Wrestling Heritage A-Z
Eddie James ... Jimmy James (London) ... Jimmy James (Manchester) ... Mick James ... Dave Jantzen ... Carl Jason ... Alf Jenkins ... Taffy John Jenkins . Elvis Jerome ... Johanfesson ... Black Butcher Johnson ...Bully Johnson ... Jimmy Johnson ... Norman Johnson ... Ron Johnson .... Strangler Johnson ... Kid Tarzan Jonathan ... More ....
Popular northerner (billed from either Rotherham or Newcastle) Eddie James began his professional wrestling life in the independent rings around 1960 facing the likes of Alan Sergeant, Pedro the Gypsy and Brian Maxine. In 1965 he transferred to Joint Promotions, although our records show him working only for Relwyskow and Green Promotions. He made it to the back cover of The Wrestler magazine (alongside tag partner Ron Davis) in January 1967.
See Jon Cortez
Jimmy James (Manchester)
Jimmy James was a wrestler working for independent promoters in the north of England in the late 1950s. Opponents included Johnny Mack, Red Callaghan, Monty Swann and Tommy Bailey. His career was cut short when he was killed in a car crash at Shotton. A memorial show in his honour was held at Ellesmere Port in 1962.
Mick James (Mike Jackson)
In the latter half of the 1960s Mike James (who also wrestled as Mick Jackson) seemed to be just about everywhere, well in the North and Scotland he seemed everywhere at least. A popular welterweight ho was a regular worker on Morrell and Beresford bills and seemed to have a very bright future. Hardly surprising as the young Leeds based wrestler was trained by erstwhile British champions Eric Taylor and Ernie Baldwin at Jack Lanes Wrestling Club in Leeds . His professional debut followed four years in the amateur ranks. Fast and skilful we thought he was really going places, but lost sight of him in the early 1970s.
See Dave Phillips
Carl Jason (Carl McGrath)
Carl Jason (the family name is McGrath) is a Merseyside wrestler who trained at Crosby Amateur Wrestling Club before turning professional in 1972. His career endured into the 1990s, though his involvement in training youngsters endured much longer and only a few years ago we heard he was still teaching wrestling on his summertime return visits to Britain from his home in Spain.
Alf Jenkins (Jimmy Johnson)
One of the pre war wrestlers of the All-In style Alf Jenkins began appearing on northern bills in 1938. Alf was the first professional opponent of Wigan maestro Jack Dempsey in Belfast on 19th July, 1946. In the months and years following the war Jenkins became a regular feature on bills in the North and Midlands, wrestling the likes of Tommy Nelson and Tommy Demon. In the late 1940s and early 1950s he could be seen regularly at “The Bloodtub,” formally known as the Ardwick Stadium, Manchester. We also have record of Alf using the name Jimmy ,Johnson in the 1950s, always in Ramsgate and Margate. He was certainly a man who knew what he was doing, with wins over Mel Riss and Carlton Smith, and draws against George Kidd and Bob Archer O'Brien.
Leicester's John Taffy Jenkins was one of the youngest wrestlers in the country when he began wrestling professionally in 1962. That first bout was against his friend Mick Collins, and both youngsters had been trained by Jack Taylor, wrestler and owner of International Promotions. He was just 14 years old at the time, and Jack Taylor put on a schoolboy match between John and Mick Collins in the cavernous Granby Halls, Leicester. John and Mick didn't receive any pay for that match but he recalled to us that they both benefited from the coins thrown into the ring by appreciative fans.
In the two years that followed Taffy and Mick travelled the country with Jack Taylor learning the trade and putting on their bout as much as five or six times a week. That was after they'd put up the ring for Jack!
As he grew in size and experience Jack put Taffy on with more experienced wrestlers, including Eddie Capelli, Ken Joyce,Cyril Knowles, Eric Sands,Reg Ray, Spike O'Reiily,Brian Maxine,Johnny Saint, and many,many more.
In his late teens Taffy attracted the attention of Joint Promotions through an introduction by Pete and John Lapaque. During his time with Joint Promotions Taffy wrestled all over the country and came up against all the top men at the time including Jackie Pallo (6 times), Pete Roberts, Rollerball Rocco,John Naylor, Marty Jones, Alan Sergeant, Catweazle, Johnny Czeslaw,Tally ho Kaye, Bert Royal, Vic Faulkner, Alan Dennison,Alan Kilby,John Kowalski and many, many more.
