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

E: Page 2 of 3

Wrestling Heritage A-Z

 See all wrestlers in section E

 

  Count Eley ... John Elijah ... John Elisha ...   Chick Elliott (Nottingham)  ... Chick Elliott (Rotherham) ... Elmo ... Bruno Elrington.. Tony Elsden .. Ken Else  ... The Emperor (1950s) ...  The Emperor (1980s)  ... Ben Engblom  (Bengal Engblom) ...  Bobby England ...  Tarzan John England ...  Johnny England ...  Yukon Eric ...  More ... 

Count Eley

Popular teenage welterweight of the late 1950s, billed from Italy, and likened to a young Eddie Capelli. 

John Elijah (John Elisha)

One Biblical name wasn’t enough for the 17 stone Bearman from Walthamstow, who was known as both John Elijah and John Elisha. Big John turned professional in 1970, beating Bob Kirkwood at Folkestone, following an amateur career at the Sparta Wrestling Club, Shoreditch. Wrestling had not been John's first love; that was swimming at which he excelled, and was to remain an important part of his training regime.
 
He shared wrestling with a job in the carpet trade, which he moved on to after working in the advertising business, and one forum wag famously commented that he looked like he had a roll of lino under each arm as he approached the ring.
 
His  style, relying on power holds, failed to excite fans, but he certainly had a niche as one of those valuable supporting wrestlers who were the foundation of the business. During a long and busy career he earned respect from promoters as a reliable and dependable wrestler, and genuine affection from fans around the country.
 
Career highlights were challenging Bruno Elrington in Bognor Regis for the southern Area championship and wrestling Big Daddy in a clean almost technical bout on television. That year he wrestled Big Daddy many, many times.
Chick Elliott  (Nottingham)

For twenty years the Leicester heavyweight known as Chick Elliott (he was Christened George) was a mainstay of Northern rings tackling everyone who was anyone.

For the first five years after the war it seemed that not a week would pass by without Chick appearing on the big bills at Belle Vue Manchester, Liverpool Stadium and Blackpool Tower. His contests, of course, were not limited to these major venues but he rarely ventured too far south!

Chick's career came to a premature end when years of taking the bumps forced him into retirement with back problems.
 

Please get in touch if you can provide more information. 

Chick Elliott (Rotherham)

We have a second Chick Elliott for you.

Our second Chick Elliott was a Yorkshire lad, billed from Ilkeston but billed from Rotherham (maybe promoters thought it sounded grander). He was trained by wrestler/promoter Jack Taylor in his Derbyshire gym in the mid 1950s alongside Al Tarzo, Roy LaRue and Spike O'Reilly.

A recurring back injury forced Chick into retirement from wrestling after only around eight years in the business. We have been told he got married and took up pub management in Leicester. One of the  first things he did was to go out and buy a pair of Boxing gloves to hang behind the bar.

Please get in touch if you can provide more information.

Bruno Elrington (Gunboat Harris)

Bruno Elrington might well have been a big package, but it was a package that packed in all the necessary ingredients to be a top rated wrestler.

We don’t recall any fan being critical of Bruno Elrington. Just the name Bruno on the bills, no need for the surname, was enough for fans who knew exactly what to expect.

Whilst some loved to jeer him as a rule bender others loved him because he could, and did, wrestle. His height and weight, around 20 stones, caused an interest, but so did his speed and agility that was surprising for a man of his size. His strength and power moves were admired by many, but so was his wrestling skill.

Bruno had an enormous ring presence and  he made a fearsome site as he climbed into the ring. But fans always realised that here was a generous, warm hearted man, and had a special affection for him even in his most villainous of days. 

Bruno entered the professional ring following six years service in the Royal Marines. Mind you, he could have been lost to the world of boxing, having four fights as a pro boxer before turning his sights to wrestling. Originally billed from Barnsley, he was domiciled in Portsmouth for most of his wrestling career.

Bruno was at his notorious best when he turned professional for Paul Lincoln Management. He mellowed later in his career and was rewarded with winning the Royal Albert Hall Trophy in 1969, and succeeding Al Hayes as Southern England Champion.  Another highlight came as a result of that 1969 victory:  the winner was to face French giant Jean Ferre at the Royal Albert Hall the following month.  See Bruno locking the future André the Giant to the canvas above, right.

Sign in or sign up now to read Members Only articles: Armchair Corner - Head and Shoulders Above the Rest

Sign in or sign up now to read Members Only articles: Speciality Manoeuvres

Sign in or sign up now to read Members Only articles:  Heritage Ladies of Wrestling

Tony Elsden

Another farmer from agricultural stock, having learnt the ropes on his father's farm. Tony Elsden was a popular welterweight who debuted around 1964.

