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Johnny Saint

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Johnny Saint (born John Miller on June 29, 1942) is a semi-retired English Professional wrestler best known for his work in Joint Promotions during the World of Sport Era.

Career

As a young man Saint was a keen altheltic sportsman and was involved in what Americans would call "Track and Field" sports. He was also an Amateur Boxer and was trained to be such by Alf Robinson. Alf Robinson was a professional Boxer and worked at his families gym in Failsworth, Manchester and it was there that Saint went to learn the trade. While being taught to box he would spar with Alf's son, Billy, but rather than just box they would wrestle, which Saint always came out the worst in because Billy was a rising star in the professional wrestling scene.

Despite having only debuted a year or so before Billy Robinson would take Saint under his wing and train him to be a professional wrestler. Eventually Catch Wrestling over took Boxing as Saint's preferred sport. In a way this was dictated by the gym. Despite it being owned and run by boxers ther were far more wrestlers in the gym and so there were more people to wrestle with than there were to box with. Nevertheless Saint took to wrestling and wrestling took to him.

For two years his training continued in the Robinson gym and didn't change until one day he was told that he was going to be training at a different venue. This was to be his first real taste of professional wrestling but Billy Robinson was far from forthcoming with all the important details. He had a series of exhibition matches against other wrestlers with a limited audience watching nearby, little realizing that they were promoters. After the night was finished some of them approached him and asked if he wanted to turn professional and they could get some work for him. When he had turned up for the event he had few aspirations to be a professional wrestler but there were some of the most well known promoters of the day (Jimmy Lewis, Grant Fotheringham, Danny Flynn and Fred Whooley) telling him that he could make it professionally and so he agreed and ended up having his first match against Colin MacDonald on May 18, 1958.

Even then Billy Robinson never let Saint into the fact that wrestling was predetermined in nature, he found out from other people, the world of wrestling that Robinson shows him was completely legitimate and 100% straight all the time.

Working the clubs and arena's in the north was lucrative business for Saint but wrestling was more lucrative in the south where the likes of Mike Marino, Jackie Pallo and Mick McManus ruled the roost in Dale Martin Promotion. Still life was good for Saint and he earned a considerable amount for a job he enjoyed but when he joined Joint Promotions in 60's his career reached new heights

Before joining Joint Promotions he exerienced the inconsitant life of an independent wrestler. Travelling to and fro across the country to perform in different regions for different promoters who were sometimes unreliable in their uses of him and often didn't have the openings for him. Sometimes he could be offered a job from two different promoter for the same night and would have to chose between them and risk alienating one promoter and be more or less blacklisted from that promotion for doing so. Life was difficult before Joint Promotions.

Joint Promotions offered Saint permanent employment, confirmed jobs and, more importantly, television coverage. After making his Joint Promotions debut Saint was considered an over night success with the companies fans and victories over Jim Breaks and Vic Faulkner firmly established him as a force in the companies lightweight division.

During the 60's and 70's the promoters began to introduce more flamboyant wrestlers into the programme and relegate the more serious wrestlers to supporting roles but Saint refused to change his style, believing his unique mat-trickery still had a place in wrestling and his continued success proved him right. Although the promoters were beginning to focus on more flamboyant wrestlers this didn't mean there weren't good wrestlers in the company.

Jim Break was one such good, neigh great, wrestler and it would be with Breaks that Saint woud be held up with as the pinacle of wrestling excellence. Both men went on to dominate wrestling in their weight categories and they had legendary bouts with each other during their feuds. When George Kidd retired as the undefeated lightweight champion of the world in March 1976 there were only two choices as to who could be his successor and Breaks and Saint were those men. The battled it out for the vacant title on November 3 of the same year and Saint emerged victorious.

Even so, by the 80's Saint, although a multiple World Lightweight Champion by the time, was see as somewhat of a relic to a forgotten time. His style was now so firmly his that nothing could change that but his seeming lack of showmanship resulted in him being relegated to supporting roles and making up the cards.

When ITV supremo Greg Dyke axed World of Sport Wrestling from the programming Saint was forced to look abroad for work and plied his trade in Belguim, France and Germany and even went to Africa several times. It was a big change in British to go from lots of wrestling on TV to none at all and it resulted in a mass exodus of many wrestling people. For much of the 1990s he continues taking bookings and traveled to Japan to take part in the Michinoku Pro in 1996 before hanging up his boots in 1999.

After his retirement in 1999 he never imagined that he would get back into the ring. He spent his time running his small business in Blackpool where he owned and rented out some holiday homes and from time to time trained young, aspiring wrestlers. It was whie training these young wrestlers that he was tempted out of retirement. These young wrestlers initially approached him to ask if he would come out of retirement but he turned it down at the time but when asked to give then a training session he agreed and after a while someone asked him to wrestle a match and things simply kicked off from there.

In 2007 LDN Wrestling promoter Sanjay Bagga was told that he would ruin Saint's legacy by putting him back in the ring at thi stage of his life but after Saint's return match against Johnny Kidd Saint proved an instant hit again and got 7–8 minutes of a standing ovation from the fans in attendance.

In 2008 he wrestled and defeated Mike Quackenbush at Chikara's Tag World Prix by KO after Quackenbush failed to get up from during a ten count after suffering a knee injury while performing a knee-breaker. His match with Quackenbush resulted in him being invited to go to America to wrestle in the King of Trios tournament and so at the age of 67 Johnny Saint made hi American Debut on March 27, 2009. In 2009 at One Pro Wrestling Steel City Ice Rage: Total Meltdown event he face Colt Cabana in a match an lost.

He is still taking booking today.

Wrestling facts

  • Finishing and signature moves
  • Johnny Saint Special
  • The Russ Abbot
  • Nicknames
  • "The Man Of 1,000 Holds"
  • Wrestlers trained

Championships and accomplishments

Joint Promotions

  • British Lightweight Title - May 12, 1971 (defeating Zoltan Boscik)
  • World Lightweight Title - November 3, 1976 (defeating Jim Breaks)
  • World Lightweight Title - November 25, 1979 (defeating Steve Grey)
  • World Lightweight Title - January 19, 1984 (defeating Jackie Robinson)
  • World Lightweight Title - February ? 1985 (defeating Jim Breaks)
  • World Lightweight Title - November ? 1985 (defeating Jon Cortez)
  • World Lightweight Title - December ? 1985 (defeating Jim Breaks)
  • World Lightweight Title - April 14, 1986 (defeating Jon Cortez)
  • World Lightweight Title - June 5, 1986 (defeating Jon Cortez)

All Star Promotions

  • World Lightweight Title - May 24, 1988 (defeating Mike Jordan)
  • World Lightweight Title - June 13, 1993 (defeating Steve Grey)

Other

  • European Lightweight Title - October ? 1973 (defeating Jim Breaks)
  • European Lightweight Title - May ? 1983 (defeating Jackie Robinson)

See also

External links

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