Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Community Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In
Sponsor This Memorial! Advertisement
Evan "The Strangler" Lewis
Learn about upgrading this memorial...
Birth: May 24, 1860
Wisconsin, USA
Death: Nov. 3, 1919
Wisconsin, USA

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 rear naked choke. He is sometimes confused with Ed "Strangler" Lewis, a later 6-time World Heavyweight Champion also credited with first using the hold, whose monkier is attributed to Lewis's after a reporter noted a resemblance between the two.

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 went on to defeat several international wrestlers including Andre Christol, Tom Cannon and Matsada 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 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 two years, Lewis lost the American Heavyweight Championship to Martin Burns, whom he had previously defeated in his debut match in 1886.

Finishing and Signature Moves
Strangle Hold (Rear naked choke)

Championships and accomplishments
Catch wrestling
World Catch-as-Catch-can Championship (1 time)
American Catch-as-Catch-can Championship (1 time)
Greco-Roman wrestling
American Greco-Roman Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
Professional wrestling
American Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
British World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
Wisconsin Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (Class of 2007)
Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum
(Class of 2009) 
Created by: sideshow
Record added: Jun 06, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 37985602
Evan The Strangler Lewis
Added by: sideshow
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

- Judy Curnell
 Added: Mar. 23, 2010

Privacy Statement and Terms of Service