|Born||May 24, 1860|
Ridgeway, Wisconsin, U.S.
|Died||November 3, 1919 (aged 59)|
Dodgeville, Wisconsin, U.S.
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Evan Lewis|
|Billed height||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|Billed weight||180 lb (82 kg; 13 st)|
Evan Lewis (May 24, 1860 – November 3, 1919) was an American professional wrestler who was the first recognized American Heavyweight Champion and is credited with perfecting the "stranglehold" or "neck yoke" more commonly known today as the sleeperhold. He is sometimes confused with Ed "Strangler" Lewis, a later six-time World Heavyweight Champion also credited with first using the hold, whose moniker is attributed to Lewis's after a reporter noted a resemblance between the two.
Life and wrestling career
Born in Ridgeway, Wisconsin, Lewis began wrestling professionally winning a 64-man tournament in Montana in May 1882. He returned to Wisconsin and defeated Ben Knight for the Wisconsin Heavyweight Championship in a Mineral Point match on March 20, 1883. Moving to Madison in 1885, he later defeated several international wrestlers, including Andre Christol, Tom Cannon, and Matsuda Sorakichi.
Defeating Joe Acton in Chicago, Illinois, for the American Catch-as-Catch-can Championship on March 14, 1887, he later unified the World Catch-as-Catch-can and American Greco-Roman Heavyweight Championship in a best-of-five match against Ernest Roeber in New Orleans, Louisiana on March 3, 1893 (he also had defeated him for the "Collar and Elbow Championship" on May 18, 1890). After defending the title for over eight years, Lewis lost the American Heavyweight Championship to Martin Burns, whom he had previously defeated in his debut match in 1886.
Championships and accomplishments
- Catch wrestling
- Greco-Roman wrestling
- International Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame
- Class of 2021
- Professional wrestling
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
- Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum
- "Gary Will: Deceased Pro Wrestlers - A Tribute to Mat Stars of the Past". Gary Will's Pro Wrestling History. 2003. Archived from the original on May 23, 2015. Retrieved 2007-06-18.
- Pearson, Ray C. (1913-11-30). "Neck Yoke Strangler Lewis In The Bid For Honors". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2007-06-18.
- "Former Champ Wrestler Dies". Wisconsin State Journal. November 4, 1919. p. 13. Retrieved June 29, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
- "The Line of Ascension". The New WAWLI (Wrestling As We Liked It) Papers No. 15-2001. 2001. Retrieved 2007-06-18.
- "World Catch-as-Catch-Can Heavyweight Title (19th Century)". Puroresu Dojo. 2003. Retrieved 2007-06-18.
- "American Greco-Roman Heavyweight Title (19th Century)". Puroresu Dojo. 2003. Archived from the original on 2007-08-06. Retrieved 2007-06-18.
- "American Heavyweight Title (19th Century)". Puroresu Dojo. 2003. Retrieved 2007-06-18.