list of british wrestlers from the 70s and 80s

After an initial transition period as a heel/tweener in the mid-1970s (most notable for his tag team partnership with future arch-rival Giant Haystacks and a heel vs heel feud with legendary masked wrestler Kendo Nagasaki, whom Daddy unmasked during a 1975 televised bout), from the summer of 1977 onwards, Big Daddy became a larger-than-life fan favourite of children and pensioners alike. An example is Kazuo Sakurada, a Japanese wrestler who used the gimmick in the late 80s. As a thank you from us, a special gift awaits after signing up. Under the British Wrestling Association banner, Oakley's promotion took off with wrestlers such as Tommy Mann, Black Butcher Johnson, Jack Pye, Norman the Butcher, College Boy, and Jack Sherry on the roster, while Oakley himself would win a series of matches to be crowned the first British Heavyweight Champion. The North Ireland-born Finlay amassed twenty championship reigns throughout his career, including the United States Championship in WWE. Old School Wrestling: 10 Things Sorely Missed! Hackenschmidt took a series of bookings in Manchester for a then impressive 150 a week. For many centuries, there have been wrestling tournaments (for example in Cornish wrestling or Scottish Backhold) throughout the UK where individual prizes have been comparable to yearly salaries and where monarchs and lords have been in the audiences or indeed participated.[1][2][3][4][5]. Not the ears! so that opponents would avoid his cauliflower ears. He was 52. Matthewss extensive knowledge of wrestling holds aided him, even in some of Britains most ruthless towns. His calculated evil ways made him one of the biggest heels in any company he worked. In 1986, he won the The Best Gimmick of the Year award from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter a prize that has been held by the likes of The Undertaker and Goldust. The revelation of this, and the general chaos which had surrounded All In Wrestling prior to the War, prompted Admiral Lord Mountevans, a fan of the sport, to get together with Commander Campbell (a member of the popular "The Brains Trust" radio panel show), member of parliament Maurice Webb and Olympic wrestler Norman Morell to create a committee to produce official rules for wrestling. The BWF faded away in the late 1960s after a campaign of pestilence by a disgruntled Assirati (vastly superior as a shooter to Crabtree) in the form of unsolicited appearances and challenges to his successor at BWF shows, eventually resulting in the abrupt retirement of Crabtree in 1966. Many smaller British promoters were increasingly abandoning their British identity in favour of "WWF Tribute" shows, with British performers crudely imitating World Wrestling Federation stars. In the late 1930s, the London County Council banned professional wrestling, leaving the business in rough shape just before World War II. William Regals story is a great representation that it doesnt matter where you come from, what demons you have, or where you are in life. Star Trek and Wrestling Times the Two Worlds Met! Although after thirty years of being a performer, he was able to transition into becoming a talent scout for the WWE. Finlay retired from in-ring competition in 2012 and is now a backstage producer for the WWE. But while titles had some success, it was television that took British wrestling to the next level. However, he never got his break in what was, at the time, the top promotion in the world, WWE. Along with his accolades, he was one of the first to incorporate a female valet into his act. After the demise of Joint/RWS, All Star's chief rival on the live circuit was Scott Conway's TWA (The Wrestling Alliance) promotion, founded as the Southeastern Wrestling Alliance in 1989. A pilot for World of Sport Wrestling (branding itself as a direct revival of the old slot on the World Of Sport programme) was filmed at the Fairfield Halls, Croydon in 2013 but rejected by ITV was eventually posted to YouTube in mid 2015. Mick McManus was a man small in stature, though he induced much fear! The tournament was a 8 man tournament with the opening rounds held in July shortly after Freedom Day in the UK. The opposition to Joint came from the Australianborn promoter, Paul Lincoln. At that age and size, one bump is likely all he had left in him.. This win gave Hackenschmidt a credible claim to the world title, cemented in 1905 with a win over American Heavyweight Champion Tom Jenkins in the United States. Other major US promotions, however, opted to use wrestlers from the traditional promotions such as the Team UK in TNA's 2004 X Cup which featured All Star Wrestling wrestlers James Mason, Dean Allmark, Robbie Dynamite and Frankie Sloan. The success of wrestling on television did however create a better opportunity for the independent groups. The sport remained a mainstay of British culture until World of Sport's cancellation and then