WRESTLING HERITAGE

A hobby site created by enthusiasts of 
British wrestling celebrating wrestling and 
wrestlers from 1930 onwards through 
fifty glorious years of British wrestling history

A: Page 9 of 10

Wrestling Heritage A-Z

 See all wrestlers in section A

 

El Said Arabet

Moroccan Heavyweight wrestler El Said Arabet  visited the UK in the 1950s and 1960s. We have recorded contests of his here in 1952, 1954, 1958, 1962, and 1964  He tangled with the top British performers of the time, such as Norman Walsh, Jack Pye and Bulldog Bill Garnon. Obviously a bit of a class act about whom we'd like to know more.

Please get in touch if you can provide more information.

Manuel Araujo

He came from a land far across the seas. Well, France anyway. Welterweight Manuel Araujo hailed from Perpignan in South East France and visited the UK in the 1958 and 1961. He worked on southern England Joint Promotion bills in 1958 and northern England  Joint Promotion shows during a 1961 visit.

Please get in touch if you can provide more information.

Spiros Arion (Arion Manousakis)

Spiros Arion, the Iron Greek, was a popular wrestler throughout the world. A powerful, muscular heavyweight he looked every part the world champion that he was recognised as at various times in Europe, Australia and America.

After wrestling in France, Canada, the USA and Egypt he made his first visit to the UK in March 1965, known in those days as Arion Manousakis. Within the first few days of embarking on his three month tour he had beaten Bruno Elrington, Ian Campbell, Paul Vachon, Gordon Nelson and Ramon Napoliatno, and drawn with John DaSilva at the Royal Albert Hall.

His career flourished in the 1970s (known by then as Spiros Arion) when he travelled throughout Europe, the United States and Australia, where he twice held the heavyweight title.

He later gained further success in the United States, with wins over top Americans that included his mentor and WWWF World Champion, Bruno Sammartino. He returned to Britain in the 1970s claiming a World Heavyweight Title of sorts, which he dutifully lost to the rising star, Wayne Bridges.

Jack Arkwright

Tall, slender and muscular Jack Arkwight was a popular figure in the independent rings of the 1960s. In the opposite corner may have been the flamboyant Flash Lee Edwards, the mighty Ski Hi lee, stylish Bob Taylor, masked Ghoul or the likeable Bobo Matu, and many other big names  of the time.

Whoever the opponent  the fans appreciated the skill of Jack. He was a busy worker throughout the country in the 1960s, working for all the opposition promoters and a particular favorite of Jack Taylor.

Our final record of Jack was in 1970, following which he retired to live in Essex.

Jack Arkright passed away, aged 78, in July, 2013.

Please get in touch if you can provide more information.

Alan Armstrong

1970s lightweight, even small for a lightweight,  from Wakefield worked for the independent promoters, most notably Cyril Knowles in the 1960s and 1970s.

Please get in touch if you can provide more information.

Dave Armstrong
If anyone was to demonstrate that wrestling was more science than art it might well be Choppington’s Dave Armstrong, one of the greats of British wrestling. 

Dave Armstrong was one of the youngsters that entered the ranks of professional wrestlers in the 1930s, joining a collection of wrestlers from a previous Edwardian generation, and (mostly inexperienced) youngsters from overseas. As wrestling's popularity surged forward there was a shortage of quality contestants, and Dave Armstrong played a small part in meeting that demand. Dave was a quality wrestler in spite of his youth, with the legendary Lithuanian Karl Pojello describing him as “The most scientific man in an English ring."

Science wasn't often at the forefront in the All-In rings and we have little doubt that Dave was also a very hard man, demonstrated by the quality of his opponents, Douglas Clark, Carl Pojello and Jack Sherry amongst them.

Dave was born and lived his early life in mining country, the Northumberland village of Choppington, which gave rise to his nickname of "The Choppington Chicken," though we've no idea where the chicken bit came from.

A challenger for the British heavyweight championship on a few occasions Dave never held the title. In 1933 he twice challenged Atholl Oakeley for the British title, losing in April over four rounds at Glasgow, and by two falls to one in September. Another challenge, this time against Douglas Clark at Newcastle in 1940 also ended unfortunately for Dave, this time on his home turf. In October 1938 he tried, but failed, to wrest the World Heavyweight Championship from American Jack Sherry.

