Billed as an Irish Canadian, London born Steve Haggetty was a conceited mid-heavyweight villain of the sixties and early seventies, unsatisfyingly monickered "Hard-boiled", copycatting the more famed American original. Started out with the Paul Lincoln stable where he feuded with lookalike Dave Larsen. He then tagged fleetingly with Al Fontayne, and then cemented his place as a major star in the Dangermen with Dangerous Danny Lynch, continuing the team alongside Colin Joynson in the seventies (see the tag team section in Autographs). Often a solo action foe for Kellett and Masambula, and immediately antagonistic, strutting sardonically to the ring with his famed bull on the back of his cape.
Steve moved north and took up management of a public house in Stockport. His story can be read in our tribute "The Hardboiled Ego" and Armchair Corner" feature "Much Ado About Nothing." Of the tag match reported David Mantell commented, "A great heel tag team but with enough technical skill to have intelligent bouts with people like the young Marty Jones. For youngsters like me who only knew Joynson as an avuncular blue-eye, it's quite a revelation to see him as an arrogant bequiffed villain, thuggishly swatting Dane Curtis off the ring apron. His forearm smash makes more sense in this context than it did during his later blue-eye days. Haggerty is a brilliant sinister villain - like Leon Arras without the comedy."
"The Hardboiled Ego" feature followed an interview with Steve shortly before his death in 2012. At the time of his death tributes were paid to Steve Haggetty by fans and collegaues ....
Tony St Clair: Another sad loss, Steve wasn't only a fellow wrestler, he became a great friend. With Colin as his partner against Roy and I we travelled all over England,Scotland and Wales. Of all our tag matches I remember those against The Dangermen better than any other. Rest in Peace dear friend.
Neil Sands: I would just like to join in the rest of the condolences and repeat what Tony has just said not only a fellow wrestler but a friend an a smashing guy. I travelled many great journeys with Steve. One sticks in my mind with Mark Rocco and Terry Rudge to Utrecht in Holland. We drove on a Thursday night over night wrestled on the Friday night ( I worked with Steve that night) and drove back over night again with Mark doing all the driving and wrestled back in the UK on the Saturday, those were the days. Its was visiting Steve in his pub with John Kowalski en route from Perth one night to Southampton the next that convinced me I should go into the pub trade something that changed my life forever and I have always thanked Steve for that. We are losing too many old friends at the moment and it is always sad, but the loss of Steve has got to me because of so many happy memories and because he was such a lovely man. Rest in peace mate.
Willenhall 64: Just heard the very sad news about Steve Haggetty. Great memories from the 60's and 70's of Steve's solo and tag bouts at such venues as Birmingham Embassy Sportsdrome, Digbeth, Solihull and Wolverhampton venues. Also was lucky to visit Steve when he and his wife Dot hosted a pub in Stockport. Me and my friends were made very welcome and it was great for us to sit and talk to Steve. We met him at a number of Southern Reunions and again he always made time to chat with us, sign autographs and have photos taken. Steve you were one of the best inside and outside of the ring. Sincere condolences to his wife, Dot.
Hack: Look at that pose! Never mind the wrestling Steve Haggetty was worth the money just for the looks and the poses. He could create the image of villainy simply through body language. Now that was class. A Professor of body language, he knew just how to stand in order to upset us!
Related article: The Hardboiled Ego
Related article: Much Ado About Nothing
A name inspired by the Marvel comic character, these supposedly South American masked men made an imposing and colourful sight during their 1967-1968 appearances in British rings.
Whether or not they were genuine visitors we don't know. Nonetheless they made an imposing entrance to the ring in their colourful gold and red costumes and made quite an impression on the one occasion we saw them in action at a live venue.
Harry Litherland was the birth name of middleweight Harry Hall. He wasn’t a big man, but he was very strong, and a tough wrestler from Riley’s gymnasium. Born in Aspull Harry worked in the rings of northern England during the 1950s. A part time wrestler Harry worked at the Locomotive Works at Horwich in Lancashire. Away from work Harry played fiddle in a quartet known as the Foggy Mountail Five and busked around southern Lancashire playing the concertina.
John Hall (Croydon)
Low-key value-for-money Croydon welterweight of the late sixties and early seventies who surfaced to achieve a new 2007 peak of fame when the featured interviewee in a BBC News outside broadcast showing current-day training of professional wrestlers. John is the father of twenty-first century heavyweight champion John Ritchie.
Brought up with an interest in boxing John turned to a sporting ring of a different sort and took up amateur wrestling when he was nineteen. A former amateur champion, from the Forest Hill Club in London, who turned pro late in life at 29. Made his professional debut in 1969; we remember him training on-the-job in-the ring, with protegés the likes of a young Clive Myers. Throughout his career John was always involved in training youngsters, and has continued this involvement in training to this very day.
John Hall (Stoke on Trent)
At a time when the nation was going to war a youngster from Tunstall in Stoke on Trent had another sort of fighting on his mind. John was just sixteen years old when he first stepped into the professional wrestling ring in 1941. It was the start of a long career for this popular and handy wrestler who was also a skilled engineer. John was one of a group of wrestlers from Stoke turning professinal around that time: Jack Santos, George Goldie, Bill Ogden and Brian Aherne (later to become Jim Mellor). For the first few years most of John's matches were against these local wrestlers with whom he trained and travelled. Following the war he began travelling further afield and meeting a wider range of opponents that included Danny Flynn, Tommy Mann and Jack Beaumont. John was signed up by Joint Promotions when they formed in 1952 and continued working for them until 1957 when he moved across to the independents. The move to the independents didn't mean any lessening of the workload and when the boom years of the independents began in the late 1950s John Hall was in the tick of it, travelling up and down the country working for the major opposition promoters Cape Promotions, Jack Taylor and Paul Lincoln. John finally hung up his boots in 1969, some 27 years after first stepping into the professional ring.
John Hall died on 4th January, 2014. At the time Manchester wrestler Eddie Rose said:
“John was one of the stalwarts of wrestling and had a long career during which he produced some great bouts. That group of Potteries lads were good company and good workers. Sorry to see the numbers fade away.”
Nebraska's Dr Len Hall visited Britain in 1935, 1937 and 1938 when he was in his early thirties, born in 1905. His career spanned twenty years, mostly working in the United States of America. His work in Britain seemed to be mostly in the south, working against the likes of Bert Assirati, Clem Lawrence, and George Clark. Out of the ring Len Hall was a dentist, which might have proved useful after some matches.
Willem Hall was a powerful and skilful wrestler a a popular South African heavyweight champion who made a lengthy tour of the UK in the early 1960s. In a world of giants, colourful costumes and intriguing names Hall relied on an alrmingly simple gimmick, hold and counter-hold wrestling. What he lacked in showmanship was made up for with wrestling skill and brute force backed up by 6 feet 1 inch height and a body weight that varied between 16 and 19 stones. Unlike most overseas visitors Hall was a good technician who wrestled strictly by the book, making him a popular addition to British rings during his 1960s tours of the country.A former rugby player he narrowly missed selection for South Africa. Hall turned to professional wrestling in 1952 and opponents included world class heavyweights such as Bert Assirati, Earl McCready, and George Pencheff. In South Africa he was known as Percy Hall, except for the period he was the masked man, Mr X. After defeating Willie Leibenberg he laid claim to a disputed South African heavyweight title.