finally as a stand-alone programme until 1988. Beforebeing released from his WWE contracton January 5th, 2022, which ended his 22-year tenure with the company, Regal had an even bigger role behind the scenes as theWWE Director of Talent Development and Head of Global Recruiting, playing a significant role in building the future stars of WWE. Additionally Conway announced plans to reactivate the TWA, while Rumble Promotions also resumed promotion after a gap of several years. Another World of Sport favorite, Martin Austin Ruane, as Giant Haystacks, became a massive star in 1975 after teaming up with previously mentioned Big Daddy as one of the most dominant tag teams in British Wrestling history. However, he never got to show his full potential and was often placed in comedy segments alongside his leprechaun sidekick, Hornswoggle. He was 69. This was followed by six live tour dates (of an originally scheduled nine) in January/February 2019. In 1982, Dynamite Kid had an instant classic with Tiger Mask for the WWF Junior Heavyweight Championship at Madison Square Garden in New York City. This series of highly regarded matches would also lead to New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) contacting Rocco, leading to the birth of the "Black Tiger" persona and some of the most highly rated matches in Japanese television history against Sayamas Tiger Mask. 30 Wrestlers You May Not Know Were Related! His reputation is tarnished for many due to several violent interactions with fellow wrestlers andmean-spirited ribbing, though he leaves behind an incredible legacy in the ring. The promotion, renamed Ring Wrestling Stars (RWS) in 1991, continued to tour the old venues with Big Daddy in the headline slot until his retirement in December 1993 after suffering a stroke. Meanwhile, the WWF continued on Sky television until moving to BT Sport in early 2020, while its chief rival back home in America, WCW made the jump from late-night ITV to British Wrestling's old Saturday afternoon ITV timeslot, where it stayed until moving to Super Channel at the end of 1995 and then Channel 5 on Friday evenings from mid 1999 until WCW's demise in 2001. However, this trend did not ultimately harm the industries as the suspension of disbelief was all too easy to maintain for fans, even if they knew the truth. He was one of the first to implement karate into his performance and is often credited with the invention of the superkick, a now-signature move of many. [Photo: @WrestlingIsKing on Twitter]In his first three years in wrestling, he claimed the Light Heavyweight Championship and the British Commonwealth Tag Team Titles with Marty Jones. Wrestling instead got its own show, but the time slot changed from week to week, slowly driving away the regular audience. In one of its first shows back, Nino Bryant defeated Lewis Mayhew in the final of a Knockout Tournament in Kemsley, Sittingbourne, Kent on Friday 29th October to win the vacant British Lightweight Championship, renamed in honour of late referee Mal Mason. Pro Wrestling Stories - Your daily source of nostalgia and a peek behind the curtain wall of wrestlings past! Want to keep in the loop on all the latest from us here at Pro Wrestling Stories? 10 Times Wrestlers Defended Another Competitors Title. The Genius Cast with Lanny Poffo (2018-19), Goldberg and William Regal When Things Went Wrong in El Paso, Canadians in Wrestling 13 Individuals With a Rich History in the Sport. Lister, John. Though, like many wrestlers throughout the business, Oakley would claim his wrestling was entirely legitimate, his claim was highly dubious. One compilation from the early 1990s was released on VHS (in English) as Wrestling Madness. He won by 2 falls to 1 in an extra round 9. Before long, he would be touring as far away as France, Japan, and eventually North America. A number of the new generation of British wrestlers who made their name on the new domestic circuit would go on to international recognition, including Doug Williams and Nigel McGuinness. The great demand for wrestling, however, meant there were not enough skilled amateurs to go around, and many promoters switched to more violent styles, with weapons and chairshots part of the proceedings. [Photo:]McManuss main catchphrase was Not the ears! Thereafter, RWS went into decline and eventually ceased promoting in 1995. Tag wrestling, however, did prove to be popular, with televised tag matches happening a mere eight or so times a year to keep them special. The group later built itself around a new champion in Shirley Crabtree, a young bodybuilder who won the title after it was vacated by Assirati while injured in 1960. Sadly, his fame and glory in the British circuit were cut short. It remained active until the retirement of Ann Relwyskow in the 1990s. During this time, under the guise of an alliance of promoters attempting to regulate the sport and uphold the committee's ideas, the promoters created a cartel