Daves post war career, that extended into the early 1960s, and his career as a masked man can be read about elsewhere on this site. It was in 1952 that Ernie Baldwin defeated Dave in a heavyweight tournament to win the British heavyweight championship. His career continued into the early 1960s. Legend has it that he was the first wrestler to wear contact lenses in the ring. 

Dave's grandson, Dave Cheesman, told Heritage, "I recall visiting him in Horwich around 1977 or 78 and he was still very strong even then."  He also told us that the legend that Dave Armstrong wore contact lenses in the ring is true, as he had poor eyesight from an early age, and glaucoma developed in later life.

Another of his grandchildren, Louise, told us, " I remember my granddad as being very fit and very big! I'm sure he was more than 6 ft 2!!! Even up to his death, when he was 70, he still had black hair and exercise was always part of his life."

After retiring from the ring Dave opened a masseur with a practice in Bolton. He passed away in 1985. 
Jack Armstrong

Croydon heavyweight who appeared in 1978 and seemed headed for the moon after an initial dozen or so bouts against Dusty Miller.  

He progressed, in the language of the time, to becoming a tag partner of Big Daddy's, and was set for a televised début against Haystacks and Big Bruno Elrington at the end of September.  

We may never know what led to Armstrong's replacement by Gary Wensor in that bout, and the wrestler's  career  soon fizzled out that autumn.  

 
Jim Armstrong

Leeds heavyweight who  wrestled mainly in the North and Midlands during the 1950s and 1960s. Nonetheless he was a skilfull and powerful heavyweight of his day.

Despite meeting some of the big names of the time, such as Jack Pye, Ian Campbell and Albert Wall,  Jim Armstrong never reached the heights of his more famous namesake.  He was recognised in the mid 1960’s as British Heavyweight Champion by the independent promoters. Jim was also one of the wrestlers selected to appear in the Bholu brothers tour of the UK in 1967.

Possibly his main claim to fame was appearing in the main event of BBC 1s first post war televised wrestling tournament. It was in May, 1964, that he wrestled Edouard Carpentier in front of the BBC cameras in Brighton.

On occasions Jim would pull on a mask, take on a limp, place a glove over his allegedly disfigured hand and (according to the publicity) assume the strength of four men as the masked Rasputin.

Tony Armstrong

Many appearances on Paul Lincoln shows in 1962 and then seemingly disappeared. Possible retirement or change of name, we would like to know.

Please get in touch if you can provide more information.

Sailor Jack Arnold

Muscular North American heavyweight visited Britain in 1934 and 1935.

Paco Arranda

Made a four week visit to Britain in November 1958 working for Dale Martin Promotions. Opponents included Steve Logan, Mick McManus, Tommy Mann and Harry Fields.

Please get in touch if you can provide more information.

Leon Arras (Eric Tanberg)

Bouncing centre ring, shadow boxing with every move exaggerated there was no mistaking the effervescent Leon Arras. The fierce expressions, the impatience to get on with the fight; everything was just that bit larger than life.

The fans would yell and boo, outwardly anyway, because Leon Arras always gave an inner smile.

Starting his wrestling career as Erik Tanberg, the blond from Sweden, until he took up the name of an absentee wrestler and became Leon Arras, the man from Paris.  Brian Glover, that was his real name, was known only to the pupils at the school he taught and wrestling fans throughout the North until he shot to fame in the 1966 film, Kes. 

Playing a  larger than life PE teacher, not unlike his ring persona, Brian Glover seemed a natural of the screen and from  that moment on the Barnsley wrestler became   Brian Glover the television and film star.

For quite a few years after turning to film and television work Leon Arras continued wrestling both in singles matches and with his tag partner, Bobby Graham, as The Untouchables. “Count im ref,” he would cry whenever his opponents shoulders neared the mat.

His over animitated boxing stance, mock confidence, cries of  “ ‘ow about that then,”  and gift of the Northern gab made him a favourite with the fans.

Born into a wrestling family, his father was wrestler Charlie Glover, the Barnsley ex boxer and wrestler who ran the Junction gymnasium and trained a multitude of professional wrestlers.

Leon Arras’ humour style of villainly made him one of the country’s most popular wrestlers. He died in 1997 at the age of just 63.