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T: Thomson - Thundercloud

Wrestling Heritage A-Z

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Clayton Thomson

Billed from Glasgow but wrestled for most of his titled period out of Leeds and then Essex.

A dedicated amatuer who was trained for the professional ranks by Norman Morrell, making his professional debut at Blackburn against Don Branch in 1959.

He quickly won the Scottish Light-heavyweight championship and within two years had twice failed to defeat Ernie Riley in British championship bouts. There was little surprise when he  later went on to take the the British Middleweight Championship.

Undoubtedly skilful but struggled to find a niche amongst the colourful antics of his peers.  Did we really want to know in 1969 that he had gone six months without being pinned?  Did this make for exciting professional wrestling?  Perhaps at the time it seemed so.

Surprised everyone by his heel turn when donning a mask.  Almost unbeaten, never  unmasked, but the phase failed to arouse much excitement all round.  

News of Clayton's 2010 death, as announced at the Wrestlers' Reunion that August, came as a shock to many.

Wrestled once again as Clay mid-seventies before disappearing without ado.  A review is available in Armchair Corner entitled "Shenanagans, Skulduggery and Betrayal."


Scott Thomson

Scott Thomson was born in Govan, Glasgow. Following a chance encounter with Dale Storm after a show  he was persuaded to attend Dale's  gym for a tryout. Having been taken under the wing of several top stars, he emerged as a formidable opponent, not only in his own lightweight division, but could hold his own with most in higher brakets as well.

Being one of the fastest and strongest in the lightweight class, he excelled in the ring in most of his one to one contests and even found some fame along with his regular tag team partner Jeff Bradley when it came to a four up. Occasional spells as a referee helped improve his overall knowledge and understanding of the finer points of wrestling and he quickly became a huge crowd pleaser nationwide. Amongst his toughest opponents he lists Ireland's Michael O'Hagan, Jim Morgan (the younger twin in The Fabulous Harlequins Tag Team),  also former (independent) British Lightweight Champion Ian McKenzie and Aberdeen's Len Ironside.

His greatest achievement must be Perth, in the late 1970's where with the bout evenly balanced at one fall each, an accidental shoulder injury prevented a first career win, over one of the UK's best ever, Mr Johnny Saint! After he retired Scott moved to the Scottish Borders where he and his wife Margaret fully enjoy the slower pace of life in a glorious rural surrounding. The photo shows Scott with a figure four leglock on Jim Morgan.

With thanks to Dale Storm for this contribution.


Reported in the news pages 8.1.12

Govan's Scott Thomson was one of the fastest and strongest of Scottish lightweights in the 1960s. Having retired from the ring and his work as a local government officer  some years ago Scot now has high hopes of following in the footsteps of Bert Royal, Al Hayes, Rex Strong and Len Ironside. His plans are not to match his contemporaries in Scotland's wrestling arenas, but in an arena of an altogether different kind, politics.

Scott, known to family and friends as Wee Tammy, or his family name of Tommy Stevenson,  has been selected as the SNP candidate in the  Hawick and Hermitage ward at the Scottish Borders Council elections on 3rd May 2012. With the Hawick and Hermitage ward currently served by a Conservative, a Lib Dem and an independent, Tommy is hopeful that the SNPs national popularity will provide momentum for him to break new ground in the ward. 

Tommy's policies concentrate on the  protection of the most vulnerable members of the community, the young and the elderly. The welfare of young people has always been important to Tommy, a former Boys' Brigade officer and voluntary worker in numerous charitable organisations,  community councils and the Children's Panel.  Tommy told Wrestling Heritage  that he would be campaigning for community centres for youngsters, encouraging them to take up sport.   Tommy is also concerned about the number of children whose lives are ruined through drug abuse and  is consequently campaigning for strengthening the police force and tougher sentences for those who supply drugs. A happy, stable and supportive family life is the most important factor in a child's development and so Tommy is committed to helping families by working for more affordable homes and promoting growth in the area by boosting local industry, increasing employment opportunities and  improving shopping facilities. Other priorities include reducing vandalism and more effective inspections of residential homes for the elderly.

Tommy believes that his his experience as a community councillor and local government officer will serve him well should he be elected. He is also an elder at Teviothead Church,   chair of the village hall committee and a recipient of the Service Above Self Award, the Rotary Club's highest honour for an individual Rotarian.

Apart from his wrestling memories, "Oh how I miss the days of being in the ring," Tommy is a boxing fan and keen gardener.