based on America's National Wrestling Alliance territory system that was designed to carve up control of the business among a handful of promoterswhich it did in 1952 under the name of Joint Promotions. One English promoter that benefited from the backlash against the Crabtrees was Merseyside promoter Brian Dixon, who had started in the business during his youth, running the Jim Breaks fan club, now had several years experience running his own firm, All Star Wrestling, and began capitalizing on this disaffection taking many of Joint Promotions' top champions. The wrestling industry as a whole seemingly began to fall into disarray as the true nature of wrestling began to fall into question as many newspapers tried to expose the worked aspects of the sport. While Big Daddy was a massive draw in terms of family audiences, in equal part he alienated much of the existing adult fanbase for wrestling. 7 WWE Hall of Fame Stories WWE Doesnt Want You To Know! [16] At the WWE UK Tournament Day 1 taping, Saint along with Triple H introduced the NXT UK show for their UK wrestlers and also established the NXT UK Women's Championship and the NXT UK Tag Team Championship. This ultimately proved to be a waste of his ability during a time when he didnt have many years left in the squared circle as a performer. Far worse for Joint Promotions, however, was that with their contract up for renewal, they were forced to share the TV rights as part of a rotation system with All Star Wrestling and America's World Wrestling Federation (WWF). Many of the promotions which started during this time were directly influenced by the style of ECW and most were designed to appeal more to smart mark fans rather than the more mainstream audiences targeted by the classic British wrestling era. After the company ceased promoting in 2006, LDN Wrestling emerged as a British-based World of Sportstyle product that has brought many of the legendary names out of retirement such as Kendo Nagasaki, Johnny Saint and Johnny Kincaid. Check out our favorite wrestling tees (which includes some retro designs you won't find anywhere else)! Meanwhile, WWE once again held the WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament in London in June 2018. His potential and ability have been often overlooked despite his influence on wrestling. Over the years, the United Kingdom has produced some of the very best in professional wrestling. This helps us provide free content for you to enjoy! Training under Marty Jones, Matthews made his pro wrestling debut at the age of 15 for a local promotor at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. In his later years, he continued to be influential within the British circuit, winning titles such as the Frontier Wrestling Alliances British Heavyweight Championship. In the early 1990s, WAW and Hammerlock, both run by veterans of the traditional British circuit, emerged producing shows more in line with the slick entertainment ethos of American wrestling. [Photo: IMDB]His enormous stature was not lifelike as he stood an astonishing 6 feet, 11 inches (1.11m) tall and weighed 685 lbs (311 kg). Brookside was introduced as a man that Shane McMahon had personally seen take down six men by himself in a fight at a local pub! With his 64-inch chest and bleach blonde hair, it was hard for him not to be popular with fans. Kendo Nagasaki was an inspiration to many cultural gimmicks to come, and many wrestlers have named him as an inspiration behind their work. In the 21st century, the dominant New School promotion in Ireland has been Irish Whip Wrestling. During the 1960s, World Lightweight champion George Kidd was a successful television broadcaster, hosting his own chat show in Scotland's ITV regions. Wales had a strong foothold in British Wrestling, dominated by Orig Williams from the mid/late 1960s onward up to the 21st century. In the late 1990s, the success and popularity of the American Extreme Championship Wrestling promotion, which specifically emphasised its own small scale and "underground" nature, combined with the growth of internet discussion boards and tape trading, generated a new interest in British wrestling among local fans of the American wrestling scene. While the World and British titles had some credibility (particularly as they were often placed on the more legitimate wrestlers), the addition of European, Empire/Commonwealth, Scottish, Welsh, and area championships got out of hand, and at one point there were conceivably 70 different titleholders to keep track of within Joint Promotions alone. In November 2008 along with the Wrestling Channel, it presented a "World of Sport Reunion Show" in front of a sellout crowd. It is said that his disillusion with his career direction led to a return to the Texas independent scene in late 99. Premier Promotions briefly gained some coverage on BBC Three when its matches were featured on Johnny Vaughan's short-lived revival of World of Sport.

