O: Bill Ogden
Coalman Bill Ogden
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Coalman Bill Ogden turned professional in 1935 and wrestled professionally until 1973, when he retired aged sixty. A background in fairground boxing preceded a professional wrestling debut at the Ideal Skating Rink, Hanley.
He was trained by the Belshaw brothers at their Wigan gymnasium, cycling to Wigan and back each week from his home in Mow Cop. Bill also trained at the Black Boy Public House in Cobridge alongside other famous wrestlers that included Jim Mellor. Through the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s Bill wrestled many of the big names in wrestling, including Bill Joyce, Norman Walsh and Jack Beaumont. Bill’s entire life was devoted to wrestling in one capacity or another. When he wasn’t performing he worked as a referee or MC. When needed he would transport up to eight wrestlers to shows in his van. He even built wrestling rings! We’re not talking about erecting them, we mean actually building them from scratch.
Naturally, he did put them up when required also. Towards the end of his career he was transformed into the villainous Gypsy Joe Savoldi.
Bill’s career spanned almost forty years and he died in March, 1992, aged 78.
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