British wrestling history 

A: Angel - Armstrong

Wrestling Heritage A-Z

Frank Angel
Frank Angel was another student of the Ashdown Club alongside Bert Assirati, Atholl Oakeley and Robert Cook. Amateur heavyweight champion in 1928 he turned professional in the first year of the new All-In rules being introduced, 1931.  A big, powerful man he stood 6'4" tall and weighed around 16 stones, An all-round sportsman Angel was also proficient in rugby, swimming and polo. 

Johnny Angel (Sheffield)
We include two wrestlers known by the name Johnny Angel. First on the scene was a Sheffield wrestler born John Marsden. Welterweight Johnny worked for independent promoters in the north of England during the 1960s and also worked in Spain.  Like many wrestlers he was the landlord of two public houses in later life, the Grapes and  the Captive Queen in Sheffield before retiring to Chesterfield and passing away, in January 2007, aged 76.

Johnny Angel (Also known as Johnny Carol, Undertaker Gloom) (Doncaster)
A 1980s wrestler who really knew how to work a crowd, and one who would have made it to the top in the heyday of the postwar revival according to Dwight J Ingleburgh. Johnny Angel was just fourteen years old when he turned professional. Mind you, wrestling was in his blood as he was trained by his father, Crazy Dave Adams. Like many others Johnny had dabbled in boxing before wrestling became the greater attraction. Early bouts were for Cyril Knowles and other independent promoters before moving across to Joint Promotions in 1990. A muscular, aggressive wrestler Johnny was a great villain, sometimes pulling on a mask and adopting various names, probably most memory as one of the Undertakers tag team. During his career he tussled with some of the biggest names in the business, including Jim Breaks, Ray Steele, Barry Douglas and Giant Haystacks. On numerous occasions Johnny played the part of the hero and tagged with Big Daddy to put to right the baddies of the wrestling world.   He retired from wrestling in 1996   

Mohammed Anwar
We watched this Pakistani welterweight in the northern independent rings of the 1960s against opponents such as Ray Taylor, Hamid Ali Gill and The Zulu. We remember a  capable wrestler who lacked the charisma to make him memorable. We just hope that unknowing to us he changed his name and became a superstar! We'd be interested to learn more about  him.

El Grande Apache
Chilean heavyweight, or so it was said, that made a short visit to Britain in February and March, 1962, wrestling Seamus Donlevy at the Royal Albert Hall and Josef Zaranoff on television. Other opponents included Billy Joyce, Tibor Szakacs and Joe Cornelius.
Johnny Apollo
Johnny “Greek” Apollo hailed from Athens and wrestled on both sides of the Atlantic as well as Australia. Having wrestled as an amateur in Tripolis Johnny turned professional in 1960. This was  after moving to Montreal, where he had been trained in the ways of the professional world by Tony Lanza at the Montreal YMCA. Following early success in Canada he moved on to the United States, then Australia, and eventually Europe.  He was always immaculately dressed as he entered the ring  in his velvet dressing gown.  Johnny was a popular stockily built mid heavyweight performer in British rings in the early 1960s, making his first appearances northern rings and Scotland during the winter of 1962. He  set up home in Brixton, London, and appeared in the south of England the following winter, when he also  gained national exposure by losing through a  knock-out to Bill Howes in a 1963 televised contest. He returned to television screens again during his 1965 visit, facing Welshman Tony Orford. For professional purposes we understand he changed his name from  Charialaos Tsimogiannis to Johnny Apollo. We wonder why?
Johnny Apollon
One of the better newcomers of the 1980s  who met the big names of the time, including television appearances against John Naylor, Alan Kilby and Clive Myers. Apollon was trained by Lee Bronson. We have one unconfirmed report that he was the son of Norman the Butcher, which would make him Bronson's brother.

Ray Apollon  (Also known as Black Prince)
A man with a presence. When Ray Apollon was in the ring the ring shook. A very powerful and strong heavyweight billed from Trinidad, but born in New York,  who gained fame and success in both the UK and America during the 1950s and 1960s. He turned professional in June, 1952, and came to the UK for the first time in December of that year. His first UK contest was a loss to Ernie Baldwin, but he went on to meet, and beat, the best. He moved around the ring with some grace for a man of his size .Billed on occasions as the Black Prince he met big names of the day such as Black Butcher Johnson, Jack Pye, Zebra Kid and Ian Campbell. For thirteen years he topped bills around the country, popular with fans who appreciated his skill and agility for such a big man. Ray did not fit the common brawny image of a heavyweight wrestler, being a university graduate with an interest in politics. 

El Said Arabet
Moroccan billed Heavyweight wrestler El Said Arabet  visited the UK in the 1950s and 1960s. We have recorded contests of his here in 1952, 1954, 1958, 1962, and 1964  He tangled with the top British performers of the time, such as Norman Walsh, Jack Pye and Bulldog Bill Garnon.

