Don Eagle

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Don Eagle

Title History

  • AWA (Boston) World Heavyweight title defeating Frank Sexton (May 23, 1950);
  • AWA (Boston) World Heavyweight title defeating Gorgeous George (August 31, 1950);

Career History

  • Don Eagle is widely considered the most popular “Indian” wrestler of all time..
  • 1945: Don Eagle won the Golden Gloves Heavyweight Boxing Championship in Cleveland, Ohio..
  • ~~~~He had a professional boxing record of 15-4; working as a heavyweight in 1947 & 1948..
  • In his first year, Eagle competed in 22 contests and won 17. He beat the established Red Dawson by pinfall in just under 16 minutes.
  • Being something of a rarity in Canada, Eagle quickly gained attention as a superb technical and innovative wrestler, renowned for escaping from and reversing many holds placed on him.
  • Don Eagle competed with and knew some of the greatest and most proficient wrestlers of his day, regularly tangling with the likes of Buddy Rogers and Lou Thesz.
  • In early 1950, Don Eagle became the first person to throw World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Primo Carnera off his feet.
  • Don Eagle’s biggest match was arguably on May 23, 1950 when he wrestled and defeated Frank Sexton at the age of 23 in a best-of-three falls.
  • ~~~~Sexton was just over a year into a near-four-year reign of the Boston version of the AWA World Heavyweight Championship.
  • ~~~~Three days later, Eagle appeared on television without the championship belt to face Gorgeous George in another best-of-three falls match in the Chicago area. Eagle put in an extremely impressive performance, dominating George and quickly making him submit to the vaunted death lock, making a swift end to fall one.
  • ~~~~For the second, Don continued to dominate and launched himself outside the ring with a flying shoulder block. He was then counted out by an arguably fast-counting Earl Mullihan, the appointed referee, to level proceedings at one fall each.
  • ~~~~In the final fall, George managed to catch Eagle with a backyard cradle. Mullihan, who could clearly see that Eagle had a single shoulder off the mat, proceeded to administer another fast count and declared the match over.
  • ~~~~The crowd was furious and began to riot, throwing objects into the ring. Eagle punched Mullihan with considerable force while Mullihan hastened to leave the ring and the arena. As Mullihan ran up the aisle, Eagle hit him forcefully again between the shoulderblades.
  • ~~~~~Gorgeous George was clearly unprepared for the animosity of the crowd and waited for police assistance to escort him from the ring.
  • Don Eagle was suspended by the Illinois State Athletic Commission for putting his hands on a referee, but managed to regain the title on August 31, 1950. The title was declared vacant in November 1950 due to Eagle’s inactivity because of injury and was replaced by the AWA Eastern Heavyweight Title.
  • Don Eagle fought Antonino Rocca to a titanic 60-minute draw on May 19, 1951 at the Chicago Stadium.
  • Don Eagle was a major draw in Ohio, appearing regularly at the old Akron Armory and other areas throughout the state..
  • Don Eagle would travel by road from show to show driving a massive Cadillac with a canoe strapped to the top..
  • March 17, 1966: Don Eagle died as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the age of 41..
  • ~~~~Don Leo Jonathan, Billy Two Rivers & other wrestlers who knew him well maintained Eagle did NOT commit suicide..
  • ~~~~They believed that he was the victim of an “accident” for years after the popular grappler’s death.