We watched this Pakistani welterweight in the northern independent rings of the 1960s against opponents such as Ray Taylor, Hamid Ali Gill and The Zulu. We remember a capable wrestler who lacked the charisma to make him memorable. We just hope that unknowing to us he changed his name and became a superstar! We'd be interested to learn more about what happened to him.
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Indian Rashid Anwar began wrestling for money in 1937, the year after he had competed in the 1936 Olympic Games.
Two years earlier he had won a bronze medal in the Empire Games. He seems to have disappeared from our rings in 1941, but continued to live in London post war.
Born 12th April, 1910, he died in Camden, aged 73, in 1983.
Johnny “Greek” Apollo hailed from Athens and wrestled on both sides of the Atlantic as well as Australia. Having wrestled as an amateur in Tripolis Johnny turned professional in 1960. This was after moving to Montreal, where he had been trained in the ways of the professional world by Tony Lanza at the Montreal YMCA. Following early success in Canada he moved on to the United States, then Australia, and eventually Europe. He was always immaculately dressed as he entered the ring in his velvet dressing gown.
Johnny was a popular stockily built mid heavyweight performer in British rings in the early 1960s, making his first appearances northern rings and Scotland during the winter of 1962. He set up home in Brixton, London, and appeared in the south of England the following winter, when he also gained national exposure by losing through a knock-out to Bill Howes in a 1963 televised contest. He returned to television screens again during his 1965 visit, facing Welshman Tony Orford.
For professional purposes we uderstand he changed his name from Charialaos Tsimogiannis to Johnny Apollo. We wonder why?
Coal miner Eric Hodginson was a man of many incarnations. He is remembered by television fans as Eric “Tubby” Hodgson, another in the long line of opponents doing their bit to create the Big Daddy myth by dutifully going down to the big man. We remember him from earlier times when he was known as Vince Apollo (the visiting American superstar), or donned a mask and wrestled as one of the masked Undertakers who toured independent and later Joint Promotion rings to some success and notoriety. In the 1980s he resurfaced once again as Baby Blimp.
Two decades earlier Eric had begun his wrestling career working for promoter Jack Taylor adapting his nickname from his childhood, Odie, to become Odie The Terrible. Odie had turned professional in April, 1961, facing his tutor, Ronto the Bull, at Heanor Town Hall.
Professional wrestling was a diversion for Eric, away from a life beneath ground as a miner at Underwood pit in Nottinghamshire. For twenty years he combined both occupations, travelling the length of the country to tackle the likes of Bobo Matu and Pat Curry, to return home in the early hours for a few hours sleep before clocking in once again at the colliery. Wrestling was a hard profession in those days.
For much of the early part of his career he wrestled for independent promoters, like Jack Taylor, Fred Wolley and Danny Flynn, a growing radius from the east midlands and then into the north. Odie became Vince Apollo, the American football player, and then he hit upon the gimmick that was to find greatest fame. Eric donned a mask, initially with another local wrestler, Wally Severn, and they became the Undertakers. Wally's place was soon taken by Brian Abbott and the two of them created one of the most hated tag partnerships in Britain. The Undertakers travelled around the country as one of the biggest drawing names on the independent circuit. It wasn't long before they were snapped up by Joint Promotions, working mostly for Wryton Promotions. The partnership transferred successfully to the Joint organisation and again became a big draw around the midlands and north.
When working for Joint Promotions Eric travelled further afield, usually in the North and Midlands, but on occasions into Scotland. Twenty years after turning professional, and having wrestled most of the big names in British wrestling for both opposition and Joint Promotions, a leg injury at the Underwood Pit brought Eric's wrestling career to an end.
Vince Apollo died in July, 2016
A man with a presence.
When Ray Apollon was in the ring the ring shook.
A very powerful and strong heavyweight billed from Trinidad, but born in New York, who gained fame and success in both the UK and America during the 1950s and 1960s.
He turned professional in June, 1952, and came to the UK for the first time in December of that year. His first UK contest was a loss to Ernie Baldwin, but he went on to meet, and beat, the best.
He moved around the ring with some grace for a man of his size.Billed on occasions as the Black Prince he met big names of the day such as Black Butcher Johnson, Jack Pye, Zebra Kid and Ian Campbell.
For thirteen years he topped bills around the country, popular with fans who appreciated his skill and agility for such a big man.
Ray did not fit the common brawny image of a heavyweight wrestler, being a universtity graduate with an interest in politics.
The name Black Prince resurfaced once again in the 1980s with the emergence of Steve Prince.