1960s independent promoters heavyweight from Cheshire went on to work for Joint Promotions in the 1970s; mostly as a serial masked man - Bula, Dr Death, Outlaw, Red Devil etc
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This popular, fast and skilful lightweight from Widnes seemed equally at home as Lancashire's Maurice Hunter and his dual personality, Scot Ian McKenzie.
We first came across Ian McKenzie in the halls of the independent promoters, but later saw him as Maurice Hunter on both opposition and Joint Promotion bills.
An all action yet scientific wrestler we would consider him one of wrestling's great under-rated; search the web for his superb match with Bobby Ryan on television.
He made it into the Who's Who of Wrestling book but elsewhere did not receive the push that he deserved.
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6’4” Taswegian tag partner of Judo Al Hayes in their Lincoln days, and a globetrotting Heavyweight Champion of the Commonwealth who lost his title to Alan Garfield.
Perhaps the highlight of his British career was a 1957 Harringay All Nations Tournament victory in which he beat Andre Drapp in the final.
When Hunter came to Britain in 1950 he had been the youngest Commonwealth wrestler so to do. He recovered from unsurprising initial disappointment at the hands of Assirati, and with Aussie schoolmate Paul Lincoln, earned his Rebel tag by breaking away from Joint Promotions to set up a rival promotion.
The two of them also owned the 2i's coffee bar which gave a break to aspiring young musicians that included Tommy Steele and Marty Wilde.
Success came in German heavyweight tournaments and the sixties saw a hedonistic jet-set lifestyle in Soho where Lincoln and he owned the famed 2 Is coffee bar, haunt of Tommy Steele and others.
He was linked also with Sophia Loren.Feuded in the early sixties with Docker Don Stedman and made a successsful transition back to Dale Martin's at the end of the decade before disappearing from the scene around 1970.
To be added soon
Canadian Heavyweight Billy Hunter was a regular worker in Britain from the mid 1930s. We are unsure where he served during the war, but by 1947 he was back in wrestling action in Britain. He even found himself a wife in Britain, and the story goes that he wrestled on the evening of his wedding, at Bury in Lancashire, unfortunately getting injured during the course of the contest. He wrestled throughout Britain, though mostly in northern England and the midlands, facing the best of the day including Bert Assirati, Mike Marino, Vic Hessle, Billy Riley and Jack Pye. He had a number of great bouts with Count Bartelli, holding the masked man to a draw on numerous occasions. He seems to have disappeared from our rings by the mid 1950s.
Following service in the Australian army during the second world war the rough, tough Australian heavyweight came to the UK in 1949, and was a regular visitor for the next two decades.
For more than twenty years John Hurley could be found flitting around the wrestling rings of southern England. Like all good professionals at the time John knew the necessity of a good amateur foundation followed by an old pro to teach him the ways of the professional world. That old pro was Dulwich's Len Britton, brother of College boy Charlie Law.
On the nights that Len wasn't teaching the youngster the moves John could be found observing his master, and other professionals, in action at close quarters as one of the wrestling seconds. John had well and truly caught the wrestling bug by the time he turned professional in the mid 1960s, taking those first nervous steps into the paid ring at Acton Town Hall. In the evenings he would wrestle in the halls for the independent promoters and during the day take on all comers in the fairground wrestling booths. There was good money to be had in the booths, but the hours were long, the conditions lousy, and there was always the prospect of having to deal with the local lads who thought they could show the pro a thing or two. They were wrong.
In 1974 John came to the attention of Dale Martin Promotions and was signed up to work for the Joint Promotion organisation. John worked for Joints for around ten years, making a couple of wrestling trips to Germany. In the early 1980s he began to cut back on his wrestling commitments and returned to the opposition promoters, finally hanging up his boots in 1986. In the 1980s John went into pub management, taking over the oldest public house in Maidstone, the Royal Albion.
Born in Jamaica Hurst came to Britain as a teenager and joined the YMCA to pursue his interest in weightlifting.
It was here that he became interested in wrestling and joined the United Amateur Wrestling Club to develop his amateur wrestling skill. When he considered himself ready Len chose to follow a rapid career and was subsequently taken on as a professional by Dale Martin Promotions.
Having made his debut in the winter of 1965, aged twenty-one, it didn't take long for Len Hurst to achieve national popularity through his regular television appearances.
