T: Talbot - Taverne
Wrestling Heritage A-Z
A trainee of the St Lukes Club in Middlesbrough, Ian Gilmour was another, Keith went on to further his education at Alex McDonald's Gym in Middlesbrough and finished off at Jim Stockdale's Gym in Stockton on Tees.
When he turned professional in the early 1960s he used his real name, Keith Smith. Some time later Keith became landlord of The Talbot Public House in Stockton High Street and he changed his ring name to Keith Talbot. He and his wife, Georgina were to keep charge of The Talbot for more than twenty five years. Their hosting of the pub is remembered by locals to this day, not least the Midsummer Christmasses and the time Keith walked into the bar with two lions.
Shortly after assuming the name of the pub in the ring the brewery changed the name of The Talbot, to "No. 9." Yes we know you're wondering. No, of course he didn't change his ring name to Keith No.9! Keith worked for the independent promoters in the North East of England.
Talio Kid, known to family as Derik Standing, hailed from Halton, near Lancaster.
Derik was trained by the Cumberland and Westmorland champion and heavyweight professional, Gerry Hoggarth, the Iron Makn of the Lakes..
Derik the Talio Kid worked for the independent promoters. A welterweight who worked throughout the North of England, when not wrestling he worked in a textile mill.
His textile work tragically led to Derik's premature death from an industrial disease in his early fifties.
Japanese visitor to northern England during the winter of 1973-74.
He worked in the country for four months with mixed results with opponents that included Barry Douglas, Johnny Yearsley, Tibor Szakacs and Steve Veidor.
Flirted with various tag partners including Colin Joynson, Bobo Matu, Barry Douglas and Hiroshi Yagi.
Made two television appearances, against Lee Sharron and disqualified against Mike Marino.
Admittedly Gora Tanaka's visit came at a time our interest in wrestling was on the wane, but have to admit he made little impact on us. If you have memories or knowledge, do get in touch.
Here is a career-long professional who had started out as a Sumo wrestler before the War, excelled in that art during the War, and turned to professional wrestling after it. In 1953 he featured on the first ever professional wrestling bill run by a Japanese promoter. His opponent was Toshio Yamaguchi, but the pair of adversaries would go on to found the All Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance together in partnership. Togo Tani then wrestled his way around the world, settled for some little while in South America, and wrestled extensively in Spain and Africa. He didn't return to Japan until 1970, 14 years after he had left. In Spain, he trained Klaus Kauroff for the professional ring. His Spanish had become so good that the story even got out that he wasn't Japanese but Peruvian!
In the modern era he would tag alongside Shozo Kobayashi and would referee big box office bouts featuring the great Antonio Inoki in the 1970s. He was known in all wrestling countries but Britain by his real name, Umeyuki Kiyomigawa, usually, sumo-style, using only the surname. The wanderlust took hold of him again, and he returned to Germany to feud with Axel Dieter in 1973, and he frequently tagged alongside Le Gland Vladimir. Towards the end of his life he tried to set up a Women's Wrestling promotion in Japan. Togo Tani died in 1980 aged 63.
Togo Tani takes his place in our A-Z by virtue of his British appearances in the mid-sixties, and of course that most famous of tag bouts on wrestling's Night of Nights in 1966 when, partnered by Chati Yokouchi, the villainous pair caused outrage with their evil tactics against Steve Viedor and Mike Marino at London's Royal Albert Hall. A few weeks beforehand at the same Kensington arena, Togo Tani had been disqualified in a bloody and controversial singles bout with Mike Marino, and the tag match, so eagerly awaited, did not disappoint. It was also the final bout that referee Lou Marco officiated in. Clearly well rated within the business, Togo Tani's photograph, right, appeared on the cover of The Wrestler magazine. The well-rated Japanese pair then made a third appearance in Kensington and finally won against Johnny Czeslaw and Ivan Penzecoff.
In the early sixties Togo Tani had wrestled extensively in France, and even notched up a notable victory against the redoubtable Bourreau de Béthune. Chati Yokouchi joined him in Paris in 1963.
1965 had seen Togo Tani wrestling on Paul Lincoln bills, and another little can of worms presents itself through the fact that Paul Lincoln, in his pre-Doctor Death days, had wrestled as Togo Tani alongside tag partner Joe D'Orazio. Can it be that Kiyomigawa took his more manageable name for British tongues from a tag pairing several years before he had wrestled in Britain?
Togo Tani was given a baptism of fire on his UK television debut, facing Billy Robinson, but enjoyed a less imposing opponent in Charlie Fisher when we last saw him on our small screens in 1967.
Belatedly we can state that it is no wonder veteran villain Togo Tani was able to dovetail so well into the wealth of talent in mid-sixties British rings, now that we are able to put this fuller, but no doubt still woefully inadequate, biography together. The man did it all! We hope our Japanese visitors to the Wrestling Heritage site will get in touch with more information on one of the all-time greats.
A visitor to Britain in 1961 and again in 1964, all in the north with opponents Andy Robin, Albert Wall, Barry Douglas, Pietro Capello, Billy Joyce, Gordon Nelson, Masambula, Reg Williams and Gerry DeJager. The quality of opponent suggests a respected and high calibre wrestler.
