|Birth: ||May 24, 1860|
|Death: ||Nov. 3, 1919|
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
World Catch-as-Catch-can Championship (1 time)
American Catch-as-Catch-can Championship (1 time)
American Greco-Roman Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
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