|Birth name||Joseph Acton|
|Born||8 March 1852|
|Died||26 June 1917 (aged 65)|
Portland, Oregon, United States
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Joe Acton|
|Billed height||5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)|
|Billed weight||140 lb (64 kg)|
Joseph Acton (8 March 1852 – 26 June 1917), known by his ringname "Little Joe" or "Limey Joe", was a British professional wrestler and world champion who competed in England and America during the late 19th century. Acton is one of a handful of wrestlers credited with introducing "catch-as-catch-can" wrestling (also known today as free-style), with its roots in old Lancashire wrestling, to the United States. Wrestling under the name Joe Acton, and nicknamed "The Little Demon," Acton was considered one of the top wrestlers of his era.
Acton began wrestling in his native Great Britain during the 1870s defeating Tom Cannon to become the first World Catch-as-Catch-Can Heavyweight Champion on 12 December 1881. He toured the United States that same year facing several prominent wrestlers including Edwin Bibby, Arkansas Heavyweight Champion Clarence Whistler, and Matsada Sorakichi as well as several rematches against Tom Cannon and was widely regarded as the best wrestler in America by 1887, although he lost the American "Catch-as-Catch-can" Championship bout to Evan "Strangler" Lewis on 14 March 1887 in one of the biggest matches of the decade.
Acton would also face Australian bare-knuckle boxer William Miller in a series of wrestling matches in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania between March and July 1888 as well as Bob Fitzsimmons in 1891.
In one of his final matches, at age 59, Action faced Tokugoro Ito in a jacketed wrestling match at the Grand Opera House in Seattle, Washington on 11 May 1911. Although he had previous experience in jujitsu-style fighting having faced British judoka Yukio Tanai in 1904, he lost to Ito in two bouts, in three and two minutes respectively.
Championships and accomplishments
- American Catch-as-Catch-Can Championship (1 time)
- Dublin Collar-and-Elbow Championship (1 time)
- "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 23 May 2015. Retrieved 18 June 2007.
- "A Big Wrestling Match Arranged". The New York Times. 8 June 1882.
- "The Garden in an Uproar.; An English Champion And The "Kansas Demon" Provoke Hurricanes of Hisses". The New York Times. 19 December 1882.
- Bismarck Tribune, 20 June 1884
- "Lewis And Acton: The Strangler Finally Gets The Better of His Famous Adversary". Chicago Tribune. 12 April 1887. Retrieved 18 June 2007.
- Callis, Tracy; Mike Attree. "Cyber Boxing Zone: William Miller". CyberBoxingZone.com. Retrieved 18 June 2007.
- "The Wrestlers.; Joe Acton Downs Bob Fitzsimmons at San Francisco. The Pugilist Secures One Fall, but the "Little Demon" Proves Too Much for Him in the Two Other Boats". Los Angeles Times. 28 November 1891.
- "Sporting Notes From Frisco". The Washington Post. 20 September 1908.
- "Current Notes Picked Up From Sporting Arena". The Washington Post. 20 September 1908.
- Svinth, Joseph R. (2006). "Tokugoro Ito". InYo: Journal of Alternative Perspectives. Retrieved 18 June 2007.
- "World Catch-as-Catch-Can Heavyweight Title (19th Century)". Puroresu Dojo. 2003. Retrieved 18 June 2007.