A hobby site created by enthusiasts of 
British wrestling celebrating wrestling and 
wrestlers from 1930 onwards through 
fifty glorious years of British wrestling history

G: Page 10 of 11

Wrestling Heritage A-Z

 See all wrestlers in section G

Bob Gregory ...  George Gregory ... Francis St Clair Gregory ... Steve Grey ...  Don Griffin ... Jim Grosert ... More

Bob Gregory

A colourful character of the 1930s Bob Gregory entered the professional ring in 1931 when he was nineteen years old.

A handsome, elegant man he was an immediate hit with fans. A very astute man Bob had many business interests, including ownership of physical culture clubs, working on BBC radio and television, advertising Alka-Seltzer and Vita Grape Juice, wrestling and promoting.

Bob wrestled top class opposition that included Harold Angus, Bert Assirati and Charlie Green. Following his highly publicised marriage to the so-called Princess Baba of Sarawak Bob and his bride moved to the United States.

In December, 1939, he won a version of the World Light Heavyweight Championship. Bob continued wrestling until 1946.

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George Gregory

George Gregory was one of the best.

Don't take our word for it, even we are not that old!

In 1962 the venerable wrestling historian Charles Mascall rated George as Britain's second best heavyweight of all time, above Ernie Baldwin, Billy Joyce and Dave Armstrong, ranking only Bert Assirati ahead of the stylish Boltonian. In world class terms Mascall placed Gregory alongside Frank Gotch and Joe Stetcher. A star of the 1930s all-in rules George was opposed and defeated world class opponents Karl Pojello, Bert Mansfield and Jack Sherry; widely acknowledged as British heavyweight champion. That recognition came to an end on 27th January, 1945, when he was beaten by Bert Assirati at Belle Vue, Manchester. George continued wrestling until the mid 1950s, moving well and truly into the modern era and a main eventer for the fledgling Joint Promotions.

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Francis St Clair Gregory

It would be a disservice to this great heavyweight to refer to him as the father of two Mountevans stars, which he was. Much fairer to state that he was one of the fathers of modern day professional wrestling.

Francis Gregory was one of the greatest exponents of the Cornish style of wrestling in the 20th Century. In the 1930's he dominated the Cornish style and represented Cornwall as heavyweight champion against Brittany at the first seven Cornu-Breton international tournament, winning every time.

From the village of St Wenn, Francis was introduced to the Cornish style by his uncle whilst working on a farm and had his first match when just thirteen years old. Legendary amongst exponents of Cornish wrestling he went on to carve a successful career for himself in the professional ring.

In the 1930s he moved to Lancashire to pursue another sport in which he excelled. Francis Gregory played professional rugby league for both Wigan and Warrington in the 1930s and was capped for England. Beginning in the 1940s he was one of the most prolific and successful wrestlers in the Mountevans era. Starting out using the family name of Gregory it was one of the promoters who decided the family name was too plain for the wrestling business and suggested the name St Clair which was a town in Brittany visited by Cornish wrestlers for wrestling tournaments.

Francis St Clair Gregory was chosen to appeae in the first televised wrestling show on British television; a bout against Mike Marino on November 9 1955 from West Ham Baths. Other tv opponents included Kiwi Kingston, Bily Two Rivers and Masambula. Francis retired from wrestling in 1963, bestowing to the wrestling world our memories of a great heavyweight and those two sons who were destined to become even more famous than their dad, Roy and Tony St Clair.

Steve Grey

Fondly remembered by fans nearly half a century after making his debut Steve Grey was a popular lightweight known for his slick moves and speed of manoeuvering around the ring.

In the 1970s when Steve was ascending wrestling's greasy pole there was an enormous amount of talent denying youngsters the way to the top - Breaks, Kidd, Miquet, Saint, Morice and others were all in their prime.

Nevertheless, the Peckham youngster overcame the odds and battled his way to the top, becoming a highly respected British champion on no fewer than seven occasions, the last coronation being in 1998, some twenty years after he had beaten Bobby Ryan at Blackburn to take the vacant championship.

In 1988 Steve added the European lightweight belt to his collection of honours, that being the first of four occasions on which he acquired the title. We all know that success in wrestling cannot be measured by championship belts alone, success for Steve Grey meant that he was an enormously talented wrestler who remained a popular figure until well into the twenty-first century.

Read our extended tribute: The Colourful Monochrome

Don Griffin

Canadian heavyweight Don Griffin spent almost all of 1964 and early 1965 in British rings but didn't seem to venture further north than Norwich.

He substituted for Syed Saif Shah at the Royal Albert Hall in March 1964 and knocked out the French wrestler Guy Lamarre.

The Little Things We Remember

I remember Jack Pye walking into the ring while Abdul the Turk was on his hands and knees praying to Mecca. Jack pushed Abdul over and kicked the prayer mat out of the ring.

A mild punch up occurred. Jack was never one for a face to face punch up, he was more of a sly hairpull or punch behind the back of the referee. He liked running his opponents eyes along the top rope.

I also remember Jack tying up Chick Knight up in the ropes and when referee Les Kellett tried to stop Jack, he got tied up in the ropes on the other side of the ring so tightening the ropes round Knight's neck. Jack then went to a 3rd side and stretched the ropes to tighten everything a bit more. The two seconds had to intervene.

We didn't have public warnings then but at a tender age I was convinced of the sincerity of Kellett's rebukes.

Bernard Hughes 

Jim Grosert

Jim Grosert is a man fondly remembered by those who watched wrestling in the north of England during the 1960s.

Living in York the north East was naturally his main stamping ground, but Jim would regularly make the hundreds of miles round trip to the Scottish venues of Relwyskow & Green, and at other time would be tempted across the Pennines to work for Norman Morrell and Ted Beresford.

He was a very accomplished wrestler and welcomed by fans on any bill. He had a good trainer. Ernest Baldwin was a one time British heavyweight champion, and it was he that prepared young Jim for his exploits in the professional wrestling ring. Not that Jim was a novice where combat sports were concerned.

He already had a judo background, having learned the sport whilst in the army. Jim signed up for three years in the army in 1951 when he was seventeen years old. When he was discharged from Jim was undecided what to do with his life. A wrestler from York, George Adams, suggested that his athletic credentials could be put to good (and valuable) use in the wrestling ring, as the sport in Britain was enjoying a boom period at the time.

Jim joined an amateur club and took time to ensure he had good wrestling skills before even contemplating the professional side of the business. It was only when the time was right that Ernest Baldwin took over the reigns and prepared Jim for his professional debut in 1961. Jim hit the ground running; opponents in those first few months including Alan Dennison, Tommy Mann and a contest at his local venue, the SS Empire, against Al Nicol.

For two years Jim was a busy worker for Joint Promotions. By 1963 a tidal wave of wrestlers were on the move from Joint Promotions to the independents in search of better pay and conditions. Jim joined the admittedly more well known names of Mike Marino, Al Hayes and George Kidd, and made the move to the opposition. Jim continued working mostly for the opposition promoters, on occasions under the guise of the masked Golden Phantom. Our final sighting of Jim was a match against Tony Kaye for promoter Cyril Knowles at Pudsey in January 1972.