WRESTLING HERITAGE

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Gunther Nordhoff
German Gunther Nordhoff  visited Britain during the winter of 1960-61.   He was well known in Germany as the face for a polish commercial over many years. In the  commercial  he used the  name "Meister Propper" which he then adopted  in the ring for a short time.   A German amateur champion in 1953 he turned professional in the late 1950s, and it was the beginning of a career that was to span thirty years, working throughout Germany and Austria, notably at the  famous Heumarkt in Vienna. When he came to Britain, for Joint Promotions,  opponents included Bob Sweeney, Ernie Riley, Francis St Clair Gregory, Billy Howes and Arthur Beaumont. In the photograph Gunther is standing behind Achim Chall.

Norman the Butcher
Norman the Butcher ... one of those evocative names of the All-In wrestling era. He wasn't a big man, weighing around 14 stones, but that didn't prevent him being known as “The KO King of Britain.” Born on 23rd February, 1911 in Wandsworth, London.

Starting out with his family name, Norman Ansell, it seems that his career was progressing at something of a leisurely pace. That is until the creative mind of promoter Atholl Oakeley re-invented Norman as Norman The Butcher, resplendent with trademark yellow trunks, and a yellow dressing gown adorned with a skull and cross bones on the back. Oakeley credits George Boganski as the man who taught Norman how to live up to his name.   

The great black, hairy chest, energy and rough-house tactics made Norman an exciting and hard wrestler if not the most scientific. The image change transformed Norman into one of the top drawing names around the halls, particularly working for promoter Oakeley against other Oakeley men that included Kings Curtis, Jack Pye, Carver Doone, Bulldog Bill Garnon and, of course, Oakeley himself. Norman brought colour into a sport; standing out in a world of larger than life characters. 

The Daily Mirror of 5th August, 1932, reported “ugly scenes” following Benny Sherman's victory over Norman.  Following Sherman's win “The Butcher struck out at the referee before he left to the accompaniment of boos and hisses.”  Such scenes were not rare. At the end of the month, in a match against Billy Wood in Nottingham, fans threw beer bottles, oranges and newspapers into the ring and the police escorted Norman to the dressing room whilst Wood was carried shoulder high by the fans. This was after Norman had knocked out Wood with a series of rabbit punches to the back of his head and kicks to the stomach.

Norman appears to have left wrestling in the early 1940s, though for many years later could be seen attending wrestling shows at the Royal Albert Hall, where one day into the ring would enter his son, Lee Bronson.

Norman the Butcher died in 1987.

Fred Norman
We came across the Isle of Man’s Fred Norman for the first time in 1935 in a middleweight contest at Preston. Reports suggest that Fred was a fast and skilled wrestler yet also extremely rough, and could hold his own with most, including Empire Games silver medalist and renowned catch wrestler Joe Reid. Most of the matches we found were in the north of England, suggesting that this was where he was based. By 1948 we find him with increased weight with a number of matches at Belle Vue, Manchester against Francis St Clair Gregory, George Gregory, Clem Lawrence, Harry Brooks and Pat Curry. 

Charlie Northey
See the entry for Roy Bull Davis

Stefan Novotny
We would welcome more information on this Hungarian wrestler who appeared in British rings between May and December 1946, sixteen times at Belle Vue Manchester. A big, and usefeul man whose opponents included Bert Assirati, Charlie Green, Dave Armstrong, Bill Garnon and Chick Knight.

Karol Nowina
Krakow's  Karol Szczerbinski took the professional name Karol Nowina after turning professional in the United States in 1929; having moved there from his native Poland five years earlier.  He wrestled in Britain in 1937, mostly in the south, but taking occasional jaunts north.

Bert Nuttall
Stockport's Bert Nuttall was the oldest of the Nuttall brothers who boxed briefly and turned to working as a policeman and professional wrestling after serving in France during the Second World War. He was a tall, slim heavyweight who wrestled throughout the north for many years, mainly for the independent promoters. In one of his Joint Promotions matches, against Ian Campbell in 1961, Bob Andrews reported, "Bert dictated much of the first two rounds, but in the third Mr.Scotland took over. He threw Bert on to a corner post and applied a back-breaker over the shoulder which forced Bert to submit. Unfortunately, Bert hurt his shoulder in this round and was unable to carry on. Ian thus gained the verdict."

Remembered by ex wrestler Eddie Rose as a quiet, well mannered man whilst neighbour and Heritage reader Ray Noble rembers "a real gentleman." 

George Nuttall
George was the younger of the Nutall brothers.  After serving in the navy  Stockport's George Nuttall turned to wrestling following a career as a professional boxer, active between 1948 and 1957. 

Whilst boxing George graced the rings of famous wrestling arenas that included the Harringay Stadium, the Nottingham Ice Rink, Manchester' Ardwick Stadium and the Royal Albert Hall.  In 1949 George was a sparring partner for British heavyweight champion Bruce Woodcock.

More greatly respected than many of the boxers that turned to wrestling George was never destined to become one of the more famous stars of the wrestling ring.