty eight minutes with his left hand useless as it was held in a vice like grip by Leo Lightbody.” On other occasions, when Leo took was on the receiving end, it was noted that the beating seemed to bring out a more positive and aggressive response.

In February, 1943, Leo came very close to defeating the heavier and more powerful Scot, George Clark. Clark was a clear favourite before the match, but it was Leo who went on the offensive in the opening round, much faster than the Scot, and took te opening fall. Clark made an effort to get back into the match in the second round, but Leo's nimbleness kept him out of trouble. Fans were stunned by the result when it occurred out of the blue. The powerful Clark lifted Leo above his head and tossed him into the air. Leo descended swiftly and heavily, crashing into the mat to be counted out.

Leo was involved in one of wrestling's great tragedies, on 20th April, 1946. He was wrestling Martin Schultz. A favoured manoeuvre of Schultz's was to rebound from the ropes and fly into his opponent. The two had met many times and Leo was well aware of this move, but on that fateful night in April he dodged away, leaving Schultz to fly through the air and out of the ring. Schultz's head struck the floor and his neck was broken. It was clear that something was wrong and Leo did not follow his usual practice of attacking his prostrate opponent. The wrestler died and the coroner recorded a verdict of death by misadventure. 

Leo's career continued well beyond the 1930s, finally retiring from the ring around 1950. Like many wrestlers he was also involved in the managerial side of wrestling, promoting his own shows under the name British Wrestling Enterprises. 

Paul Lincoln

Born in Sydney, Australia, Lincoln turned to wrestling after gaining a reputation as a  fine amateur playing both cricket and rugby. Following school he was employed in the advertising department of the St James Tobacco Company. 

It was an advertising campaign for the wrestling tournament  at the Leichardt Stadium that got the youngster interested in wrestling and he joined the Sydney Police Boys Club to learn how to wrestle.

It was in the same Leichardt Stadium that had sparked his early interest that Paul made his professional debut, against Ray Green. A short time later promoter Jimmy Sharman enrolled Paul as one of his team of wrestlers and he began to travel further afield in Australia and the Far East.

In 1951 he left Australia for Britain, where he started wrestling the following year. He established himself as a popular and respected wrestler, particularly in the south of England. Paul met up with a school friend who was also a wrestler, Ray Hunter. In 1956 they pooled their savings to buy a coffee bar in Old Compton Street, London, the “The Two I’s.”   The name was retained from the previous owners, the Irani brothers.

Under Paul Lincoln and Ray Hunter management the coffee bar established itself as a home for many young entertainers, giving them the chance to display their talent to fellow customers. Amongst the many who took this opportunity and went on to greater fame were Tommy Steele, Adam Faith, Marty Wilde and Cliff Richard.  Lincoln also opened an Italian restaurant in Soho and together with Ray Hunter, Bob Anthony  Al ' Hayes he purchased The Cromwellian bar, restaurant and casino.

In 1958 Paul and Ray turned to the promotional side of wrestling, setting up Paul Lincoln Managements. They overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to become serious rivals of the established Dale Martin Promotions. The turning point for the fledgling company came when Lincoln gained the contract to promote wrestling in the largest of the Granada Cinemas around the country. 

Paul pulled on a mask and appeared on his own bills as one of Britain's top masked men. Even without television exposure his masked persona  became a household name, often imitated but never equalled. Find out more in the Wrestling Heritage Top 20 Masked Men.

Lincoln shows combined established wrestlers such as Mike Marino with overseas visitors such as Ricky Starr, Quasimodo and Ski Hi Lee. He introduced new talent  including the Cortez brothers, Bob Anthony, the Borg twins and Bob Kirkwood.  The quality of the shows plus Lincoln’s flair for publicity gained him a reputation that not only attracted the paying public but also the eye of the television executives. In the Autumn of 1963 Lincoln was in serious talks with ITV to promote the soon to be introduced Wednesday evening tv shows, but negotiations fell through at the last minute and the contract went to Joint Promotions. There was further disappointment in 1965 when it seemed likely that the BBC were going to present regular wrestling shows but again it came to nothing.

