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

D: Page 6 of 8

Wrestling Heritage A-Z

 See all wrestlers in section D

 

 

Memo Diaz ... Dick the Dormouse ... Axel Dieter ... Jack Dillon ...  Salah Al Dine  ... Gerry Diprose ... Dory Dixon ... The Doc  ... Doctor Blood  ... Doctor Death ...  Doctor No ... Sugar Ray Dodo ... More ... 

Memo Diaz

Mexican middleweight brought over in the spring of 1962 to dutifully lose to a string of home grown talent, including Alan Colbeck at the Royal Albert Hall. Was rather surprisingly allowed a token victory, over Mike Donlevy, in a match recorded for television.

Dick the Dormouse

A giant of a man we are told (though you wouldn't think so looking at these photos). Dick Rogers, known as Dick the Dormouse, started out running a boxing and wrestling booth around his hometown of Plymouth in the 1930s.

He went on to gain greater fame as promoter (along with his wife Jessie) at Belle Vue Stadium, Manchester. During the second world war Dick served in the navy and Jessie took over as promoter at Belle Vue. If anything Jessie's prowess as a promoter seems even more legendary than Dick's.  

Post war Dick was the resident referee at Belle Vue and sometimes wrestled. Ray Noble remembers, "One of the most memorable fights I saw at the Kings Hall Belle Vue was Saturday 12th June 1954,  Dick (The Dormouse) Rogers, Belle Vue's popular Referee V  Bill Benny. I think they were both disqualified." Another fan remembers Dick as a huge man wearing a white athletic vest and trousers.

Axel Dieter

He was a master of the head scissors and preferred to finish his bouts with a perfectly executed suplex. The popular Berlin heavyweight made fleeting visits to the UK during the late 1950s and early 1960s, although his greatest successes were reserved for the other side of the Atlantic.

Having been trained by Bela Barothy and Axel Cadier the twenty-six year old German’s  first visit to Britain came in 1959, four years after having turned professional.   Axel had learnt the business at the Heros Club in Berlin before making his professional debut. His first tournament was in Krefeld, soon to be followed by more of the German tournaments that were held on successive nights for up to four weeks.

His first overseas trip was to Spain in 1958, and shortly afterwards he travelled to Britain.  During his career Axel wrestled throughout western Europe as well as South America, the Middle East, and the far east.

He stood 6’2” tall and was a muscular 16 stone, and wrestled the best that Britain could offer during his short tours, which were mainly confined to the South. For more than ten years Axel based himself in Barcelona, travelling extensively throughout the wrestling world. 

Axel retired from full time wrestling in 1987, continuing his interest in the sport through refereeing and promoting. Axel's son, Axel Dieter Jr., continues the family tradition in the pro wrestling rings of Germany.

Jack Dillon

Arthur Riley adopted the name Jack Dillon and was a busy Manchester heavyweight of the 1950s/60s, as well as manager of the Lonsdale Club.

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Salah al Dine

Kurdish heavyweight Salah al Dine visited Britain for just under a month in February 1968. Although he came with credentials claiming the heavyweight championship of Egypt for nine years his results in  Britain were less than impressive, straight fall losses against Tibor Szakacs, Pat Barratt, Sean Regan and Albert Wall; stopped by Ezzard Hart and Al Fontayne.

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Gerry Diprose

A twelve stoner from  Kent, Gerry Diprose was a regular worker in the 1960s, and mostly for Dale Martin Promotions between 1965 and 1967. Opponents included the familiar names of Linde Caulder, Reg Trood, Bobby Barnes, Peter Szakacs and Johnny Kwango.

Gerry trained at veteran professional Bill Warner’s club in Gillingham alongside Alan Kitto and Tony Bates before turning professional initially for the independent promoters.

Seen in action against Bernard Murray.

Gerry Diprose died in October, 2016, aged 76.

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Dory Dixon

The muscular Jamaican heavyweight Dory Dixon was an impressive figure during his 1968-9 tour of Britain. Fast and agile for a man of his size, more skilful than most of the American heavyweights that visited Britain he established himself as a fans favourite.

