SLAM! Wrestling Canadian Hall of Fame: Whipper Billy Watson
: William Potts
: June 25, 1915, East York, ON
: February 4, 1990 in Florida
Whipper Billy Watson is an English Canadian icon. Probably the best known Canadian wrestler of all time -- until Bret Hart came along.
A two-time world champ, there's lots to be said about The Whip.
Take the time to read our features, and share your memories. Learn more about this famous wrestler, but even more legendary man.
Be sure, also, to visit the Whipper Watson Career Record
February 4, 2000
Remembering Whipper Billy Watson
By GREG OLIVER -- SLAM! Wrestling
It's been 10 years since we lost The Whip to a heart attack.
But how does one explain the appeal, the legacy of Toronto's William Potts, aka Whipper Billy Watson, to today's wrestling fan?
Well, by talking to a few fellow wrestlers who knew him, inside and outside the squared circle.
"The thing that I remember about Watson was that every time you beat him, you had to fight your way out of the ring!" explained Don Leo Jonathan
, laughing at the recollection. Such was the fervour that Watson inspired in the faithful of Southern Ontario and Western New York.
Feb. 4: Full story
February 4, 2000
A neighbour and a fan of Whipper
By TOM BATTAGLIA -- For SLAM! Wrestling
I was born in East York in 1945 and one of the first names I remember while attending Canadian Martyrs' school at Plains and Woodbine was that of "The Whipper".
My friends and I would take a short detour on the way home from school and knock on his door for an autographed picture. We were never turned down. It must have cost hi family a fortune because I would ask many times and then pass them on to my other friends, who didn't live nearby, and to my cousins.
Feb. 4: Full story
February 5, 1990
Whipper Billy Watson -- 1916-1990
By KATHLEEN GRIFFIN and FRANK ZICARELLI -- Toronto Sun
Whipper Billy Watson, well-known humanitarian and five-time world
wrestling champion, died yesterday. He was 74.
He suffered a heart attack last Wednesday and was admitted to an Orlando,
Fla., hospital near his winter home in Sebring.
He never regained consciousness.
February 6, 1990
Last bell for Whip
By JIM HUNT -- Toronto Sun
The Whip, Teeder and King Krol.
They were a wonderful trio in Toronto in the late 1940s when the Leafs were
Stanley Cup champions, the Argos winners of the Grey Cup, and the Whip world
Teeder, of course, was Ted Kennedy, the captain and heart of the Leafs, the
most famous team in hockey.
February 11, 1990
Hundreds mourn former wrestler Whipper Watson
By PAULA ARAB -- Toronto Sun
People in wheelchairs, the deaf, former wrestlers, and fans were
among those who said goodbye yesterday to Whipper Billy Watson.
Watson, a humanitarian and ex-wrestler, was "a true champion" both inside
and outside the ring, his son, John, told 400 mourners at St. James Anglican
"Today, we want this to be a celebration of a life well-lived. He enjoyed
life to the fullest.
January 24, 1984
Smaller in size, ever big in heart
By KEN FIDLIN -- Toronto Sun
The lunch crowd is into the main course at Whipper Watson's favorite dining salon.
Around us, scores of animated conversations are in progress, yet besides the clatter of cutlery, the only sound to break the silence is Whipper's voice.
"There are no secrets in this room," he says, nodding at one smiling admirer, waving to another. "I think that might be one reason why I enjoy it here so much."
Ron Doner, ex-wrestler
Whipper was about 20 years older than I was, however he did a lot for me, getting me into wrestling. He always lived close by me in the area, and we became very good friends. We also did tag team matches in Buffalo and different areas. I had a lot of respect for him because was one of the real, genuine wrestlers in my opinion, so I spent a lot of time with him and appreciated his fellowship.
Jack Tunney, ex-Toronto promoter to Earl McRae in 1986
"The greatest wrestler I ever saw was Whipper Billy Watson -- clean, methodical, no crazy antics."
