Wrestling Heritage A-Z
Tony Vallon ... The Vampire ... Albert Van Der Auwera ... Piet Van Dooren ... Izzy Van Dutz ... Tony Van Hal ... Arnold Van Heiden ... Fred Van Lotter ... Carl Van Wurden ... Paul Anton Vargas .. Steve Veidor ...Vega-Dingo ... Braulio Veliz ... Lino Ventura ... Crusher Oscar Verdu ... Charles Jan Verhulst ... More ...
Like many others the Mancunian Tony Vallon's interest lay in body building, and it was later that he joined other wrestlers in the gym and became interested in the sport.
Born on 15th May, 1928 he was twenty-one when he turned professional in 1949 and had his last contest thirteen years later. It was whilst completing his national service that Tony became interested in wrestling, and interest he pursued on his return to Manchester. Tony's muscular physique made him a popular light heavyweight of the 1950s, not only in Britain but also on the continent, particularly in Spain, Switzerland, Germany and Austria.
His weight positioned him well to meet a wide range of opponents from welterweight Alan Colbeck to heavies Gerry deJager and even Man Mountain Benny, with just about everyone else in between. Tony was a very busy wrestler but confined most of his appearances to north of Birmingham with the occasional jaunts into the deep south, which even included Royal Albert Hall matches against Steve Logan and Billy Howes.
He was one of the pioneers of television wrestling; we have three recorded bouts (there may have been others) against Inca Peruano, John Foley and Billy Howes.
A 15 stone all-action heavyweight from the Netherlands, "The Flying Dutchman," who was well known in the German tournaments, visited Britain in June 1955, with opponents including Jack Pye, Francis St Clair, Gregory and Dave Armstrong.
Professional wrestling has never been short of colourful characters and just the wonderful name of Izzy Van Dutz was enough to make him one of the most colourful.
The alleged Dutchman, though east end of London would have been a more accurate description of his place of origin, had been introduced into the wrestling business by Athol Oakeley (as the Dutch Heavyweight Champion) in 1932.
During his career the dastardly Izzy wrestled every big name of the period from Athol Oakeley to World Champion Jack Sherry and Golden Boy Mike Marino. Indeed, it was Izzy Van Dutz that finally ended the career, through a shoulder injury, of the esteemed Athol Oakeley.
Most definitely rooted in the pre war years Izzy’s career continued post war and our final recorded appearance is 1952, at Bury St Edmunds against Don Stedman. The poster is from 1946 and contains quite a few names you will read about elsewhere on Wrestling Heritage.
Mid heavyweight from Belgium worked in Britain in the 1950s.
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The Anglo Dutch welterweight worked for the independent promoters from the late 1950s, moving across to Dale Martin in 1963. Our last record of him is in 1964. Tony Scarlo is seeking news of his old friend who he remembers lived in the East End of London where he owned a shoe shop called Footwear Maintenance, later re-locating to Dagenham. Anyone with information can contact Tony via email@example.com
Born in Cape Town, in 1934, this South African middleweight first came to Britain in 1959, and became a regular feature in Southern rings for the following few years. From his home in Cape Town Fred had worked as a professional photographer and crew member on a tuna vessel before taking up professional wrestling. He had been professional for less than a year, having made his debut in South Africa against lightweight champion Billy Meyer at Gordon’s Bay only a few months earlier, when he set out on the journey north to Britain. His rough-house style found him few fans amongst the British wrestling enthusiasts but made him an ideal tag partner for Iron Jaw Joe Murphy. The pair annexed the European welterweight tag team title from Ken Joyce and Eddie Capelli for a short time.
From his home in Cape Town Fred had worked as a professional photographer and crew member on a tuna vessel before taking up professional wrestling.
He had been professional for less than a year, having made his debut in South Africa against lightweight champion Billy Meyer at Gordon’s Bay only a few months earlier, when he set out on the journey north to Britain.
His rough-house style found him few fans amongst the British wrestling enthusiasts but made him an ideal tag partner for Iron Jaw Joe Murphy. The pair annexed the European welterweight tag team title from Ken Joyce and Eddie Capelli for a short time.
Wrestling in his native Canada pre war Van Wurden was holder of both the Canadian Middleweight and Light heavyweight titles. His standing in pro wrestling circles can be seen by his three times defeat of Henri Irslinger when the Austrian visited Canada in the summer of 1932. By that time he had already been working professioanlly for more than a decade.
He came to Britain in 1937 and was based in Britain during the Second World War. Heritage member Bernard tells us that when the Green Asp was unmasked at Newcastle in November 1939 the face revealed was that of Carl Van Wurden.
By then he was already a champion, having won the British Empire light heavyweight title in 1938 at the Royal Albert Hall. The blond haired Canadian wrestled in the World Heavyweight Championship tournament held at Harirngay in 1947. He was unfortunate enough to meet the eventual tournament winner in the opening round, with the inevitable result.
