Yukon Eric

  (Redirected from Eric Holmback)
For the Yukon Eric that was part of the Yukon Lumberjacks tag team, see Scott Irwin.

Eric Holmback (April 16, 1916 – January 16, 1965) was an American professional wrestler, better known by the ring name Yukon Eric.

Yukon Eric
Eric Holmback.jpg
Birth nameEric Holmback[1]
Born(1916-04-16)April 16, 1916[1]
Monroe, Washington, United States[1]
DiedJanuary 16, 1965(1965-01-16) (aged 48)[1]
Cartersville, Georgia, United States[2]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Yukon Eric[1]
Billed height6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)[1]
Billed weight275 lb (125 kg) – 300 lb (140 kg)[1]
Billed fromFairbanks, Alaska[1]
Trained byMan Mountain Dean[1]
DebutJanuary 22, 1942[1][3]

Holmback spent the majority of his career in Southern Ontario, Canada, where he won the NWA Canadian Open Tag Team Championship on two occasions with Whipper Billy Watson in 1955 and 1961 and the Montreal Athletic Commission's International Heavyweight Championship. He also won the NWA Texas Heavyweight Championship in 1948.

Holmback is best known for his 1952 match and subsequent feud with Killer Kowalski in which he lost his ear as a result of a botched knee drop. A rematch between the two the following year was the first televised wrestling match in Canada. Holmback continued to wrestle in Florida until he committed suicide in 1965.

Professional wrestling careerEdit

After being trained by Man Mountain Dean, Holmback made his professional wrestling debut on January 22, 1942, using the ring name Yukon Eric.[1] Yukon Eric utilised a strongman in-ring persona, and as part of the persona, he was announced as being from Fairbanks, Alaska and always wore plaid wool shirts, worn open to show off his 66 in (170 cm) chest.[1][4] He also was known for whipping his opponent into the ropes so that they would bounce back into his chest.[4]

On January 30, 1948, Yukon Eric defeated Sonny Myers to win his first professional wrestling championship, the NWA Texas Heavyweight Championship.[1] He held the championship for a week, before losing it to Miguel Guzmán on February 6.[5] After this, he moved to Southern Ontario, where he spent the majority of his wrestling career.[3] Two years later, on February 15, 1950, he defeated Bobby Managoff to win the Montreal Athletic Commission's International Heavyweight Championship.[1]

During a match against Wladek Kowalski in 1952, Kowalski botched a knee drop, and legitimately severed part of Holmback's ear.[3][6] Afterward, Kowalski went to visit Holmback in the hospital, but began laughing at the bandages wrapped around Holmback's head.[6] The incident cemented Kowalski as a heel (villainous character) and prompted Kowalski to rename himself Killer Kowalski.[6] A rematch between the two on January 14, 1953 at the Montreal Forum was the first ever televised wrestling match in Canada.[4]

He won the NWA Canadian Open Tag Team Championship twice with Whipper Billy Watson, with their first reign beginning on February 13, 1958, when they defeated Fritz Von Erich and Gene Kiniski.[1] They lost the championship just over a month later to Stan and Reggie Lisowski on March 20, 1958.[7] Later that year, he won the championship for the second time when he teamed with Dara Singh to defeat Stan and Reggie Lisowski on August 7, 1958.[7] Three years later, on December 28, 1961, he won the NWA Canadian Open Tag Team Championship for the second time with Watson, and the third time overall, when the pair defeated John and Chris Tolos.[1] He later moved to Florida, where he wrestled until the time of his death in 1965.[2]

In 2007, Holmback was one of the honorees of the Cauliflower Alley Club's Posthumous Award, along with Betty Jo Hawkins.[8]

Personal lifeEdit

Holmback grew up in Aberdeen, Washington, with three sisters. He attended Washington State College, where he played American football, lettering with the varsity team in 1938 as a sophomore.[4]


After divorcing his wife and suffering financial problems, on January 16, 1965, Holmback drove to the church in Cartersville, Georgia where he had gotten married, and committed suicide by shooting himself in the mouth with a .22 caliber pistol. He was reported missing when he failed to show for matches in Jacksonville, Florida and St. Petersburg, Florida. His body was found the next day in his car in the church parking lot.[1][2] He was survived by his three children, two daughters and a son.[4]

Championships and accomplishmentsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Yukon Eric". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved January 9, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Martin, Adam (January 17, 2008). "Al Snow coming to GWA, Ohio indy news, CHIKARA + Georgia Wrestling – Nostalgia". WrestleView. Retrieved January 9, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c "Turofsky Gallery". Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved January 8, 2010.[dead link]
  4. ^ a b c d e "SLAM! Wrestling Canadian Hall of Fame: Yukon Eric". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved January 9, 2010.
  5. ^ "Texas Heavyweight Title". wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved January 9, 2010.
  6. ^ a b c Hoffer, Richard (July 14, 2003). "killer Kowalski Tears Ear Off...laughs". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved January 8, 2010.
  7. ^ a b c "Stan Neilson profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved January 9, 2010.
  8. ^ a b "Past Honorees – Posthumous Award". Cauliflower Alley Club. Archived from the original on April 11, 2009. Retrieved January 9, 2010.
  9. ^ a b "Yukon Eric". Bodyslamming.com. Retrieved January 9, 2010.
  10. ^ *Will, Gary; Duncan, Royal (2000). "Texas: NWA Texas Heavyweight Title [Von Erich]". Wrestling Title Histories: professional wrestling champions around the world from the 19th century to the present. Pennsylvania: Archeus Communications. pp. 268–269. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  11. ^ "NWA Texas Heavyweight Title". Wrestling-Titles. Retrieved March 30, 2017.

External linksEdit