Tiger Jeet Singh
Real name: Jagit Singh Hans
Popular wrestler in Toronto in the late 1960s and 1970s. Wrestled as a crazed heel in most other areas. Used the cobra (sleeper) as his finisher.
Made his Maple Leaf Gardens debut in 1965, wrestling as a heel. His first main event in Toronto was in a tag match late that year, teaming with Professor Hiro to take on the team of Johnny Powers and Sweet Daddy Siki. Began teaming with Fred Atkins in 1966. Became the top team in Toronto by defeating Whipper Billy Watson and Bulldog Brower for the international tag title in July 1966. Singh and Atkins wrestled at or near the top of the card through 1966 and 1967.
Made his solo debut in a Maple Leaf Gardens main event in April 1967, defeating the Mighty Igor. Defeated Johnny Valentine for the Toronto version of the U.S. title the following month. Wrestled Gene Kiniski for the NWA title in the summer of 1967 and, in the fall, twice challenged Bruno Sammartino for the WWWF title. With Wild Bull Curry, again defeated Watson and Brower to win the international tag title in 1968. Turned babyface late in 1968.
In February 1971, wrestled The Sheik in the main event of the first wrestling show in Maple Leaf Gardens history to attract a sell-out crowd of over 18,000 (there had been sell-outs before, but more seats had since been crammed into the Gardens to allow a capacity crowd of 18,000). Wrestled The Sheik 12 times at the Gardens from 1971-1974. I think it's fair to say that Singh learned a lot from Sheik, since his wildman persona in Japan, Australia, and most areas of the world outside of Toronto was very similar to Sheik.
Won the IWA tag title in Australia in 1971 with Mr. Fuji, defeating Mark Lewin & King Curtis Iaukea. Began wrestling in Japan in 1973, arriving with a bang by attacking Antonio Inoki outside a Tokyo department store in October. Inoki got even by "breaking Singh's arm" in a 1974 match. Defeated Inoki to win the NWF world title in 1975. Lost the belt to Inoki three months later. Defeated Seiji Sakaguchi in 1976 to win the NWF Asian title and remained champion until jumping to All Japan in mid-1981. Wrestled in the main event of the joint New Japan-All Japan card in Tokyo in 1978, teaming with Abdullah the Butcher to take on the Japanese dream team of Inoki & Giant Baba.
Defeated El Canek to win the UWA heavyweight title in Mexico in 1980. Lost the title to Inoki a couple months later, regained it, and then dropped it back to Canek in 1981.
Back in Toronto, had one final match for Frank Tunney against Sheik in 1977 when he subbed for no-show Dusty Rhodes. Defeated Ric Flair in Toronto in 1979 and, in the same year, challenged Nick Bockwinkel for the AWA title at the Gardens. Made his final Gardens appearance for Tunney in 1983.
Continued to wrestle in Japan in the 1980s and 1990s, and would make occasional appearances on indie shows in the Toronto area. In 1990, teamed with Inoki to defeat Big Van Vader & Animal Hamaguchi in the main event of Inoki's 30th anniversary show in Yokohama. Feuded with Atsushi Onita in FMW in 1992. Wrestled in the main event of the first Heisei Ishingun card in Tokyo in 1994, losing to Shiro Koshinaka with Inoki as referee.
His palatial 14,000 sq. ft. home can be spotted from Highway 401 on the south side near Milton. A 1997 newspaper article put his net worth at $9.6 million, based on court documents from a criminal fraud charge against Singh and others (charges against Singh were dropped in 1994, but in 1997 a judge said he had not been forthright in his testimony).
His son Mick (Gurdip) has wrestled as Tiger Ali Singh in the WWF and as Tiger Jeet Singh Jr. in Japan.
"Tiger Jeet Singh, sensational 24-year-old lad from Punjab, India, is the new United States Champion by virtue of a victory over Johnny Valentine following a hectic match in Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens. Managed and trained by that "Hard Rock from Down Under" Fred Atkins, Singh has swept aside all opposition. Atkins is high in his praise of his newest protege and feels he is entitled to a championship match with either Bruno Sammartino or Gene Kiniski. Singh is an expert in judo and karate and uses those tactics to wear down his foes, then finishes them off with his feared Cobra hold,
one of the most dangerous in the business."
(From WRESTLING REVIEW, August 1968)
- U.S. champion (Toronto), 1968-72
- IWA World tag champion (Australia), with Mr. Fuji, 1971
- International champion (Montreal), 1974
- Canadian tag champion (Vancouver), with Dennis Stamp, 1975
- NWF World champion (New Japan), 1975
- NWF Asian champion (New Japan), 1976
- NWF North American tag champion (New Japan), with Umanosuke Ueda, 1977
- NWF North American champion (New Japan), 1979
- 2-time UWA World heavyweight champion (Mexico), 1980-81
- NWA International tag champion (All Japan), with Umanosuke Ueda, 1983
- WWA World Martial Arts champion (Japan), 1992