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Evan "Strangler" Lewis (1860 - 1919)


Real NameEvan Lewis
Lifespan5/24/1860 - 10/3/1919
5’9” 180 lbs. - Ridgeway, WI

Athletic Background - n/a

Aliases - none

Peak Years1880s-1890s

Place in HistoryEvan "Strangler" Lewis, not to be confused with the later Ed “Strangler” Lewis, is one of the foremost pioneers of pro-wrestling.  American wrestling in the late nineteenth century is hard to understand through modern eyes.  Born out of Civil War camp matches, streetfights for money and touring troupes and carnivals, there were a variety of styles and approaches.  Greco-Roman wrestling, which emphasizes throws and power, was one form.  Collar-and-elbow and catch-as-catch-can allowed for the takedowns and implementation of submissions with the latter be noted for being more physical and dangerous.  Evan Lewis came up at a time when such styles were prevalent and he achieved a mastery of both.  Known for his viciousness, which was a characteristic of the top catch-as-catch-can wrestlers, Lewis also possessed the raw strength of many Midwestern farm boys.  His signature rear naked choke called a “strangle hold” became his infamous trademark and carried him to victory on many occasions.  While his style and his preferred wrestling style were criticized for their brutality, Evan Lewis was a mild-mannered type who quietly retired after losing his American championship to the legendary Farmer Burns.

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