We are always pleased to hear from ex wrestlers or their family members, and welcome information or photos from anyone to enhance the A-Z section.
Harry Rabin ... Jean Rabut ... Max Raeger ... Ragnor the Viking ... Angelo Ramon ... Dave (Reggie) Ramsden ... Peter Rann ... Leif Rasmussen ... Rasputin ... Lou Ravelle ... Ripper Raven ... Alf Rawlings ... Bill Rawlings .. Jim Rawlings ... Keith Rawlinson ...Reg Ray ... Jack Raymond ... Young (Farmer) Raymond ... Red Demon ... Red Devil ... Chief Red Eagle ... Red Marvel ... Red Mask ... Red Scorpion ... Red Shadow ... Dai Rees
East end of London working class hero of the 1930s, complete with two cauliflower ears.. A fine amateur wrestler who made a successful and colourful transition to the professional ranks. He was one of best pre war wrestlers and his incredible story can be read in the Top Wrestlers of the 1930s
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Erstwhile French and European lightweight champion Jean Rabut visited Britain in the early 1960s.
Opponents included the welterweights big three of McManus, Pallo and Dempsey, alongside a Royal Albert Hall victory over Bernard Murray, which a decade later was said by Bernard to be one of his most memorable contests.
Many of the names you read about here at Wrestling Heritage tell us they owe so much to Charlie Glover and his gym behind The Junction Public House in Barnsley.
Well, Max Raeger is yet another. As a teenager he was there learning the business from the old hands Dai Sullivan, Dwight J Ingleburgh, Karl Von Kramer, Pedro the Gypsy and the rest of the Yorkshire lads that made The Junction their second home.
“My inspiration to become a professional wrestler came from the first time I saw Hans Streiger in action. His charisma and showmanship was outstanding. He could manipulate the audience with his ring psychology to any degree. I was proud to have known him both in and out of the wrestling business as we had a common interest in other things. A man's man if ever there was one."
Max was a Yorkshire lad with Irish roots, born in the Denaby area of Doncaster in 1945, with memories of his grandfather who sold ice cream from his horse drawn cart. Max left Northclffe School in 1961 and when he was 19 years old he began working on the boxing and wrestling booths. It was hard work, wrestling as many as five or six times a day, but the money was good and the experience prepared Max for life as a professional wrestler. When he turned professional in 1964 it was initially for the independent promoters. Early opponents included Butcher Goodman, Stoker Brooks and Pedro the Gypsy, who was later to become a regular tag partner. “Some of my happiest times in the business were when I was doing Blackpool shows with Pedro.After the shows we would often go to the tower to listen to the Wurlitzer being played, have a pint, and watch the dancers. It was a great way to relax after doing 4or 5 shows during the day”
When Max caught the attention of George de Relwyskow he was signed up by Joint Promotions and became a regular worker throughout the north of England and Scotland meeting the likes of Honey Boy Zimba, Ivan Penzecoff and Barry Douglas. Max's career was to span twenty-two years, taking in over three thousand contests. Much of the time Max wrestled overseas, working in India, Pakistan, the UAE, Germany, Zambia, Kenya, Sweden and Norway.
Following his retirement in 1986 Max bought a farm in the West of Ireland, where he lives with his wife, horses and the Japanese game poultry which he breeds.
Heavily tattooed and well endowed in the facial hair department the variously named 1970s/80s heavyweight villain from merseyside worked for both the independent and Joint Promotions. A massive man who usually towered over his opponents Ragnor was an imposing figure in the ring. Ragnor would challenge opponents to an "Axe match" in which each contestant carried an axe; and we wonder why we went off wrestling! Made television appearances, in various guises, against Wayne Bridges, Tiger Gil Singh and Ray Steele.
The powerful Spanish heavyweight from Barcelona visited Britain in 1965.
A mixed bag of results including wins over Gerry DeJager, Earl Maynard (photo right) and Ramon Napolitano alongside losses to Danny Lynch and a draw with the lighter Johnny Czeslaw.
In the photo (left) he is about to post Roy Bull Davis.
