Over the years the name Mr X has been used by a variety of quickly forgotten hooded terrors. It became a lazy gimmick for unimaginative promoters to put a hood on any available wrestler and name him accordingly.
We also include the more exotic sounding Monsieur X, the little known masked man of the Southern independent circuit, whose mask reminded us all who he was (left)
Away from the multutude of hooded terrors the one exception, in that he did make a mark, and that he did not wear a mask, was Wellingborough heavyweight Ed Wensor (right). Read about him in the letter W section (we put him there in case the X section got just too full).
A fleeting addition to Northern wrestling bills during 1964. The light heavyweight Yorkshireman wrestled the likes of Leon Arras, Ernie Riley, Tony Charles, Frank O’Donnell and Alf Cadman. He disappeared from our rings as swiftly as he appeared; maybe someone can shed some light on our only legitimate letter X entrant
From the 1930s onwards Britain has been a country to which young professionals like Whipper Watson were sent to learn their trade. At the beginning of 1974 came 18 year oldHiroshi Yagi , a professional of just two years. Wrestled for northern and Dale Martin Promotions, but we confess he made no impact on us. We are told that on his return to Japan Hiroshi Yagi became known as Ryuma Go – can't imagine how that would go down at Huddersfield Town Hall.
Fijiian born heavyweight of Indian heritage Mohammed Yakub came to Britain and worked for Paul Lincoln Promotions in the early 1960s.
He has quite a story to tell ….
Everyone can read our extended tribute: The Fijian Warrior
With a couple of years experience under his belt Fuji Yamada came to the UK in 1986 working for All Star Promotions at a time when the Merseyside organisation were at their peek. At a time when talent in British rings was at an all time low the addition of a colourful, dynamic character with wrestling ability was greatly needed.
His speedy and acrobatic style made him popular with British fans though he was more than capable of mixing it when the occasion demanded. Cheered on by fans in his four television appearances, one of them a tag match with regular partner Iron Fist Clive Myers. He won the World Heavy Middleweight Championship twice, once in September 1986 and once in March 1987, both times defeating "Rollerball" Mark Rocco and both times losing it back to him, the last of these title changes being televised on ITV.
Rocco was also Yamada's opponent in one of his three televised Reslo outings shown on Welsh language channel, S4C. Each time he apperared on television Kent Walton promised someone as good as the earlier visitor, Sammy Lee. For once, Kent's predictions rang true as Fuji Yamada as the wrestler went on to international acclaim during a period well outside the Heritage years (search for Jushin Leger). At the time of writing (2010) he was still wrestling in the United States.
One of the old school, a hard as nails type heavily influenced by all-in great and promoter Athol Oakeley.
In the early post war years Oakeley promoted "All In" rules shows in competition with the new fangled Mountevans style of wrestling.
Tamworth’s heavyweight Harry Yardley featured regularly on wrestling bills for more than two decades from the end of the war until the late sixties when he took up refereeing duties.
He is remembered as a very tough, all action wrestler by those who saw him in action.
Mostly working for the independent promoters of the north and midlands the posters proclaimed he was the Midlands Area heavyweight champion.
Popular middleweight Reg Yates turned professional in the early 1960s and quickly became a regular on the plethora of independent shows in the midlands.
He was a talented and skilful wrestler and a frequent opponent of stars such as Jim Lewis, Gordon Corbett, Butcher Goodman, Jack Dempsey and Johnny Saint.
Graham Brook: "I recall seeing Reg Yates in an amazing bout back in the early seventies in a Gordon Corbett promotion at The Granby Halls in Leicester. Yates was partnered by Billy Graham against Tony and Ignatious Borg. The match ended in a near riot with Graham being disqualified and the other wrestlers on the card having to surround him as he escaped back to the dressing-room. And Yates continued to wrestle cleanly all the way through!"
Reg was signed up for a stint with Joint Promotions in 1970 but thrown in against the big names of Faulkner, Sargeant and the rest Yates was given no breaks and faded from the scene.
Please get in touch if you can provide more information.
The Wrestling Heritage Story
In the early years of the 21st century two wrestling fans of the 1960s and 1970s began to search the internet for information about the sport they had fallen out of love with in the late 1970s. They were amazed to discover hundreds of others with memories of the days when each Saturday everything did stop at four o'clock.
Having shared memories for some time on internet forums Hack and Anglo Italian met for the first time in 2005. (Hack took his wife along as a cautionary measure). Filled with curry and beer the plan was hatched to start a website celebrating all that was good about professional wrestling. Knowing absolutely nothing about how to produce a website was an obstacle neither of them considered.
