WRESTLING HERITAGE

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British wrestling celebrating wrestling and 
wrestlers from 1930 onwards through 
fifty glorious years of British wrestling history

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Forum Home > Talk Wrestling > Sticky: Beyond The Heritage Years

The Riot Squad
Site Owner
Posts: 1319

1988. The year the wrestling died.

Not quite.

"British wrestling has never died," has been the clarion call of David Mantell for years.

Now he's going to prove it.

Beyond the Heritage Years

Begins on www.wrestlingheritage.com on 12th November.


Coming up ....


1989

- Mongolian Mauler causes chaos, police called after flagpole incident, tries to reconcile Kendo and Rocco but feuds with both

- Danny Collins beats Fit Finlay for British Heavy Middleweight title

- Brits Versus Jobbers dark matches for WWF arena shows

- The Wrestling Alliance formed as Southeastern Wrestling Alliance by Scott Conway

- Raging Belles BBC2 docu on Klondyke Kate's title win over Nicky Monroe


1990

- Kendo wins back his stolen mask by defeating Rocco in a ladder match in Croydon in July with help from Blondie Barrett

- Danny Collins controversially loses British Heavy Middleweight title by DQ to Richie Brooks after going mad after getting a bump on the head outside the ring, but wins the title back

- George Gillette dies

- The sorry saga of Jackie Pallo's World of Wrestling

- Undertakers Doom & Gloom masked tag team Big Daddy fodder

- Dave Fit Finlay beats Tony StClair for British Heavyweight title

- "First ever" mixed tag: Finlays vs Danny Collins & Klondyke Kate

- Klondyke Kate's title held up and womens' wrestling suspended after she injures several opponents with a new move.


1991

- Joint becomes RWS

- Kendo-Stax feud, big match at Croydon

- Dynamite kid as headliner for Brian Dixon/Orig Williams

- Danny Collins beats Owen Hart for vacant World Middlweight title in Bath

- Rollerball Rocco retires, one of last title defences is against Danny Collins in Paris on Eurosport

- Robbie Brookside wins the vacant World Heavy Middleweight championship


1992

- Kendo "Masters Of The Canvas" documentary

- Chic Cullen beats Robbie Brookside for World Heavymiddleweight title, holds it until retirement in 2002

- Battle of Brits RWS video (later two DVDs)

- Grey beats Saint for World Lightweight title but loses it back

- Doc Dean regains British Welterweight Championship from Blondie Barrett


1993

- Big Daddy retires

- Kendo Nagasaki and Lloyd Ryan split and feud: Kendo & Loz vs Lloyd and King Kendo

- Kendo retires the second time as does Bill Clarke, Dale Preston becomes the new King Kendo and carries on with Lloyd

- WAW forms

- James Mason debut

- Robbie Brooskide's Video Diary

- Steve Prince British Welterweight Champion

- Sanders-Kashmir for Euro Welterweight title


1994

- Danny Collins turns heel

- Robbie Brookside turns heel

- Davey Boy Smith gets Big Daddy's old spot as star of RWS, Dynamite turns up one night and gets arrested

- Kendo Nagasaki and Lloyd on Danny Baker's show


1995

- End of an era #1 end of Reslo

- End of an era #2 RWS (ex Joint) closes in Feb

- Giant Haystacks vs King Kendo & Lloyd at Croydon

- Power Rangers tag team, win tag team title

- Dave Taylor beats Marty Jones for vacant British Heavyweight title

- Jason Cross beats Mal Sanders for European Middleweight title

- Big John Prayter Euro Hwt champ and wife Julia


1996

- Hanley victoria Hall parade of legends pending closure for refurb

- Regal appears defending his WCW TV title against Brookside for All Star

- Japanese triple tag in Croydon - Fin Martin reviews (and slags a Johnny Saint match and upsets a lot of people)

- Dirty Dan Collins beats Alan Kilby for British Light Heavyweight title

- Mason wins World Middleweight Championship for Rumble Promotions then loses it on to Mal Sanders who loses it on to Steve Grey

- Marty Jones gets revenge on Dave Taylor for British Heavyweight title

--

www.wrestlingheritage.co.uk

October 22, 2017 at 5:27 PM Flag Quote & Reply

David Mantell
Member
Posts: 2220

Ah good, I was wondering where my notes had got to! 

October 23, 2017 at 5:58 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Paul
Member
Posts: 21

Great feature. I journeyed up to fairfield halls for many years post 1988. Brian Dixon made great matches with the last of the tv talent. Can't wait to read more of this. 

