No birthdays today, but four dead wrestlers to check out.
Brad Batten was one half of the Batten Twins along with his twin brother Bart. A popular tag team in the south during the 1980s, the Battens faced off against some of the top tag teams of the era. They began their wrestling career working for the Poffo family in 1983. As identical twins, the brothers were a rarity in pro wrestling at the time of their debut. Their tenure in the NWA’s Central States territory saw them engaged in a long feud with Sheik Abdullah. They held the NWA Central States Tag Team Championship a record four times, defeating The Midnight Express, the Midnight Rockers, Sheik Abdullah and Akio Sato, and Bobby Jaggers (in a singles match) for the title.
The Battens were also major stars in Puerto Rico during the late-1980s where they won WWC Tag Team Championship four times and the WWC Caribbean Tag Team Championship twice. Their unexpected heel turn made them among the most hated wrestlers in the country. After returning to the U.S., the Battens continued wrestling on the Southern independent circuit until the early-2000s. In April 2005, The Batten Twins ended their 23-year career with a retirement tour of their home state. Batten died at the Ohio State University Medical Center on November 18, 2014 after suffering a sudden heart attack near his home. He was 56.
“Gentleman” Ed Francis was a wrestler and promoter in Hawaii in the 60s. Before that, he spent the 1950s wrestling in the contiguous US against the likes of Lou Thesz, Buddy Rogers, and Gorgeous George in various territories. He was an NWA Canadian Heavyweight Champion in Stampede Wrestling. Francis died on November 18, 2016 at age 90.
“Gentleman” Ed Sharpe wrestled from 1951-67 in many territories, including Jim Crockett’s NWA Tri-State Wrestling in 1963. He was an NWA Texas Tag Team Champion with Mike Sharpe Sr. and an NWA Texas Junior Heavyweight Champion. He died of cancer on November 18, 2003 at age 83.
Oly Olsen was a two-time WCCW Heavyweight Champion and a four-time NWA/UWA Canadian Tag Team Champion. He died on November 18, 2015 while awaiting a heart transplant. He was 58.