Don Leo Jonathan

Don Leo Jonathan
Don Leo Jonathan
Ring name(s) Don Leo Jonathan
The Mormon Giant
Sonny Jonathan[1]
Billed height 6 ft 6 in[2]
Billed weight 285–340 lb[2]
Born April 29, 1931 (1931-04-29) (age 80)[2]
Hurricane, Utah[2]
Resides Langley, British Columbia
Billed from Salt Lake City, Utah
Trained by Brother Jonathan
Debut 1949
Retired 1980

Don Heaton (born April 29, 1931), also known as Don Leo Jonathan, is an American former professional wrestler.

Contents

Professional wrestling career

Jonathan, nicknamed "The Mormon Giant" was a second generation star (his father was former wrestler Brother Jonathan)[1] who made his professional wrestling debut after World War II.[1] Over the course of his career, he competed around the world, making stops in Europe, South Africa, Australia and Japan; he wrestled more often, however, in the United States and Canada. His first championship wins occurred in Montreal with the International Wrestling Association, where he twice captured their International Heavyweight title.

Elsewhere in Canada, Jonathan found more success competing in Toronto's National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) affiliate Maple Leaf Wrestling (where he first teamed with Gene Kiniski to win the Canadian Open Tag Team title, in 1959) and in Winnipeg, where he wrestled for NWA member Alex Turk Promotions (twice winning their International Tag Team title) and for the American Wrestling Association. Jonathan also got a taste of World heavyweight gold when he won the AWA-affiliated Omaha territory's version of the World title three times in 1961.

Canada eventually became home to Jonathan in the early 1960s as he settled in the Vancouver suburb of Langley. Making Vancouver his home base, he competed frequently for NWA All Star Wrestling, winning five Pacific Coast Heavyweight titles between 1970 and 1977, the NWA World Tag Team title (with Dominic Denucci) in 1966, and a record 18 Canadian Tag Team titles between 1964 and 1978, as well as challenging for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship against such titleholders as Kiniski, Dory Funk, Jr. and Jack Brisco; he also engaged in feuds with Kiniski and Dutch Savage in All Star, as well as teaming with them. On May 31, 1972, in what was billed as the "match of the century," Jonathan defeated Le Géant Jean Ferré (André the Giant) by disqualification.[2] On September 7, 1972, in a match which was billed as the "Battle of the Giants" Jonathan had a rematch against André, this time losing by disqualification.[3] Late in his career, he appeared as one of the wrestlers in the 1978 Sylvester Stallone movie Paradise Alley.

Jonathan wrestled his final match, teaming with André the Giant and Roddy Piper to defeat The Sheepherders and Buddy Rose in Vancouver on March 10, 1980,[4] before retiring from the ring that year. On November 5, 2005, he appeared at an event in Surrey, British Columbia, presented by Top Ranked Wrestling (prior to its purchase by NWA: Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling) to be honored in a special ceremony for his contributions to the sport. On May 20, 2006, he was inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in Amsterdam, New York.

As of 2011, Don Leo Jonathan continues to represent the sport he loves, and makes appearances from time to time on Cloverleaf Radio, a Blog Talk Radio show.[citation needed]

On January 8th, 2012, Don Leo Jonathan Headlines The Cloverleaf Radio Hall of Fame, Class of 2012.[citation needed]

Personal life

Jonathan was born in Hurricane, Utah and raised as a Mormon.[1] He played high school football and learned martial arts.[5] Before entering the world of professional wrestling, Jonathan was a sailor in the United States Navy.[1][5]

He has lived in Vancouver, British Columbia since 1963.[1][2] He is married to a woman named Rose.[1] After retiring from professional wrestling, he pursued a career in underwater inventions and exploration.[5] He survived bladder cancer.[1]

Championships and accomplishments

  • Alex Turk Promotions
  • NWA International Tag Team Championship (Winnipeg version) (2 times) – with Whipper Billy Watson (1) and Jim Hady (1)
  • American Wrestling Alliance
  • AWA World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • CWA World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • European Wrestling Union
  • EWU World Super Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • GPW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • International Wrestling Association (Montreal)
  • IWA World Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
  • MWA American Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Ray Stern
  • NWA International Television Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Lord Carlton and Fred Blassie
  • Television Era (2006)[5]
  • World Wrestling Association (Los Angeles)
  • Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards

References

External links


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