October 23, 2017 at 12:25 PM Flag Quote & Reply

David Mantell
Member
Posts: 2220

Any chance this thread could be pinned to the top like other one was?  Cheers

October 24, 2017 at 1:50 PM Flag Quote & Reply

David Mantell
Member
Posts: 2220

Thanks

October 24, 2017 at 6:38 PM Flag Quote & Reply

David Mantell
Member
Posts: 2220

1991 A Year Of Wrestling


For WWF fans in the UK, 1991 was the year of the British Bulldog. For fans of old school British Wrestling, it was very much the year of the other British Bulldog. TWenty three years after he came to Canada, former double crown British and European Welterweight Champion The Dynmaite Kid finally came home to the territory from which he first sprung - and cartwheeled - onto the wrestling World. As a legened in Japan and a former WWF Superstar and World Tag Team Champion in America, Dynamite found himself hot property when he was picked up by both All Star and Orig Williams's BWF. On a pay deal of £130 a night, Dynamite was finally in the same superstar pay band that Big Daddy, Kendo Nagasaki, Giant Haystacks and other such household names had been in when he was first lured away from our shores. Quickly he found himself plugged into the main event scene, typically battling such opponents as Dave Fit Finlay and Skull Murphy. The Kid's return to the UK scene however did rub up a number of people the wrong way, first and foremost his former partner Davey Boy Smith who, along with his wife Diana Hart Smith, had fallen out badly with Dynamite in recent months. Back in the British Bulldogs' WWF prime, Davey Boy had wisely invested in the copyright of the British Bulldogs tag team. Now he was no longer friends with his cousin Tom, he was quite keen to deny him his share of the pie (and probably Vince McMahon also egged him on to help squish any success Dixon and WillIams might be having.)

 

The trouble was that Dynamite was being billed as "BRTISH BULLDOG Dynamite Kid" with the fonmer two words in much bigger lettering than the latter two. forget the fact that even in the banged-up state that he was in by 1991, Dynamite Kid was still a vastly superior performer than Davey Boy could ever hope to be and that his matches with Finlay and Murphy were tear-down-the-house main events that were more than anyone's money's worth. As far as Davey, Diana and the WWF's lawyers - and the more pernickity edge of UK "Wild American Wrestling" fandom - were concerned, putting Dynamite Kid on as the British Bulldog was a rip off plain and simple. Legal pestilence from Davey and Vince's people, however, was nothing as compared to the attentions of a gang of Catholic street thugs at a show in Belfast who took exception to Dynamite's Union Jack ring attire and besieged the venue, looking to spilll some serious red white and blue blood! The entire All Star crew had to fight their way out to get away from the Republican street crew. Ultimately all the hassle proved to be a bit too much for Brian and Orig as they tried to knock down Dynamite's pay from £130 to £100. Initially Dynamite quit both promotions (in Orig's case also marooning his opponent Murphy and leaving the BWF totally without a headline match that night) but in the end the payouts from occasional shows in Japan were not enough and Dynamite accepted the lower offer, carrying on working and using up the last of his back and knees during the early and mid 1990s until he was finally wheelchair bound in 1997.

 

Another person who must have wondered what was happening all of a sudden with all the fuss over Dynamite was All Star's resident queen bee of this era, Kendo Nagasaki. The outbreak of his feud against Rocco in 1988 had been the start of a wave of violent heel vs heel encounters in which Naggers was engaged in the late 80s and early 90s - Finlay, Murphy, the Mongolian Mauler. 1991 was the year in which he would face the biggest heel of them all - Giant Haystacks. Stax was older heavier and slower than he had been during the mid 70s Kendo vs Stax & Daddy feud, but he was still known as the most fearsome man on the UK scene and the ultimate challenge for Kendo Nagasaki to face. They had quite a number of encounters this year but the most famous of all took place in Croydon on October 1st when, in front of a BBC film crew, Nagasaki and Haystacks faced each other for what was billed as the CWA World Heavyweight title (although actual CWA champion Luc "Rambo" Poirier, who beat Leon "Bull Power" White, the future Vader, for the belt earlier that year, might have had something to say about that!) Even before the bell rang, there was controversy when Lloyd Ryan refused to accept Pat Roach as the special refereee because he was too big an enemy of Kendo's and could be biased. Roach pointed out reasonably that he was also involved at the time in a feud with Haystacks over the European Heavyweight title (which Stax had challenged Roach for after a tag match on Reslo the previous year and then won in February only to lose the title back to Roach later in the year. More about this feud in 1992)

 