Manuel Araujo
He came from a land far across the seas. Well, France anyway. Welterweight Manuel Araujo hailed from Perpignan in South East France and visited the UK in the 1958 and 1961. He worked on southern England Joint Promotion bills in 1958 and northern England  Joint Promotion shows during a 1961 visit.

Abe Arbuckle
A very big and powerful man, looked every bit of his alleged 20 stones in his lost in his televised loss to Dalibar Singh in June, 1981.  Heritage member Mark said he was impressed by the man when he saw him in 1981 at Brent Town Hall, and he certainly looked more nimble and credible than  most of the 1980s oversized heavyweights. 

Wilf Archer
We all know that not everyone could make it to wrestling stardom. Often it was due to lack of talent, but in the case of Wilf Archer it wasn’t a lack of wrestling talent but  due to talents in other fields.

Wilf was a member of the Old Mossblown Gym, run by brothers Dale Storm and Bruce Welch. Prior to that he trained in martial arts at the Tam’s Brig Health and Strength Club in Ayr under the guidance of Jimmy Moffat.  Working at Scottish Aviation in Prestwick it was a works colleague, Tam Campbell who wrestled as The Viking, that advised Wilf to go along to the Old Mossblown Gym. Dale Storm has told us that Wilf was one of the gym’s best pupils, working mostly for Spartan Promotions and other independents including Brian Dixon. During his time between the ropes he encountered  Bruce Welch, Young Starsky, Enrico Pirelli, Jim McKenzie and both Jim and Dave Morgan. He also stood in seamlessly as a Fabulous Harlequin. if and when either one of the Simpson twins was injured.

Wilf’s promising career came to an abrupt end when he was offered a very good promotion in Training and Education away from his native Ayrshire. Disappointed to lose such a prize asset,  Dale  advised his young prodigy to take the job, telling him:  "You're a good lad and a bright and an honest ring worker, but take this opportunity and make something of your life!" And so began a very successful career move  which eventually led to higher education and university  life.

Dale told us he had no doubt that had he continued in the ring Wilf had the potential to be a really big star with Joint Promotions. Wilf is now a leading member of the Committee which runs the Wrestlers Reunion Scotland, whose Events take place in Ayr every September. He also performs regularly at Folk Clubs etc. and other venues in Scotland's Central belt as the colourful “Wylfryd the Storypedlar” character.

Spiros Arion (Also known as Iron Greek, Arion Manousakis) 
Spiros Arioon, The Greek Colossus standing 6 feet 6 inches tall,  was a successful wrestler throughout the world. A powerful, muscular heavyweight he looked every part the world champion that he was recognised as at various times in Europe, Australia and America. He made his first visit to Briatain in March 1965, known in those days as Arion Manousakis, and a professional for around four years.  Within the first few days of embarking on his three month tour he had beaten Bruno Elrington, Ian Campbell, Paul Vachon, Gordon Nelson and Ramon Napoliatno, and drawn with John DaSilva at the Royal Albert Hall. 

From Britain he went to to Australian where "The Golden Greek" settled. His career flourished in the international arena during the 1970s (known by then as Spiros Arion) when he travelled throughout Europe, the United States and Australia, where he twice held the heavyweight title. He later gained further success in the United States, with wins over top Americans that included his mentor and WWWF World Champion, Bruno Sammartino. He returned to Britain in 1979, dubbed the Iron Greek. He was a welcome addition to the British heavyweight scene, wrestling here for the year. He claimed a World Heavyweight Title of sorts, which he dutifully lost to the ascendant star, Wayne Bridges,  There has been a great deal of speculation about the origins of the belt. Said to be the WWA title it had no connection with the American based World Wrestling Alliance and is thought to be the creation of promoter Max Crabtree for the  sole purpose of losing the title in Britain.

Jack Arkwright
Tall, slender and muscular Jack Arkwight was a popular figure in the independent rings of the 1960s. In the opposite corner were the flamboyant Flash Lee Edwards, the mighty Ski Hi lee, stylish Bob Taylor, masked Ghoul or the likeable Bobo Matu, and many other big names  of the time. Whoever the opponent  the fans appreciated the skill of Jack. Our final record of Jack was in 1970, following which he retired to live in Essex.Jack Arkright passed away, aged 78, in July, 2013.

Allan Armstrong
1970s lightweight, even small for a lightweight,  from Wakefield worked for the independent promoters, most notably Cyril Knowles in the 1960s and 1970s. Allan Armstrong was born on 14th February, 1947, son of George and Bessie. Allan and his wife, Jean, had three sons. Allan Armstrong died on 5th December, 2018.

09/11/19 Addition of Wilf Archer

16/1/19 Addition of Abe Arbuckle

 5/6/2019 Billy Angus updated