As a professional drummer for over 40 years I have played for hundreds of big name acts and taught many drummers who have become worldwide pop stars. In addition to all this I have also managed Kendo Nagasaki for the last 14 years. In all this time I have not collected one autograph, in fact, there have only been two heroes in my life, one was drummer Buddy Rich, and the other was Paul Lincoln. I met Buddy on several occasions, but had to give up hope of ever meeting Paul Lincoln, I wasn’t even sure he was still alive! Then on August 14th 2005, it was announced that Paul Lincoln would be honoured at the annual wrestling reunion. My mind wandered back to the late 1950’s, I had just left school and was in my first job when one of the guys i worked with asked if i would like to go and watch the wrestling at Dulwich baths, Dr Death vs Mike Marino. At the time i’d never seen a wrestling match, i thought i would be bored, so declined the offer.
Sometime later i started watching wrestling on TV, and then go the chance to see it live at Lime Grove Baths, the top of the bill was Mick McManus and Steve Logan vs Johnny Kwango and Jack Cunningham, that was it, i was hooked! Every Saturday afternoon i was glued to the TV at 4pm. In those days street posters were a great way to promote wrestling shows and i started seeing large yellow and balck or red posters appearing on empty shops and hoardings. The strange thins was that the wrestlers on the posters weren’t on TV, names like, Docker Don Steadman, Professor Adiwasser, Gori Edd Mangatitch, Dr Death, The Wild Man of Borneo, The White Angel, Rebel Ray Hunter, Al Hayes and the College Boy. Every single name conjured up a picture in my mind. On closer inspection of the posters i saw the name Paul Lincoln Promotions. What a great showman! Later on i spotted a poster advertising the Granada Tooting, the main event was the White Angel vs Dr Death, loser to unmask match, the classic good vs evil, what wrestling fan wouldn’t want to see that! Unfortunately it was completely sold out. The interesting fact for me was that Paul Lincoln’s shows never appeared on TV, yet he created stars through local paper ads and those fantastic posters.
On traveling around the country i looked out for Paul’s posters, at the Delaware Pavillion in Bexhill i saw a classic poster Dr Death vs The Wild Man of Borneo, if the Wild Man couldn’t unmask the Doctor, nobody could. Paul Lincolns wrestlers had become as famous to me as the TV wrestlers like McManus, Pallo and Logan. The mecca for pop music in those days was the 2is coffee bar in Old Compton Street, Soho, i went there as a punter on several occasions, little did i know that the man who owned it was the ferocious Dr Death, Paul Lincoln himself! In 1969 Paul sold his wrestling promotions to Dale Martin, he continued to wrestle for a while. I went to the Granada, Tooting which incidentally was another sell out, to watch a great bill which included, Mick McManus vs Quasimodo and Dr Death vs Steve Logan. I remember Steve coming straight out and delivering his famous forearm smash on the Doctor, the whole audience explode, surely he could unmask the Doc, but no, Dr Death escaped again leaving Logan a beaten man!
To me, Paul Lincoln was a true promotional genius, his advertising was compelling, drawing thousands of people to his wrestling shows. I have heard on several occasions that “anybody could promote a wresting show in those days”. Sorry, that just isn’t true, many tried and failed miserably.
Thank you Paul for all the pleasure you gave me and thousands of others like me, you deserved the honour that was bestowed on you at the reunion, in my mind you will live forever.