British wrestling history 

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PORTADOWN, Northern Ireland 1952 Sign In or Register to add photos

With the biggest event in the wrestling calendar - WrestleMania - just around the corner (Sunday), I thought it would be very appropriate time to share this advert publicizing a programme of wrestling at the Portadown Town Hall on 16th September 1952. There are lots of great names featured on the programme, but we are especially interested in finding out more information on 'Drop Kick' Billy Beattie, who was said to hail from Portadown. Does anybody know him or if any of his family are still in the area? Or perhaps someone out there may remember actually watching Beattie performing his famous drop kicks! If so drop us a line. Another name of interest, advertised at the bottom of the programme, is Shirley Crabtree. Shirley would later achieve great fame in the 1970s and 1980s as 'Big Daddy'; main eventing many an episode of ITV's World of Sport. Shirley began his wrestling career in the early 1950s, so his advertised appearance in Portadown in October 1952, would rank among his earliest performances in the squared circle. Wrestling fans will also notice that "Gentleman Jim" Lewis bears a striking resemblance to WCW and WWF/WWE Legend 'The Nature Boy' Ric Flair. According to the advert "Gentleman Jim" was "The original 'Gorgeous' Wrestler. Possessor of 100 dressing gowns. The peroxide, manicured, dandy of the mat, who fights". "Gentleman Jim' patterned himself after the American wrestler 'Gorgeous George', who in the 1940s was the most famous wrestler in the world. Ric Flair would similarly imitate Gorgeous George's act to great success in the 1980s through to the 2000s. Another interesting detail is the appearance of 'Iron Ed' Beresford on the programme. More commonly billed as Ted Beresford, he was a professional wrestler of the 1940s who chose to retire in 1952. Therefore his appearance in Portadown would be one of his last performances as a wrestler. After retiring Ted became one of Britain's most successful wrestling promoters. For anybody wondering how the matches finished, the two newspaper cuttings provide all the results from the show (that's if you can read them...the scans are not great).
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