WRESTLING HERITAGE

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A: Ancell - Ange Blanc

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Tony Ancell
More than a quarter of a century after his death here at Wrestling Heritage we regularly hear complements of a young wrestler of the 1960s, Tony Ancell. Promoter Doug Williams remembers him as a terrific wrestler, one of the best workers on his brother Jack Taylor's wrestling shows. Third brother, wrestler Ray, was another who listed Tony amongst his favourites, and both Mick Collins and Al Tarzo remembered not just a good wrestler but a very good man. Wrestling fan Brian James remembers Tony entering the ring at the Granby Lall, Leicester, splendidly adorned in a Canadian Mountie outfit, and sometimes accompanied by the family's pet dog, Chiska.  

Don't let the costume fool you. The dog was for real, but not the outfit. Tony Ancell, was born Anthony Payn, in south east London, a neighbour of Henry Cooper. He moved to Leicester when he married, and it was here that he met wrestler and promoter Jack Taylor. Jack was always scouting for talent and spotted the potential of young Tony, inviting him along to his weekend wrestling school.  

He was soon working regularly on the independent circuit, facing other youngsters such as Al Tarzo, Johnny Eagles  and Ronnie Knight. During the first half of the 1960s Tony was a very busy wrestler, and as he gained experience and weight came face to face with more experienced opponents such as Harry Bennett, Bobo Matu and Spike O'Reilly. Tony also faced former world middleweight boxing champion, Randy Turpin, in a number of wrestler v boxer matches. 

Out of the ring Tony loved marching bands and founded a marching band called  "The Millfeild Militia" in Braunstone Leicester. Tony also worked as a machine tools sales man upto the time of his death in March, 1986. 

Andy Anderson
Scottish lightweight Andy Anderson wrestled from 1945 and met the best in the business, including George Kidd, Alan Colbeck and Mick McManus. He was one of the wrestlers selected for the Scottish lightweight championship knock out tournament at Dundee in December, 1947, which saw George  Kidd crowned Scottish champion. Andy beat Jim Teale of Glasgow in the first round of the contest before suffering an injury and retiring in his semi final contest with Tony Lawrence. Two months later Andy made another challenge for George Kidd's  title in Aberdeen on 2nd March, 1948. Andy took the lead in the fourth round when Kidd submitted in a Boston Crab before going on to  lose by a seventh round knock out.Scottish lightweight Andy Anderson wrestled from 1945 and met the best in the business, including George Kidd, Alan Colbeck and Mick McManus. He was one of the wrestlers selected for the Scottish lightweight championship knock out tournament at Dundee in December, 1947, which saw George  Kidd crowned Scottish champion. Andy beat Jim Teale of Glasgow in the first round of the contest before suffering an injury and retiring in his semi final contest with Tony Lawrence. Two months later Andy made another challenge for George Kidd's  title in Aberdeen on 2nd March, 1948. Andy took the lead in the fourth round when Kidd submitted in a Boston Crab before going on to  lose by a seventh round knock out.Scottish lightweight Andy Anderson wrestled from 1945 and met the best in the business, including George Kidd, Alan Colbeck and Mick McManus. He was one of the wrestlers selected for the Scottish lightweight championship knock out tournament at Dundee in December, 1947, which saw George  Kidd crowned Scottish champion. Andy beat Jim Teale of Glasgow in the first round of the contest before suffering an injury and retiring in his semi final contest with Tony Lawrence. Two months later Andy made another challenge for George Kidd's  title in Aberdeen on 2nd March, 1948. Andy took the lead in the fourth round when Kidd submitted in a Boston Crab before going on to  lose by a seventh round knock out.Scottish lightweight Andy Anderson wrestled from 1945 and met the best in the business, including George Kidd, Alan Colbeck and Mick McManus. He was one of the wrestlers selected for the Scottish lightweight championship knock out tournament at Dundee in December, 1947, which saw George  Kidd crowned Scottish champion. Andy beat Jim Teale of Glasgow in the first round of the contest before suffering an injury and retiring in his semi final contest with Tony Lawrence. Two months later Andy made another challenge for George Kidd's  title in Aberdeen on 2nd March, 1948. Andy took the lead in the fourth round when Kidd submitted in a Boston Crab before going on to  lose by a seventh round knock out.

