B: Black Angel - Blackfoot
A name that has been used by a myriad of wrestlers since 1945, none of them of any great significance, though one had a long unbeaten run at Newcastle between 1945 and 1947.
Peter M told the story of the night he unmasked the Black Angel, or at least one of them. “Back in 1972 I saw a bout at the Fairfield Hall. ,I was only 11 at the time. One of the bouts featured the "Black Angel",who beat. Croydon’s Steve Viedor. After the Wrestling I ran round the back entrance immediately after to get my Autographs. It was a winters February night of torrential rain. I was the only sole autograph hunter in the cold. Despite me being soaked the miserable security man told me. 'You missed them laddy, clear off home' Then out the door they came, Steve Viedor gladly signed with a large plaster over his eye. After an hour,I had counted all Wrestlers Leaving the Stage door bar one, the. Black Angel.... Where was he hiding? Was he in the bar, Surely not? Was he hiding in the toilets? Surely the Fairfield cleaners would flush this man out by now? Well, I waited, waited, & waited for a total of 2 hours. It was well past midnight. Then to my amazement, the door opened and standing there was the Black Angel. Well actually a familiar Wrestler holding a kit bag in one hand & his black/white mask in another ! I was stunned........Please Mr Angel can I have your Autograph or a signed Photo? He called me some adults swear words which I cannot repeat on this family site. The Wrestler ran over to his car and raced off like Dick Dastardly & Muttly....... So there you are Gents,No Autographs or Signed Photos for me from the Black Angel. Who was it? It was Andy Robin."
Nagasaki's Number1Fan commented that other 1970s Black Angels included Steve Clements (1972), Rex Lane (1989) and later Ian McGregor.
See the entry for Phil Siki
See the entry for Kevin Cawley
The original Black Devil was the French based Congolese heavyweight, Jim Wango, brought to Britain in the early 1930s by promoter Atholl Oakeley. Events leading up to his tragic death are told in Wrestling's First Martyr.
Following Wango's death the name Black Devil continued to be used by a wrestler of West Indies descent, Dave Smith, who lived in Dewsbury. Like his predecessor Dave Smith was an extrovert character with one report, whilst in the process of defeating the Japanese wrestler Yoshoko, declaring the Black Devil "...screamed and ran around the ring as if he had been stung by a swarm of bees."
Read our extended tribute to Jim Wango: Wrestling's First Martyr
No we are not talking about the famous tag team of the 1960s and 1970s. Our Black Diamond goes back more than a decade earlier. A masked man weighing around 15stones briefly seen in the rings around 1950, with opponents that included Padvo Peltonin, Bill Coverdale, Charlie Scott and Jack Atherton. Prior to matches he would demonstrate his strength by breaking a horse shoe in two and tearing a telephone directory in half.
See the entry for Robert Adams
Another man behind the mask who enraged the fans in the late forties and early fifties. Finally unmasked in 1952 the Black Knight was revealed as Bob Hooton, who then wrestled as Tommy the Demon. Not an exclusive name by any means, used again by independent promoters in the 1960s.
The name Black Mask must have been used by dozens of wrestlers down the years; we find the earliest in 1934. For the most part, though, fans acknowledge one authentic Black Mask. The villainous Black Mask,complete with black leotard, was active in northern rings from 1958 until 1962, enjoying a largely undefeated run, through dropping decisions against Albert Wall, Billy Joyce and Ernest Baldwin on occasions. A celebrated, and often remembered, defeat and unmasking at the hands of Billy Joyce in May 1962 in Newcastle was remembered by Dave Sutherland,
"I worked with a chap who had been there on the night it happened and Billy Joyce was the hero for once right up to the point where George Nutall was unmasked whereupon the crowd apparently totally changed their favours."
It would appear that there were other unmaskings, but confusion surrounds Black Mask due to numerous imitators on the opposition circuit and the existence of the similarly named Mask.
Here's an interesting one. Our first Black Mask appeared in 1934. Newspapers reported a contest between Black Mask and Belgian Walter Magnee in Nottingham. In the third round the masked man voluntarily removed the mask to reveal himself as W.A.Ord, apparently “well known in Nottingham.” We have found quite a few references to W.A. Ord as an amateur as late as 1933. The now de-masked Black Mask won the contest, reportedly his first professional contest, in the fourth round. We have found no further references to W.A. Ord as a professional wrestler.
But there's more. The Newcastle Journal and North Mail of 6th October, 1943, Charles Elliot that he had previously appeared at the hall as "The Black Mask."
We have found a short run of just two appearances of the Black Owl prior to his unmasking. All the usual claims about his long running streak of wins were made prior to his contests against Dick Wills and Dick the Dormouse. We can find no evidence of any previous winning streak, which leads us to believe the Black Owl was especially created for his third appearance, described as a "Mystery contest" with the well established masked man The Red Devil. Surprisingly, the publicity for the match, on 23rd February, 1940 stipulated there was no requirement for either man to unmask if defeated. Unsurprisingly controversy surrounded the ending of the match. Having gained a fall in the second round the Black Owl was knocked over the ropes and counted out. The refree declared the Red Devil the winner by a knock out. The Black Owl disputed the decision, claiming that two knowck outs were required (as was the case in some halls at the time).
The Black Owl challenged the Red Devil to a return contest, promising to unmask if beaten for a second time. The return contest took place on 21st March. It took four rounds until a decision was reached with the only submission of the match; a win for the Red Devil. The ceremonial unmasking took place to reveal the features of Jules Kiki, purportedly a Spaniard from the East End of London.
See the entry for Grant Foderingham
See the entry for Ray Apollon
A name used at least twice in the post war years. A smiling Tunisian ,El Babri Lel Mamrouni Touhani, used the name and visited Britain in 1962. He was a powerful heavyweight who held the undefeated masked man Count Bartelli, to a draw. Opponents also included Tony Mancelli, Ernie Riley, Bruno Elrington, Tibor Szakacs and Jack Pye. Made his only television appearance against Digger Rowell in November 1962 at Hull. . The name resurfaced again in the 1980s as another identity for George Burgess, also known as Jamaica George, Jamaica Kid and a multitude of other names.
See the entry for Robert Adams
Birkenhead's Billy Blackfoot was a popular middleweight throughout the north of England from the mid 1960s until the early 1970s, a career spanning just about one decade.Following a period in the Royal Navy he returned to land and pursued his interest in wrestling. Billy's experience in the navy led to him dropping his family name in favour of his ring name.He served on three minesweepers in the 104th Squadron, which was known as the Blackfoot squadron and carried the Red edged triangle with the black foot print on the funnel (photo above right. Billy's squadron worked in the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, and to the far east.On his return to merseyside Billy trained at Ellesmere port alongside Merseyside wrestlers Monty Swann, Steve Veidor, Brian Maxine, Buddy Ward and Bob Bell.Billy turned professional in 1964, initially working for the opposition promoters before being signed up by Joint Promotions the following year. Working mainly for Wryton Promotions, Bill Best and Jack Atherton .Billy met rising stars like Barry Cannon and more experienced campaigners such as Romeo Joe Critchley, Jeff Kaye, Al Miquet and Alan Dennison before fading away in the early 1970s.Some of his more memoroable matches took place at Liverpool Stadium and Blackpool Tower, with his contest against Mike Bennett at Blackpool Tower acclaimed by many regulars as the fight of the season.
Page revised 22/11/19: Black Mask entry updated
13/04/19: Black Diamond and Black Owl added