Skilful, exciting, fast, Dropkick Johnny Peters had it all. Not to forget the looks which made the Brighton based matman a popular figure for many years. In the 1950s and 1960s there seemed to be an unwritten rule that wrestling fans could not utter the name Johnny Peters without the prefix of "Dropkick." Those feet were magic,and the way they threw across the ring and propelled themselves at his opponent meant that he was always Dropkick Johnny Peters.
Although London born Johnny resided in Brighton for many years, a popular figure at the Brighton Sports Stadium and venues around the country. His fast, furious and exciting style meant that his appearances were always welcomed by wrestling fans, but his popularity reached a crescendo in the early 1960s when he formed a hugely successful tag partnership with Dazzler Joe Cornelius. The style of the two wrestlers made them a natural partnership and they were one of the heavyweight pairings that helped build the popularity of tag team wrestling in Britain.
Johnny's professional career had its foundations in a successful amateur career that brought him various titles at several weights whilst serving in the forces in the Far East during World War Two. Once demobbed he turned professional and soon claimed the astonishing and unique distinction of a 12-second knockout victory over George Kidd. Ring activity and regular training soon began to build up Johnny's muscular frame and he moved up to welterweight in 1947, where he had the equally unusual but less satisfying claim to having his British Welterweight title fight with Jack Dempsey cancelled - due to rain! Consolation came in Paris in 1953 when he defeated Gilbert Le Duc to snatch the European Welterweight Championship.
He continued to climb through the weights to heavyweight and the record books show a drawn decision against Bert Assirati when he challenged the Islington Hercules for his British title in the independent rings. Record book opponents from George Kidd to Bert Assirati must make this popular wrestler quite unique. Whilst the British heavyweight championship remained illusive he was holder of the Southern Area Heavyweight title for many years. Johnny retired from wrestling rather abruptly in 1965 due to an ear injury. Following retirement he combined a greengrocery business with wrestling promotion. Johnny was the brother in law of French lightweight Julien Morice. Dropkick Johnny Peters. Always was and always will be.
Dropkick Johnny Peters passed away on 24th May, 2011 and on the 8th August 2021 he was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame. The award was presented to his son John who was thriled to accept the accolade on behalf of his late father.
(text courtesy of Wrestling Heritage)