Defeated Ian Campbell on television in 1961 when the wild Scot was disqualified in a match in Morecambe. Sheik Tannous was an experienced wrestler who was well known in Germany and Spain. Wrestled as Youssef Tannous in Germany and Jouseff Tannous in Lebanon, where he was last reported wrestling in 1998, when he had already turned 60.
He died in July, 2015.
Please get in touch if you can provide more information.
Covered in tattoos heavyweight villain Tarantula made a colourful addition to the wrestling world of the seventies and eighties.
The Portsmouth based grappler was accompanied at one time by his manager C.J.Percival, otherwise known as Heritage member and long time supporter of pro wrestling, Ian Dowland (right).
When he wasn't frightening fans as Tarantula he could be found frightening them as Arachnamaniac, The Mummy, The Barbarian or the much less scarey Alan Turner, who was the son in law of Bruno Elrington.
Big Bruno didn't just give Alan a daughter, he also passed on much of his wrestling skill as Alan was a trainee at Big Bruno's Portsmouth gymnasium.
It was Tarantula that was given the privileged role of opposing Count Bartelli in his last ever contest.
Later in his career Alan moved to Birmingham, where he continued wrestling and trained youngsters including Darren Walsh, the son of Banger.
The most famous Portuguese wrestler of all time, Tarzan Taboda wrestled in Britain for around three months from September 1958.
His curriculum vitae combines the peculiar combination of body builder (runner up in Mr Europe), heavyweight wrestler, stuntman and ballet dancer in Paris!
Tarzab Taboda was 23 years old when he came to Britain to face the likes of Jack Pye, Ramon Napolitano, Al Hayes, and Alan Garfield. His wrestling career extended for a quarter of a century, until 1981, following which he became a wrestling commentator on Portuguese television.
Albano Taborda Curto Esteves died on 9th September, 2005, aged 70.
Jose Roses Ibañez wrestled as Jose Tarres and was one of the best post war Spanish wrestlers. A 1960s visitor from Barcelona known, for obvious reasons, as “The Man with the Iron Head.”
We understand this was because of his fondness of headbutting rather than the rumour his head was implanted with pieces of metal following an accident. Jose is reputed to have head butted and knocked a bull unconscious on one occasion.
Presumably the likes of Ken Joyce, Johnny Yearsley and Joe Cornelius did better. One time European heavyweight champion.
One of the grand old men of wrestling, a gentleman in and out of the ring, that was Alan Bingham, known usually as Al Tarzo.
Al trained to wrestle under the guidance of wrestler and promoter Jack Taylor at Jack?s club based at Heanor football ground and later at the Elnor Street gym at Langley Mill. Al began wrestling in the early 1950s, but was put out of action by a knee injury. He was in no hurry to return to the game, earning his living working on the coal face at Moor Green Colliery, and may well have been lost to wrestling had it not been for promoter Jack.
Jack was promoting a show at Heanor Town Hall, his first one at the venue. One of the planned matches was between a local man, Pedro Johnson, and Glamour Boy Miles. Two days before the match Johnson suffered an injury at work. A substitute was required and Al accepted Jack?s offer of a return to the ring.
Al told us of an embarrassing occasion that resulted from Jack's creativity, "One night at a venue in Birmingham Jack came into the dressing room with a smile on his face and said ?Al there?s someone would like to speak with you in the audience.? When I got out he pointed where to go and on getting there it was a crowd of Canadian airmen from an airbase in the area, Jack had renamed me ?Al Tarzo? from Montreal, Canada. Where do you hide?"
Al worked initially for Jack Taylor, who put on shows each night of the week, and later went on to work for other independent promoters. AmongsT them was Bert Assirati, when Al would stay with Marjorie and Bert at their home in Finchley.Promoter Eddy Woodward put Al in a mask and named him The Red Demon, remaining unmasked. Al also wrestled at Nottingham Goose fair at ?Billy Woods Boxing and Wrestling Booth?.
When Al retired from the ring and the pits in the late 1960s he went on to be a long distance lorry driver, and on three occasions was a finalist in the lorry driver of the year competition organised by the "Commercial Motor".
Al's love for driving continued to near to the time of his death, with Al and his wife, spending much of their time travelling around Spain.
Al Tarzo died in November, 2017.
Canadian Ken Tasker came to Britain with his friends Whipper Billy Watson, Al Korman and Tommy Nelson in 1936, and stayed in Europe for three and a half years until he returned home in June, 1939.
Like many of the overseas visitors 23 year old Ken Tasker was a novice when he came to Britain to gain experience in the rapidly expanding British wrestling scene. He had been a professional for only a year or so, and what he learned facing the likes of Jack Pye, Charlie Green and Stan Roberts gave him a good foundation to continue wrestling back home in North America until 1964, at which time he joined the ranks of the referees. Billed as Alaskan Tiger on occasions Ken Tasker was from Toronto, Ontario.
Big, bad and bald King Kong Taverne (Omer to family and friends) nipped over from Germany twice to upset the wrestling fans of Britain. He was here for short tours in 1951, 1955 and 1958. Opponents included Count Bartelli, Vic Hessle, Jack Pye and Indian Dara Singh.
Please get in touch if you can provide more information.