Les Thornton (9 April 1934 – 1 February 2019) was a British professional wrestler who competed in Great Britain, Japan, European and North American regional promotions throughout the 1970s and 1980s including World of Sport Stampede Wrestling, the World Wrestling Federation and the National Wrestling Alliance.
|Born||9 April 1934|
Manchester, England, United Kingdom
|Died||1 February 2019 (aged 84)|
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Les Thornton|
|Billed height||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|Billed weight||225 lb (102 kg)|
Professional wrestling careerEdit
During his career, he was considered one of the best junior heavyweights in the world at one time simultaneously holding both the WWF and NWA World Junior Heavyweight titles, and would later hold NWA title five times. He had matches against Tiger Mask , Gino Hernandez, The Cobra, K J Anderssen, Dynamite Kid, Terry Taylor, Gerry Brisco, Alberto Madrill and Tatsumi Fujinami. As a result of the hostile takeover by the WWF of Georgia Championship Wrestling, Thornton joined the WWF, but in the "Hogan Era" as it stood, Thornton was used as a jobber and would help develop young wrestlers, including Mick Foley. Near the end of his career, he formed his own promotion in Calgary called Canadian Independent Wrestling Federation (CIWF), which included wrestlers like Ricky Fuji and Big Titan, among others. Thornton was the tag team partner of Mick Foley in Foley's first ever WWF match against The British Bulldogs. Against heavyweights he fought Harley Race, Billy Robinson, Gene Lewis, Pedro Morales and Dory Funk Jr. He was known for his stiff forearm uppercuts ,over the knee backbreakers and suplexes.
Championships and accomplishmentsEdit
- All Japan Pro Wrestling
- Championship Wrestling from Florida
- Georgia Championship Wrestling
- Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
- Middle Atlantic States Wrestling
- MASW National Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- National Wrestling Alliance
- NWA Big Time Wrestling
- NWA Hollywood Wrestling
- NWA Mid-America
- NWA New Zealand
- Pacific Northwest Wrestling
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him # 320 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the PWI Years in 2003
- Ring Around The Northwest Newsletter
- Tag Team of the Year (1977) with Lonnie Mayne
- Southeastern Championship Wrestling
- Stampede Wrestling
- Western States Sports
- World Wrestling Council
- World Wrestling Federation
1Records are unclear as to where Thorton was when he received the title for the first time nor is it known as to which NWA affiliated promotion he was wrestling for at the time.
- "LES THORNTON PASSES AWAY | PWInsider.com". www.pwinsider.com.
- Shields, Brian; Sullivan, Kevin (2009). WWE Encyclopedia. Dorling Kindersley. p. 184. ISBN 978-0-7566-4190-0.
- "Former NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion Les Thornton Passes Away". WrestlingNewsSource. February 3, 2019.
- Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- "PUROLOVE.com". www.purolove.com.
- Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- Rodgers, Mike (2004). "Regional Territories: PNW #16". KayfabeMemories.com.
- "Stampede Wrestling Hall of Fame (1948-1990)". Puroresu Dojo. 2003.
- Foley, Mick. Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1999. ISBN 0-06-103101-1
- Funk, Terry and Scott E. Williams. Terry Funk: The Hardcore Legend. Champaigne, Illinois: Sports Publishing LLC, 2005. ISBN 1-58261-991-3
- Johnson, Weldon T. and Jim Wilson. Chokehold: Pro Wrestling's Real Mayhem Outside the Ring. Philadelphia: Xlibris Corporation, 2003. ISBN 1-4010-7217-8[self-published source]
- McCoy, Heath. Pain and Passion: The History of Stampede Wrestling. Toronto: CanWest Books, 2005. ISBN 0-9736719-8-X
- SLAM! Wrestling - Les Thornton: A life on the road by Greg Oliver
- SLAM! Wrestling: Les Thornton - What you DIDN'T know! by Terry Taylor
- The Way It Was - Les Thornton at the Wayback Machine (archived October 28, 2009) by Percival A. Friend
- Championship Wrestling from Florida: Les Thornton
- Profile at OWW