|William "Billy" Wicks|
|Ring Names||Billy Wicks|
|Height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Weight||180 lbs (82 kg)|
|Born||April 4, 1932 (age 80)|
|St. Paul, Minesota|
|Resides||Asheville, North Carolina|
William "Billy Wicks" (born April 4, 1932) is an American practitioner and teacher of Catch Wrestling and former Gulf Coast Champion.
William Charles Wicks was born on April 4th, 1932 in a little house at 536 Sherburne Avenue in St. Paul Minnesota to Norwegian imigrant parents. He attended the Faith E. Lutheran Church School. As a young man he was a member of the Boy Scouts of America.
Billy started wrestling at the age of 15 at Ober Boy's Club & St Paul YMCA. In his early wrestling days he realized how bad he really was when he got beaten by two different blind kids on two different days. That was kind of an awakening for him. After that he started working out with an Olympic wrestler four or five nights every week.
At the age of 19, Billy started working out with McAllister College Wrestling Team & started wrestling in Carnivals. Wicks would take on "all comers' being taught, trained & tutored by a 63 year old Carny wrestler named Henry Kolln. Kolln trained with Farmer Burns. Billy was also trained by Tony Morelli, Joe Pazandak, and Ed "Strangler" Lewis, former Heavy Weight Champion of the World in the 1920's.
He enlisted in the United States Army on February 28, 1951 and married Margaret Alice Kroening in July 1951.
While serving in the US Army, he continued his wrestling career, becoming the heavyweight wrestling champion there. He was honorably discharged on June 25, 1956 and obtained his license to wrestle professionally in the state of Texas in 1957.
Rock legend Elvis Presley was a hug fan of Billy Wicks. Wrestling w/ one another several times & Billy teaching him techniques. In the year of their Championship match and the only time Elvis was out sold was by Billy Wicks & Sputniks w/ Rocky Marciano as Referee. Filling the new stadium with just under 20,000 seats, Elvis only filled 16,000 seats.
With the racial tension of the times. Pops & Sputniks championship match, thru their sportsmanship is credited with helping relieve the tensions. Sputnik known as the outlaw or bad guy "Heel" to frequent hoods, hugging ethnic children publicly. Wicks was known as the hero American Soldier or good guy "Baby" in Wrestling terms. Having Wrestled & trained many musicians including Johnny Cash & Marty Robbins also.
Thru the years while on road together & behind the scenes. Wicks & Sputnik became close friends. After their wrestling years Pops would speak highly of Sputnik til his dying day speaking about how much he missed his friend.
Billy has wrestled several Olympic Champion Wrestlers, Alex Cadier, Peter Maivia, Leopolde Sternberg, Danny Hodge, Jim Larock. He was Pro-wrestling Gulf Coast Champion in 1958, Tri State Champion 1959, & half of the NWA World Tag Team Champions.
After retiring as an active competitor, Billy went into law enforcement work in Memphis, his adopted home & part of the training for deputy sherifs was a three-minute wrestling match with Billy.
Billy was also the personal body guard for Judge Preston Battle who heard the trial of James Earle Ray for the shooting of Dr. Martin Luther King.
In the 1960's & 1970's he refereed high school matches & was an assistant wrestling coach at Southwestern university in Memphis.
Billy taught Carny-style submission wrestling, commonly called hooking or catch at the W.N.C. Barbell Gym in Asheville, North Carolina for many years.
He has retired from public coaching today. However, Johnny Huskey and John Strickland continue to teach and coach his style, with Billy's fullest respect and support.
For the past 15 years Billy Wicks has trained and instructed Johnny Huskey in this art and has passed on all of his knowledge of this great art to Mr. Husky for him to instruct future generations.
Billy "Pops" Wicks was offered to be inducted into the Wrestling Hall of Fame. Sadly due to travel issues in his elder years he could not make it to be inducted.
- After retiring, he served as a law enforcement officer.
- One day he took on his deputies & did fine untill all of them ganged up and tossed him into a shower after the match dressed in his full uniform.
- Toe Holds
- Double Wrist Locks
- Neck Cranks
- "Pops" is what his student's call him these days.
- Johnny Huskey (Pancrase Fighter, Lions Den Graduate, Wicks taught & fellow Team Coach)
- Patrick Greene (Author, Director, Team Wicks/Huskey)
- Matthew Covan (Team Wicks/Huskey, accepted & fought Pro under Eric Paulson & Josh Burnett)
- Martin Steiner (Team Wicks/Huskey reknown CACC fighter)
- Christopher Rogers (Team Wicks/Huskey. Pro fighter turned Assistant Team Coach)
- Michael Allen (Team WIcks/Huskey Pro fighter turned coach & promoter)
- Tracey DeBruhl (US Marine Corps, Team Wicks/Huskey. NAGA, Ray Thompson Upstate fighter)
- Jeff Presley (1982-)(World Reknown Coach USA, Germany,...)
- John Driver (Team Wicks/Huskey, US Army 2 combat tours)
- Greg Reynolds (Team Wicks/Huskey, NC HwyPatrol)
- Brad Hannah (Team Wicks/Huskey, Baja Gracie instructor, In It to Win It Coach/Owner)
- Chris Snyder (Team Wicks/Huskey, FireFighter, EMT, Toughman)
- Johnny "Buck Nasty" Buck (Team Wicks/Huskey, Bellitor Champion, Rogue Fitness Owner)
- John Kidd (Team Wicks/Huskey fighter & conditioning coach)
- Glenn DeHart (Team Wicks/Huskey)
- Adam DeHart (Team Wicks/Huskey, Fight Lab Champion)
- Jon Strickland (Wicks Huskey taught CACC fighter)
- Ron White (Wicks/Huskey Sylva NC Team Coach)
- Spencer Fisher (Wicks/Huskey Sylva NC, UFC Champion)
Championships and AccomplishmentsEdit
- 1958 Gulf Coast Champion
http://www.catch.20m.com/about.html (Billy's Website)