At the end of 1965 an arrangement was reached with Hurst Park Syndicate, the parent company of Dale Martin Promotions, that established a new company, Paul Lincoln Promotions, as a subsidiary of Hurst Park. Lincoln Ray  Hunter and Al Hayes  were Directors of the new company. To all intents and purposes the rivalry with dale Martin was over and the two companies worked in harmony. Although the days of his greatest influence were now behind him, Paul Lincoln was to be remembered, and will continue to be so, as one of the most influential figures in British wrestling. Paul Lincoln passed away on Tuesday 11th January, 2011.

Related article: Paul Lincoln in the Men of Courage & Vision series at www.wrestlingheritage.com

Pete Lindberg

Here was a real mighty atom; a very powerful man inside his thirteen stone frame. One of the hard men and best wrestlers on the northern circuit. Pete claimed to be Britain’s strongest middleweight, and entertained fans prior to his matches by blowing up hot water bottles until they burst. The anticipation of waiting for the bottle to burst was incredible, but burst it did and we all jumped. Then Pete might well bend a few iron bars before actually getting down to the business of wrestling. Here at Heritage we are always reminding readers the biggest names were not necessarily the best. Well, here’s the proof.

With Pete on the bill we got value for money; a strong man act and a proper wrestler. Pete (and to be fair most of his contemporaries at the time) demonstrated jthe depth of the wrestling skill seam in the 1960s. After training as an amateur at the Manco Club, Manchester, he turned professional at Rochdale, losing to Colin McDonald.

During the 1960s Pete was very busy working the northern independent circuit where the industrial conglomerates of Lancashire and Cheshire called for wrestlers to work two, and sometimes more, venues in one night. In the 1970s Pete worked for Joint Promotions, particularly Best Wryton, where he entertained the fans but never reached top of the bill status.

On many occasions Pete wrestled as one half of a masked tag team the most notorious and successful of whom can be discovered  in the Wrestling Heritage Top 20 Masked Men.

His favourite move, the pile driver, led to victories over some of Britain’s top wrestlers, including the much heavier Steve Veidor.

Pete Lindop

See the entry for Pete Lindberg

Luther Lindsay

One short 1961 visit to the UK was sufficient for us to select American Luther Lindsay for our A-Z.  Few visitors, if any, could boast a KO win over Mike Marino at the Royal Albert Hall, or destruction of Josef Zaranoff on television. Luther Lindsay could.

In his native United States Luther Lindsay was one of the first African American wrestlers to achieve star billing, being billed as the Coloured American Heavyweight Champion. During the 1950s Luther took part in many inter-racial contests, which was something of a rarity in those days. He was a frequent challengers for Lou Thesz's world title, often holding the champion to sixty minute draws. 

World Heavyweight Champion, Lou Thesz, said of Lindsay,  

“the best black wrestler ever. Luther had a fantastic body and limitless energy to compliment his skill. Like many other industries, wrestling was not open to African-American wrestlers during his career, so it was an amazing accomplishment for Luther to even learn his craft. His place in history is not because he was black; it is in spite of the fact he was black." 

Lindsay died, aged 48, from heart failure following a match against Bobby Paul on February 21st, 1972.

Hardy Lingus

Known as “The Leeds Tornado” Hardy Lingus worked for the independent promoters in the midlands and north during the second half of the 1960s and 1970s. 

Chick Linton

Scottish welterweight Chick Linton was only five feet four inches tall, but was reckoned to be as hard as nails and was nicknamed the Scottish Pocket Hercules. Born in Dundee in 1924 Chick  turned professional in the late 1940s following a successful amateur career and wrestling in the Highland Games. Although an accomplished technician that was not the path chosen by Chick.  He quickly established himself as a very rough wrestler, willing to work outside the rules whenever it pleased him, which was often.   He moved down south in the 1950s, basing himself in London,  and was a regular worker in the south of England.  Chick continued wrestling until the early 1970s, ending his career on the independent circuit. he died in January, 2010, aged 86.