But Lloyd was adamant and so a substitute referee was found in the shape of Steve Grey, now once again European Lightweight champion having regained the title most recently from Jim Breaks. Roach meanwhile remained as an out-of-the-ring enformcer. After several minutes of what felt like a slower more brutal version of their January 1977 Bradford TV match, Grey was knocked out and Roach dived back in to help out as chief referee again. Kendo tried to bloody Stax and it seemed that perhaps the Giant might go down the same way as he did in Bradford, in a case of history repeating itself. However the contest was brought to a halt when Kendo suffered a legitimate injury - cracked ribs - and needed to stop the bout. The improvised finish saw Stax pull off Nagasaki's mask and Kendo dash for the locker room, not to be seen again. Roach ruled that Kendo's failure to return to the ring meant that the title would be awarded to Haystacks - clearly not the result All Star would have booked for the TV cameras there to film a documentary about Nagasaki (about which more next year!) and Haytacks followed up with chants of "YELLOW! YELLOW! YELLOW!" According to Simon Garfield's book, the result of the match was ultimately disputed - Peter Blake (who ultimately ended up in possesion of the mask from the night) later claimed that an announcement had been made disqualifying Haystacks for the illegal unmasking, but Stax himself denied this to Garfield. Either way, this version of the World Heavyweight title was never heard of again.

 

Kendo's long standing tag partner Blondie Barrett however had rather more luck with titles as he won the British Welterweight title from Doc Dean this year. Dean's Liverpool Lads partner Robbie Brookside however had some more positive luck when he won the World Heavy Middleweight title in a tournament defeating Danny Collins. Brooskide has since said that for him, this was a career coming of age moment when he received real recognition by winning a major title. The vacany had arisen though the sudden retirement of Rollerball Rocco this year, having been taken ill while doing two shows in one night. One of his last TV defences of his belt had been on Eurosport's New Catch in which he had defeated Collins by technical knockout in front of collins' loyal Paris, France fans. Rocco for this match had been accompanied by a valet, hsi very own "Senstation Second", a scantily clad bunny girl who ended the night getting carried off over Rocco's shoulder and probably making Ann Rocco a bit jealous back home in the Canary Islands. Perhaps it was the hot second who caused the heart condition - she certainly had an effect on commentator Orig Williams who letched over her: "SHE IS BLONDE AND SHE IS BEAUTIFUL!!!" Anyway, Rocco's retirement was a definite blow for All Star who lost a top star but a career break for Brookside.

 

Collins also bounced back to become a World champion himself later in the year in Bath whe he defeated Owen Hart to win the World Middleweight Championship last claimed in this country by Adrian Street in 1981 (or by Mal Sanders and Keith Haward in a naughty piece of apartheid-appeasing in Sun City the next year) As with the Heavyweight title match in Croydon, there was already a perfectly good version of the title in Germany (the CWA ran a World Middleweight title from 1984 to 2000) but the real story was the match quality. Caught on camcorder, the bout has received gushing praise from all manner of sources as a world-class classic. Even the infamously British Wrestling hating PowerSlam magazine (whose predecessor Superstars Of Wrestling was launched as a poster mag this year) would go on to praise the Danny/Owen match in their obituary for Owen in 1999. Writing on Twitter, Steve (William) Regal, who took a pasting from Haystacks that same night, posted a Youtube video of the 22 year old camcording to his account with the recommendation "A hidden treasure that I was fortunately there to witness.Two brilliant pros." (Somewhat forgotten in all this was Kendo, who was busy wrestling Skull Murphy on the Bath show in a match that was as violent as the Collins/HArt match was balletic.)


Another promising youngster hitting the gold this year was Tony Stewart, student of Dave Finlay senior, who took the British Lightweight title from Jimmy Ocean not long after Ocean had nabbed the belt from Steve Grey. It was not Ocean's only title loss this year - earlier in the year, Ocean and his partner Ricky Knight aka The Superflies lost the British Tag Team title which they had won from the Boothmans in 1990 to Liverpool Lads Doc Dean and Robbie Brookside. Mr Big Dave Taylor took the British Heavyweight title from Stewart's trainer's son Fit Finlay in King's Lynn in April.

 

So what of the opposition to All Star in this year. Joint Promtions, the former dominant force in British Wrestling was this year renamed Ring Wrestling Stars. It wasn't really very much change however, with Big Daddy still on top and facing such opponents as the Wild Jocks (Drew McDonald and Ian McGregor, the latter now a heel). Older foes such as Count Von Zuppi from the Grampian TV taping were still after him and even Haystacks managed to squeeze in the odd bout for old times sake. The Superflies also had the odd shot at Daddy, partnered by one Young Benny. Other Daddy partners included Grey and another youngster Boz Berry. An assortment of new masked tag teams - Masked Assasins, Masked Destroyers etc also all came after Daddy. No news, but it made a dwindling number of kids and grandparents happy.