The business was reaching one of its highest points at the time, with the best part of forty regular venues in London alone. [15] WWE introduced World Of Sport and UK Wrestling legend Johnny Saint as its General Manager earlier that month for their newly established NXT UK brand of which the UK Championship would be the top championship. At first, this proved a profitable venture, with title matches leading to raised ticket prices. By the mid-1960s, Joint Promotions had doubled their live event schedule to somewhere in the region of 4,500 shows a year. With Lancashire catch-as-catch-can already a major amateur sport particularly in Northern England, there existed a ready-made source of potential recruits to professional wrestling. Cochran took Hackenschmidt under his wing and booked him into a match in which Hackenschmidt defeated another top British wrestler, Tom Cannon, for the European Greco-Roman Heavyweight Championship. The exposure of wrestling on television proved the ultimate boost to the live event business as wrestling became part of mainstream culture. A special gift from us awaits after signing up. The younger Finlay would become a multiple champion and later succeed in America. Around this time in his career, Matthews began earning more money touring throughout Europe and Africa. Scotland was represented as part of Joint Promotions by Relwyskow Promotions, run by the family of George de Relwyskow. He was referred to as the man you love to hate!. The first show aired on ABC and ATV (the weekend franchise holders on ITV) on 9 November 1955, featuring Francis St Clair Gregory (9 times Cornish wrestling heavyweight title holder[9] and father of Tony St Clair) versus Mike Marino and Cliff Beaumont versus Bert Royal live from West Ham baths. Be sure to sign up to have our top 5 most read articles sent directly to your email, plus new stories each week! [10] Another attempt, filmed in a TV studio and again touted in the media as the "return" of UK wrestling to ITV, was given an airing by ITV on New Year's Eve 2016. By contrast, All Star had played its cards well with regard to its two years of TV exposure, using the time in particular to build up a returning Kendo Nagasaki as its lead heel and establishing such storylines as his tag team-cum-feud with Rollerball Rocco and his "hypnotism" of Robbie Brookside. Basing a whole cartel around one performer, however, though good for television, produced mixed results for live events. While various styles of amateur wrestling continued as legitimate sports, grappling as a promotional business did not return to Britain until the beginning of the 1930s when the success of the more worked aspects of professional wrestling in America, like gimmickry and showmanship, were introduced to British wrestling. This rivalry would continue throughout 1982 and extend to the WWWF, where Mark briefly competed against the likes of Bob Backlund and even Terry "Hulk Hogan" Bollea, captivating audiences with a faster, higher-flying style than many had ever witnessed before. Standing apart from all this was the rise of "Americanised" promotions in the UK. Gimmick matches were a rarity, midget wrestling failed to catch on, while women were banned by the Greater London Council until the late 1970s. All Star duly adapted to meet the challenge, recruiting a new generation of wrestlers such as Dean Allmark and Robbie Dynamite and signing up such stars as "American Dragon" Bryan Danielson. On November 29th, 1998, he would sadly die of lymphoma at his home near Manchester, England. The wrestling relationship between ITV and WCW's old parent company TBS was renewed in 2019 when TBS's AEW Dynamite began airing on ITV4 on Friday nights, being added to ITV Hub each previous evening. Our favorite in retro wrestling attire! Relwyskow Promotions was not included in the buyouts of Joint Promotions in the 1960s-1980s and remained under its original management while continuing to receive a proportion of Joint Promotions' TV coverage. In 1989 and again in 1991, television tapings were held in Scotland and matches screened on Grampian Television and STV. After the war, attempts to relaunch the business in 1947 failed to catch on with journalists who condemned the gimmickry calling the show fake. He, however, was a considerable draw himself. The Empire/Commonwealth titles were a "long stop" title, being used by promotions outside of the Joint monopoly, for the most part. There are so many great stories in pro wrestling history. Adrian Street is one of the most influential British wrestlers of his time. British grappler Darren William Regal Matthews is one of the most well-regarded wrestlers in the business, though he never was able to land on his feet at the top of the professional wrestling mountain, where many believe he could and should have been. He was ahead of his time, innovating a level of athleticism unlike most before him. It would be squaring off against the likes of Satoru Sayama (Tiger Mask), Keiichi Yamada (Jushin Liger), and Dynamite Kid (more on him a little later), among others, which would earn the British grappler his initial acclaim and start him on the path towards leaving an indelible mark on the profession. During his time there, he would become a four-time TV Champion. Even then, Max Crabtree continued to tour, using the same business model, with Britishborn former WWF star "British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith replacing Daddy as the headlining household name, until Smith was lured back to the WWF in the summer of 1994. Many of these rules diverged heavily from those in used in American Wrestling five-minute rounds (three minutes for title matches), two public warnings for rule breaking before a disqualification, "knockouts" (countouts) and disqualifications counting as automatic two falls in best of three falls matches (which were predominant), and no follow-up moves allowed on a grounded opponent. The show was successful, and wrestling became a featured attraction every Saturday afternoon from Autumn to Spring each year. He was also a trainer at the WWE Performance Center, where he trained the newest batch of WWE superstars. In March 2014, Neville would go on to win the NXT Championship while Knight, wrestling as Paige, would debut on the main roster in April 2014 and win the Divas Championship.

The Gentleman, as he was known, still did get his due in other less mainstream promotions such as the Global Wrestling Federation, where he won the GWF Heavyweight Championship twice in 1994.
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