Paul Lincoln - R.I.P.
In 1956 and in partnership with fellow Australian Wrestler, Ray Hunter - Paul Lincoln jointly purchased the 2I's Coffee Bar from the previous owners, the Irani brothers. Paul began to promote Skiffle and Rock n Roll music in the cellar and therefore Paul Lincoln can be credited with being the facilitator of British Rock n Roll. Paul Sadly died on Tuesday 11th January 2011 and this page is dedicated to his memory and the major impact that he had in starting the careers of so many British Rock n Rollers despite spending most of his life in Professional Wrestling, his undisputed first love.
Paul Lincoln - the Promoter.
A man of great vision who had enormous influence on the golden years of Professional Wrestling, principally from the 1950's to late 60's. Pauls innovative ideas as a promoter, and his personal in ring portrayal as Dr. Death are legendary amongst grapple fans from that era.
Paul Lincoln arrived in the UK as a young Professional Wrestler from his home of Sydney, Australia in the mid 1950's. He had wrestled in boothes in Australia, which included taking on any young sheep shearers who fancied their chances, and en route to the UK had wrestled in Singapore. It was some years later that he donned the infamous mask as Dr Death.
Paul Lincoln wrestling as the famous Doctor Death
Paul's entrepreneural abilities were also evident in the beginings of the British Rock 'n' Roll scene. In partnership with Australian wresler Ray Hunter they purchased the 2'I's coffee bar in 1956 from the Irani brothers and Paul began to promote Skiffle and Rock 'n' Roll music in the cellar. It was from this now famous, small venue that Tommy Steele, Cliff Richard, Lionel Bart and many many others were discovered. Paul himself became the manager of Terry Dene and Wee Willie Harris. He also became a promoter of concerts and organised the first ever Rock across the Channel.
The famous 2I's Coffee Bar became the 'Home of the Stars' because of Paul Lincoln.
Along with Ray he became a part of the Restraunt business and later in the 1960's they were joined by Bob Anthony and fellow hall of famer Al Hayes in the legendary "Cromwellian Club" which was very much the "in" club of the swinging London era.
Although Paul easily could have carved out a successful career in music, or the club/restaurent world, his first love was always Pro Wrestling. His promotions under the banner of Paul Lincoln Managements were recognised as classics, and drew the talents of some of the greatest stars of the British Wrestling scene. In the Heavyweight division there was Ray Hunter, Al Hayes, Mike Marino, Wayne Bridges, Dave Larson, Bob Kirkwood, Dennis Dean plus in general opinion the greatest masked wrestler of all time Dr Death. Paul Lincoln Management also drew some of the cream of Lightweight talent in the form of Harry Fields, Tony Charles, Eddie Capelli, the Cortez Brothers John & Peter, and the Anthony Brothers Bob & Chris. Many of the top foreign wrestlers of the time were attracted to the already steller Paul Lincoln lineup. From the USA came Ricky Starr, Sky High Lee. From Spain came Quasimodo & Modesto Aledo. From France came Isha Israel, Jean Corne and from Japan came Togo Tani & Chati Yakouchi.
Many of the Paul Lincoln promotions were housed in the opulent surroundings of the Granada Theatres, including Granadas showpiece theatre in Tooting. It was here that Dr Death had his momentous match with the White Angel. The final exposure required to change the face of British Wrestling forever was TV. The existing World of Sport presentations were contracted to the well established Joint Promotions. Paul Lincoln Managements almost secured the new mid week slot, but instead it went to Joint Promotions. The different style of Paul Lincolns match making would have contrasted favourably for wrestling and helped to maintain interest in the public.
Paul loved the challenge of virgin territory, and ventured with wrestling promotion in places that it had previously never travelled. Amongst these were Malta, where Randy Turpin was matched Boxing against the Maltese Middleweight Champion, plus a full wrestling bill. Africa was also tackled, plus Hong Kong, in 1966, where the opening date in the Happy Valley Stadium was delaying with the onset of the famous Kowloon riots, with the wrestlers confined to their hotel under curfew. However once underway the month long tournament attracted the attention of an influential promoter from Thailand, and the promotion was extended into the Thai Boxing Stadium in Bangkok. Another intrepid promotion that Paul undertook was Italy. Their the plan was to operate throughout the north of Italy in a circus marquee which would travel to various towns. Unfortunately the local organiser had not secured the necessary permits, and consequently the police shut down the promotion after the first night. Paul was not to be put off by this, and frequent trips were made to the authorities in Milan, with help from a top ranking Italian policeman, who on his police business visits to London always visited Pauls Italian restaurant in Soho. Eventually the promotion continued, with the wrestlers very fit from their short holiday in a hillside hotel in the Italian lakes, where the owner (another friend of Pauls) had a very good supply of weight training equipment. Wrestling was entirely new to these places except viewed on TV. The live shows drew a great reaction.
Paul Lincoln as an innovative and constructive promoter plus his tremendous wrestling ability in the guise of Dr Death as well as his ability to draw crowds truely deserved him a place in the British Wrestling Hall of Fame. Paul and his wife, Elizabeth moved back to Australia in 1975 to bring up their daughter, Natalie, but returned to England 11 years later to set up home in Southampton.
Paul Lincoln pictured with Shadow Bruce Welch outside the old 2I's at 59 Old Compton Street, Soho, London in 2007.
In 2007, the grandfather of three returned to the site of the 2I's Coffee Bar for the unveiling of the plaque to recognise his achievements in the entertainment industry and was joined by former proteges Sir Cliff Richard and Bruce Welch amongst others.
Sadly Paul Lincoln passed away on Tuesday 11th January 2011 after battling with cancer and Parkinson's disease. His funeral was held at the Southampton Crematorium on Wednesday 26th January 2011.
Cliff Richard pictured with Paul Lincoln outside the old 2I's Coffee Bar in 2007.