Young Yorkshireman Dave Ramsden, from Ossett,was trained by former British heavyweight champion Ernest Baldwin at his gymnasium in Tingley, Yorkshire. Dave turned professional in January 1966 and was to remain a busy yet unspectacular worker on the Joint Promotions circuit for a dozen years before disappearing towards the end of 1978.
Many of his earliest matches were against fellow Yorkshireman Mike James (Mick Jackson) but by the end of the year he was opposing a greater range of more experienced opponents such as Peter Preston, Sid Cooper and Ted Heath. He worked mainly in the north of England and Scotland for all the Joint Promotions companies.
A frequent worker for Relwyskow and Green Promotions meant that Dave often worked in Scotland, a tag partner of Andy Robin and a member of the Eldorado All Star Wrestling team , captained by Andy Robin and largely populated by Yorkshiremen (Ian Gilmour, Mick McMichael, Jim Mckenzie and Alan Bardouille were also in the team at the time). During his career he wrestled most of the bigger names in the lighter weight divisions: Jim Breaks, Mick McManus, Zoltan Boscik, Vic Faulkner, even Jimmy Savile. We cold find record of only one television appearance, which surprised us; losing to Jackie Robinson by the odd fall in a match broadcast in July 1975. Towards the end of his career promoters gave him the name of Reggie Ramsden. Maybe it was his actual name. Apologies offered. Sorry to Reggie's everywhere, but the boy deserved better. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Memories of Peter Rann are that of the ultimate professional. Here was a man who wrestled well, usually stayed just inside the rules, but had a hard, aggressive style that made fans turn up to see him lose.
They were usually disappointed because Peter Rann was a very accomplished wrestler, just missing out on the top run behind the likes of Mick McManus and Jackie TV Pallo.
He was always billed from Camden Town, though actually born in Doncaster and moved to London as a child. He turned professional in 1951 after training at the Foresters AWC, Kensington.
When it came to choosing our Shining Stars we have so many favourites that it seems almost unfair to be excluding others by including some.
In the end we surprised ourselves with our choice of the Camden Town henchman and night-club bouncer himself in our extended feature.
Read our extended tribute: A Tough Nut To Crack
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The blond heavyweight from Copenhagen, dubbed the "King of the Vikings" visited Britain in 1954 and returned for an extensive tour of southern England during the winter months of 1964-5.
A six year amateur career led to a professional debut when he was eighteen years old.
A liberal interpretation of the rules meant that he was not exactly cheered by the fans, and disqualification losses were not unknown.
Amongst losses against the best of the natives he was able to claim a Royal Albert Hall win over Steve Veidor.
The name most often associated with the name Rasputin is that of the wild Irishman Johnny Howard, who is listed under the letter H.
Another famed Rasputin, outside of the UK was Frank Hoy, otherwise known as Wild Angus Campbell.
We have a couple of other masked Rasputin's for you. Manchester's Harold Wrigley and Leeds' Jim Armstrong both pulled on a hood and took the name in the independent rings of the 1960s.
Lou Ravelle is remembered not just as a pro wrestler of the 1950s and 1960s, oft under the guise of Le Masque Rouge, but also as the owner of one of London's first fitness gymnasiums, editor of Wrestling World magazine, a bookshop owner in Bloomsbury, and in later life a hypnotherapist in Majorca. In 2004 Lou received the Oscar Heidenstam award for his lifetime contribution to sport. You can see Lou in his prime here.
Lou Ravelle was a mainstay of the London wrestling scene over twenty years, a member of wrestling's greatest haunt, The Mandrake Club, and was close friends with Paul Lincoln, Al Hayes, Joe D'Orazio, Bert Assirati and many other big names. In 2014 Lou is sharing his recollections with Wrestling Heritage.
Dewsbury born but long time resident of Stockton on Tees Alf Rawlings was a crafty ring general of the post war years. Our earliest record of Alf is in 1941, though we do have reference to a Ginger Rawlings from 1936 onwards. A top class heavyweight during the forties and fifties Alf held the British title for a few months during 1953. His bald head and rugged features made him look a formidable opponent, and looks were not deceiving. His rough-house style prevented him from ever becoming a crowd's favourite, and how could he be with a broken nose and cauliflower ears? Such a contrast to the days following Alf's retirement when he became a popular worker in a children's home.
