R: Regal - Renaldo
Wrestling Heritage A-Z
Codsall’s Steve Regal is one of the few to gain long term substantial success in the United States. Steve learned the business under the guidance of Blackpool wrestler and promoter Bobby Barron, working around the holiday camps, fairground booths and small halls of northern England. Signed up by max Crabtree to work for Joint Promotions he is well remembered in Britain for his tag pairing with Robbie Brookside. As wrestling went into near terminal decline in the UK Steve crossed the Atlantic to become one of the top performers for all the major US promotions, transforming into William Regal and Lord Steven Regal on the way. His story can be read in full in "Walking A Golden Mile."
There was an active wrestling scene in the east of England around 1970. Bill and Ron Clarke, Brian Trevors, John L Hagar and dozens of other local wrestlers entertained wrestling enthusiasts on a regular basis.
This was the environment that enthused a young twenty year old to get involved in the sport. All that and encouragement from his father in law who wrestled locally as Gypsy Bonito and taught him the rudiments of the business.
Danny Regan turned professional in 1971. For fourteen years he entertained the fans, working mostly for Le Royale Promotions. The photo shows Danny on the left at a carnival show in the 1970s. His career stretched into the 1980s, ending in 1985.
Danny enjoyed his time in the business and told us that Downham Market Town Hall was the best of the lot!
French welterweight spent a week or so in Britain during the winter of 1958-59. Opponents included Mick McManus, Bert Royal, Jack Dempsey and a Royal Albert Hall defeat by Johnny Kwango.
One of the big names of the 1930s, and claimant of the European heavyweight championship in pre war Britain, Casimir Raczynski settled in London and Anglicised his name.
“Germany's Ace Bad Man” proclaimed the posters, and he was a man who should receive a prize for sheer audacity. Here we were in 1930s Europe with Hitler tightening his hold on the German nation about to embark on his European undertaking and in British wrestling rings Carl Reginsky was goose stepping around and giving the Nazi salute. The fans reacted just as you would expect and Reginsky was one of the most hated of all 1930s wrestlers, as he laughed his way to the bank.
Infamy not just in the ring. When Reginsky was sued by referee Phil Meader for assault in the dressing room the presiding judge, clearly not a fan of wrestling and sceptical that any rules existed, sarcastically commented that wrestlers were not allowed to eat their opponents. Rules were read to the court, including one that wrestlers’ seconds were not permitted to give their fighter strychnine or cocaine, followed by laughter. The judge described Reginsky’s attack as ‘a little discourteous’.
Leigh's Jim Reid didn't achieve the fame of his older brother, Joe, and his career did not extend so long. He was, nonetheless, a genuine Lancashire catch wrestler who continued to work the professional rings of northern England until around 1950.
Wrestling Heritage readers with any recollection of Leigh's Joe Reid probably remember a veteran well past his prime working until the mid sixties often against Jim Bevan.
Cast aside such thoughts and celebrate one of the great Lancashire catch wrestlers, champion amateur, and successful professional for three decades.
Joe Reid was born in Leigh, Lancashire, in 1905. A coal miner by trade, the tell tale signs of scars on his back were there for wrestling fans to see. He was schooled in both amateur style and Catch as Catch Can style wrestling, trained by Harry Pennington. It was an education that was to create one of the finest professional wrestlers of the pre and post war years. Only his diminutive stature has prevented the name Joe Reid being remembered with the honour of that given to Francis St Clair Gregory, Eric Taylor and Ernie Riley.
In 1930 Joe represented England in the first ever Empire Games taking the silver medal after losing to Canadian James Trifunov in the bantamweight final. Four years later when the games were held in London Joe again took to the podium, this time settling for a bronze medal.
Between times Joe competed in the 1932 Los Angeles. Joe was one of two wrestlers representing Great Britain, the other being Joseph Taylor. The global economic downturn and the distance from Europe caused many countries to send smaller teams and fewer competitors took part than in any Olympics since 1904. Joe Reid was eliminated after losing two of his three matches in the freestyle bantamweight division and finished fifth in the placings. The victory was over Greece's Georgios Zervinis, a veteran of three Olympic Games. Joe's two losses were against the eventual gold and bronze medal winners, American Bob Pearce and Finland's Aatos Jaskari. In Britain he was unassailable in the bantamweight division and won the British bantamweight championship every year from 1931 to 1935.
A very slight man, therefore, to enter the world of professional wrestling in the 1930s, where big men like Jack Pye, Norman the Butcher and Carver Doone were the fans' favourites. Joe made his professional debut in May, 1935 at Preston, against the heavier Sid Milligan. Joe readily admitted that he saw wrestling as a means of escaping a life down the pits.
Throughout the second half of the 1930s Joe travelled extensively, gaining a good reputation usually against heavier opponents that included Bully Pye, Harry Rabin and Black Butcher Johnson.
Naturally Joe was called up during the Second World War, which put his wrestling career on hold. He was captured whilst serving and spent much of the war enduring a Japanese Prisoner of War camp. In 2002 Joe was nominated as a local hero who deserved honouring in the Leigh town centre walk of fame.
For a short time in 1948 Joe was British lightweight champion in northern rings but in those days, there was no nationally recognised set of champions. At the time Joe was one of the trainers at Norman Morrell's gym in Bradford. One of the students was a young George Kidd. Kidd was granted a title match against his tutor, Joe Reid. Joe warned Kidd that no favours would be granted. George managed to apply a figure four leg lock on Joe, but Joe would not submit, which resulted in Joe being badly injured though retaining his title. Joe recovered and eventually lost his British title to Cliff Beaumont.
Joe continued wrestling for many years, until the 1960s in fact. By then he was well past his prime, slower in his movements, but a wrestling mind as alert as ever, remembered by Heritage member Mike Agusta, who told us that one of the greatest memories of his wrestling career was visiting Joe Reid's gymnasium.
Billed as a heavyweight from Munich, Germany, Reiss visited Britain in 1947 and again in the 1950s, unsuccessfully challenging Frank Sexton for a version of the World Heavyweight Championship in 1954. Faced many of Britain's top heavyweights, and in most cases dutifully went down to them.
Curly haired Tony Renaldo emerged from the Second World War, in which he was captured and held as a prisoner of war, to become one of the promising post war middleweights. We'd like to know what became of him.
Please get in touch if you can provide more information.