M: morrell - Munroe
Norman Morrell's wrestling credentials are without question, and his amateur record demonstrates that here was a man whose skill equalled anyone and excelled most. For four consecutive years, from 1933 to 1936, Morrell won the British featherweight championship.
He went on to wrestle professionally, but is mostly celebrated as one of the architects of post war British wrestling.
Norman Morrell was a founder member of Joint Promotions and author of the rules of post war wrestling, the Admiral Lord Mountevans rules.
To his mind wrestling was a pure sport, and there was little pure about the professional side of the game. Such was the motivation that led Morrell to establish himself as arguably the most influential individual in British wrestling.
Bernard Hughes told us, "Norman Morrell was probably the most forward thinking and influential of all of the wrestling promoters in the 1950's. He was not a tall man, about 5ft.8ins., not a big built man, probably about 11.5 stone but wiry. He was always very neat and tidy, generally with a dark double breasted suit , collar and tie. In winter he wore a camel hair overcoat. He had dark hair, with possibly a bit of Mediterranean or middle eastern look about him. Always seemed to be very alert and clued into what was happening, but polite at the same time . I liked him and he did a lot for the progress of wrestling."
Related article: A Multi Faceted Talent on www.wrestlingheritage.com
Heywood's Cyril Morris was a wrestler with outstanding amateur credentials who went on to learn the rough and tough of Lancashire catch wrestling. Nonetheless, he brought to the wrestling rings of the 1940s a pure and scientific style that went down well with the fans. Weighing in at around fourteen stones he became a regular feature of rings in the late 1940s, opposing fellow northerners Jack Keegan, George Goldie, Val Cerino and the like. He was also one of the earliest opponents for the newly hooded Count Bartelli, recently returned from service in the far east in 1948. Coincidentally he was also one of the first opponents for Bartelli's hooded protege, Kendo Nagasaki, in 1965.
During his twenty year career he ventured northwards into Scotland but rarely seems to have travelled south of Birmingham. Cyril was the first opponent Albert Wall when the Doncaster man made his professional debut. In the early 1960s he pulled on a mask of his own, but to find out who he was you will have to read the Wrestling Heritage Top 20 Masked Men.
He was a favourite of Wryton Promotions, and was wrestling and refereeing right up to his sudden death in 1968, aged 49, when he collapsed on the building site at which he worked in Bury.
Related article : Top 20 Masked Men on www.wrestlingheritage.com
Jumping Jim Moser
Most memories of Jim Moser refer to Jumping Jim Moser. "A smooth as silk grafter in the ring and a lovely funny guy out of it," according to colleague Paul Mitchell.
Our earliest memories are of Prince Moser, an equally apt nickname for a majestic light heavyweight who emerged onto the British scene around 1960. Tall, lean and muscular he developed his magnificent physique at Bill Parkinson's gymnasium. The pro wrestling teaching came from Grant Foderingham, the Black Panther.
Colin Joynson, Johnny Eagles and Abe Ginsberg were amongst those earliest opponents. It was in those early sixties that he befriended a young teenager by the name of Johnny Kincaid. From that first meeting when Johnny carried Jim's bag of gear he became an influential figure on the youngster.
We can trace him working with Joint Promotions, and increasingly big names, until 1964, when he was tempted to the opposition promoters by Paul Lincoln.
We personally discovered the delights of Jim Moser the following year, an all action bout in which he outclassed the huge Klondyke Bill before going down in inevitable defeat.
During 1964 and 1965 Jim was one of the important players that enabled Paul Lincoln to challenge the might of Joint Promotions, working regularly for the Australian promoter against the likes of Angus Campbell, Dr Death, Dave Larsen and Mike Marino.
With Paul Lincoln joining the Joint Promotion organisation in 1966 Jim returned to the larger promotional group. In that same year making his televised debut, an unfortunate loss against Roy St Clair ending with Jim tangled and dangling from the twisted ropes. That was the first of more than twenty televised contests listed by www.itvwrestling.co.uk, opponents including Mike Marino, Steve Veidor and Tibor Szakacs.
For thirty years Jim Moser was a name known to wrestling fans not just in this country but throughout the many countries of the world in which he wrestled. Not one one of the greatest names in wrestling, but one of the names that made wrestling great.
