WRESTLING HERITAGE

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

K: Page 9 of 11

 

Wrestling Heritage A-Z

 See all wrestlers in section K

Chris Knowles ... Cyril Knowles  ... Gil Knutson .....  Shozo Kobayashi ... Billy Kohnk ...
Tony Kolokotroni ....  More    

Chris Knowles

Leeds lightweight Chris Knowles was a sensation when he made his professional debut as a fifteen year old.

The blond hair, the looks, the speed and the technical skill passed on by his grandfather, the great Cyril Knowles, quickly established the teenager as a firm favourite on the northern independent scene in the mid 1970s.

Cyril was immensely proud that his grandson was carrying on the family tradition in style. Chris mostly worked in singles matches against the likes of Al Marshall (above right), Dirty Billy Bates and Shaun Lavery,    but also learned a great deal partnering the veteran Gorilla Reg Ray in tag matches.

Tragically Chris's promising career, and his life, was cut short when he was killed in a motorcycle accident when he was just twenty years old.

Cyril Knowles

Not  the first name to come to mind when we cnsider the greats of wrestling. Don't be mistaken. This man was an influential figure in British wrestling for the best part of a half century.

Former wrestler Eddie Rose told Wrestling Heritage:

      “He was one of the great wrestlers of the post war years, top of the tree. He was great to wrestle too. He knew every move in the book plus a few extras.

He worked at his speed and was so relaxed it lulled you into a false sense of security. Then slam, bang, wallop – he had you!"

 

Read our extended tribute Gentleman of the Land; A Man of the People.  

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Al Marshall Remembers Cyril.... 

Promoter Cyril Knowles was a lovely man, straightforward and decent, but he was very sharp and never missed a trick. One night I was working for Cyril at Hyde in Cheshire. When I got to the hall there was already a long snake of a queue waiting for the doors to open; I'd never seen anything like it.

When I went inside Cyril had a big smile on his face, already mentally counting the takings. "We'll have 'em standing said Cyril. It's that White Cloud. That's who they've come to see."

Cyril continued getting ready for the show, very happy, until about quarter past seven and there was still no sign of White Cloud. "Not to worry," said Cyril, "he'll be here any minute." Half past seven and the smile had gone off Cyril's face. I was changed and ready to go on.

"No lad," said Cyril, "I've changed my mind and I'm putting a couple of the other lads on first."  Eight o'clock and the first match was underway. Still no sign of White Cloud. "I think I'll put you on after the interval tonight lad,"said Cyril.

I was beginning to suspect Cyril was up to something.

"We'll add a few minutes to the interval tonight," said Cyril, "give White Cloud a chance to make it," and with that he disappeared.

A few minutes later Cyril was back in the dressing room carrying a big suitcase. He opened it up and it was full of all sorts of costumes and masks. Cyril pulled out the full red indian  gear and told me to put it on, "You can be White Cloud tonight."

I protested, "Cyril, I can't be White Cloud. I've got ginger hair. I'm a lightweight. I look nothing like him." Undeterred Cyril thought he'd found the answer to his problems. "Not to worry. We'll tell the fans you're from a newly discovered tribe with ginger hair. You're on with Reg Ray."

"We'll be awreet," growled Gorilla Reg. Thanks Reg I thought. I was reluctantly pulling on the costume when the door burst open and in charged an out of breath, apologetic White Cloud." 

"Stop messing about Al," shouted Cyril, "Get that clobber off. Quick you're on next White Cloud."

White Cloud and Gorilla Reg had a good match, followed by another good one between Dirty Billy Bates and myself. The crowd went home happy, Cyril counted his money, and he went home chuffed.

Read our extended tribute: A Man of Arms

Gil Knutson

To be added soon

Shozo Kobayashi

Visiting overseas wrestlers seemed to fall into one of two categories; there were the invincible ones who defeated all before them, and there were the fall guys who made the gallant Brits look good.

When the twenty stones Japanese heavyweight Shozo Kobayashi arrived on our shores in October, 1968 it was quickly apparent that although he was something of a novice sent to Britain as part of his wrestling education, he was definitely in the invincible category.

An opening win over Roy Bull Davis was followed by a first round knock out of Les Herberts in front of an astonished tv audience, and completed his first ten days in the country with a Royal Albert Hall detruction of John Cox.

The following few months saw Shozo go on to defeat the best that we could offer, including Albert Wall, Al Hayes,Bruno Elrington (at the RAH), Tibor Szakacs(on tv), Pat Roach, Ian Campbell, and even a straight falls win over Dory Dixon and a series of inclusive results against Kendo Nagasaki.

Shozo was a popular visitor to Britain during the 1968-9 winter before going on to greater things in the USA as Strong Kobayashi.

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Billy Kohnk

Said to be Swedish, but most likely Canadian, as it was here we find his earliest records in 1933.

Billy Kohnk was an all action blond tiger of the 1930s ring.

Although his career lasted a quarter of a century he wrestled in Britain for about a year in 1938 and 1939 before returning to Canada where he continued wrestling until 1957. 

A strong swimmer, his stated ambition was to swim the English Channel.

Please get in touch if you can provide more information.

Tony Kolokotroni

To be added soon