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WRESTLING COLUMNS

British Legends: Part II
June 14, 2006 by Peter Sawyer


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Hello again, grapple fans, Peter Sawyer emulating the great Kent Walton again. First I'd like to thank everyone who posted the comments about my last column on British Legends and I hope that this second look at the greats of British wrestling is as illuminating.

I'd like to kick off with a favourite duo of mine- the brother pairing of Vic Faulkner (Faulkner was his ring name) and Bert Royal. These two middleweight wrestlers did team together on odd occasions but were eminently more successful as single wrestlers. Both were particularly athletic and extremely skilled technical wrestlers.

John 'The Bear' Elijah was the master of the bear-hug and my granddad was privileged to know this legend. He was diligent in his training and used his size, strength and power to overwhelm his opponents and crush the fight out of them. The Bear was a many-time champion and a feared opponent in the ring.

An instantly recognisable competitor and a real thorn in the heel of many an honourable referee and opponent was the greasy haired Steve Logan. His curtain of oily black hair, big nose and staring eyes ensured that Logan was not the most attractive wrestler to look at and his match tactics were often as ugly. Logan often ignored rope breaks and frequently failed to allow his opponent up which meant that the crowd often railed against Logan to the point that he ignored his opponent to argue with the crowd. The favoured finishing move of Logan was his running forearm smash which turned the lights dim on many opponents including the likes of Les Kellett, Big Daddy, Bert Royal and Johnny Czeslaw. Bad men abound today folks because next up is Mark 'Rollerball' Rocco, although he was a gifted wrestler and very strong,

A brilliant Hungarian wrestler who featured in many competitions in Britain and Europe was a young man named Tibor Szackas. He was a superb wrestler and a true sportsman who delighted crowds and won many friends in the locker room, among them the famous Clive Myers.

Billed as Japanese but in fact British, Kendo Nagasaki was a crowd favourite on World of Sport. Nagasaki came out to the ring dressed as a samurai warrior and used to attack the ring posts with his kendo stick. He was managed at one time by Gorgeous George, one of the first men in British wrestling to be billed as gay as a gimmick at ringside.

Middleweight Jackie Pallo was similar in style to Steve Logan- a very sound wrestler who nevertheless often incurred the wrath of the crowd, wrestlers and officials through bending the rules. His long red hair made him a distinctive figure in the ring as did his finishing move. Pallo had a distinctive double hammerlock which he applied with his legs seated on the ring canvas. This crippling submission move won Pallo numerous titles, including the European Middleweight title in 1978.

This time as well I want to mention the incomparable Johnny Saint. I'm sure fans of WWE have seen Eugene roll up into a ball. This move was pioneered by Johnny Saint. Eugene's ball is breakable; Johnny Saint proudly boasted that his ball had never been broken. Saint would roll himself up and allow himself to be rolled around the ring, often almost out of the ring. When he was on his back, a hand would appear and as soon as the opponent took the bait, Saint would roll him into a perfect cross armbar. Apart from his signature ball, Saint was a superb athlete and a true gentleman in the ring.

And in a mention for Richard Gittins, I hunted for out some information on the medieval-robed Catweazle, a comedian in the ring and an excellent competitor. I'd like to take a moment as well to thank those who have commented on my last column.

This is Peter Sawyer, until next time, grapple fans.

by Peter Sawyer ..


Charles Lalonde wrote:
I may not know much about British Wrestling but I seem to recall that Tom Billington, The late Davey Boy Smith, William Regal, Finlay and so on making a living in British Wrestling before they came to Canada and The United States
Peter Sawyer wrote:
Very right, Charles. Davey Boy Smith wasn't particularly successful on World of Sport, and Finlay, Regal were rather after the glory years. Unfortunately, British wrestling talent doesn't seem to be quite up to the big leagues at the moment. Hopefully promotions like 1PW are going to start turning this around Peter Sawyer
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