Jagjit Singh Hans (born April 3, 1948) is a semi-retired professional wrestler, known better by his ring name Tiger Jeet Singh. He wrestled as a crazed heel, coming to the ring with a sword in his mouth (and using it to taunt fans and attack wrestlers). Singh wrestled in Japan for 22 years. He was the first pro wrestler in Japan to defeat sumo wrestler Wajima Hiroshi.
Professional wrestling career
In the 1960s, Hans began wrestling and emigrated to Toronto from his hometown in Punjab, arriving with $6 in his pocket. Hans trained in Toronto under Fred Atkins and eventually signed with Frank Tunney, a Toronto wrestling promoter. Atkins dubbed Hans “Tiger” after witnessing his ferocious style of fighting. Tiger made his Maple Leaf Gardens debut in 1965, wrestling as a heel. His first main event in Toronto was a tag match late that year, teaming with Professor Hiro to take on the team of Johnny Powers and Sweet Daddy Siki. He began teaming with Fred Atkins in 1966. They 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.
He also fought in the US wrestling circuits, grappling with opponents like Sweet Daddy Siki, André the Giant, Hans Schmidt, Whipper Billy Watson and “Bulldog” Dick Brower. He defeated Johnny Valentine for the Toronto version of the US title and wrestled Gene Kiniski for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in the summer of 1967 and, in the fall, twice challenged Bruno Sammartino for the WWWF Championship. With Wild Bull Curry, again defeated Watson and Brower to win the international tag title in 1968.
In February 1971, Singh 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.
While visiting Japan in 1972, Singh got into a brawl with Antonio Inoki in a shopping center. He immediately began wrestling in New Japan Pro Wrestling in 1973 and would feud with Inoki as a result of the incident. Inoki broke Singh’s arm in a 1974 match, but Tiger defeated Inoki to win the NWF world title in 1975 only to lose it to Inoki three months later.
He defeated Seiji Sakaguchi in 1976 to win the NWF Asian title and remained champion until making a jump to All-Japan Pro Wrestling in 1981. Singh wrestled in the main event of the joint New Japan-All Japan card in Tokyo in 1978 with Abdullah the Butcher to take on the Japanese dream team of Inoki and Giant Baba. Singh would later team with Abdullah frequently.
Singh defeated El Canek to win the UWA World Heavyweight Championship in Mexico in 1980 and lost the title to Inoki months later. Singh regained it but then dropped it back to Canek in 1981. In Toronto Singh had one final match for Frank Tunney against Sheik in 1977, when he subbed for no-show Dusty Rhodes. Singh Defeated Ric Flair in Toronto in 1979, as well as unsuccessfully challenging Nick Bockwinkel for the AWA title at the Gardens.
Singh continued to wrestle in Japan into the 1990s and make occasional appearances on indie shows in Toronto. In 1990, he teamed with Inoki to defeat Big Van Vader and Animal Hamaguchi in the main event of Inoki’s 30th anniversary show in Yokohama.
Singh wrestled and even promoted wrestling supercards in South Africa during the apartheid-era 1980s, starting the Anglo Asian Wrestling Federation. His main rival as a promoter was Sammy Cohen, as both fought over territories and were drawing very well.
He ventured to Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling (FMW) in 1992, and had a bloody feud with Atsushi Onita. Whilst in FMW Singh teamed with a young Sabu, who also accompanied him to the ring. Singh also wrestled in the main event of the first Heisei Ishingun card in Tokyo in 1994, losing to Shiro Koshinaka in a bout refereed by Inoki.
Singh was a prominent participant in the IWA-Japan 1995 King of the Death Matches Tournament. In the opening contest of the quarter-finals round, he forced Mr. Gannosuke into submission while Gannosuke was inside a bed of barbed wire. Singh advanced to the semi-finals where he lost to Terry Funk. Cactus Jack miscalculated an attack with Singh’s signature sword on Funk and hit Singh instead. In the finals Singh interfered briefly and attacked Cactus Jack.
Singh began spending time doing charitable works in both Canada and India, wrestling on occasion and trying to start an Indian based promotion World Wrestling Mania.
Singh and his wife had three sons.One of his sons is former World Wrestling Entertainment wrestler Tiger Ali Singh.
A documentary entitled Tiger! chronicles his life story from his life in India to his work as a wrestler.In Japan, he is also the main character in a comic strip.
A public elementary school in Milton, Ontario, opened in September 2010, has been named for Singh despite some community concerns about the appropriateness of naming a public school after a professional wrestler. Local author and historian John Challinor II made a presentation to the Halton Board of Education and stressed that the honour should be made based on Tiger Jeet Singh’s philanthropy and humanitarian works. Area Trustee Donna Danielli addressed the decision, which has been met with some controversy given the violent nature of professional wrestling stating: “He definitely makes a difference in the community and I believe that he will be a very positive role model and mentor at that school — he plans to be very involved.”
- Finishing moves
- Argentine backbreaker
- Cobra claw
- Signature moves
- Camel clutch
- Shoulder claw
- Sleeper hold
- Stomach claw
Championships and accomplishments
- All Japan Pro Wrestling
- AJPW All Asia Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- NWA International Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Umanosuke Ueda
- Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling
- FMW Brass Knuckles Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- International Wrestling Association
- IWA International Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Maple Leaf Wrestling
- NWA International Tag Team Championship (Toronto version) (2 times) – with Fred Atkins (1) and Bull Curry (1)
- NWA United States Heavyweight Championship (Toronto version) (1 time)
- New Japan Pro Wrestling
- NWA North American Tag Team Championship (Los Angeles/Japan version) (1 time) – with Umanosuke Ueda
- NWF Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- NWF North American Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- NWA All-Star Wrestling
- NWA Canadian Tag Team Championship (Vancouver version) (1 time) – with Dennis Stamp
- Tokyo Sports Grand Prix
- Best Bout Award (1979) with Abdullah the Butcher vs. Antonio Inoki and Giant Baba on August 26
- Universal Wrestling Association
- UWA World Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
- World Championship Wrestling (Australia)
- IWA World Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Mr. Fuji
- World Wrestling Association
- WWA World Martial Arts Championship (1 time)