M: Maivia - Maloney
Wrestling Heritage A-Z
The wrestling world was full of colourful characters from seemingly all parts of the globe. Not only was Peter Maivia more colourful than most his facial features, and those sprawling feet, made it apparent that he was indeed a genuine Pacific islander.
Peter Maivia was born in American Samoa in 1937, moving to New Zealand in the early 1960s to pursue a professional wrestling career under the guidance of Steve Rickard. Within a short time he was on the move, and in the summer of 1963 arrived in Britain. His good humour, colourful trunks and all-action style made him an immediate hit with fans around the halls and nationwide when he made his television debut against Dazzler Joe Cornelius. Peter Maivia would counter any hold with a huge smile that would instantly remind fans why they loved him so much. The enduring smile didn't prevent him from being cast as a killer taxi driver in the James Bond film "You Only Live Twice."
Many will remember Maivia lying across the top corner ropes for his inter-round relaxation. We’d seen some gimmicks in wrestling, but no one else could make lying down an attraction.
Taking him to their hearts Peter was considered an integral part of the British wrestling scene in the 1960s; a fan club in his honour being exceptional for a visiting wrestler. To be honest we didn't really consider him a visitor, he was one of our own, which made it all the more shocking when he departed suddenly (suddenly to us fans anyway) in the summer of 1967. He left a void and for many months we believed he would return, but it was not to be.
Peter went on to wrestle in the United States, New Zealand and later concentrate on the promotional side of wrestling in Hawaii. Younger fans know Maivia as the grandfather of “The Rock.” Older fans know him as one of the fathers of modern day wrestling.
Peter Maivia was born on 6th April, 1935 and died on 12th June, 1982.
We rely on The Wrestler magazine for our limited knowledge of Johnny Major, a welterweight from West Norwood, a residential district of South London,. Johnny was a popular and busy worker during a short lived career in the 1960s. A good amateur training at the United Amateur Wrestling Club led to a promising professional career against opponents such as Peter Szakacs, Bernard Murray and Len Wilding. John started out with Dale Martin Promotions but in mid 1962 he was one of the many tempted across the great divide to join the opposition promoters. Johnny continued working, mostly for Paul Lincoln Management, until the company was absorbed into Joint Promotions in January 1966. We can find no record of him transferring back to Joint Promotions and he seems to have disappeared from the wrestling scene.
Billed as the Irish heavyweight champion but apparently based in the north of England and a regular worker in those parts during the 1950s, wrestling the likes of Ernie Baldwin, Alf Rawlings and Geoff Portz. We first come across Bill in 1949, losing to Jim Hussey in the main event at Dundee. Bill wrestled Billy Joyce on television in the early days of televised wrestling back in 1958.
1970s heavyweight from Woolwich turned professional for Joint Promotions in 1971 and was around for about five years, with the occasional outing for the independents following that. He worked almost always for Dale Martin Promotions in southern England, with only the occasional journey north.
We always thought there was something very exotic sounding about Frank Malmoa. Not just the sound of his name but the fact he came from Sweden. We were easily impressed forty years ago.
Born in Malmoa, Sweden, but based in Belgium light heavyweight Frank Malmoa brougt a splash of colour to our rings, could mix it with the best, and wasn’t afraid of breaking the rules and upsetting the fans.
He visited Britain twice, both of them short visits for Dale Martin Promotions in 1972 and again in 1974. In most contests he seemed to face lighter opponents, usually wrestlers with impressive pedigrees.
But saying that his record was not overly impressive.
On both visits he was granted Royal Albert Hall showings, both against lighter middleweight opponents. In September, 1972, he drew with Clayton Thomson, and in November 1974 he lost to Bert Royal.
The temperamental Irish middleweight, known for speed and agility, nicknamed Jumping Jim, was a busy worker around the country in the 1930s, our first sighting being in 1933 with a win over Richard Wills. . High calibre opponents included Harold Angus, Sonny Wallis and Jackie Harris. Reports suggest that Maloney was an energetic, athletic and skilful wrestler who could wrestle with the best. Our last recorded match for Jim is in 1946.