M: Matu - McCormack
Wrestling Heritage A-Z
We first came across Bolton's Bobo Matu in the mid 1960s and by then he had half a dozen years under his belt, having turned professional in 1959.
Straight away we could see that here was a man with an effervescent character who would bob, weave and smile his way around the ring; and the fans loved him. The professional career followed a grounding in the amateur sport at the Bolton Harriers Amateur Wrestling Club.
As to his family heritage of the pacific islands we cannot confirm. Although we can say that his real name suggests more links to friendly Lancashire than the Friendly Isles! Maybe someone in the know would like to provide readers with more information. Whatever, he had a radiant personality that made him a popular wrestler around the rings of Britain.
In January, 1962, having worked for the main independent promoters Bobo was signed up to work for Joint Promotions, where he found himself with a new class of opponent including Billy Howes, Gerry de Jaegar, Les kellett and Billy Joyce.
The highlight came on 11th April, 1962, when he appeared at the Royal Albert Hall for the first time, losing to Bradford's Eric Taylor. This was a relatively rare venture south, most of Bobo’s career being spent working in the north and midlands for Wryton Promotions.
1962 was also the year, in March, when Bobo made his television debut against Bert Royal. Work for the independent promoters meant that Bobo wasn’t back on television for six years, a little bit heavier when he faced Honey Boy Zimba. Bobo and Zimba were to go on to form a regular tag team partnership. In all Bobo Matu appeared on television a dozen times, with opponents including Billy Joyce, Kendo Nagasaki and Andy Robin.
Bobo remained a regular throughout British rings until the mid 1980s, but by then wrestling commitments were competing for his time with television and film parts and he gradually slipped away.
Magnificent Maurice (Colonel Brody)
The name may not have been an original, and we should not confuse this gentleman with the extrovert we read about in those 1960s American magazines that eventually made their way into our newsagents.
In the 1980s the British version of Magnificent Maurice was an impressive figure as he stood shaven headed. moustachioed and totooed centre ring. Here was a man who knew how to upset the punters; not just by disregarding the rules but by his ring presence and camp gimmick. Strutting around the ring, taunting his opponent and jeering at the audience, let alone his rule bending tendencies, led to him being hated by fans throughout the world.
Steve Regal (William Regal) praises the colourful character who was his first professional opponent. The villainous heavyweight was solid northern. His name was Shaun Arnott and he went on to wrestling reincarnation as Colonel Brody, the shaven headed bad boy of the 1980s heavyweight scene.
Whilst the shaven head and the handlebar moustache remained the same the distinguished military figure of Colonel Brody was a stark contrast with the camp Magnificent Maurice, but none the more popular.
We think we are safe to say that back in the 1960s most wrestling fans knew very little about the distant land of Peru. They did know a powerful man with long black curly hair who went by the name Gomez Maximiliano, or Ernesto Conde Maximiliiano to give him his famiy name. By the time he set foot in Britain, his first visit being in 1961, he had left Peru and set up home in Spain. It was from here that he made his annual 1960s jaunts to Britain to rough it with our top heavyweights, almost always for Dale Martin Promotions. A sturdy sixteen stoner, with his long straggly hair reaching halfway down his back, Maximiliano was a colourful addition to British rings. By the end of 1961 he was known to television fans and had beaten Johnny Yearsley at the Royal Albert Hall. No one was safe – Earl Maynard, Gordon Nelson and Joe Cornelius all went down to the wild Peruvian on occasions; though promoters used him increasingly as target practice for domestic talent from 1965 onwards. Visits to Britain were often alongside appearances in the major tournaments held in Austria and Germany. Gomez Maximiliano was last seen wrestling in Britain in 1967. We are told he moved to Vienna where he lived until his death.
Brian Goldebelt Maxine
A very active worker in British rings from 1937 until around 1950, though understandably absent between September 1939 and mid 1945. Worked mainly in northern England and Scotland against the likes of Bully Pye, Val Cerino, Dick Wills and Vic Hessle. Our last recorded contest was in 1952, save for the re-appearance of the name for an independent promoter in 1963, but we don't know if this was the same man.
Earl "Mr. Universe" Maynard
Barbados born heavyweight Earl Maynard was a wrestler with muscles on his muscles. A wrestler with a fine physique who took up body-building as a seventeen year old in 1954. He won the Mr Europe title in 1959, Mr England in 1960, Mr Universe Pro in 1964, and 1978 Mr America title. Not bad considering that he weighed under ten stones when he moved to England aged eighteen years. Shortly afterwards he was called up for national service and after serving in the Royal Air Force Earl turned professional wrestler in 1962. He went on to become one of the most popular and successful sixties wrestlers in Britain and Europe before finding even greater success in the United States. Twice American Tag Champion (with Rocky Johnson and Dory Dixon) Earl was listed as one of the WWE top wrestlers of all time. Following his retirement from wrestling Earl turned to acting, and appeared in many films before turning to film producing and directing.
Jim McCormack's father was a Scot, a tenant farmer who moved to England to work for the Marquess of Londonderry at his stately home, Wynyard Park.
In the ring Jim was an impressive sight, and that was before he started wrestling. There were more than a few comments from the crowd as the kilted Jim entered the hall, resplendent in his red trunks and boots with white socks. A nice touch those boots. Red to match the trunks with a slit to expose the white socks. This was the sort of attention to detail that impressed the old time promoters, as well as the fans, and established professional wrestling as a legitimate sport.
Jim, a middleweight of around thirteen stones with black wavy hair, would leap over the top rope, a clear indication of the excitement to follow. He was trained by Jim Stockdale, a man known for establishing discipline in his young proteges, and was a popular worker for independent promoters in the late 1970s and into the early 1980s.
"Clean and clever" was one of those overused, often meaningless phrases used by promoters on their posters. In the case of Jim McCormack it was true. A skilful wrestler he always wrestled within the rules and was popular with fans for his fast, all action style. A whirlwind in fact, agile and athletic if thrown out of the ring he would leap right back in.
It was a style usually, but not always, appreciated by opponents. They enjoyed wrestling him because of his enthusiasm, agility and professionalism, but others said he could be difficult to handle in the ring, with one saying that wrestling Jim was like wrestling a JCB.
In the 1980s, as wrestling's popularity was going into decline, Jim was one of the many who drifted out of the wrestling scene. Gone, but remembered by fans of the north.