Hippie Bob Anderson 
A short lived star of Northern and Midland rings of the 1970s, and even a couple of 1970 televised appearances exposed this tearaway to a wider and appreciative audience. 

We were told at the time he had trained in London and spent three years working for Paul Lincoln and Dale Martin. We have not had this confirmed but our earliest records are when Bob hit the rings of Wryton Promotions in 1969. The long, straggly hair, rule bending tactics and just a general disregard for just about anyone and everything made the Hippie a welcome name on any bill. He roughed it with contemporaries like Wonderboy Steve Wright as well as wily veterans like Bill Howes. Even giving away a couple of stones to a hard man like Howes Anderson showed no trepidation. His regular tag partner was Johnny South, but something of an accolade for the hothead to be partnered with Iron Man Steve Logan on occasions.

Jim Anderson
Times were hard in the 1930s and there were few opportunities for a young Scot to travel the world earning an honest crust. Jim Anderson had the strength and agility, as he was already well established as a Highlands Game competitor. 

Jim, from Dundee,  seized the opportunities provided by the increasingly popular professional side of wrestling and in 1932 took to earning his living by travelling to wrestling halls around the country. Prior to that money had been scarce whilst success was in abundance as he gained acclaim in Highland Games competitions in shot putting, hammer throwing, tossing the caber and wrestling.

Such activities do not provide for life's necessities, one of which was a keen interest in golf, and Jim took up professional style wrestling, which was rapidly gaining popularity around the country.

Matches during the first couple of years were mainly in his native Scotland, but by 1935 he was travelling far and wide, wrestling the likes of Val Cerino, Ray St Bernard, Jack Pye and Mike Demitre. He faced opponents of a wide range of weights, from Jack Dale to the tank-like Bert Assirati. 

Naturally Jim was a firm favourite at the Caird Hall, Dundee, where George deRelwyskow began promoting in 1933. The photo shows him in action at the Caird Hall against Johnny Demchuck. The two wrestlers got themselves well and truly tied up, much to the amusement of the fans. Finally it was left to the referee to sort out the limbs.

A popular victory over Alf Lagren at the Caird Hall in April 1938 led to Jim being crowned British cruiserweight champion All In style, though there was no nationally recognised body to recognise such claims. 

During the war years Jim's matches were limited to Scotland and Newcastle, which may give some clue to his wartime base. He resumed activities following the war and was very busy travelling extensively until his last recorded match in 1955. 

His wrestling was not confined to the British isles. In 1949 he wrestled in Singapore as Kid Masque until he was unmasked by King Kong Emile Czaja following a third round defeat at the Great World Stadium on 26th February.

Tony Andrassi (Eric Smith)
With his black curly hair and trademark white trunks it could only be welterweight Tony Andrassi, except when he reverted to his family name, Eric Smith of Bradford. Worked mainly for the independent promoters in the 1960s and 1970s with some bouts (as Eric Smith) for Joint Promotions.

George Andrews
Powerful heavyweight active in the 1950s. Wrestled mainly in the south against class performers such as Doug Joyce and Joe D’Orazio, as well as an Earls Court bout against Dirty Dominic Pye.

Jim Andrews
Northern based heavyweight campaigner turned professional shortly after the war and  remained  active throughout the second half of the 1940s. Opponents included top men such as Charlie Greene, George Gregory, Vic Hessle and Jim Foy.

L’Ange Blanc
An international star of repute, both with and without the mask. L'Ange Blanc was he original Spanish White Angel who wrestled in Britain in the early sixties and appeared on ITV one Thursday lunchtime in  1974. An Anglicised version, The White Angel, was based on this original, with both eventually losing and unmasking to their villainous masked  nemeses.  

L'Ange Blanc was extremely popular in French rings, where he tagged  with Michel Chaisne.

In Britain he wrestled for northern promoters in 1962, the climax of his tour being the much heralded matching against the Black Mask  in January 1962 at the Queen's Hall, Leeds, against the Black Mask, Evil overcame good for once and L'Ange Blanc ceremoniously unmasked. Identities and more information about both these masked men can be discovered in our series Top Twenty Masked Men of the Heritage Years.

Page reviewed: 16/1/19  Addition of Andy Anderson