WRESTLING HERITAGE

B: Black Mask


The Black Mask


Walter Ord

George Nuttall

Chick Elliott

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The name Black Mask must have been used by dozens of wrestlers down the years. For the most part, though, fans of the post war years 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, though dropping decisions against Albert Wall, Billy Joyce and Ernest Baldwin on occasions.


Black Mask's claim to fame was to have been the first masked man to appear on ITV Wrestling, his 1960 and 1961 victims being Don Mendoza and Rocky Wall.


A celebrated and well remembered defeat and unmasking at the hands of Billy Joyce on 5th May 1962 in Newcastle was recalled 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."


George Nuttall

George was the younger of the Nuttall brothers, the son of George and Frances born in Marple on 17th March, 1926. After serving in the navy Stockport's George Nuttall turned to wrestling following a career as a professional boxer, active between 1948 and 1957.


Whilst boxing George graced the rings of famous wrestling arenas that included the Harringay Stadium, the Nottingham Ice Rink, Manchester' Ardwick Stadium and the Royal Albert Hall. It was a ten year career from 1947 until 1957. In 1949 George was a sparring partner for British heavyweight champion Bruce Woodcock.


More greatly respected than many of the boxers that turned to wrestling George was never destined to become one of the more famous stars of the wrestling ring. He turned professional in the mid 1950s, overlapping with his boxing career, and had a run of about ten years, last seen in 1965. Wrestling enthusiast Ray Noble was a neighbour in Marple and told us, “Both George and Bert were real gentlemen. when George was boxing and I was a young lad he was our local hero.”


George Nuttall died in 1994.


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.


Walter Ord

Here's an interesting one. Our first Black Mask appeared in 1934. Walter Ord was a minor player in the professional ranks that we find making his debut at Nottingham on 26th February, 1934. Walter was a well known amateur wrestler in his home town, Nottingham, and also a good swimmer and rugby player. Having helped in the organisation of a professional show in London Walter had his amateur status withdrawn. He declared he had no intention of earning as a living as a wrestler but entering the pro ring was his only way of pursuing his interest. When he made his debut, against Walter Magnee, he assumed the identity of the Black Mask. Unfortunately a number of the Victoria Hall locals recognised Walter and called out his name. Consequently, Black Mask revealed himself in the third and the unmasked Walter went on to win the match with a pin fall in round three and a submission in round four. Although we have found quite a few references to W.A. Ord as an amateur as late as 1933 we could find no further records of a professional appearance


Ben Sherman

But there's more. In July, 1939, the Liverpool Evening Express reported that The Black Mask has unmasked at the Stadium. Beneath the hood was American Ben Sherman


Chick Elliott

On 24th May, 1941, there was another Black Mask unmasking. This time the victor by two fall to one was Farmer's Boy George Broadfield and under the mask was Charles Elliott.


For more than twenty years the Salfordian heavyweight known as Chick Elliott was a mainstay of Northern rings tackling everyone who was anyone. He was born on 14th June, 1911 and appeared on the wrestling scene in the mid 1930s. A muscular and powerful 16 stoner with an interest in physical culture he was a busy worker from the outset with appearances limited to the north of England.


He continued wrestling whilst serving as an army physical training instructor during the war, but understandably far less frequently. It was during the war, in 1941, that he was revealed at Newcastle as the man beneath the Black Mask hood.


Without noting any great highlights there are reports that Chick was a skilled and scientific matman, proclaimed Heavyweight Champion of the North in 1944. For the first five years after the war it seemed that not a week would pass by without Chick appearing on the big bills at Belle Vue Manchester, Liverpool Stadium and Blackpool Tower, opponents included Bert Assirati and Cocky Knight, Bert Mansfield and Ernest Baldwin. His contests, of course, were not limited to these major venues but he rarely ventured too far south!


Chick's appearances became less frequent from 1955 onwards, with our last sighting in 1960.


More Black Masks appeared and disappeared just as quickly in the 1960s, usually just a wrestler conveniently placed to create a bit of interest.


Note: Black Mask is not to be confused with The Mask as happened in the wrestling press at the time of their runs.

Page added 01/05/2022