Former WWE Wrestler Al Snow Remembers Newfoundland’s Sailor White

Ed “Sailor” White may be the grandest legend of professional wrestling to ever come out of Newfoundland & Labrador. Many know the name, some know the story, but few have taken the time to chase down the chapters of lore that have become attached to Sailor White’s furrowed legacy.

Born Edward John White in 1949, the St. John’s kid who would grow to be a Sailor found himself as a brawny teenager who couldn’t seem to avoid run-ins with the law, a trend that would follow White for many years. To stay out of trouble, White took whatever work he could find, which inevitably landed him laboring on boats due to his sheer size and strength. While working the shipyards in both Newfoundland and Quebec in his early 20’s, White found his calling in the world of professional wrestling. White debuted in 1972 in Pembroke, Ontario for Canadian wrestling promoter Larry “Babe” Kasaboski.

Once the young Newfie named Ed dawned the moniker of Sailor White for the very first time and took to the wrestling ring as the thick and rugged brute that he already physically resembled, it was only a matter of time before he clobbered his way to the big leagues.

White grappled around the globe under a variety of pseudonyms ranging from “Crazy” Sailor White, to Moondog King of The Moondogs tag team during his stint in the world renowned WWF in the 1980’s. Germany and Austria knew him as “The Canadian Hit Man” Sailor White, while Singapore knew him simply as The Wharf Rat. White battled wrestlers in South Africa as Big John Strongbo, and honed his brawling style as Knuckles McKnight in North Carolina.

Sailor in Japan

No matter what they decided to call him, one thing always remained the same: White, billed at 360lbs, was a memorable mad man for his believable “no frills” beatdowns that struck fear into the toughest of competitors in the ring. It wasn’t just a gimmick, wrestlers were legitimately intimidated by the rabid Moondog and his unpredictable wild style and demeanour.

This tough as leather attitude is likely what paved White’s way around the international wrestling market. White held 48 championships during his career, and after semi-retiring from the squared circle in the 1990’s, he helped promote the rise of regional wrestling in Newfoundland & Labrador. White passed away at the age of 56 in 2005, though his local legend has continued to augment with every passing year.

Second and third-hand stories can only go so far, so Secret East is on a hunt to find the first-hand anecdotes, matches and moments from Sailor White’s career.

Sailor White was always the beloved hometown hero when appearing on any Newfoundland wrestling card, but when competing abroad, White was typically amongst the meanest of the heels. In this following clip, former WWE and ECW star Al Snow recalls his time spent with Sailor White in the 1980’s in George Cannon’s wrestling promotion based in Windsor, Ontario. White’s stiff and menacing style was turned up to 11 during those years, and Snow quips about a situation on television in which Sailor White took out the entire territory’s roster using what Snow remembers as “a five foot shillelagh”.

For those who don’t know, this is what a wooden shillelagh would look like:

The forthcoming chapters to come in the Sailor White Collection will include matches and moments from his territory days, his tag team tenure with The Moondogs, as well as his venture into Canadian politics with the Cutting Edge Wrestling Party.

Stay tuned for Pt. 2





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3 thoughts on “Former WWE Wrestler Al Snow Remembers Newfoundland’s Sailor White”

  1. B. Herron says:

    I am a HUGE Crazy Sailor White fan. Growing up in Flint, we used to watch him on CBC 9 out of Windsor. He was tougher and scarier than Ox Baker and Abdullah the Butcher.

    I got questions. Lots of them:

    Where was his club in St. Johns? Dapper Street?

    Are the tales of his sordid past true?

    Where can I get a copy of his book?

    Hook me up, I’ve been on a Sailor White tear and I need more.

    1. K.G. Hamlyn says:

      Hey! Thanks for the interest! We’ve got more volumes in the Sailor White story to come, and hopefully we’ll be able to sort out the lore for you. Many of the details of Sailor White’s life that could be considered sordid are true. White talked pretty shamelessly in his book about his desperate times and desperate measures, as with many of his peers who were left behind after a life of wrestling. The 1994 Sailor White book with Bill Elliott is a bit of a rarity these days. The best bet for finding a copy is to keep your eyes out on ebay.

      Hopefully we can answer more of your questions!

      Thanks for reading.

  2. Ed Harris says:

    I have a copy of the book I can send to you if I can find it my dad knew sailor white very good

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