Grizzled Veteran recalls Alf and his sons:
Son of Alf Rawlings, Bill was a stocky mid heavyweight who failed to capture the imagination of the fans in the way his father did. Apart from his father Ernie Baldwin was a big influence on the young Rawlings, training him at his gymnasium in Tingley. Nevertheless he is remembered as a competent worker seen at his best as part of the three man Rawlings team described by Grizzled Veteran above.
The third member of the Rawlings clan who, like his brother, failed to match the ring presence of the old man. Nonetheless the photo demonstrates that the youngest of the Rawlings family certainly looked the part.
Also like brother Bill he trained at Ernie Baldwin's Tingley gym and also at the Hill Top Amateur Club in Bradford.
Not long after making his professional debut he and the family moved to Canada for around six months, returning to the UK in 1958.
Surely a hero of all us ageing wrestling fans? Do we sympathise or do we celebrate a man who lived his dream. Keith Rawlinson was a Burnley schoolteacher who had his ambition fulfilled in a British television programme by training as a professional wrestler. Months of training from Sid Cooper and Peter Kaye were not enough to save Keith from a good hiding from one of the hardest of the 1970s wrestlers, John Naylor. Keith retired at the end of the fourth round, never to set foot in the wrestling ring again. If you're reading this Keith, do get in touch and tell us your story.
Gorilla Reg, the nickname was hardly a surprise in view of his abundance of body hair, was, in his prime, one of the best workers on the British wrestling circuit.
He was, said Eddie Rose, “a natural villain,” and “never took part in a bad bout,” according to Dennis Lord. We are told by a relative, and family historian, that one of Reg's ancestors was Sir Christopher Wray, Lord Chief Justice under Elizabeth the First, who signed Mary Queen of Scots death warrant.
A villain of the ring maybe, but Reg was never that dangerous!
Turning professional shortly after the war Reg was a regular on the Joint Promotion circuit following their establishment in 1952. This brought him into regular combat with the top men of the day, holding his own with the likes of Jack Dempsey, Eric Taylor, Alan Colbeck, Bert Royal, Vic Faulkner and Cliff Beaumont.
When ITV began to televise wrestling Gorilla Reg was one of the first to receive nationwide attention, wrestling Chic Purvey at the Lime Grove Baths on 17th April, 1956. Further televised contests followed against Tug Holton and Cyril Knowles,
Like many others Reg chose to leave Joint Promotions in 1962 and flirted with the independents, most notably for Don Robinson, Cyril Knowles, Brian Trevors and Evan Treharne. The following year he returned to Joint Promotions, making his final television appearance on 29th January, 1966, against the visiting Greek, El Greco. Gorilla Reg lost that match due to disqualification, which we suppose is something of a tribute to one of the great villains.
In the second half of the 1960s Reg returned to work for the independent promoters, mainly for Cyril Knowles. Reg and Cyril were both now in the twilight years of their long wrestling careers, and the two opposed each other on many, some would say too many, occasions. The photo above shows Gorilla Reg Ray about to post Cyril Knowles.
A tremendous villain, a huge contributor to everything that made wrestling great, fondly remembered by fans and wrestlers. His one fault, and one that he shared with so many others, was that of wrestling well beyond his prime.
We have records of Jack Raymond in Northern Ireland between 1946 and 1952.
Please get in touch if you can provide more information.
In September 1962, following in the footsteps of the original Chief Thunderbird and Billy Two Rivers, came another native American. Entering the ring, wearing the standard native American gear, New Mexico’s Chief Red Eagle, arrived in the UK following combat in Australia and the Far East.
Harry Rabin ... Jean Rabut ... Max Raeger ... Ragnor the Viking ... Angelo Ramon ... Dave (Reggie) Ramsden ... Peter Rann ... Leif Rasmussen ... Rasputin ... Lou Ravelle ... Ripper Raven ... Alf Rawlings ... Bill Rawlings .. Jim Rawlings ... Keith Rawlinson ... Reg Ray ... Jack Raymond ... Young (Farmer) Raymond ... Red Demon ... Red Devil ... Chief Red Eagle ... Red Marvel ... Red Mask ... Red Scorpion ... Red Shadow ... Dai Rees