A: Arroyo - Atkinson
Wrestling Heritage A-Z
The bald headed Spaniard from Madrid was an obsessive globetrotter who travelled the rings of the world displaying his technical skill, though he could undoubtedly mix it with the best of them. Arroyo was a regular feature of British rings in the 1960s, tackling the best on offer.
We find him first in British rings in November, 1959, opponents including Alan Garfield, Dennis Mitchell, Geoff Portz and Judo Al Hayes at the Royal Albert Hall. The tour lasted until the end of January.
Jose was back in Britain the following January, again top opponents including The Zebra Kid and Count Bartelli, but television losses against John Allan and Mike Marino, and another defeat at the Royal Albert Hall by Al Hayes. Unlike many visiting stars Jose did travel extensively during these tours and appeared in all parts of the country.
The January until March 1962 seems to have been confined to the midlands, north of England and Scotland, returning for a fourth visit just for southern fans in February, 1964, and back to natiowide travel in 1965.
The 1966 visit brought a return to the Royal Albert Hall and another loss, this time succumbing to Tibor Szakacs. For such a talented wrestler the promoters gave this man no breaks! 1966 v was Jose Arroyo's last visit to British rings.
The Spaniard was equally popular in Germany where he was a regular competitor in the German tournaments, and also regularly worked in Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy and Japan as late as 1981.
Ebo Ashanti (Also known as Billy Masadula)
We have little to offer about the short lived appearances of Ebo Ashanti. A fellow wrestler tells us that the Leicester wrestler started out as Billy Masafula and he had met him on a Jack Taylor show, which leads us to suspect Leicestershire's Taylor played a part in his training. It was Max Crabtree who renamed Masadula as Ebo Ashanti when he used him on his shows in October and November 1978. A reported win over Ted Heath stands out amongst less than glorious results against Peter Kaye, Bert Royal, John Naylor. He took part in a number of 2v1 matches (with various partners) against Giant Haystacks. We would certainly like to learn more.
Edward William Sydney Askin came into the world during hard times. He was born in Staincross, a village near Barnsley in Yorkshire, on 17th May, 1939, a few months before the outbreak of the Second World War.
The boy brought up in wartime Yorkshire was to become known to the wrestling world as Judo Syd Askin, and he was a hard man. When Wrestling Heritage interviewed Syd in 2012, by which time he was in his early seventies, he remained an imposing figure.
Stamina and strength weren't the only qualities of a good wrestler that had resulted from years working deep beneath the ground at Goldthorpe and Highgate Colliery near Doncaster. The dangerous underground environment also demanded good communications and co-operative skills, which Syd reminded us were also essential qualities of successful wrestlers.
With a background in boxing and judo Syd was watching wrestling on television when he thought, "I could do that." With a mixture of confidence and cheek he telephoned promoter George de Relwyskow and talked himself into a trial. Syd knew that George was understandably sceptical of the youngster, after all he had seen many boastful youngsters
When Syd removed his shirt to uncover his mighty chest, the promoter made a quick re-assessment and knew that here was a big, powerful lad. The big, powerful lad then demonstrated that he had the potential to make a wrestler and was invited to learn the business, though was left in no doubt that it would take a lot of hard work. Hard work was something that didn't worry Sid. He turned professional in 1972. It was a steep learning curve, and in those first few weeks he went down to Tibor Szakacs, Pete Roberts, Roy St Clair, Gwyn Davies, Ray Steel; there was no easy ride for this youngster.
The following year Syd appeared on television, opposing Roy St Clair, Steve Logan and Caswell Martin, not all at the same time obviously! He lost all three matches, but was gaining valuable experience. That would serve him well for the years to follow in a career that lasted until the early 1980s.. Most of Syd's matches were working for Relwyskow & Green Promotions, which took him throughout the midlands, northern England and Scotland.
Throughout all this time Syd's love of judo had never dimmed. The Judo Syd tag was no colourful invention of a creative promoter. He took only twenty months to reach black belt first dan, and reached the standard of a level 3 judo coach. For twenty-five years he taught judo in Malta and during his wrestling career opened and trained youngsters in at least four judo clubs.
Syd Askin died on 30th November, 2017
The bald headed Bruno Asquini was a rugged, cauliflower-eared middleweight who came to British shores in the spring of 1961. This first of numerous visits was to work for the independent promoters, with opponents including George Kidd and Ken Joyce, who were at that time also working for the opposition.
The weather and the food couldn't have been too bad because he returned in 1965, a tour, this time at the invitation of Joint Promotions. Opponents included bouts with Clayton Thomson on television and Les Kellett at the Royal Albert Hall; both hard matches that ended in knock-out defeats.
It was a happier outcome on his third visit in July 1968 when he wrestled in the presence of HRH Prince Philip, defeating Steve Logan as a member of the French team with Jean Corne, Gil Cesca, and Jacques Lageat against the London team of Mick Mcmanus, Jackie Pallo, Steve Logan and Al Hayes.
Bert Assirati (Also known as John Swan)
Read our extended tribute: No Angel of Islington
Costas Astreos was the wrestling name of Costas Tofalos . Claimant of the Greek light heavyweight championship Costas Astreos was one of the wrestlers selected to take part in wrestling demonstrations shown in the early days of BBC television, with Charles “College Boy” Law in August 1939.
He was a skilled wrestler, with a style likened to World champion Jim Londos, who could hold his own with the best middle and light heavyweights Britain could offer, such as British champion Richard Wills, and held at least one win over Harold Angus. Costas Astreos worked regularly in Britain from 1932 until 1944.
Following the war he took up ownership of the Continental Club on the Oxford Road, Manchester.
Costas Astreos, born 15th March, 1912, died in 1980.
Read our extended tribute: Top Wrestlers of the 1930s – Jack Atherton
A busy worker around Southern England from 1950 until 1954. His sudden disappearance makes us wonder if he changed his name to someone else we know.
A welterweight from Bradford worked regularly throughout the north of England during the 1950s, opponents including Jim Mellors, Danny Flynn and Bernard Murray. Worked for Joint Promotions during the 1950s, drifting across to the independents in 1960 and disappearing shortly afterwards. Shown in the photo (top right) in a match towards the end of his career, an independent show against the Skeleton Man.
Page revised 19/01/2020: Ebo Ashanti entry amended