The villainous Oriental (what else could he be in 1960s Britain?) was introduced to the British public by independent promoter Paul Lincoln in the Autumn of 1963, and this was the beginning of regular visits extending into the late sixties.
A professional at the time for only two or three years he already showed the potential that was to take him on to success around the world, most notably North America.
Yokouchi often tagged with the equally cunning Togo Tani, you decide which version, most memorably in a blood stained epic against Steve Veidor and Mike Marino (see photo), a Royal Albert Hall event that was broadcast live to eleven cinemas around the country in those pre satellite tv days.
The Wrestler magazine reported that “there was an evil look about the black-clad Japanese combination and the crowd needed only a few minutes to make up their mind.”
Whether it was the punishing nerve holds, the ferocious chops or just a few blindside punches Chati Yokouchi was never short of finding new ways to fall out with people. He was definitely one of the many colourful characters of the 1960s wrestling scene.
Eric Dudley was The Yorkshire Kid. The name no doubt came from his birthplace, which was Pontefract, Yorkshire, though his ten year wrestling career was mostly in the south of England for Dale Martin and independent promotions, including his own promotions, Den Promotions.
The Yorkshire Kid turned professional around 1955, and in the late 1950s was one of the first workers for Paul Lincoln Management. He opened a wrestling club behind the Red Lion Public House in Wadhurst, Sussex, in partnership with the landlord of the pub, Steve Stephens. Steve was one of The Yorkshire Kid's trainees, eventually wrestling himself under the name Steve Courage. Eric and Steve later began promoting, as Den Promotions, putting on shows in and around Sussex, including a weekly event at Selsey Bill holiday camp on the south coast.
Den Promotions courted controversy in the early 1960s by promoting female wrestling contests, which were at the time banned by local councils up and down the country. Amongst those trained by Eric were Ann Starr and Chi Chi, Empress of the Black Dagger.
Eric continued wrestling and promoting until the mid 1960s. He passed away in December, 2004.
Here’s a surprise; a 1960s Japanese wrestler who broke the mould.
None of that scheming underhand stuff here, just scientific wrestling from this 5'11" middleweight who made a number of visits to the UK between 1962 and 1964.
He and tag partner Teizo Okado did stick to role with all that bowing at every opportunity, which in itself did seem to annoy fans.
Akio worked for both independent and Joint Promotions on occasions, including one televised appearance against Gorilla Reg Ray.
He was born in Tokishima Shikiku near Tokyo but moved to Brazil whilst a teenager where he gained a judo black belt and then developed his wrestling style. He takes his place amongst a notable trend of oriental visitors in fact being based in South America.
Akio Yoshihara in some ways typifies the role of the Wrestling Heritage site, 45 years after he toured Britain.
His long-lost daughter has asked us for information about her father and we are pleased now to open up this small write-up on him.
Lightweight Mike Young (left) hailed from Birmingham and made his professional debut in 1967 against fellow Brum Dave Wade. His career prospects became seriously limited when he moved home to the Isle of Man, continuing to train at the club run by George Barnabus but with wrestling opportunities now severely limited.
When not wrestling Mike ran an engineering company on the Isle of Man and spent his spare time reading poetry, horse riding and teaching gymnastics. Usually one of the fans favourites Mike wasn’t afraid of mixing it with the villains and putting his amateur boxing experience to good use.
Harlow's Terry Young trained at Neil Sands gymnasium in Chelmsford and the Key Glass Wrestling Club. Neil Evans remembers him as a good wrestler, fast and skilfull, against whom he had many good bouts before the two of them formed a tag team called the Essex Jet Set.
Spanish heavyweight, dubbed the Galant White Panther, made a short visit to Britain in December, 1967. Was a victor, via the disqualification route, when he met Hans Streiger on television.
He was billed from as Canadian but we would guess that Cannock Chase was the nearest Smethwicks Billy Yukon came to the prairies. A 1960s favourite on the independent circuit Billy Yukon went on to work for Joint Promotions in the late 1960s.
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