Barry Jones (Seaman Tommy Watts)
1970s Portsmouth wrestler Barry Jones was trained by Bruno Elrington alongside the Wilson brothers, one of whom he faced, and went down to, at the Royal Albert Hall in October 1979. Barry also used the name Seaman Tommy Watts (previously used by Mal Kirk).
One of the pioneers of 1930s wrestling. Advertised variously from America, South Africa, London and Wigan the frequent wrestling commitments of “The Cave Man of the Ring” suggest the latter is, unsurprisingly, closest to the mark. With a reputation of a very strong wrestler he was reported to have given class acts such as Harold Angus, Richard Wills and Jack Dale a hard time. On one occasion having defeated Jack Dale on falls Dale was reported to have attacked referee Phil Meader, with first Jones, and then members of the audience intervening before order was restored.
Marty Jones (El Olympico)
Marty Jones arrived on the wrestling scene in 1972, at a time when technical abilty was giving way to an excess of showmanship and gimmicks. This wasn’t the case for Marty Jones, who was one of a handful of 1970s newcomers that could have more than held their own with professionals of any age. The eighteen year old novice had been trained by Bill Robinson, and it showed. Younger fans will no doubt want to tell us that Marty was a great villain who could generate the wrath of fans through his deeds and microphone skills. Maybe so, but none of this should allow us to overlook the fact that Marty Jones was one of the last great real professional wrestlers, a man who didn’t just look as though he was hurting an opponent, but could really hurt him if he put his mind to it. Marty’s feud with Dave Finlay is the stuff of legends, matches that often ended in blood, sweat and maybe a few tears. Like so many of his generation Jones took the opportunity to travel and demonstrated his special brand of wrestling to the fans of North America, the Far East and the rest of Europe.
The Second World War may have depleted the ranks of available British wrestlers, but it conversely brought serving overseas servicemen to our shores. One of those was American Harold Francis, who was stationed with the Army Air Corps in Warrington. Harold met Jack Beaumont whilst training in his local gymnasium and the two became good friends. Jack encouraged Harold to continue his wrestling career in Britain using the name Farmer Mike Jones.
Harold remembers that the British "hated" the American wrestlers because the American service men had more money than the British during the war. In one match with Jack Beaumont they were wrestling outside of the ring when a fan (not very fond of Americans and in the throes of Jack Beaumont's heroism) used his burning cigar to sear a mark into Harold's back. He still has vivid memories that blisters formed and broke open from the abrasion of the wrestling mat when they got back into the ring.
Transatlantic travel was something of a rarity in the 1950s, but that didn’t stop London’s physical cultural marvel, David Jons, travelling to the USA and challenging the great Lou Thesz for his world heavyweight crown.
Although unlucky against Thesz the Londoner did go on to gain success in the United States, and held the Mid Western Heavyweight Title for some time after defeating Billy Goetz.. Prior to his wrestling career Muscle clad Jons won the “Mr London” title, and his muscular frame added to his appeal as a wrestler.
David was born on 5th February, 1922. He served in the Royal Air Force during the war. With such a splendid physique he was encouraged by Les Martin to take up wrestling and turned professional in 1947.
He proved something of a sensation as soon as he turned professional, with wins over many established stars leading to the chance to challenge Bert Assirati for the heavyweight crown at Ipswich in March, 1949.
See Lucky Gordon
We have around a dozen bouts recorded of Crawley's Joe Jordan in 1962-1963, all of them in the south for Dale Martin Promotions. Opponents included Ray Fury, Tug Holton and Harry Kendall.
He was called Flash Jordan, and for good reason. Speed, skill and agility made a young Mike "Flash" Jordan something of an overnight sensation when he hit Northern rings in the early 1970s. Over the following few years he matured into a fine wrestler who could hold his own with the best in the business.
A 1987 win over Johnny Saint at Croydon took Mancunian Mike out of the shadows and handed him the World Lightweight title. Until that time Mike had spent the previous fifteen years as a popular lightweight, but largely ovserhadowed by the likes of Saint and Breaks. Jordan held the title for eight months before losing it back to Saint on 24th May, 1988.
Mike Jordan died in 2003.
Eddie Rose told us:
"Mike, or "Little Mike" as we knew him, rang me up out of the blue and asked would I teach him to wrestle. He said he was eighteen but probably fifteen! I met him at Ancoats Lads Club and he tried pro style- badly. I advised him to go to the YM and join the amateurs then come back to me. He did just that and I introduced him to Grant Foderingham at Panther's Gym. The rest is history... he went on to become a top class wrestler and a great lad. One of the best to come out of Manchester and well liked and much missed by us all."
The blond hair, athletic, muscular physique and pronounced cheek bones were sufficient to transform Streatham’s Fred Storer into the far more exotic sounding Kurt Jorgens. Billed as the “Swedish Wonder Boy,” Jorgens became a regular on the independent bills of London and the South East during the late 1950s. A frequent opponent was his old rival, Bert Lamb, whilst other opponents went on to gain greater fame than was destined for Fred. One fan with memories of Kurt told us that his over-riding recollection was of fans screaming abuse at the heavyweight villain as he punished Lamb by working on an old leg injury, something that seemed to happen with some regularity.
Born in 1933 Fred Storer turned professional in his mid twenties, having received encouragement from no less a man than the legendary Bert Assirati. In the colourful world of professional wrestling promoters were always seeking ways to add a touch of colour and glamour and Fred’s Scandinavian like appearance naturally led to the creation of Kurt Jorgens. Looks like his would be wasted on a simple Fred Storer when he could easily adopt a new nationality and the name of a famous film star. He trained in the now demolished boxing and wrestling gymnasium that could be found behind “The Gun” public house on Church Street, Croydon, and now the home of regular rock concerts. Despite frequent work Fred was to remain one of the lesser lights; one of the infantry without whom the likes of McManus, Pallo and all the other stars could not have existed. Called Fred or Kurt this Londoner is one of the unsung heroes that enriched Britain’s wrestling heritage.
One of the great names in French wrestling and a visitor to Britain in the late 1940s and 1950s. Born on 1st December, 1904 in Tare, Rhone, he won his first French championship in 1926 in the Greco-Roman style, winning the free style championship the following year. He was to go on to win a total of 15 French championship titles in both styles.
He represented France in the 1928 and 1936 Olympic Games, placed fourth on both occasions. He competed in the European championships from 1927 until 1945, after which he turned professional. He wrestled in Britain infrequently, mainly in the south of England.