WRESTLING HERITAGE

B: Beeston - Berg

Ian Beeston
Welterweight billed from Blackpool who  featured heavily on Wryton Promotions shows in 1973-4 and then abruptly disappeared. Made a solitary television appearance when he lost to Bobby Ryan in February 1974.

Hans Behrens
German Heavyweight  from Hamburg turned professional in 1951 when he was 19 years old. Visited the UK in the 1950s, working mainly in northern England for Joint Promotions. Died on 17th February, 2007

Bob Bell
Bob Bell was  a powerful heavyweight of the sixties and seventies who worked for both independent and Joint Promotions.  Some promoters misled the public into believing that Bob was the brother of Steve Veidor (Bell) which was a shame and did Bob no justice at all.  

Bob Bell was a more than capable wrestler, a hard man, who had the ability to make it by himself. At the time there was a strong wrestling contingency from the Ellesmere Port area, numbered amongst Bob were Brian Maxine, Buddy Ward, Monty Swan, and the aforementioned Steve Veidor.  We remember Bob in all action bouts with the Klondykes, Angus Campbell, and Orig Williams, always enjoyable against the villains. Buddy Ward was the man who recognised the potential in Bob and encouraged him to take up professional wrestling. The two men got to know each other through their mutual interest in the scrap metal business.

Buddy was impressed by Bob's natural strength and a determination to succeed that was probably a consequence of being one of eight children; in that size of family you have to work hard to make yourself heard. Buddy was already making his way as a pro wrestler and persuaded Bob to have a go, which he did and found he had a natural aptitude.

Mostly associated with independent promoters Bob did work for Joint Promotions and a good authority tells us that it was Bob's choice to return to the opposition.

After retiring from wrestling Bob continued to show an interest in wrestling and his colleagues.  In 2001 Bob and his wife, Jean, assisted by a few of their Ellesmere Port wrestling friends, organised the Northern Wrestlers Reunion. It was a huge success with wrestlers attending each June until 2010 when ill health intervened and Bob reluctantly relinquished the role.

Jim Bell
Jim Bell was a 1960s heavyweight from Auchterarder in Scotland. A one time Highland Games  wrestler Bill was a good friend of Andy Robin, and the two of them trained together. Jim trained the Scottish lightweight Bill Ross. 

John Bell
A giant of a man from Aberdeen "The King Kong of Scotland" John Bell stood well over six feet tall and weighed closer to twenty stones than the thirty claimed by some promoters. In a clash of giants he defeated Carver Doone at Leeds Brunswick Stadium in 1933 when Doone dislocated a finger.

Ted Bell (Also known as Candy Kid)
Twenty three year old Canadian from Montreal visited in 1935, known as The Candy Kid. Relatively small for a North American wrestler standing 5'9” tall and weighing 13 ½  stones.

Stuart Bellamy (Also known as Tagagashi)
One time judo instructor Stuart Bellamy wrestled for six years as an amateur at the Grantham Physical Culture Club and was then prepared for the professional ring by Norman Carter. The Lincolnshire wrestler, from Colsterworth,  worked for both the independents and Joint Promotions for around ten years beginning in 1967 when he made his debut at Grantham against Bill Rawlings. Opponents included experienced top men of both circuits: Bill Rawlings, Harry Bennett, and Count Bartelli, as well as other youngsters such as Dave Bryson and Terry Camm. Utilising his martial arts background Stuart adopted a Japanese alter-ego, Tagagashi. In May 2015, Stuart was still in good health at his Lincolnshire home.

King Ben (Also known as Benny King)
Keighley’s Benny Boothman was known to wrestling fans as King Ben, a very strong wrestler who was also a champion arm wrestler. Philip Boothman (his father was Ben) came from a farming family with a farm in Silsden, near Keighley, Yorkshire. King Ben turned professional in 1974. He worked mainly in northern England and Scotland for Best Wryton, Morrell Beresford and Relwyskow & Green Promotions. Opponents included other northern regulars Alan Dennison, Jeff Kaye, John naylor and the likes. Benny Boothman  is the father of Kid McCoy, and the two faced each other  in the finals of the 1988 Golden Grappler tournament, with dad coming out on top. When King Ben retired in 1992 he became a chimney sweep, offering his services to weddings where the presence of a sweep was said to bring good luck! 

Texas Jack Bence
Texas Jack Bence was actually from Massachusetts. He turned professional wrestler in the latter half of the 1940s and shortly afterwards went on to travel the world.  He worked throughout the Pacific region, South Africa, Europe and North America, finally fading away in Canada during the 1970s.Texas Jack visited the UK in the late fifties and early sixties, including a contest against Mike Marino at the Royal Albert Hall on 18th February, 1959. He had a series of tremendous battles with European mid heavyweight champion, Bill Howes. Like so many of the American visitors of the day Bence played the part of the loud-mouthed, arrogant bad guy, and he did it very well.  Wrestling Heritage reader John Shelvey told us  "I remember Texas as a tough and entertaining villain who could certainly rile the crowd with his rule bending."  Jack Bence passed away in 1985.

