G: Gordon - Granzi
Wrestling Heritage A-Z
Birmingham's Billy Jordan was an ex coalminer who started out on the independent circuit during the 1960s against the likes of Al Marquette, Bob Sherry and Killer Ken Davies.
In the late 1970s he moved across to Joint Promotions rings and acquired a new name, Lucky Gordon. He made around thirty television appearances from 1978 onwards, in singles matches often going down to the blue eyed heroes, and in tag matches where his fate was similar!
Like so many others Lucky Gordon succumbed to the roll of the frequent fall guy to Big Daddy in tag matches around the country.
Yet another name in the 1980s when he pulled on a mask and became one half of the Masked Marauders (the other Marauder being Scrubber Daly).
A very busy worker around British wrestling rings from the mid 1930s until around 1942. Billed as Polish champion at times he wrestled in North America from 1942 onwards and there is the possibility his family had emigrated much earlier. He wrestled under many names, and we believe Walter Grebek was his birth name. Appeared in a couple of British comedy films as an All-In wrestler, the slapstick farce All-In (1936) and O-Kay for Sound (1937). Towards the end of March, 1942 he was knocked out by Flash Barker in Chester, and we have seen him advertised on the last day of the month, yet by April was working in Canada.
Related article: On The Trail of Jan Gotch on www.wrestlingheritage.com
Fast and stylish Spanish middleweight Raphael Gracia visited Britain in 1959, working for the northern Joint Promotion members against John Foley, Fred Woolley, Jack Cunningham, Chic Purvey and Mick McManus. Fast and stylish we've been told. We are too young to know!
If you'd turned up in the 1960s, handed over your seven and six and expected to see the American superstar you would have been disappointed. On the other hand if you'd expected to see an all-action welterweight from Manchester who knew how to work a crowd and might even have known more wrestling holds than the American of the same name you would have gone home in a much happier frame of mind.
Graham Brook remembers a tag match in which Billy Graham partnered Reg Yates against the Borg Twins. Graham entered in dressing gown and smoking a cigar and for quite a lengthy period stayed on the apron in his dressing gown smoking his cigar despite referee Harry Yardley's instructions for him to disrobe. Although the Borgs and Yates were swapping holds cleanly inside the ring, Graham's demeanour on the apron was bringing the crowd to boiling point. He did extinguish the cigar before taking a tag from Yates, but entered still wearing his dressing-gown and started kicking and punching. The match ended in a near riot with Graham being disqualified and the other wrestlers on the card having to surround him as he escaped back to the dressing-room. And Reg Yates wrestled cleanly all the way though."
The pet shop owner from Manchester also claims to have discovered Giant Haystacks, or at least bumped into Martin Ruane in a busy street and said, “You'd make a great wrestler.”
The true stars of professional wrestling were those whose skills permitted the so-called stars to shine. Pallo, McManus, Kidd; however well known the name the very nature of wrestling meant they were only as good as their opponent allowed them to be. Introducing in the blue corner, Bobby Graham.
Whether it was being outfoxed by Les Kellett or playing second fiddle to tag partner Leon Arras, Sheffield's Bobby Graham was one of wrestling's many unsung heroes who gave the bigger names the space to get on with their job. A real grafter, Bobby put all his energy into his matches with little reward other than the satisfaction of knowing he was sending fans home with the enjoyment of a good night out.
We admit to being surprised by just how little was ever recorded of the exploits of light heavyweight Bobby. A steel worker in the fifties he was encouraged to take up wrestling by Bradford's Joe Hill.
In 1954 promoter Norman Morrell gave Bobby the opportunity to turn professional, with early career matches against Eric Taylor, Cyril Knowles and Maurice Atkinson. In the second half of the 1950s Bobby was working most nights of the week, mainly in the north for Morrell, Relwyskow and Green and Wryton Promotions. It was a pattern that continued throughout the 1960s and 1970s when the tenacious Yorkshireman was a regular on the bills of the north and midlands of England, and Scotland. Rough and tough, he could never be described as a purist, Bobby's style would prevent him becoming a crowd favourite.
In 1961 Bobby made his debut on television, facing the heavier Great Togo. It was to be the first of some forty televised contests with Masambula, Les Kellett, Mike Marino and Jackie Pallo amongst his opponents. From 1965 onwards Bobby was often seen in tag action partnering the irrepressible Leon Arras. Anyone partnering Arras was likely to be overshadowed. Nevertheless, Bobby Graham, played a significant role both in The Untouchables tag team and British wrestling in general.
Maybe it was a lack of charisma, maybe single combat opportunities were overshadowed by his tag success, maybe it was the time he devoted to his grocery shop, or maybe he was just never in the right place at the right time, but Bobby Graham is one of those to whom fate could have dealt a kinder hand. Bobby Graham passed away in August 2012; he was eighty three.
Heavyweight Peter Grant went from sheet metal worker to employment by Paul Lincoln as a bouncer at the 2 I's Coffee Bar. Mixing with the wrestling clientele around the café, and with an appropriate physique he too turned his hand (and feet) to professional wrestling.
It was a short career that lasted only a few years and seems to have made little impact.
It is in another realm that Peter found his fame and (hopefully fortune).
Peter Grant went on to greater things and success as the manager of Chuck Berry, Gene Vincent, the Animals the Yardbirds and ultimately Led Zeppelin, turning them into one of the biggest rock bands of the 1970s.
Even we admit that was probably not a bad career move.
Peter Grant died of a heart attack on 21st November, 1995, he was sixty years old. Ultimate Classic Rock said, "... rock ‘n’ roll lost one of its biggest characters — figuratively and literally — with the death of legendary Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant, perhaps the quintessential artist handler of the rock era."
The rough, tough Tommy Grant was an all action middleweight who joined the professional wrestling ranks following his national service and day job as a lorry driver. When Dale Martin Promotions signed him up Tommy already had around five years amateur experience wrestling experience. As we were often reminded there was a world of difference between the amateur and professional codes. Fortunately for Tommy he made the transition successfully and was a regular worker around the south of England in the 1960s and early 1970s. Away from wrestling Tommy had a keen interest in athletics, boxing and swimming. Tommy Grant passed away in 2010.
A villain of the ring on the independent circuit from the mid 1950s until the late 1960s Tony Granzi was inspired by the legendary Bert Assirati and a (pre Big Daddy) muscular heavyweight named Shirley Crabtree. Tony dreamed of being a wrestler from his early teens and was introduced to the sport by London's Frankie Price and Sid Ross. Born Tony Alexander he turned professional, in 1958, aged seventeen. In those early days he was billed Young Alexander.