B: Bellamy - Benniston
Wrestling Heritage A-Z
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 also adopted a Japanese alter-ego, Tagagashi. In May 2015 Stuart was in good health at his Lincolnshire home.
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 also adopted a Japanese alter-ego, Tagagashi. In May 2015 Stuart was in good health at his Lincolnshire home.
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 like.
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 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.
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 much of Pedro bengochea following that visit but his career lasted until the early 1970s.
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.
If anything was in a name then Barnsley heavyweight villain would know best, because he had three of them Apart from Harry he was sometimes billed as Crafty Casey Pye and Gypsy Benito, his black curly locks making him look the part.
Whatever his name Harry was a first class villain, and few matches passed without his hair being tied to the ropes or his foot being caught in the ropes (often to be attacked by a brolly wielding female fan). The fans loved it.
Like most other wrestlers from Barnsley Harry learned the business in Charlie Glover's Junction Gym, alongside Dwight J Ingleburgh, Stoker Brooks, Pedro the Gypsy and all the other Barnsley lads. We have it on very good authority that should a youngster with an enlarged ego turn up at Charlie's gym he would be asked to go on the mat with Harry; that soon brought him down a peg or two!
Harry worked from his Barrnsley home during the fifties and early sixties for both independents and Joint Promotions.
In the 1960s “Rough house” Harry was lured from his Yorkshire home to Blackpool by Dominic Pye to assume the role of Dominic’s wrestling brother, Crafty Casey Pye; a part for which he was perfect. In the mid to late sixties Harry would appear on Dominic's Blackpool shows three times a week, as well as wrestling throughout the country for Dominic and other independent promoters. Harry and Dominic appeared in the 1967 film "Cuckoo Patrol," which starred the pop group Freddie and the Dreamers.
Nobody could upset the fans quite like Dominic and Casey, and their contests against Angus and Jock Campbell were legendary throughout the North. Harry Bennett passed away on 5th July, 1994, aged 67.
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 members 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.
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.