Councillors Davie Paterson (Independent), Ron Smith (Lib Dem),  and George Turnbull (Conservative)  presently serve the  Hawick and Hermitage ward.


Les Thornton (Henri Pierlot)

For much of his career the name was all French, but the man himself was as Lancashire as they come. Shown above in one of his earlier matches against a Boltonian destined to become a far more exotic persona.

Popular Salford heavyweight Les Thornton initially adopted the French name Henri Pierlot to add a bit of glamour to the already colourful posters of the northern independent promoters. Our memories of Henri Pierlot go back to a rough, hard hitting heavyweight tackling the likes of Dominic Pye and Angus Campbell on the Northern independent circuit.





Even in those mid sixties Pierlot had already established himself as a force to be reckoned with through a series of bouts with the great Bert Assirati.  Henri Pierlot had entered the professional ranks in 1957 shortly after leaving the Royal Navy.

For the first five years or so he worked for the independent promoters, working simultaneously at Salford docks. Whilst main eventing for Paul Lincoln Management  Henri came to the attention of the big promoters and was signed up by Joint Promotions for the first time in October, 1962.

Following several successful years wrestling throughout Europe, and making a big impression in the German tournaments, Henri gained worldwide success in 1971 in Japan , North America, Australia and New Zealand. . Now using the name Les Thornton, he won the North American Heavyweight Title by defeating Abdullah the Butcher in Regina, Canada in April 1971. At the time Thornton described this as the toughest and most dangerous match of a career which included heavyweight greats such as Bert Assirati, Bill Robinson, Dara Singh, Bholu Pehalwan  and Dory Funk Jr.

A series of bouts in 1972 with World Heavyweight Champion Dory Funk Jr established Thornton as one of the world’s top heavyweights.  He regained the North American championship for a second time when he defeated John Quinn in December, 1974. Further international success continued with the taking of the NWA  World Junior Heavyweight Title, but despite returns to his home country Thornton remained largely a great wrestler without honour in his own country.

Tiny Tom Thumb

Chelmsford lightweight Tom Thumb was given the name when wrestling for Jackie Pallo Promotions (though it was Jon Cortez's idea). It didn't take a second look to know why because he stood barely five feet tall and was said to be Britain's smallest wrestler.

For the Essex teenager it all began when Neil Sands invited him to his new gym in Chelmsford and that was the start of  the classic wrestling fan's  dream of becoming a wrestler coming true. 

In the ring the fans loved him as he literally ran rings around villains such as  Sid Cooper, Bobby Barnes and, maybe most memorable of all, Jim Breaks. More comedy than classic wrestling there was certainly a place for Tom Thumb in British wrestling of the seventies and eighties, and no one was more likely to send the fams home with  smiles on their faces. 

Memorable tag partner of Catweazle and Big Daddy (above right); both pairings cold have been dubbed The Odd Couple!  Since retiring from the ring Tom Thumb has remained very much part of the wrestling business, as promoter, referee and master of ceremonies.

Chief Thunderbird (Canada)
The first native American to wrestle in British rings, a decade before we had heard the name Billy Two Rivers. The original Chief Thunderbird was possibly a bigger attraction in Britain, where he spent much of his career between 1950 and 1955, than he was in his native Canada. 
Born in  1896, given the name Jean Baptiste Paul in 1896, he was the hereditary chief of the Tsartlip Indians at Brentwood on Vancouver Island. His entry to the ring in native American costume and to the sound of pounding drums  made him a colourful addition to British rings long before the arrival of Billy Two Rivers.
His specialist move was the  "Saanich Snap," which was similar to what was also known as the "Indian Deathlock. Having turned professional in 1933 he retired from wrestling in  in 1955 when he broke his leg during a match.
He made two visits to Britain, the first during 1951 and 1952, and again during 1954 and 1955. Opponents included Bill Garnon, Dave Armstrong, Jack Pye and Mike Marino.   Jean Baptiste Paul died on 23rd November, 1966, following which a totem pole was commissioned in his honour with the inscription

"All the world knew him as Chief Thunderbird, greatly skilled in athletic games and world champion wrestler.''

Chief Thunderbird (Chief Sitting Bull) (UK)

The name Chief Thunderbird re-emerged in the 1960s on the shows of the independent promoters. This time his origins were not wild west, but east European.

The man beneath the headdress was  Polish born Ben Watijeski who was now living in Levenshulme.Ben wrestled for the independents throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s. 

He was the Indian who was double crossed by Bill Blake in "Send in the Clown" and finished up getting a tomahawk chop down his own throat.