B: Bibby - Blaise
A welterweight from Clitheroe in Lancashire active in the 1970s. Appeared on television in April, 1976, losing two falls to nil against Colin Bennett.
Bob Bibby was trained at the famous Snakepit gym in Wigan.
Billed as Angel Face, he strutted to the ring in a magnificent full length gown, armed with a hairbrush, and combing his locks provocatively.
Bob told Wrestling Hertitage, "I debuted in Hull, Madeley Street Baths against Pete Meridith in the early 1970s. My bouts varied, could be 1 a month to 5 a week because I was working as well and they felt like all over the place... Wolverhampton, Leeds, Bridlington, Morecambe, Aberdeen, Liverpool, Rhyl and others."
A biceps injury unfortunately cut his career short, and Bob became an artistic blacksmith in his home town.
The welterweight from Roscommon in Ireland, moved to the United Kingdom in the mid 1950s, to set up home in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. We remember him as a worker for the independent promoters, often working for Jack Taylor. He did work for Joint Promotions at times and was also a referee for Devereux Promotions.
Originally from Scarborough, Feltham’s Roy Parks was a multi-tattooed London Amateur Wrestling Champion of 1964, trained under the eye of Len Allen and Jack Ingle, and who turned pro soon afterwards.
Like many other wrestlers Roy's first interest in the ring was boxing, a sport he pursued whilst serving in the army, and becoming an army champion.
His professional wrestling debut came in 1966 and it was a baptism of fire when faced with Alan Garfield.
For Roy it was something of a stop-start career that saw a resurgence late seventies, and then a brief spell masked as The Big Brute managed by Kensington's Reg Trood. After throwing down a challenge in the Royal Albert Hall ring one September, nothing materialised and that was the end of Mr Big and The Brute. Mr Big sadly passed away in 2007
It wasn’t just the magnificent physique, or the hairy chest, but the superb wrestling ability that made the middleweight from Auckland, Russ Bishop, such a sensation when he came to the UK from New Zealand in 1949.
At the time New Zealand mat men, especially the lighter men, were finding it difficult to break into the business at home. The solution for many was to travel abroad, often to Australia, but sometimes much further afield.
He came along with fellow New Zealanders Ray Clarke and Bob Russell, and the three of them were accepted in Britain and became popular UK performers during the late 1940s and early 1950s.
Russ was the first professional opponent of Joe D'Orazio when young Joe made his wrestling debut.
After leaving Britain to return home Russ and his fellow New Zealanders stopped off to wrestle in the United States and Mexico, doing particularly well in the latter where smaller wrestlers were appreciated.
Light heavyweight Harry Bison was a tall, muscular bearded wrestler based in the Isle of Man during the 1970s. He was usually billed as The Zulu, but should not be confused with Ezzra Francis, the Manchester Zulu.
Hey, this is pro wrestling.
Harry was trained by Manx lightweight Bill Kennedy at the George Barnabus wrestling club, the lifeline for aspiring professional wrestlers on the Isle of Man in the 1970s. A dozen or so Islanders would wrestle visiting men from the mainland during the weekly summer season shows.
We met up with Harry in 1971.
We even wrote an article about him in The Wrestler magazine and would like to know what became of him.
One of the earliest masked men and a name that has recurred over the years, but never as a career defining masked man. It was a name used by Sandy Orford before taking on the roll of a more famous masked man detailed in Top 20 Masked Wrestlers.
Peter M told the story of the night he unmasked the Black Angel, or at least one of them. "Back in 1972 I saw a bout at the Fairfield Halls,I was only 11 at the time. One of the bouts featured the "Black Angel",who beat. Croydons Steve Viedor. After thea Wrestling I ran round the back entrance immediatly after to get my Autographs. It was a winters February night of torrential rain. I was the only sole autograph hunter in the cold. Despite me being soaked the miserable security man told me. 'You missed them laddy,clear off home' Then out the door they came, Steve Viedor gladly signed with a large plaster over his eye. After an hour,I had counted all Wrestlers Leaving the Stage door bar one, the. Black Angel.... Where was he hiding? Was he in the bar,surely not? Was he hiding in the toilets? Surely the Fairfield cleaners would flush this man out by now? Well,I waited, waited, & waited for a total of 2 hours. It was well past midnight. Then to my amazement,the door opened and standing there was the Black Angel. Well actually a familiar Wrestler holding a kit bag in one hand & his black/white mask in another ! I was stunned........Please Mr Angel can I have your Autograph or a signed Photo? He called me some adults swear words which I cannot repeat on this family site. The Wrestler. ran over too his car and raced off like Dick Dastardly & Muttlyy....... So their you are Gents,No Autographs or Signed Photos for me from the Black Angel. Who was it? It was Andy Robin."
Nagasaki's Number1Fan commented that other 1970s Black Angels included Steve Clements (1972), Rex Lane (1989) and later Ian McGregor.
The original Black Devil was the French based Congolese heavyweight, Jim Wango, brought to Britain in the early 1930s by promoter Atholl Oakeley. Events leading up to his tragic death are told in Wrestling's First Martyr.
Following Wango's death the name Black Devil continued to be used by a wrestler of West Indies descent, Dave Smith, who lived in Dewsbury. Like his predecessor Dave Smith was an extrovert character with one report, whilst in the process of defeating the Japanese wrestler Yoshoko, declaring the Black Devil "...screamed and ran around the ring as if he had been stung by a swarm of bees."
