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Johnny Saint
Johnny Saint (cropped) (cropped).JPG
Saint in March 2009
Birth nameJohn Miller
Born (1941-06-29) 29 June 1941 (age 81)
Failsworth, England
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Johnny Saint
Billed height5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Billed weight154 lb (70 kg)
Billed fromBlackpool, England
Trained byBilly Robinson
Colin McDonald
George Kidd
Debut1958
Retired2015

John Miller (born 29 June 1941) is an English professional wrestling authority figure and retired professional wrestler. He is currently signed to WWE, where he serves as the on-screen general manager of NXT UK under the ring name Johnny Saint.

Early career

John Miller[1] was born in Failsworth on 29 June 1941.[2] After finishing school at the age of 15, he followed in his father's footsteps and became a factory worker. By this time, he was already an amateur boxer. One day, his mother went to the hair salon, where she had her hair cut by Billy Robinson's mother; they became friends and introduced their sons to each other, with Miller soon beginning to train at Robinson's father's gym. He trained as a wrestler under Robinson, Colin McDonald, and George Kidd.[2]

Career

Under the Johnny Saint ring name, Miller debuted as a professional wrestler in June 1958, being defeated by Colin McDonald.[2] On 5 May 1973, he wrestled Jim Breaks for the British Lightweight Championship, but lost in the fifth round due to referee stoppage after a cut on his forehead. On 3 November 1976, he won his first World Lightweight title and would be featured on the British show World of Sport, though his technique-focused attitude to wrestling and strait-laced persona ensured he was underrated in America, which preferred larger-than-life characters. On 10 October 1996, Saint defeated Naohiro Hoshikawa at a Michinoku Pro Wrestling event in what was billed as Saint's retirement match.[2] He did not vacate the World Lightweight Championship he had won in 1976 until 2001.

On 27 November 2007, more than a decade after his retirement, Saint returned to the ring for LDN Wrestling to defeat Johnny Kidd.[2] He wrestled a further eight matches for LDN, including two bouts against three-time LDN British Heavyweight Champion "Gentleman" Jon Ritchie, in which Saint put up a considerable fight before being defeated. He was defeated by Mike Quackenbush at Chikara's Tag World Grand Prix in 2008, losing by knockout when he did not get up from the referee's 10-count after he suffered a knee injury while performing a knee breaker.

Saint made his true American debut at Chikara's King of Trios Tournament on 27 March 2009, with Quackenbush and Jorge "Skayde" Rivera in "The Masters of a Thousand Holds" team. They would win their opening round match against Incoherence (Delirious, Hallowicked, and Frightmare) but lost their quarter-final round match against Team Uppercut (Bryan Danielson, Claudio Castagnoli, and Dave Taylor). Saint returned to Chikara on 30 July 2011, losing to Johnny Kidd in a match contested under World of Sport rules.[3] The following day, Saint teamed with Quackenbush to defeat the team of Kidd and Colt Cabana, with Saint pinning Kidd.[3]

Saint wrestled his last match In Italy in 2015. In March 2016, he began working as a guest trainer for WWE in their Performance Center. The following December, he announced that he was starting a six-month stint as a trainer for WWE.[4] On 7 June 2018, it was announced that he would be the general manager of the UK division of its NXT brand.[5]

Professional wrestling style and persona

Saint's nickname "The Man of a Thousand Holds"[6] came from his largely submission based grappling style, frequently using wrist locks, roll-up pins, and bridges to counter his opponents' offence.[7][8] He would also utilise a lady of the lake hold as his finishing move.[2]

Personal life

Miller resides in the Welsh town of Rhyl.[2]

Championships and accomplishments

References

  1. ^ "Leeds Reunion March 2011". THE WRESTLING FURNACE. 6 March 2011. Retrieved 6 March 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Online World of Wrestling". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2 December 2009.
  3. ^ a b "Past results". Chikara. Archived from the original on 17 October 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  4. ^ "World of Sport wrestling legend Johnny Saint takes WWE job at 75". Talksport. 17 December 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2017.
  5. ^ "Johnny Saint named GM of WWE's United Kingdom brand". WWE. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  6. ^ "Meet Johnny Saint - the North Wales wrestler now in charge of WWE's new brand". 24 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Gloucester fight for Johnny Saint". BBC News. BBC. 21 December 2009. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  8. ^ Ford, Kevin (29 June 2009). "CHIKARA Review: King of Trios 2009, Night Two". 411Mania. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
  9. ^ "British Lightweight Title".
  10. ^ "European Lightweight Title".
  11. ^ "World Lightweight Title (Great Britain)".