The wrestling world may well have forgotten Geoff Morris had it not been for Eddie Caldwell who wrote about the man who claimed to be Britain’s strongest pensioners in 1972. At the time sixty eight year old Geoff was touring the north performing his strong man feats. In the days before he became one of the world’s great strand pullers, and that’s according to the great David Gentle. In 1957 we find him world champion bar and nail breaker. Geoff was an all-in wrestler of the 1930s, training with Billy Riley and sharing a ring with the likes of Jack Alker, Black Butcher Johnson and Jack Atherton. Geoff concentrated on body building after retiring from the ring. Geoff Morris died in 1977.
Bonnie Alan Muir was the “Prince Charming” of the mat world. An Australian from Melbourne, born as Alan Holmes on 28th November, 1907, he educated at the prestigious Melbourne Grammar School, his father had plans that Alan should become a doctor, following in his own footsteps. Alan would have none of it and became a clerk in an accounts department. As an amateur wrestler he won the Victoria heavyweight championship in 1929 and 1930, and was runner up in the 1930 Australian championship.
Abruptly leaving his job as a clerk he travelled to America to learn the professional style, making his debut in October, 1930.He returned to Australia briefly in 1932-33 before embarking on his travels once again and arriving in Britain in May, 1935. King Curtis, Bulldog Bill Garnon, Jack Sherry all faced the skilful Australian, who by 1938 was claiming the title of British heavyweight champion. With the outbreak of war he returned to Australia to serve in the Australian Air Force. Returning to wrestling following the war Alan retired in 1930, continuing as a referee. He died on 12th June, 1977.
Bruiser Ian Muir
The promoters tried every nickname imaginable for this 22 stones cockney superheavyeight billed from Lanarkshire through the mid-seventies: The Iron Duke; Bully Boy; The Bruiser.
He had an unquestionably great grizzly look that belied his youth, and it is no surprise he was quickly snapped up for advertising of all kinds, not to forget a small part in the film Time Bandits. In the ring, he stuck to trunks, which did a valiant job holding his stocky girth together.
But for all the epiphets, Muir didn't mix it much, and add his misfortune in arriving on the scene at the same time as some other even bigger super-heavies and his fate in supporting action in tag bouts was sealed.
Alex Mulko was a Canadian born heavyweight from Ontario who British fans were told was from Ukraine on his arrival in Britain. Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union in those days and consequently a fitting birthplace of a wrestling villain.
It was a character he had already developed, though he was known as Nikita Kalmikoff in Australia and the United States. Early days in North America had seen him making use of his birth name, Alex Mulko.
Whatever the name the big bearded, North American or Russian the tank sized seventeen stoner was inevitably a villain.
A genuine international supporting bill worker Mulkovich, had turned professional around 1953, and was already known in the rings of the USA, Canada, Japan and Australia, albeit the latter being a short tour of a few weeks.
As the Soviet alleged bad guy with the all-telling beard numerous disqualifications were inevitable, but he was surprisingly allowed victories over Dazzler Joe Cornelius and Judo Al Hayes before being presented as the sacrificial offering to Billy Robinson at the Royal Albert Hall.
Black Jack Mulligan
See the entry for Larry Coulton
Energetic Canadian settled in Britain during the 1950s, spent the winter months flying around our rings as a top middleweight and the summer months swimming and diving in aqua shows in Europe and North America. 1950s fan Raven remembers Jimmy Munlack as a "brilliant Canadian middleweight. " Raven was in attendance at the Victoria Hall, Hanley, around 1950 when Jimmy "Wrestled Jack Beaumont in one of the most scientific bouts I have ever seen ..... Stoke on Trent had been looking forward to the match for ages. When the great day arrived we were all bitterly disappointed when Jimmy Munlack was shown into the ring with his arm in plaster as a result of an accident in the Gym. He could not compete that night and was replaced by Bob Steele who lost to Jack Beaumont after a hard tussle. The match we had all been looking forward to subsequently took place about six weeks later.”
One of the great names in Scottish wrestling. Alec Munro of Edinburgh trained at the Holyrood Club, represented his country in international competition and won the British amateur championship in London on 1st December, 1927. He also wrestled Catch as Catch Can style and wrestled professional shortly afterward. Our first record of Alec as a professional is in December, 1930, when he wrestled Harold Angus in Doncaster, and was by then billed as Scottish lightweight champion. As a consequence of this contest Angus was stripped of his amateur status. During the 1930s Alec wrestled, both Catch as Catch Can and All In style, against the big name lighter men – Harold Angus, Dick Wills, Billy Moores and Jack Carrol. On occasions Alec also officiated as a referee.
Not to be confused with his uncle, also Alec Munro, the policeman from Govan, who at the start of the Twentieth century wrestled Hackenschmidt, Madrali and travelled to America to face Frank Gotch.