Tom Cannon 571

Born in Tyldesley, Lancashire on April 19, 1852. Tom Cannon was a professional wrestler making a name for himself in the ring all over Britain. While travelling all over the country he would pick up different styles of wrestling. Greco-Roman was his main style, and is still the most popular style in Europe to this day.

His 1st recorded match in America was in the mid - 1880’s. At the end of 1886 he defeated Tom McLernery and the Professor William Miller in December that year to become the 1st World Greco-Roman champion.

Tom Cannon belt

Cannon would fight the top European competitors and would ultimately stake his claim across all of Europe and is now also remembered as the 1st ever World Greco-Roman Championship. (European Version)

In America Tom was billed normally as the British Champion and would face off against all the top stars of the time. On June 13, 1888 he defeated Ed Lewis to become the unified World Catch-as-Catch-Can Champion, although it was surrounded in much controversy. A claim he could hold until June 21, 1891 when he lost to Carl Abs, who could arguably be said to be the most important of Europe’s mainland during the 1880’s, in Hamburg, Germany. By 1901 Cannon won the title back when he defeated Antonio Pierre on May 5 in London, England for the vacant title.

Tom Cannon Grapple

Cannon would hold the title for two years before losing it to Georges Hackenschmidt in 1902, which Hackenschmidt then went on to unify and become the first worldly accepted World Heavyweight Champion. After this not too much is known about Tom Cannon, but what we do know is enough to cement his legacy in the history of professional wrestling.

Tom Cannon poster

Two time World Heavyweight Champion (European Version) in Greco-Roman wrestling, he had longevity, popularity in most of the world, and was a true pioneer in uniting all major wrestling platforms; Australasia, mainland Europe, North America, and Britain.

Tom Cannon 571 1

Tom Cannon Master Mason Lodge Dramatic No.571

Initiated 23rd March 1891

Passed 23rd March 1891

Raised 25th March 1891

Tom Cannon 5712

(Extract from Lodge Dramatic’s Centenary Booklet)

Tom Cannon and The Terrible Turk were in Glasgow at the height of the wrestling boom and one day were put forward for the first degree in Lodge Dramatic. During the preparations in the adjacent the goat must have butted The Terrible Turk in the ribs, or the ritual must have scared him, for I saw a Terrified Turk dash out the Lodge room and up the street for the Wellington Bar, still unpossessed of grips and passwords and sorely in need of a mother’s consolation. 

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