Making his tv debut in 1967 he was an immediate success and featured regularly over the next fifteen years.
His combination of technical ability, speed and agility made him a popular regular on bills in the 1960s and 1970s. Len Hurst is shown with a back hammer on Tony Costas, a frequent opponent.
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“The Nordic Marvel” Finnish born and French based wrestler made a one week visit in September 1952. He returned for a couple of weeks in 1963 and again in 1964 for Paul Lincoln Management.
In a wrestlers equivalent of Desert Island Discs for many Northern fans Jim Hussey would be an absolute certainty in their eight must haves.
Never mind the fact that his aggression overshadowed his wrestling ability, or that he was a hard core villain, there will always be a place for Jim Hussey in the hearts of wrestling fans. He would bully and torment his opponent, pummel away at any physical weakness, and the fans would jeer him like they jeered no other in a career that spanned more than thirty years.
The indomitable spirit that made Jim Hussey a star of the wrestling scene for three decades was apparent from a young age. Living in the Collyhurst area of Manchester just a couple of miles north of the city centre Jim attended Abbott Street school. Jim excelled at swimming, winning his first medal when he was just six years old and going on to captain the school's team, aged twelve, when they won the England Schoolboys Championship. As was usual at the time Jim left school aged fourteen and began work as an electrician's assistance.
A teenage Hussey was schooled in the all-in style, a protege of Carl Van Wurden. Jim's parents weren't exactly keen on their son's interest in wrestling and we are told that his mother was unaware that he was making his professional debut, one night in 1942, at Belle Vue against Andre Nicola. It was the beginning of a long career, Jim Hussey was destined to remained a top television favourite for the best years of the Mountevans era. Great names such as Jack Atherton, Frank Manto and Francis St Clair Gregory were opponents during the first couple of years.
With greater experience promoters began matching him with the likes of Jack Pye, The Ghoul and Bert Assirati. We are able to report that Jim did hold the great Assirati to a draw on occasions but are unaware of any wins!
Memories of Jim are of a rowdy, hard hitting heavyweight. Such memories should not hide the reality of a skilfull wrestler who amongst the dubious tactics and disqualifications certainly had his days, with with wins over Billy Joyce, Tibor Szakacs, Josef Zaranoff, Mike Marino, Dave Armstrong and Eric Taylor in their prime.
The nickname Jumping Jim resulted from his amazing dropkicks and acrobatic style. He was a true professional, and in the second half of his career Ultra Reliable would have been a more appropriate nickname than the commonly used Jumping Jim.
Everyone relied on Jim.
Fans relied on him for giving them a good time, in which he never failed. Promoters relied on him to draw in the fans, not to mention taking care of some of their prime assets at formative moments in their career such as the debut of Kendo Nagasaki or first televised appearance of an overseas visitor. Opponents relied on him for making sure they looked good, whatever their shortcomings.
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´Do you remember when Jimmy ...´
He was the first man to wrestle Andre the Giant on T.V the logic being that he would make Andre look even bigger, and two weeks later when George Kidd´s opponent refused to wrestle him in Dundee Jimmy offered to take his place. George said ´Jimmy , look at the size of you against me, the crowd wont accept it´to which Jimmy replied ´We´ll make first to 5 falls and I´ll give you 3 start´
NEWS STORY Reported in the news pages 14.6.11
Wrestling Heritage writers Hack and Anglo Italian recently popped in on former Northern Area Heavyweight Champion Jumping Jim Hussey in Manchester.
Still showing that redoubtable spirit that saw him face all the top heavyweights of post-war British wrestling, from Bert Assirati to Jean Ferre (André the Giant), Jumping Jim is well set up and very cared for with dedication by all around him. The two fans were pleased to be able to enlighten everyone further with tales of the great man's importance.
A small gift was made on behalf of all Wrestling Heritage fans, and best wishes conveyed under the watchful eyes of Bulldog Colin Joynson and Mark Rollerball Rocco looking down from their photos dotted around the room.
It's now 43 years since Jumping Jim Hussey wrestled his way to the final of the prestigious Royal Albert Hall Trophy Tournament and 47 years since he was the opponent in Kendo Nagasaki's debut bout. Keep an eye on the Wrestling Heritage Talk Wrestling forum where Jim Hussey's carers occasionally provide updates for us.