His wrestling career continued until the early 1950s. Carl appeared in the 1953 British comedy, "It's A Grand Life." His long retirement at his home in Manchester, and later, Blackpool, becoming yet another ex wrestler (and one of the first) to be seen in Coronation Street.
Carl van Wurden died in Blackpool in 2008.
Read our extended tribute: Masked and Maskless
1956, 1957 and 1959 Spanish visitor to Britain who agreeably dropped the European middleweight title to Bolton's Bert Royal at Hanley in October, 1956. We can find no information about him winning the title. Opponents included Charlie Fisher, Black Butcher Johnson and Jean Morandi (all at the Royal Albert Hall). Worked in Germany under the name Bela Vargya.
Heritage member Tom H visited a small museum in Bognor Regis where he saw a wrestling handbill on display in a glass cabinet. The main event was described as follows: "Paul Lincoln proudly introduces the real life American Cherokee red Indian, VEGA-DINGO, Do not miss the fire ritual entrance to the ring of this young brave." His opponent was "REBEL" RAY HUNTER.the British Empire champion.Tom went on to learn that Vega-Dingo wrestled for Paul Lincoln in 1963 and also wrestled in Spain. Further detective work by SaxonWolf discoovered that Vega-Dingo was a Spaniard named Sebastien Campos Vega-Dingo.
The baby faced Spanish welterweight from Cuenca made two journeys to the British Isles, the first in 1965 and again in 1967. Promoters did the visitors no favours and top rated men like Pallo, Kidd, Dempsey and McManus disposed of the Spaniard, the latter at the Royal Albert Hall in April 1965. That didn't stop Charles Mascall (editor of The Wrestler) describing him as as one of the best Spanish welterweights for some time.
Whatever, that didn't prevent Linde Caulder taking the decision over him in the same month. Whilst the 1965 visit was confined to southern Dale Martin Promotion rings the 1967 tour was to the north of England and Scotland.
Veliz was willing to rough up his opponents when he felt necessary, never more so than when he partnered Inca Peruano during his 1967 tour.
Italian Lino Ventura visited Britain for a short tour in 1949. Opponents included Ted Betley, Lew Roseby and Tim McCoy. Shortly afterwards Lino's career was ended by an injury. He went on to a successful film career, mainly in France, where he had lived since he was seven years old. During the Second World War Lino was conscripted into the Italian army, but he deserted to remain faithful to the French people. Lino Ventura was founder of the Pierce-Neige charitable foundation which encourages governments to recognize the needs of people with intellectual disabilities and their families, particularly in terms of childcare, and change the way society looks at people with intellectual disabilities, their integration, and overcome stereotypes. In 2005 Le Plus Grand Français de tous les temps (The Greatest Frenchman of all Time) was broadcast on French television. It was based on the BBC series Great Britons, in which viewers voted for their greatest countryman of all time. Lino Ventura was voted number 23, just above French President François Mitterrand and the architect Gustave Eiffel.
The magnicient specimen on the left, one early sixties Rick Ferraro billed out of Chicago, managed to metamorphose into the ponderous ball of lard, right, that "dis"graced British rings over several visits in the sixties, initially with Paul Lincoln Promotions in 1964 and 65, and later on with Dale Martin Promotions up to the end of the decade.
Billed from Columbus, Ohio, Crusher Verdu spent excessive periods not engaged in combat and not doing his job, under the guise of preening. Years later Giant Haystacks would make a habit of spending a couple of opening minutes on the prowl, but we didn't want such disengagement from someone half his size ten years earlier.
Allegedly a master of the bearhug, and allegedly beat Bruno Sammartino at Madison Square Garden to claim the World Heavyweight Championship on 15th June 1970. He in fact never did gain that title and after a stopped bout against Bruno Sammartino was firmly put in his place in a return shortly afterwards. Thanks to stateside Heritage browser Derek Bush for his confirmation of New York events.
Just goes to show what status a wrestler of limited ability could achieve in the USA if he could point to a lengthy British stay on his curriculum.
Factually again, Verdu lost to Rebel Ray Hunter at the Royal Albert Hall.
Resurfaced in European rings eight years later with a run in the German tournaments, where he often tagged alongside Mal Kirk.
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Actually Charles Louis Verhulst by birth, he intended to become a teacher but along the way got sidelined into wrestling; not much change there some might say.
The Popular heavyweight wrestler from Liege, Belgium was just twenty-four when he visited the UK in 1962 and periodically through the decade. He was an all round sportsman who also listed painting and sculpture amongst his hobbies.
He was a popular and skilful wrestler who met the best but had a record that was at best mixed. Draws against Al Hayes and Kendo Nagasaki were more than offset when he surely reached an all time low with a 2-0 loss to Crusher Verdu at Southampton in March, 1969.
Worked extensively throughout Europe in the 1970s and Japan in 1985, where he used the name Johnny Londos.