L: LeDuc - Lee
World class French mid heavyweight, erstwhile world champion, made a number of visits to Britain, usually of a short duration. His first visit, to northern England was in 1949, numerous short visits during the 1950s and finally tours for Paul Lincoln Management in 1964 and 1965
Heavyweight Dean Lee visited Britain in 1971, though he was apparently just returning home as we were told at the time that he had been born in Britain and moved to New Zealand in 1963. Trained by John Da Silva in New Zealand he had wrestled in Australia and Japan before being encouraged to wrestle in Britain by British wrestlers visiting New Zealand. He returned later in the decade working mainly for the independent promoters, particularly in the north for Ace Promotions and Cyril Knowles.
Kwik Kick Lee
Not as acrobatic as his namesake, Sammy, young Kwik Kick (Akira Maeda) came to Britain in 1982 and 1983 where his not inconsiderable skill was placed on the back burner in matches against Giant Haystacks and Big Daddy. Lee returned to japan where he established himself as one of the country's top wrestlers and promoters. He allegedly fell out of favour with Japanese promoters when he began to take the combative element of the sport just a little bit too seriously!
Tiny Pat Lee
A young lightweight who worked in the north and Scotland during the late sixties and 1970s. Trained by Leon Arras he worked for the independent promoters before being signed up by George deRelwyskow for Joint Promotions. Tagged with Tom Jowett as The Dons, with reference to their home town of Doncaster.
Sammy lee was unknown to ritish fans when he came to our shores but his speed and agility led to an immediate acceptance by the UK fans. Flying head scissors, dropkicks and a succession of leg executed throws following one after the other at bewildering speed made the young Japanese wrestler unique in British rings. Sammy Lee was trained by Karl Gotch, the American based Belgian who had learned his trade from the Wigan wrestlers in the 1950s. Unsurprisingly Lee was chosen as a frequent tag partner of Big Daddy, but we won't hold that against him. The name Lee was bestowed on him, real name Satoru Sayama, to capitalise on the martial arts film star BruceLee. On returning to Japan Lee took to wearing a mask and became Tiger Mask, going on to become a legend of Japanese professional wrestling.
Ski Hi Lee
In a sport where giants are two a penny the Texan heavyweight with unruly hair that matched his wrestling style stood head and shoulders above the rest. 6’10” heavy-drinking heavyweight from Houston Texas who was a regular rabble rouser in Britain through the mid sixties.
A former circus strongman and rancher, bewhiskered and bewhiskyed Lee featured regularly on Paul Lincoln bills, as well as in The Man From Uncle.
Born in 1921 as Robert E Leedy, Ski Hi Lee had been a two-time NWA Canadian Heavyweight champion in the early fifties before coming to Britain. Tagged occasionally with Swiss Rene Lasartesse.
Eddie Rose recalls: “One night in Tommy Mann's Club Roma (Manchester) Ski Hi Lee took centre stage with a series of stunts including eating a razor blade, chewing a light bulb, and, for the grand finale, he took off his shirt and borrowed a lipstick from a woman and asked her to draw a target on his back. He then produced a set of darts and invited her to throw them into the target on hid back. He did all of this without a grimace or wince of pain. He then put his shirt back on and started drinking again. He had a reputation as a consumer of large amounts of whisky.
When not eating razor blades and letting his back be used as a dartboard, it was out of character Lee who represented the wrestling fraternity at West End charity gala nights.