F: Fields - Finnie
Wrestling Heritage A-Z
True skill of the traditional style expected by post war fans. Here was a wrestler whose reputation was dependent on his ability rather than flashy gimmicks.
Harry Fields was the younger brother of George Broadfield, the Farmer. Harry turned professional just after the war, aged sixteen years old.
He was something of an overnight sensation at a time when rings were dominated by older, heavier men, many returning to the ring after a wartime break. This early success allowed Harry to travel early in his career, and he worked in Mexico in 1948, quite an achievement at the time.
Harry's wrestling skill and youthful appearance made him a popular figure in the 1950s, and he was to maintain that popularity throughout his career. Wrestling was to always remain a part time occupation for Harry; farming remained his first love.
His farm near Dewsbury restricted his wrestling commitments to the north of England, but didn't prevent Harry gaining national championship recognition no fewer than thee times. Harry was the second holder of the Lord Mountevans British Middleweight championship for a short time in 1952, taking the belt again in 1956, and for a third time in 1958, losing it to Alan Colbeck in 1961. Not bad for a man who said he was a farmer.
Obviously a champion in his field.
Known as a Canadian (because that's where he lived) Bob Fife was born in Scotland. His birth name was Archie Smith, born in Leven, a seaside town in Fife in the east Central Lowlands of Scotland, on 29th June, 1900. When he was thirteen years old Bob's family emigrated to Canada, settling in Ontario.
He enlisted in the Army during the First World War and it was around this time that he became interested in wrestling. On leaving the army Archie gained work with Canadian railways and joined a local amateur wrestling club in Hamilton. It was here that he befriended another Brit who had also moved to Canada, Alfred Hodgson. In 1927 Archie Smith turned professional, choosing to adopt the name of Bob Fife, in reference to his home county in Scotland.
At the beginning of 1933 Bob and his friend, now wrestling professionally as Jack Wentworth, made the decision to travel to Britain, where professional wrestling was booming. Unable to afford the tickets the two men arranged to work their passage to Southampton. Harold Angus, Jack Dale,George Gregory and Jack Atherton all went down to Bob on occasions. He was to remain a stalwart of the British scene, wrestling throughout the country, until the outbreaks of World War 2. Bob returned to Canada where he continued his wrestling career as a referee.
Adrian Finch was one of a multitude of young wrestlers to make his debut in the late 1970s, and continued wrestling well beyond the Heritage years into the 21st century. Was a frequent worker during the 1980s, partially due to an availability to appear as a last minute substitute. Was chosen as the opponent for Danny Collins when Danny made his professional debut.
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1980s wrestler and brother of Adrian Finch, career lasted into the first decade of this century.
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He was called the Belfast Bruiser and his wrestling style showed why.
Dave Finlay was one of a handful of a new, aggressive breed of British wrestlers of the 1980s who could have propelled British wrestling successfully into the twenty-first century had the promotional infrastructure remained in place.
Dave was trained by his father, a former wrestler, and ventured across the Irish Sea to pursue his career in Britain in 1978, already having wrestled professionally in his native Northern Ireland . Finlay was a quick learner and was soon trading blows with the best of them.
He established himself as a television favourite and was able to rank himself alongside Marty Jones and Rollerball Mark Rocco as one of the powerhouses of British wrestling. A win over Alan Kilby allowed him his first championship belt when he took the British Heavy middleweight title in June, 1982. It was to be the first of a series of British championship successes at four weights, including heavyweight; though his talent and charisma made title recognition unnecessary.
The promotional infrastructure began to crumble in the 1980s, and with many wrestlers feeling insufficiently rewarded they found greater appreciation amongst the independent promoters. Finlay joined the trickle that became a torrent of big name wrestlers who left Joint Promotions and worked for Brian Dixon’s All Star Promotions. Greater recognition came when he formed a successful professional partnership with his wife, Paula, a former wrestler who now acted as his manager. Paula played her role to perfection and only enhanced the drawing power of the talented wrestler. Her unique and memorable contribution to British wrestling is acknowledged in the Heritage Ladies of Wrestling.
With the popularity of British wrestling going into decline talent such as Dave Finlay found overseas work increasingly lucrative (although admittedly British wrestlers had always travelled extensively overseas) and he began working mostly in Germany, Austria, and Japan. Eventually the lure of life across the pond proved irresistible and Dave signed for World Championship Wrestling in 1995, and later worked for WWE.
Portsmouth's George Finnie served in the Royal Navy in the early 1930s aboard HMS Neptune, whose eventual fate was to be sunk in a minefield off the coast of Tripoli in 1941. George began wrestling professionally in 1932, mainly around Portsmouth to begin with, but by the mid 1930s was a busy worker who was travelling further afield, to northern England and Scotland.
At some time, and records of his contests suggest it may have been during the war, George moved to Newcastle Upon Tyne, and during the war could be seen frequently at the New St James Hall, Newcastle. Opponents included northern heavyweights Ray St Bernard, Dave Armstrong, Tony Baer and Jack Atherton. George continued wrestling following the war, finally retiring in 1950, following which he joined the Probation Service and moved to Lincolnshire.