M: Meredith - Millman
Wrestling Heritage A - Z
Post war British wrestling fans appreciated lighter weight wrestlers more than in many countries, but weighing little over 9 stones made diminutive Yorkshireman Pete Meredith a challenge for any wrestling matchmaker. That matchmaker was usually Relwyskow & Green Promotions, for whom Peter mostly worked in the 1970s at their venues around northern Englan and Scotland.
Pete was introduced to promoter George DeRelwyskow by the former rugby league star and professional wrestler, Sam Evans, who trained the Pete at his gymnasium in Hull before passing him on to Rewyskow's StPatrick's gymnasium in Leeds to put the finishing touches to his preparation for his pro wrestling world.
There was one moment of national fame with an unsurprising television defeat by the Dynamite Kid in October, 1976, a sacrificial lamb at the time Dynamite Kid was being given a big push in British rings.
Sadly Pete's weight did seem to have proved a handicap and his career, to the best of our knowledge (and we would happily be proved wrong), was a short lived one.
Whenever this New Zealand heavyweight visitor of the 1961-2 winter climbed into the ring fans waited with anticipation for the ritual Maori dance which heralded the opening bell. Once the bout began Keita showed himself to be a wrestler of considerable skill, and gained popularity during his visit. The six feet tall heavyweight, born in 1935 as Keith Mildon, came to Britain in September, 1961, and was a crowd pleaser throughout the winter, initially in the north but later travelling nationwide. He took up amateur wrestling when he was sixteen years old and turned professional in May, 1959, drawing with Ricky Wallace. he and had worked in New Zealand, Australia and the USA before travelling to Britain. Within a year he had defeated Lofty Binnie to take the New Zealand heavyweight championship. A great influence on Keita was his uncle,the Maori wrestler Ike Robins.
Twenty one year old Cypriot was nicknamed Atlas, due to his pocket giant stature, when he worked Dale Martin rings in 1961 and 1962. Amongst his opponents, usually capable second tier light heavies, were Charlie Fisher, Harry Kendall and Spencer Churchill.
Leicester based promoter Jack Taylor had the midas touch when it came to churning out professional wrestlers from his wrestling school, and one of the best workers of them all was Cliffe Milla according to Jack's brother Doug, who worked on the administrative side of the promotional business. Cliffe joined the professional ranks in the late 1950s, with promoter Jack Taylor substituting his home town of Loughborough for the more exotic sounding Denmark. Mick Collins was another youngster starting out with Taylor around the same time and remembers him as " An excellent worker and nice bloke." One of Cliffe's early opponents was the former British lightweight champion, Eric Sands, who had recently made the transition from Joint Promotions to opposition rings. The youngster learned a great deal from contests with more experienced opponents that included the very hard Jackie Harris, Hungarian Lazlo Bakjo, Welshman Killer Ken Davies but none more so than his mentor Jack Taylor, who he faced in championship contests on a number of occasions. For many years fans talked about Cliffe's three attempts to take Taylor's European welterweight title at the huge Granby Hall in Leicester, finally grabbing the title in their third contest. During his career Cliffe travelled the length and breadth of the country gaining admirers wherever he travelled.
The popular welterweight was forever associated with Copenhagen because that's what the programmes told us, but he had moved to Bootle when he was just two years old. The blond curly hair that seemed to forever give a youthful appearance meant that Stefan could never be anything but a good guy. He was a fast technical wrestler who turned professional in 1950, an early date that will surprise many. He worked from the very beginning for Joint Promotions when they formed in 1952. That first match, against Bill Hargreaves, resulted in an injury that put him out of action for a month. In 1954 Stefan held Jack Dempsey to a draw in a title clash. When wrestling entered our living rooms through television Stefan proved himself a favourite with the viewers. We last came across him in 1975, taking a group of wrestlers to Poland, Sadly he passed away in 2008.
Big Ian Miller
Ian Miller learned the wrestling business from the age of just twelve at Spartan Promotion's gym in the mining village of Mossblown near Ayr, Scotland. Four years later he turned professional when he was only sixteen years old. Promoters billed the youngster as "Big" Ian Miller simply because he was always tall for his age, even as a teenager. At the time of his professional debut he was Started was a welterweight and gradually filled out to light heavyweight. One of his very early bouts was against Keith Martinelli for Joint Promotions, in the Drill Hall Dumfries. Needless to say Keith (known amongst the fraternity as blood boots) was up to his usual tricks and claret flowed. But the youngster calling on his amateur training went over two to one, no mean feat given that (Keith Martinelli) was one of Bolton's finest and the sports toughest! Latterly Ian worked mainly for the Independents where he held the Scottish Title at middleweight for a few years. Going on to share the mat and learn from, such greats as Eddie Rose, Mark Wayne Joe Critchley and Ezra Francis. Probably his finest hour was a narrow defeat at the hands of the lighter and vastly most experienced Jackie "Mr TV Pallo" in Hamilton Town Hall in the 1979. Another of his career highlights was when he and regular Tag Team partner Dale Storm, took the Scottish Title from the then holders, The Fabulous Harlequins, in Elgin Town Hall. Some say this contest was one of the finest four man examples of true, classical wrestling ever staged anywhere in the UK. Ian Miller was one of the first to see that the writing was already on the wall for ITV's World of Sport, and the future of the grappling game in general, in the early 80's. So jumping ship, he swapped the limelight for firelight, by pursuing a successful career in the Strathclyde Fire Service!
Warrington heavyweight Mick Millman turned professional during the Second World War and was involved in the wrestling business for thirty years. A skilful wrestler he moved up through the weights from middleweight to heavyweight, tangling with the likes of Bill McDonald, Jan Brouwers, a regular at Belle Vue, Manchester. When not wrestling Mick plied his trade as a joiner around Cheshire. He began to reduce his wrestling commitments in the late 1950s but could still occasionally be seen in action until the mid 1960s. Mick was also responsible for training 1960s Warrington favourite Mike Dallas.