Never losing his love for wrestling John did become disillusioned that the promoters' respect for him as a worker did not lead to top of the bill status and took a sabbatical from wrestling during which he joined the Leicestershire Constabulary whilst having a young wife and a new baby. He stayed in the job for four years and returned to the ring working for Brian Dixon.
Taffy drifted out of wrestling in the mid 1990s, but that wasn't the end of the story. He returned to the ring in 2005, and had his final match three years later, at sixty years of age!
Taffy still lives in Leicester and keeps in occasional contact with Pete Lapaque, Ron Marino and Robbie Brookside. With great memories of the business he still loves we suspect Taffy Jenkins dreams of the day he will receive another phone call from Brian Dixon!
See Dave Cameron
A busy 1930s worker who faced top class opposition and challenged Douglas Clark for the British heavyweight championship on more than one occasion. At the time of wrestling's 1930 revival Johanfesson had already been around for the best part of two decades, another name familiar in the music halls, he was said to be Icelandic and an expert, indeed world champion, of glima, the martial arts of Scandinavian countries. Johanfesson name was actually Joseph Shepperd, and his home town of Chesterfield sounds considerably less glamorous than Iceland. A very rough wrestler who could display the worst aspects of All-In as well as clean wrestling skill, Johanfesson claimed World titles at both middleweight and light heavyweight, and even faced British champion Douglas Clark, though was soundly defeated by his much heavier opponent. Johanfesson, who married Deborah Quick in 1914 in Lancester, Durham, was the father of 1930s Jack Quesick.
Black Butcher Johnson (Arthur Johnson, Darkie Johnson)
One of the legendary names in British wrestling, Arthur Sylvester Howe was his name at birth, but the wrestling world knew him only as Black Butcher Johnson.
Butcher was born Arthur Sylvester Howe on 31st December, 1912. Wrestling folklore has it that mother was a circus strongwoman and wrestler, and whilst we have nor reason for not believing this we have been unable to uncover any evidence to support the story. We do know that he was the older brother of Johnny Kwango, who started his career as Bully Johnson.
Precisely where the name Johnson came from we don't know, it wasn't his mother's maiden name, but Arthur Howe became Arthur Johnson, and subsequently Black Butcher.
A lean, muscular wrestlers weighing around 14 stones in the 1930s Butcher had the charisma to make him a star but lacked the power to match the strong men such as Pojello, Sherry and Garnon.
The magic of Black Butcher Johnson continued into the early 1960s and a young Bob Kirkwood told us of the awe in which he held his opponent when matched with him one Saturday evening on a Paul Lincoln show, “He had incredible understanding of the psychology of working the crowd and I learnt so much from him that night.”
Black Butcher Johnson (Arthur Sylvester Howe) died in 1987.
See Johnny kwango
See Alf Jenkins
See Golden Hawk
A first rate heavyweight from Hartlepool who worked on bills throughout the north from 1946 until 1961. Ron was small as a youngster until he joined the Horden health and Strength Club. This built him up to a well proportioned, muscular teenager. He took up amateur boxing and was the middleweight champion of his station whilst serving as a P.T. instructor in the R.A.F. On leaving the army he took up wrestling and turned professional shortly after the war. For well over a decade Ron wrestled mostly in northern England and Scotland against first rate opponents that included the likes of Billy Joyce, Francis St Clair Gregory, Eric Taylor and Billy Howes. Following his retirement he went on to become a referee in Joint Promotion rings.
George Johnson of Sheffield was a very rough wrestler who took up the sport soon after it was introduced to Britain. Strangler Johnson and Carl Romsky had wrestled each other many times before, buy tragedy occurred on 3rd March, 1933. when Strangler died at Sheffield Railway station following their match. Police officers who were present at the match described it as savage and brutal. At the inquest the jury returned a verdict of death from heart failure. The inquest, recording a verdict of death by heart failure, added that wrestling ought to be barred, with the Coroner adding that all-in wrestling seemed to be an unlawful sport, and when a combatant died as a result his opponent was liable to a charge of manslaughter. Questions about the death of Strangler Johnson and the need to regulate wrestling, were raised in Parliament.
Kid Tarzan Jonathan
See Adrian Street