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.
Hostility was assured in 1930s Britain as the shaven headed villain would pause before entering the ring to make the Nazi salute and then goose step around the ring. "So tough he chews nails and spits out rust," promised the promoters.
He returned to post war rings and wrestled in the World Heavyweight Championship tournament held at Harringay in 1947. The Times newspaper of 3rd and 4th March, 1938, reported that Reginsky was instructed to pay referee Philip Meadon one hundred and fifty pounds for assaulting him in the dressing room. Reginsky was alleged to have kicked the referee following his disqualification We understand Mr Meadon never received his money as the wrestler was declared bankrupt shortly afterwards.
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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.
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.
Born in 1905 and growing up in an area steeped in catch wrestling tradition Joe was trained by fellow Leigh wrestler Harry Pennington. The poster on the right advertises a 1927 Lancashire Catch as Catch Can Tournament in which both Joe and Pennington competed.
A representative in both the 1930 Empire Games (winning a silver medal), 1934 (bronze medal) and the 1932 Olympic Games, where his 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.
Shortly after his 1935 win Joe turned professional, almost midget like in comparison with most of those who wrestled in the 1930s All-in rings. 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, whic resulted in Joe being badly injured though retaining his title. Joe recovered and eventually lost his British title to Cliff Beaumont.
His professional career extended throughout the 1950s and sprawled into the mid sixties by which time he was an occasional feature on the independent bills of the north.
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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.