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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Samuel Rabinovitch was born in Manchester in 1903, the son of Jacob and Sarah Rabinovitch, Jewish exiles from Belarus. Sam trained at the Ashdown Club in Islington, under the tutorship of George MacKenzie, and alongside Bert Assirati, Bill Garnon and Atholl Oakeley.
After turning professional wrestler Sam was a frequent worker for Atholl Oakely, one of the country's main promoters in the 1930s. He was a member of the 1928 Olympic team before turning to professional wrestling to supplement his income as an artist.
Throughout the 1930s Sam was one of the biggest, and busiest, names in British wrestling meeting all the stars of the day. When he turned professional Sam shortened his name to Rabin, also using the names Sam Radnor and The Cat, travelling up and down the country facing the likes of Billy Riley, Jack Pye, Karl Pojello, Henri Letailleur, George Gregory, Norman the Butcher, and just about every big name in British wrestling.
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Sign in or sign up now to read Members Only articles: Evolution of the Gladiators 1931 - 1933
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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.
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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.
Eddie Burton learned the business at the St Lukes Club and at the gymnasium at the Alexander Pub, Middlesbrough, working for independent promoters in the 1970s as Guy Rainer. An electrician by trade Guy Rainer retired from wrestling in his mid twenties.
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The powerful Spanish heavyweight from Barcelona visited Britain in 1965, a time of great British heavyweights and a multitude of overseas visitors making it difficult to stand out in terms of results.
For Angelo Ramon, a welcome visitor, it was 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, was dubbed the "King of the Vikings" when he visited Britain in 1954 and returned for an extensive tour of southern England during the winter months of 1964- 1965.
A six year amateur career led to a professional debut when he was eighteen years old.
A liberal interpretation of the rules meant that the King of the Vikings 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 surprising Royal Albert Hall win over Steve Veidor. One of the many colourful characters who graced British rand European rings in the 1950s and 1960s.