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This Week In Heritage

Men In Suits

For many readers the title Men in Suits will convey the message we want to convey, the men in charge.

We accept that for at least a quarter of a century following the end of the Second World War every man had at least one suit to wear, even if it was only for weddings, funerals or the Sunday lunchtime drinking session in the local pub.

One half of The Riot Squad has vivid memories each Sunday lunchtime (well dinnertime to us) of watching through the window as an increasingly large group of men in suits knocked on the door of the next man in the street to collect another friend on their way to their Sunday pint or two, or three, or four.These are not our Men in Suits.

Our Men in Suits were men of courage and vision who invested their money and trust into developing Britain's greatest greatest indoor sport, professional wrestling.In the 1960s British professional wrestlings was a credible rival to professional boxing for the position of Britain's most popular combat sport.

Dozens of wrestling tournaments were held every night of the week, except Sunday, whilst boxing in the doldrums struggled to put on a couple of shows a night.

The similarities were apparent. Both were combat sports, milllions of fans believed both were competitive, contests were split into rounds, combatants were introduced by a Master of Ceremony wearing a dinner jacket, and referees were smartly dressed, usually in white shirts. The pedigree of the two sports were linked; combined professional wrestling and boxing shows had taken place in the early 1930s under the auspices of the British Boxing Board of Control.

It was all very respectable. Wrestling was the sort of place you could take your grandmother or aunt. Chances are that grandmother or aunt would not be quite so respectable and may well have been prone to threatening the wrestlers with her handbag, umbrella or any other inanimate object that may have been close to hand.

Our story of Men In Suits continues this week with the Wrestling Federation of Great Britain.

Men Of Courage and Vision

Our series Men of Courage and Vision runs in parallel with Men In Suits.

The series takes a more in depth look at the real movers and shakers in the wrestling world. This week we feature a man who began by selling sea food in his local town and developed a portfolio of multi national companies that encompassed media, sport, and property. In London he shared an office with his friend Paul Lincoln, and together they shared hopes of one day winning a contract to provide wrestling for BBC television.

Read Men of Courage and Vision: Don Robinson

Bolton Early 1970s

Ron Historyo trawls through the archives once again to bring us another collection of memories.

This week in heritage Galleries Ron has added an album of Bolton Early 1970s.

Enjoy the images and then read Bolton Grappling by Ron Historyo

Midweek Launch – Gladiators in Spandex

Heritage member Matthew Stocks recently gained a First Class Honours Degree in History.

Congratulations Matthew. His final year dissertation was a study of professional wrestling in British culture. Matthew has offered to share his study with Heritage readers and we will publish it mid week.

Read Gladiators in Spandex midweek.

Spotlight on Pete Curry

When Pete Curry started out with the independent promoters, following an amateur grounding at Bolton Harriers AWC, he was billed as “Smasher” Pat Curry of Canada.

On occasions they even threw in a Pacific Coast Heavyweight Title for good measure. These are our fondest memories of Pat, a young, energetic, all-action golden boy in raucous bouts against the likes of Angus Campbell, Dominic Pye, The Ghoul and The Wildman of Borneo. No doubt those independent promoters were hoping to cash in on the memories of fans who remembered the original Pat Curry who had visited British shores some years earlier.

In 1969 he caught the attention of the big promoters and signed to wrestle for Joint Promotions. The energy and skill were still there but, as was so often the case, Joint Promotions failed to capitalise on their new asset and Pat did not receive the push many Northern fans thought he deserved.

That’s not to say that he didn’t have his moments. Pat was mixing it with the very best – Wall, Davies, Howes, Nagasaki and the like. His all-action style suited Kendo Nagasaki, a frequent early seventies opponents, to provide some exhilarating bouts. He even donned a mask, took the name Red Devil, and was ceremoniously unmasked after being knocked out by Nagasaki at Nelson in October, 1970.

Career highlights must include appearances at the Royal Albert Hall, more than a dozen television appearances, the destruction of Hans Streiger to take the European Heavyweight Title at Liverpool in February, 1978, and an unsuccessful challenge for the World Heavyweight Championship against John Quinn in 1984.

Some members of Joint Promotions re-named Pat as Pete Curry, possibly to avoid confusion with the post war North American heavyweight, but to us he will always be Smasher Pat Curry.

Read our extended tribute to Pete Curry

A Mexican, A Masked Man and a Smasher in Personality Parade

Talk Wrestling - Share your memories

Talk Wrestling is the forum where Heritage members share their memories and opinions. In the forum this week

The success of the Talk Wrestling forum depends on the contribution of members.

Don't leave it to others. Share your memories and opinions. Here's a sample

Who Was the best of the big fellas?

Haystacks is probably the best known, and remembered "big man" amongst the casual fans. He looked the part of course. If we are talking height then Haystacks, Moran, Elrington, Davies, etc., all should be on the list. In terms of "big" meaning all-round mix of height and build, then Haystacks was the biggest, no doubt. Mal Kirk would be up there, great worker, frightned the life out of me in his early days, crew cut and sideburns-into-moustache look. As a youngster I was always scared that the ref would not be able to pull him off before he killed his opponent!While not the tallest at around 6 foot, big George Gordienko had that powerful build and was a great, great wrestler.


Who was the bigger draw, McManus or Pallo?

It's very relative to where we were and who wrestled at our l local halls. I recall getting very excited the first time Al Nicol was billed in Hastings. But Mick McManus was on in Hastings every third week and at the Albert Hall every other bill. So I can relate to Frank being disappointed at having missed McManus at Liverpool.A McManus bout in the seventies had a very similar routine (especially if the opponents were Kwango or Colbeck who didn't want to stretch him or try anything new.)

With Pallo on the bill, there was always a chance of something out of the ordinary. In reality in the seventies he relied on backchat and walk-outs which were very unsatisfactory.None of which answers the question.

Personally I was always much more attracted to seeing new names or to seeing those wrestlers who gave a different performance each time. Tag matches were great in this respect.I suppose the question also needs a when. By the seventies, with his Eurpean belt and with Pallo with little tv exposure, I'd say McManus was the bigger draw (not in Hastings!). In 1963 I'd say McManus needed Pallo for his edge but Pallo was Pallo and sensational in various ways.

In conclusion and on the whole: Palloooooooooooooooo!

Anglo Italian

Join the discussion at Talk Wrestling

Ringside Eddie

We all remember Eddie Caldwell for his regular contributions to The Wrestler magazine and thrilling us in the ring as Eddie Rose.These days Eddie is a good friend of the Wrestling Heritage website and here he shares his reports of wrestling in Manchester.

Read more from Eddie in All Our Yesterdays in Media/Newspapers

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Join your favourites at the next reunion

The British Wrestlers Reunion welcomes all ex and current wrestlers, officials and fans.

Sunday 14th August, 2016

Venue: Bridges Public House11.00 am onwards

Horton Road, South Darenth, Dartford, Kent, DA4 9AX

Nearest Rail connections: Farningham Road (0.5 miles)

More news at www.britishwrestlersreunion.com

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