Another man behind the mask who enraged the fans in the late forties and early fifties. Finally unmasked in 1952 the Black Knight was revealed as Bob Hooton, who then wrestled as Tommy the Demon. The name was used again by independent promoters in the 1960s
The villainous Black Mask,complete with black leotard, was active in northern rings from 1958 unti 1962, enjoying a largely undefeated run, through dropping decisions against Albert Wall, Billy Joyce and Ernest Baldwin on occasions. A celebrated, and often remembered, defeat and unmasking at the hands of Billy Joyce in May 1962 in Newcastle was remembered by Dave Sutherland,
"I worked with a chap who had been there on the night it happened and Billy Joyce was the hero for once right up to the point where George Nutall was unmasked whereupon the crowd apparently totally changed their favours."
It would appear that there were other unmaskings, but confusion surrounds Black Mask due to numerous imitators on the opposition circuit and the existence of the similarly named Mask. Find out more about Black Mask, including his identity, in the Wrestling Heritage Top 20 Masked Wrestlers.
Here's an interesting one. Our first Black Mask appeared in 1934. Newspapers reported a contest between Black Mask and Belgian Walter Magnee. In the third round the masked man voluntarily removed the mask to reveal himself as W.A.Ord, apparently “well known in Nottingham.” The now de-masked Black Mask won the contest, reportedly his first professional contest, in the fourth round.
A name used at least twice in the post war years. A smilng Tunisian,El Babri Lel Mamrouni Touhani, used the name and visited Britain in 1962. He was a powerful heavyweight who held the undefeated masked man Count Bartelli, to a draw. Opponents also included Tony Mancelli, Ernie Riley, Bruno Elrington, Tibor Szakacs and Jack Pye. Made his only television appearance against Digger Rowell in November 1962 at Hull. . The name resurfaced again in the 1980s as another identity for George Burgess, also known as Jamaica George, Jamaica Kid and a multitude of other names.
We were told he came from the land of convicts; by which we assumed Australia whilst the reality was Sheffield, England.
Irrespective of his birth place it didn’t take fans long to learn that here was a real villain who they enthusiastically greeted him accordingly. Black tights, black hair and black by nature as well as name We remember the arrival of Earl Black early in 1970 and the breath of fresh air his villainy brought to a British scene that was in the early years of decline.
Unlike many “overseas” visitors Black did not play the part of the conquering hero, but often went down to the good British guy only after giving him a good beating much to the disapproval of the fans.
When he came to Britain Earl had been a professional for less than five years, having made his debut in windy Wellington, New Zealand, in 1966. From New Zealand Earl went on to wrestle in his home country, Australia before moving on to Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Canada and the USA. Somewhere between Singapore and Canada he found time for a visit to Britain, a surprisingly short time in view of the memories fans still have of him.
It was in north America that Earl found his greatest fame, sadly cut short by injuries that ended his career in 1973 when he was aged just 27.
Read our extended tribute: The Globetrotting Heavyweight
Birkenhead's Billy Blackfoot was a popular middleweight throughout the north of England from the mid 1960s until the early 1970s, a career spanning just about one decade.
Following a period in the Royal Navy he returned to land and pursued his interest in wrestling. Billy's experience in the navy led to him dropping his family name in favour of his ring name.
He served on three minesweepers in the 104th Squadron, which was known as the Blackfoot squadron and carried the Red edged triangle with the black foot print on the funnel (photo above right.) Billy's squadron worked in the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, and to the far east.
On his return to merseyside Billy trained at Ellesmere port alongside Merseyside wrestlers Monty Swann, Steve Veidor, Brian Maxine, Buddy Ward and Bob Bell.
Billy turned professional in 1964, initially working for the opposition promoters before being signed up by Joint Promotions the following year. He worked mainly , but not exclusively, for Wryton Promotions, Bill Best and Jack Atherton .
Billy met rising stars like Barry Cannon and more experienced campaigners such as Romeo Joe Critchley, Jeff Kaye, Al Miquet and Alan Dennison.
He was always a popular addition to any wrestling programme, usually in one of the supporting matches and many fans forecast a bright future until he faded away from the in the early 1970s.
Some of his more memoroable matches took place at Liverpool Stadium and Blackpool Tower, with his contest against Mike Bennett at Blackpool Tower acclaimed by many regulars as the fight of the season.
As we add this entry to the A-Z in 2011 only a handful of wrestlers from the Heritage years are still active in British rings. Lewis Blain is one of that small and illustrious group, and we think that anyone who has devoted their life to professional wrestling in the post 1988 years deserves our respect.
Marcel Blaise was billed as the "Canadian Golden Boy" when he wrestled in Britain during the spring of 1963. The mid heavyweight from Montreal had actually been born in Belgium and moved to Canada when he was twenty. He was very much a novice on his arrival in Britain, having turned professional less than a year earlier. Not surprisingly he didn't seem to set the place alight. Earlier opponents included powerful heavies like Willem Hall and Frank Hurley whilst later opposition were realistically matched light heavyweights such as Ray Fury and Harry Kendall. Following his visit to Britain Marcel pursued his career back home in Canada.