Despite the impressive credentials (ex NWA light heavyweight champion, holding Buddy Rogers to a draw)  and undoubted  skill British promoters didn't allow him to have everything his own way. Dory's British  results were mixed to say the least. Amongst the wins over the usual suspects routinely sacrificed to visiting heavies, Jim Hussey, Roy Bull Davis and Leon Arras were surprising losses to Crusher Verdu and Johnny Yearsley  and not so surprising defeats by Mike Marino (in three World Mid heavyweight championship clashes), Tibor Szakacs at the Royal Albert Hall Geoff Portz, and Andy Robin.

Dory's physique was a result of a background in weight lifting which had led to a professional wrestling debut in 1955, with most of his experience being in Mexico and the United States before he came to Britain.

The Doc

“The Doc” was a promising 1970s wrestler known to fans throughout the North and Midlands. Prior to turning professional he had trained at Bradford’s Hilltop Amateur Wrestling Club, with his friends Dave Barrie and Garfield Portz, and later at the Leeds club run by George de Relwyskow.

With that sort of grounding he was destined for fame and fortune that failed to materialise. The nickname “The Doc” had been given to 1970s welterweight Michael Stocks by a workmate long before his July, 1970 professional debut, in which he lost to Ian Gilmoure. That match was at the Middleton towers, Holiday camp, Morecambe, and the Doc lost by two straight falls.

Out of the ring The Doc was committed to charitable work as part of SPARKS (Sportsmen Pledged to Aid Research into Crippling). In the 1970s the bearded Doc seemed to many that he was destined for the top, but his ambitions were to remain unfulfilled.  

Doctor Blood 

Maybe it was the 1961 film that gave rise to the name Doctor Blood, or maybe it was intended to capitalise on the success of the better known Doctor Death. If that was the plan then it was one that failed to fulfil any of its hopes. The white mask, rule bending tactics and lighter weight was never a serious contender for his nemesis, Doctor Death, who did eventually, and inevitably,  unmask him. Beneath the mask was Liverpool’s Terry O’Neill, though we have little doubt that there were other Doctor Blood’s on the independent circuit. We saw Doctor Blood just the once, an independent show in 1965, and heard little else of him. No idea who was beneath the mask but he didn't inspire.

Doctor Death


The mysterious Doctor Death was arguably the most famous masked heavyweight of the 1960s. Even without the aid of television (he was a creation of the independent promoters) Doctor Death was a household name, familiar to many with little or no interest in professional wrestling.


Billed as the mystery man from Hollywood USA, the original Doctor Death was the wrestling promoter Paul Lincoln. 

Here was a man who could use blindside skulduggery and torment his opponents with punishing nerve holds to bring the fans to a frenzy. Lincoln used his creativity as a promoter to maintain an enduring myth of invoncibility against  his small but talented roster of wrestlers that included Ray Hunter, Al Hayes and Mike Marino.

The character became devalued due to frequent copying; as in the mid sixties numerous Doctor Deaths could be watched around the country every night of the week. 

Those who saw the original, though, were never in any doubt that they were watching the genuine article. The real mystery is how Paul Lincoln managed to create such a famous and well respected wrestling superstar without the aid of television exposure.


THANK-YOU DOCTOR DEATH, by Al Marshall

I was very sad to hear of the passing of Paul Lincoln.

It was a photo of Paul as Doctor Death that I saw when I was a very small boy that made me want to go and watch a wrestling show. I pestered mum and dad for weeks before they relented and dad took me along.

After watching this masked man wrestle I was determined that I too would become a wrestler.

The saddest thing of all is that I never did get to meet this great man to say "thank you."

He did so much for professional wrestling. I saw him wrestle about three times. I know it was him under the mask and not one of the many imposters.

Paul, the wrestling world owes you so much. God bless you Paul for you are now in that big wrestling ring in the sky. Thank you, from Al Marshall.

Read our extended tribute to Al Marshall: A Man of Arms

 

Related articles:

Top Twenty Masked Men on www.wrestlingheritage.com

The White Angel and Doctor Death Feud on www.wrestlingheritage.com