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The Grappler


Real Name - Edward Lynn Denton

Birthdate - 8/25/60

5’11" 250 lbs. - Humble, TX

Athletic Background - Baseball (Semi-Pro), Football

Teacher(s) - Joe Mercer

Professional Background - Mid-Atlantic(`78-`79), Mid-South(`80-`81), Mid-Atlantic(`81), Kansas City(`83), SWCW(`83), Memphis(`83-`84), WCCW(`85-`87), Cont'l(`87), Portland(`87-`92), Indies(`92-)

AliasesLynn Denton, Len Denton, Dirty White Boy #2, The Challenger

Groups - The First Family [Memphis]

Peak Years - `81-`88

Finisher(s) - 

- Loaded Boot

Favorites -

- Swinging Neckbreaker

- Bodyslam

- Running Back Elbow

- Lariat

- Headlock with Punches

Ringwork Rating - 

 Move Set7

Intangibles Rating - 


Place in History - When Len Denton began promoting his autobiography “Grappler: Memoirs of Masked Madman” in 2014, it seemed like yet another pro-wrestler trying to make a few dollars off his story.  This is a very different take though and is considered by many to be one of the best and most enjoyable autobiographies ever released by a pro-wrestler and there a many at this point.  What makes the book great is what made The Grappler successful.  There is a labor of love from an average guy that achieved incredible feats.  Len Denton started as an undersized wrestler who took to the sport quickly and was able to find success in the territorial system.  Denton was always regarded as a good hand, however, he needed that something to set him apart.  That thing was a mask.  It was not a new approach in pro-wrestler, take a good worker, put him under a hood and make him a heel.  Buck Robley brought him to Mid-South as The Grappler using a loaded boot gimmick and he soon found his place as a hot heel.  He formed a formidable team with the Super Destroyer (Scott Irwin), a fellow masked heel, which had a big push that was capped off at the 1981 Superdome show.  Grappler and Super D defeated Dusty Rhodes & Andre the Giant and then Junkyard Dog & Dick Murdoch to win the area tag titles.  Like many journeymen, Denton eventually moved on, looking for the next opportunity.  It came teaming up with another talented young worker Tony Anthony in a team known as the “Dirty White Boys.”  Denton took off his mask and he and Anthony were great as pair of scumbag biker types who worked a convincing style against a variety of babyfaces teams throughout the South.  Interestingly, the two also toured around as the Grapplers under masks with success as well.  Squaring off against teams like the Rock-N-Roll Express, Ricky Morton & Ken Lucas and similar whitemeat babyface tag teams, Denton and Anthony were impressive heels that seemed to have long-term potential.  However, it was not destined to be a future together.  During their two years together, they worked all over the place and probably could have gone on to bigger things.  Instead, they went their separate ways.  Anthony took the Dirty White Boy name and had a solid career working around Tennessee and Alabama.  Denton went back to being the Grappler and found his greatest success in the Pacific Northwest.  By this time, he was the total package as a heel.  He had a solid in-ring style that suited his character and he was a fantastic promo and could draw real heat in both capacities.  Denton, always known for his creativity, managed to get the book in Portland and worked hard to rebuild the territory despite the WWF and NWA having a national presence and the state commission being notorious strict.  The Grappler was able to establish himself as a credible top heel and the man behind the Grappler was able to get over some talent like the Southern Rockers, Brian Adams and Scotty the Body with some memorable angles.  On the microphone, the Grappler was among the best with a believable intensity and distinct personality in his delivery.  Any retrospective on his career would not be complete without remembering his catchphrase - "They got a name for you when you're the world's greatest wrestler.  They don't call you a great wrestler, they call you the Grappler.  Beat me, if you can!"  Regardless of Denton’s accomplishments in Portland, it was a losing battle and soon working at Roddy Piper’s transmission shop and taking independent bookings.  Denton has repeatedly been involved in attempts to revive pro-wrestling in the Portland area with mixed results.  The Grappler is, in the minds of many, one of the most underrated talents of his generation.  He was consistent in everything he did, he was very good in the ring and even better on the mic, he was able to work as a tag or a single and he is well regarded as a booker and finish man.