The result was the launch of Wrestling Heritage in April, 2007; 60 wrestlers in the A-Z, 6 Shining Stars, 6 features, 6 Armchair Corner reviews, 6 sets of autographs and 6 Years of Wrestling.
In the years that followed the website grew beyond recognition thanks to the encouragement, enthusiasm and contributions of the sites many members.
What began as a trivial pursuit has become a serious record of an important part of Britain's social history.
Johnny Yearsley (John Henry Yearsley)
As we look back over the years we sometimes astound ourselves when we consider the sheer breadth and depth of quality in the heavyweight division. Take the Cardiff mat man Johnny Yearsley as an example.
Few would equate his wrestling skill with the likes of Robinson and Joyce, his colour with Cornelius or Hayes, his skulduggery with Campbell or Garfield or his girth with Elrington. Stop and think again. Here was a man with considerable wrestling ability, tremendous strength and a style of villainy that would upset the mildest of maiden aunts.
Johnny Yearsley was one of the post war greats overshadowed only by the proliferation of so many other post war greats. He was no colourful figure but could rouse the ire of the fans with a scowly look, a hint of arrogance and a few deftly delivered blindside moves. Whilst others required masks, colourful costumes or outrageous antics to infuriate the fans Johnny Yearsley could do it just by pretending to be the man he wanted us to believe.
The Cardiff strongman had held five national weightlifting titles before turning professional wrestler and in the early sixties he had an impressive win record. During his final twelve years, however, he hardly ever seemed to taste victory and invaraibly ended up disqualified or knocked out by smaller less threatening opponents such as Les Kellett.
A prolific bad man but an affectionately remembered popular villain, appreciated by fans for his exaggerated selling of opponents' moves. Yearsley could wreak even greater havoc when in heavyweight tag alongside fellow villains Alan Garfield, Danny Lycnh or Bruno Elrington. Wrestled towards the end as John Henry Yearsley. Wrestling fans were shocked by the death of Johnny in January, 1980. Unknown to most fans he had suffered from cancer for some time and died younger than fifty years old.
One of the two Yeates brothers that worked from their Oxfordhire base throughout the midlands, Wales and the West country during the sixties and seventies. Readers of Ringsport magazine will be familiar with the two brothers
Many of their bouts were for the late Cyril Knowles, a man for whom they still have great respect.
Roy was the most experienced of the two brothers, but both could be relied on to provide excitement for the appreciative fans.
The other half of the Yeates boys, who not surprisingly tagged his wrestling brother.
When not wrestling Tony and Roy pursued their other passion, motor cycling. The two brothers performed as stunt motorcyclists for The Mohicans at venues in Britain and abroad.
Tony is shown watching Roy knee drop Francis Cartwright in a south Wales venue.
Please get in touch if you can provide more information.
The Journal That Was Different
Roy and Tony Yeates were names familiar to wrestling fans throughout Britain thanks to a monthly magazine called Ringsport.
Fans recall The Wrestler magazine, but long before the Wrestler appeared on the news stands, and long after it had ceased trading, there existed a lesser known magazine, Ringsport. Fifty years or five decades; say it how you like but it’s pretty amazing to take note we are it is over half a century since Ringsport magazine was launched.
Ringsport is fondly remembered by those who read it, but circulation difficulties always meant that this magazine which proclaimed itself “The Journal That is Different,” would always remain in the shadows of its more illustrious counterpart.
Read the story of The Journal That Was Different
The Yellow Streak
The Yellow Streak was a masked welterweight who appeared on Dale Martin bills in the mid-sevenies. When he first appeared at the start of 1975, the promoters treated us to exotic translations of his name: "De Gele Rechter" in Dutch and "El Verdugo Amarillo" in Spanish. Whether he had actually tried out his routines in Holland and Spain we may never know.
He wrestled all the lower weighted wrestlers and though initially presented as a title contender this skilful south London welterweight remained in supporting matches even with his pale skin concealed by his full yellow strip.
His routine developed to be much more along comic lines and he would spend much of each bout in amongst the audience. Defeated by Kwango and Baron amongst others, the Yellow Streak just slipped away after doing the rounds for a couple of years.
With most masked wrestlers the mystery is involved during their run and revealed at their unmasking. In the case of the Yellow Streak, perhaps the greatest mystery is at the start of his run as described in our Year of Wrestling 1975.
For more information about one of our favourite masked men, and revelation of his true identity, you will need to take a look at Wrestling Heritage Top 20 Masked Men.