 

However RWS next year would come up with one last big TV project, a video relase which later made it on to DVD. And speaking of TV, ITV were gradually backing down from their cancellation of TV wrestling, filling its spot with bang up to date WCW. As the WWF held its Davey boy Smith fronted WWF UK Rampage tour, so WCW had their Roar Power tour which allowed us Brits to finally see Sting and Lex Luger in person. One UK star who definitely benefitted from this was Steve Regal, initially added to the Kensington Olympia shows as cheap local squash fodder. By night 3 of 3 he was scoring the upset over American veteran Terry Taylor and later in the night being interviewed by top heel manager Paul E Dangerously (Paul "ECW" Hayman) and getting bashed over the head with Dangerously infamous 1st gen "brick" mobile phone. This was a first step towards Regals eventual permanent career in WCW, which in time lead to other British Wrestlers getting WCW exposure and a major historic American title getting defended at croydon and Hanley.

 

But if you were a masked legend like Kendo Nagasaki, you didn't have to go to America to get TV exposure. The TV documentary for which the Croydon match with Haystacks was filmed was aired the next year. In the year in which the WWF took over Wembley stadium, Nagasaki would take over BBC2 and become a pop art icon in his own right.

October 30, 2017 at 4:42 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Paul
Member
Posts: 21

Very entertaining David. Can't wait for the next installment. 

November 4, 2017 at 10:08 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Bernard Hughes
Member
Posts: 2156

I did a full query on your post David but seem to have lost it.

Basically it was to ask if you felt that no outside influence was present when Fit Finlay lost his British Heavymiddleweight title in 1989 and won the British Heavyweight title in the following year.

--


November 8, 2017 at 10:27 AM Flag Quote & Reply

David Mantell
Member
Posts: 2220

Paula?  Possibly although I don't recall anything at the time about her interfering in either match.  I think her and Dave split not long after.

November 9, 2017 at 1:27 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Bernard Hughes
Member
Posts: 2156

No David, I meant the promoter.Can you say where the fight for the heavyweight title was and who was the promoter please.

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November 9, 2017 at 10:20 AM Flag Quote & Reply

David Mantell
Member
Posts: 2220

Croydon, 5th Feb 1990, says Wikipedia and Wrestling Titles.com.  St Clair had been with Dixon for nearly a decade by then and Finlay was also in All Star and getting into a feud with Rocco, so presumably it was an All Star show.  Fairfield was Dixon's Madison Square Gardens anyway, whereas Joint just treated the place as another stop on the Daddy roadshow (both promoted there at the time).

November 9, 2017 at 6:02 PM Flag Quote & Reply

David Mantell
Member
Posts: 2220

British Wrestling Archive says one day later, 6th

CROYDON – 6/2/90. Fit Finlay beat Tony St.Clair to win the British Heavyweight Title…Mal Sanders beat Kashmir Singh to retain the British Welterweight Title…Doc Dean beat Johnny Kidd…Mighty Chang beat Dave Taylor…King Ben & Kid McCoy beat Jimmy Ocean & Ricky Knight.

Sounds like an All Star bill to me.  (Bear in mind Kendo was banned from the venue at the time, so they needed other headliners.)

http://web.archive.org/web/20100405231015/http://www.britishwrestlingarchive.co.uk:80/1990%20BILLS.htm

November 9, 2017 at 6:07 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Bernard Hughes
Member
Posts: 2156

Thank you.

I am baffled that in the 1990's a promoter would let  a heavymiddleweight become a heavyweight champion.

Please just remind me what the approximate differencein weight would have been.

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November 10, 2017 at 6:16 AM Flag Quote & Reply

David Mantell
Member
Posts: 2220

Said Heavy Middlleweight was a former World Mid-Heavyweight champion, a regular in the heavyweight-orientated German/Austrian tournaments and went on to have an American career in the late 90s onwards.

November 10, 2017 at 9:35 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Bernard Hughes
Member
Posts: 2156

Right, then how could he have been the heavymiddleweight champion?

He would not have been able to make the weight,surely?

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November 10, 2017 at 5:06 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Norfolk Snake
Member
Posts: 6

The heavy middle weight title run was a while before the Heavyweight title reign I believe. I think for an explanation on championship weight brackets you might like to refer to Pallo's book.....Also if you look at Finlay's weight in those days it did rise considerably to become a bonafide heavyweight. At that time I thought Finlay was the best we had - he could work with Johnny Saint one week and Dave Taylor the next. What a wrestler and what an ambassador for the sport !

November 12, 2017 at 5:00 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Bernard Hughes
Member
Posts: 2156

Thank you Norfolk Snake , I could accept that explanation. i.e if there was a long run between the two things.

However if you look at David Mantell's original post it states :-

1989

Danny Collins beat Fit Finlay for British heavymiddleweight title.

1990

Fit Finlay beat Tony St Clair for British heavyweight  title.

That is what I find incredible. I tried to find out how much weight Finlay would have to jump in that short time. Do you know please?

I also think that Finlay was one of the best wrestlers around at that time, but heavymiddleweight to full blown heavyweight?

All I can say is I don't think that it would have been allowed to happen in my time !

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November 13, 2017 at 7:13 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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