B: Bibby - Bison
“Angel Face” Bob Bibby.
A welterweight from Clitheroe in Lancashire active in the 1970s. Appeared on television in April, 1976, losing two falls to nil against Colin Bennett.
Bob Bibby was trained at the famous Snakepit gym in Wigan.
Billed as Angel Face, he strutted to the ring in a magnificent full length gown, armed with a hairbrush, and combing his locks provocatively. Bob told Wrestling Hertitage, "I debuted in Hull, Madley Street Baths against Pete Meridith in the early 1970s. My bouts varied, could be 1 a month to 5 a week because I was working as well and they felt like all over the place... Wolverhampton, Leeds, Bridlington, Morecambe, Aberdeen, Liverpool, Rhyl and others."
A biceps injury unfortunately cut his career short, and Bob became an artistic blacksmith in his home town.
Jack Bice, from Liskeard, Cornwall, made the transition from Cornish style wrestling to all-in style in 1934. Opponents ranged from welterweight Harold Angus to the heavier Bert Mansfield and Jack Atherton. We can find contests for Jack in 1934 and 1935, all of them in Cornwall.
The welterweight from Roscommon in Ireland, moved to the United Kingdom in the mid 1950s, to set up home in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. We remember him as a worker for the independent promoters, often working for Jack Taylor. He did work for Joint Promotions at times and was also a referee for Devereux Promotions.
Frederick Roy Parkes was born in Scarborough on 22nd May. Later domiciled in Feltham Roy Parkes was a multi-tattooed London Amateur Wrestling Champion of 1964, trained under the eye of Len Allen and Jack Ingle, who turned pro soon afterwards.
Like many other wrestlers Roy's first interest in the ring was boxing, a sport he pursued whilst serving in the army, and becoming an army champion. His professional wrestling debut came in 1966 and it was a baptism of fire when faced with Alan Garfield. An early push by Dale Martin Promotions saw him in with some big names and victories over Yuri Borienko, Johnny Yearsley and the aforementioned Garfield.
The alias Mr Big was clearly an indication of his size and power, but at a mere 18 stones he was a midget compared to what we were to be subject to ten years later. It’s unfair to mention Mr Big in the same breath as some of those giants, because he was a man who could actually wrestle. The promise forecast by the Wrestler magazine in 1968 never really materialised and Roy remained in a supporting role for a career that was somewhat stop-start. He disappeared from our radar at the end of 1968 before a resurgence in the late seventies,. There was a brief spell masked as The Big Brute managed by Kensington's Reg Trood. After beating John Elijah and throwing down a challenge at the Royal Albert Hall ring in September, 1977, nothing materialised and that was more or less the end of The Big Brute. The Mr Big persona continued was last seen in September, 1980. Roy Parkes sadly died on 11th November, 2007.
See the entry for Mr Big
See the entry for Shirley Crabtree
See the entry for John Kowalski
See the entry for Al Tarzo
It wasn’t just the magnificent physique, or the hairy chest, but the superb wrestling ability that made the middleweight from Auckland, Russ Bishop, such a sensation when he came to the UK from New Zealand in 1949.
At the time New Zealand mat men, especially the lighter men, were finding it difficult to break into the business at home. The solution for many was to travel abroad, often to Australia, but sometimes much further afield.
He came along with fellow New Zealanders Ray Clarke and Bob Russell, and the three of them were accepted in Britain and became popular UK performers during the late 1940s and early 1950s. Russ was the first professional opponent of Joe D'Orazio when young Joe made his wrestling debut.
After leaving Britain to return home Russ and his fellow New Zealanders stopped off to wrestle in the United States and Mexico, doing particularly well in the latter where smaller wrestlers were appreciated.
Russ Bishop died in 2015
Light heavyweight Harry Bison was a tall, muscular bearded wrestler based in the Isle of Man during the 1970s. He was usually billed as The Zulu, but should not be confused with Ezzra Francis, the Manchester Zulu.
Hey, this is pro wrestling.
Harry was trained by Manx lightweight Bill Kennedy at the George Barnabus wrestling club, the lifeline for aspiring professional wrestlers on the Isle of Man in the 1970s. A dozen or so Islanders would wrestle visiting men from the mainland during the weekly summer season shows.
We met up with Harry in 1971.
We even wrote an article about him in The Wrestler magazine and would like to know what became of him.
Page revised 13/04/19: Addition of Jack Bice