Yes, it's true. There was something in the water in Lancashire.
Apart from the names we all remember there were hard men that could wrestle and made a vital contribution at a regional level. Such men were the backbone of the business, but never achieved lasting national fame. One of these was the Bolton tough nut, Wally Seddon. Wally turned to wrestling in the mid 1930s. Times were hard during the 1930s recession and Wally turned to wrestling as an escape route from the hardship of life in the industrial north.
A regular at the big halls in Newcastle, Manchester and Liverpool Wally faced pre war greats such as Herbie Rosenberg, Jack Atherton and Vic Hessle.
Following the war Wally continued wrestling, rarely venturing further south than Birmingham, but facing the likes of Count Bartelli until he was last seen in 1955. The calibre of opponent over such a long period is enough to show that here was a man of calibre.
The Mexican came over to Britain in 1974. He was already a seasoned professional of some twenty years, making his debut in 1952, mainly spent working in his native Mexico. In 1973 he began a tour of Europe, taking in Austria, Germany and Britain. A tv disqualification against Tug Wilson, but in 1974 when Niggly Mick was arguably at his peak promoter Ted Beresford seemingly allowed a disqualification verdict with Mick going down to Canelo Segura. Tells us something. Or does it?
Okay, we confess to knowing next to nothing about this stockily built heavyweight from Grimsby.
We were surprised to see him listed in the 1970s book The Who's Who of Wrestling, which omitted famous names like Les Kellett!
The Who's Who of Wrestling told us Graham was an ex soldier who was trained at Bradford YMCA by Joe Hill. Our ignorance certainly does not mean Graham lacked talent and his contribution should be recognised. We just need to know more.
Please get in touch if you can provide more information.
Steve Serene (Solitaire)
Steve First became interested in wrestling when he met and became a close friend of JJ Pallo at school. Steve first started his wrestling at the age 15 when he joined Breaks Amateur Wrestling Club in Hatfield Hertfordshire. He broke into the professional ranks in 1975 after being trained by Jackie Pallo and Jackie Jnr. and was soon to become a regular at all the venues run by Jackie Pallo Enterprises and other independent promoters. He was wrestling 3 to 4 times a week throughout the country from the mid seventies to the mid eighties both as himself and in a mask as Solitaire. Through his connections with Jackie Pallo he was privileged throughout his career to wrestle with many of the greats of British wrestling and to appear on the same bills with all the top names. He appeared on four TV shows that were screened both here and in America.
The dark haired twenty-something Essex welterweight surprised the wrestling world when he was crowned successor to Jack Dempsey following the champion's temporary retirement. When Dempsey packed his kit bag for the last time the usual suspects of McManus, Pallo, Capelli and Colbeck were hailed as likely successors. No one mentioned Alan Serjeant, or Alan Wood, who he defeated in the final of the championship knock-out tournament, for that matter. Nonetheless, it was Serjeant that took the belt on 26th November, 1966 at Hemel Hempstead. Alan held the title for two weeks short of a year before losing, and then regaining it, from Jim Breaks, and finally losing it for good to Brian Maxine in September, 1969. Serjeant's championship success was a surprise on a number of counts. Firstly, he was relatively unknown and inexperienced; secondly he was a southerner in a landscape of northern British champions, and thirdly he was one of the Paul Lincoln stable who had made the crossing over to Joint Promotions earlier in the year. Alan quickly grew into the role of champion and was accepted by fans as a legitimate successor to Dempsey. His technical ability gained respect, but his lack of flair and absence of gimmicks meant he was never to be a top of the bill regular. Alan's flexibility in the ring was a sight to behold and he could escape from a boston crab like no other. Also a great exponent of the surf-board.
There was a short visit to southern England in February, 1964 for Belgian heavyweight Marius Servais. Opponents included Johnny Allan, Georges Gordienko, John Lees and Roy Bull Davis.