Born in North Allerton from farming stock he learned his trade at the St Lukes wrestling club in Middlesbrough alongside Ian Gilmour.  The St Lukes Mat Men put on charity shows and this enabled Tony to get a couple of hundred bouts under his belt before turning professional.

He was a skilful welterweight who worked regularly for Joint Promotions.  Future success seemed limited by his bouts restricted to the local North East and Yorkshire.

After half a dozen years of promise he seemed to abruptly disappear around 1970.

Ken Else  (Kennet Earlsa, Kangaroo Kid)

Another of those wrestlers who really knew the business but never made it to the big time.

In Ken’s case this might have been because he spent so much of his career tearing around the world, with Australia being a favourite haunt of his. Indeed Stockport’s Ken spent much of his professional life living in Australia, where he not only wrestled but also promoted and trained youngsters.

Seeing him in the ring fans were of no doubt that here was a man with considerable skill. He was one of those wrestlers that didn’t actually break the rules but was never a true blue eye. Promoters occasionally added an international hue to his Cheshire credentials by re-arranging the letters and introducing the Austrian Kennet Earlsa.

At times Ken could be seen in the role of manager of  Hans Streiger, a friend since their schooldays. Ken's professional career began in 1954, making his debut against Hanley's John Hall after being trained by Charlie Glover and working on Micky Kylie's fairground booth. His interest in wrestling had been sparked as a boy when he watched the wrestling at the Ardwick Stadium and Belle Vue in Manchester, Jack Pye was a favourite.

For more than ten years Ken was a part time wrestler, driving lorries when not in the ring. He emigrated to Australia in 1966, returning to Britain temporarily in 1968 and permanently in 2010. 

Ken Else died in 2014.

The Emperor (1950s)

Most memories of a masked Emperor go back no further than Big Bill Bromley donning the mask in the 1980s. A quarter of a century earlier, in 1959, a young promoter called Paul Lincoln presented  a masked Emperor, reputed to weigh 20 stones (but Lincoln did tend to have a way with statistics). In true Lincoln codology the man behind the mask was said to be a successful business executive needing to hide his identity. Whatever his success elsewhere it was not to replicated in the wrestling ring and the late 1950s masked Emperor failed to make an impression.

Ben Engblom  (Bengal Engblom)

The Flying Finn who too Canadian citizenship wrestled in Britain in 1937 and 1938. This was near the beginning of a long career that reached in to the early 1960s in the United States and Canada using the name Paavo Katonen. In the 1950s the Finn took up promoting wrestling and boxing, and also trained many young boxers and wrestlers at his gymnasium in Phoenix, Arizona.

Ben Engblom died in January, 1999

Bobby England

Kent's Bobby England could be seen flying around the rings of southern independent shows in the 1970s. Like many others Tonbridge Wells born Bobby turned to wrestling after joining a gymnasium to lift weights.  From the gymnasium he graduated to working the fairground booths, one of the regulars taking on challengers for  Mickey Kylie in the West Country.

His professional debut came along in August 1968, a home town promotion facing the colourful sounding Sabu Perera.  Bobby continued wrestling after moving to Brighton but work commitments restricted his appearances and led to his retirement in the late 1970s. At the time of his inclusion in the A-Z (April 2013) Bobby is living in Burgess Hill, Sussex.

Wrestling Heritage member Ray, told us: "When I started training with a group of wrestlers in Brighton Bobby took me under his wing and taught me all that he could. He also 'looked after me' when I was allowed to work on a show. I remember Bobby as a smashing bloke who extended a welcome to what could be a very closed world. In many ways people like him, who never made it to the big time but knew the game inside out , were the lynchpins of wrestling. If you read this Bobby - thanks for the memories."

Tarzan John England

Long before "Mr Muscles" posed for the fans there was an earlier Johnny England in British rings, Tarzan England. His career lasted from the 1930s until 1951 Matches were mainly in the north of England and Scotland, with opponents including Ron Jackson, Jim Hussey,Norman Walsh, Bill Verna and Ken Davies.

Please get in touch if you can provide more information.

Johnny England

A shooting star with high impact but vanishing as quickly as he appeared. Johnny England created a minor sensation when he first appeared on television. His arrogant nature, tendency to sneer at the fans and predisposition to punctuate bouts with displays of his physique antagonised those who had paid their hard earned cash.

And they loved every minute of it.

Those who knew him testified to what a nice man he was, but his wrestling personae of the mouthy big head was one he carried off to perfection. Fans did admire his wrestling skill, and an ability to outwit far more experienced opponents. 

His prominence seemed short lived, but he did continue in the wrestling business long after leaving Joint Promotions