Whipper Billy Watson "is the living embodiment of all the ideals of the Boy
movement and the Legion of Decency. Watson is as handsome as Robert Taylor, as
powerful as the SS Queen Mary and as persistent and uncompromising as Dick
his efforts to exterminate evil. In moments of supreme exasperation he is
likely to mutter
"Oh, fudge!" but otherwise conduct is exemplary. He is a paragon of virtue
in the ring. If
his opponent attempts to decapitate him with a tomahawk, misses and imbeds the
tomahawk in one of the ring posts, Watson will help him to disengage the
weapon. If his
opponent strikes him illegally with a brass knuckle, Watson merely will
smile a sad,
brave smile and break his opponent in twain, like a stick of dry macaroni.
destroys his opponents with the air of Sir Galahad repelling scorpions, and the
customers love him to pieces."
-- Jim Coleman in Maclean's Magazine, April 1, 1944.
My greatest memory of Mr Watson is not from the wrestling ring, but as
an impressionable young physically handicapped boy, meeting him at a
handicapped event in Brantford Ontario. Mr Watson's heart was extremely
large and I will always remeber shaking his hand and getting his
autograph that day.
I was surfing the net, looking for images to use for a mural project I'm
working on.... and landed on this site.... I was very pleasantly
surprised to find some pics of Mr. Watson......video clips and all....
You see I was too young to know who 'Whipper' really was when I was a
'Timmy' of the Durham Region...in the late 70's...... All I knew was he
was this big (and I mean big) wrestling star, that up to this day
remember how my dad would be trying to tell me how lucky i was to meet,
and how he had such a glow about him....every time we were in Mr.
Watson's presence.... I was in the newspapers posing with him several
times...even had him in one of his famous 'arm locks'.
clicking from one thing to another....I found myself viewing a page
talking about his death....How saddened I am.....and so long ago
well...he's still alive in my memories............
regards, Steve GB
Although I have never seen him wrestle, my mother told me that he was
one heck of a grappler in his day. I then saw a wrestling history show
telling about how he defeated Gorgeous George in a hair match in 1959.
That must have been funny. On top of that the idiot Gorgeous George
challenges Whipper to a rematch costing George his wife's hair. Now
I remember growing up in the Toronto area near the Maple Leaf Gardens in
the late 60s early 70s how I would idolize the likes of Whipper. a real
man at heart ,straight forward kind of a guy .I would always look
forward to seeing his matches against the likes of the Sheik from Syria
maybe a Waldo von Erik a Dick the Bulldog Brower.Yes it was total
pandemonium in the ring.A ten year old boys dream come true.Unlike today
where you have four or five wrestlers come in the ring to interfere NWO
Four Horsemen The Corporation to name a few. Wrestling was great back
then thanks to the likes of Whipper and all his combatants it sure was a
fine show he gave.
Craig Simmonds, a real fan of the sport of wrestling.
My Grandmother and father were very close with Whipper Billy Watson and
many time when i was young I would go to her home and Whipper, Tiger
Tasker and Pat Flanigan would be setting around her table . Whipper wanted
my two uncles to get into wrestling. How many people know that Whipper tried his hand at
Did you know that Whipper Billy Watson enjoyed oil painting? I remember
well, as a young child, the family gathered around the television to
watch him wrestle. Many, many years later at a benefit auction an
original oil painting of what I believe is a Yorkshire Rose came up on
the auction block. It is simply signed "Whipper" and dated 88. It was a
hard fought bidding battle but I did acquire the painting.
It graces my family room as a memorial to a man with a very big
Nice piece about the Whipper.
However, would you say the "Canuck Commando Hold" was his 'finisher'?
I have some memories about the whipper - I used to go to his house
near the Woodbine Bridge in the fifties. He would always give me an
autograph, and he would also visit nearby Canadian Martyrs' Separate
school in East York where I attended in the fifties.
"The Whipper" was an idol to thousands of kids!
Back in the late forties, my Dad would take me to the Edgerton Park Sports
Arena, here in Rochester, New York. We especially looked forward to Whipper
Billy Watson's visits, and my Dad (no mean amateur wrestler, himself) would
always tell me that here was a man I could do no better than to emulate. I
just never realized how popular he was outside the ring, back in his hometown
of Toronto. Now that I am in my seventies, I still believe that my Dad was
right. Oh, I have admired the skills of Lou Thesz and Bobby Brunns and Bill
Longson, great wrestlers all. But no one had a heart the equal of the Whip's.
The death of Whipper Watson 10 years ago stunned me as I was such a fan of his when I was growing up in Toronto in the 60's. Does anyone know where I might be able to find so old video clips and/or pictures of him from days gone by?
Any of the original members of the Whipper Watson fan club still out there?