Pedro Bengochea
The Spanish heavyweight whose strong legs led to him being known as “Legs of Steel.” He was  a regular visitor to the UK in the second half of the 1950s and first half of the 1960s, and unlike many overseas visitors did not confine his appearances to one part of the country. Opponents included the best of the time - Norman Walsh, Mike Marino, Tibor Szakacs and Eric Taylor. Lost to  Charlie Fisher at the Royal Albert Hall in February, 1958, and did no better in November 1964 when he was beaten by Gerry de Jager. Interestingly faced Kendo Nagasaki twice in November, 1964, during the first two weeks of the masked man's long career. We didn't See the entry for much of Pedro Bengochea following that visit but his career lasted until the early 1970s.

Colin Bennett
Colin Bennett was easy to identify. He was the one that climbed through the ropes wearing a fireman's helmet and jacket. We were easily pleased in those days. Yorkshire fireman Colin Bennett was a popular welterweight of the 1970s.  Initially learning to wrestle in  a gym he set up near his home in Wilsden Colin was taught the professional trade at George deRelwyskow's St Patrick's Gym  in New York Road, Leeds. Colin turned professional in the mid 1960s, making his debut on a Relwyskow and Green bill in Morecambe.  A skilful technical wrestler Colin made around a dozen television appearances in the 1970s and 1980s, including a drawn verdict against Jim Breaks and a win over Steve Grey.

Michael Bennett
Having watched the cherub like Michael Bennett woo fans of all ages during the 1960s we couldn't believe what he turned into when he returned in the 1980s as Marvellous Mike Bennett.  Our earliest memories are of a baby faced darling, a very accomplished wrestler who justified the occasional top of the bill matching with the likes of McManus and Pallo. Watching wrestling with his father whilst a young teenager Michael got the bug and was determined to become a professional wrestler.

Trained initially by Joe Hill and later by Ernie Baldwin Michael turned professional in March 1964 when he was eighteen years old, opposing Steve Best at Bradford. In 1965 he won the TV Trophy and was presented with the trophy by Sportswoman of the Year, Mary Rand. At some point Michael returned to the ring as Marvellous Mike Bennett, an arrogant rule bending alter-ego of his previous incarnation. Precisely when the transformation took place we cannot be sure but it seems likely to have been in the first half of the 1980s. 

Heritage member Ohtani's Jacket cast some light on the timing when he said. "I can't be sure when he started working as Marvellous Mike other than the transformation I saw on TV in '84 & '85. He worked on a few Joint Promotions cards in the early 80s and in a non-televised capacity and appeared to be a straight blue eye at the time."

"MMB certainly played the 'hard man' to perfection. Supreme wrestling ability plus the edge of being the villain and dishing out some 'stiff' punishment," said Geoff Shoots. Good guy or villain Mike Bennett was certainly one of the unsung heroes of British wrestling.

Al Bennsiton
Midlander Al Benniston was another from the Jack Taylor stable of wrestlers travelling the independent circuit in the late 1950s and 1960s, opponent of the likes of Killer Ken Davies, Billy Yukon and  the Lapaque brothers. Al trained with Jack Taylor with his professional debut delayed due to national service, when he was posted to the Far East.  Outside the ring Al was a builder, retiring due to ill health in his mid 50s.

Baptiste  Benoy

Belgian middleweight representative (Graeco Roman and Freestyle) in the 1948 London Olympic Games  was Jean Baptiste Benoy. Not only that, but at 21 years 351 days he was the youngest member of the Belgian team. Five years later he was back. Now  a professional and billed as Belgian light heavyweight champion Baptiste  faced the likes of Vic Hessle, Emile Poilve, and Jim Foy. The Belgian returned the following three years and again in 1960. Maybe he liked the food. Or the weather!

Ted Beresford
Although he is now remembered mostly as one of Britain's top wrestling promoters, and founder member of Joint Promotions, Huddersfield's Ted Beresford was a top class professional wrestler of the 1940s before turning his hand to promoting in the post war years.  Ted Beresford, his birth name was Walter Leonard Beresford, turned to wrestling following a stint in the army and working on a farm. Always a sports fanatic he was encouraged to take up wrestling by the Scottish wrestler George Clarke. During the war Ted, based in Aldershot whilst serving, organised wrestling tournaments for the army.  As one of the top names in the light and mid heavyweight class Ted wrestled the big names of the day such as Norman Walsh, Vic Hessle and Mike Marino. He retired from wrestling in 1952 with his influence on the wrestling scene continuing to grow for another quarter of a century. He put the skills learned organising tournaments during the war to good used by turning to promoting, usually in partnership with Bradford's Norman Morrell. Ted's niece, Jennie Sherwood, is seeking information about her family, which includes both Ted and middleweight Steve Clements, and anyone who can help should contact Jennie jenzsher@tiscali.co.uk

Sammy Berg
Sammy Berg was billed as Mr Canada, and had the body to prove it. 

Standing 6' 4" tall and weighing a muscular nineteen stones  the Canadian made a short visit to Britain in 1960, facing the British heavyweight hopeful Billy Robinson on television. 

At the time he was in his early 30s (born in 1929) and had around ten years wrestling experience. Unlike many North American visitors Sammy did have a considerable amount of technical skill to back up his power. 

His visit to Britain was towards the end of a wrestling career as he moved into acting, and was set to appear in many films during the years that followed. In the 1980she moved to Hawaii and worked on tv series Magnum, P.I. until it ended in 1988 fast, even in their late fifties and early sixties!"

Reviewed 17/03/2022