B: Blondie Bob Barratt
In the mid 1970s, a time when British wrestling was beginning to show signs of age, a new kid appeared on the block, Bob "Blondie" Barratt. Unlike most newcomers of the time this one had a bucketful of talent and two bucketfuls of charisma. We only wish Bob had been born twenty years earlier so that we could have enjoyed watching him during wrestling's greatest years. He would have been a star in any age.
Bob was born in Rushden, Northamptonshire, the home town of Ken and Doug Joyce. He started wrestling professionally in 1977, and more than forty years later he's still involved in the business. Wrestler, trainer, promoter Bob Barratt has given his heart and soul to the business without a break since the he was a young twenty year old. For more than thirty of those years he's been known as the Rock 'n' Roll Express, and quite a few other names too.
It was hard to begin with. Bob. After leaving Wellingborough High School Bob had a full time job at a plastic mouldings firm, working shifts of up to twelve hours a day. Followed by a long drive to the hall and back and a few hours sleep, if lucky, before back to work.
Bookings were scarce to start with but Max Crabtree saw the potential in his young worker and started a feud between Bob and Johnny Kidd, carried on in halls around the country. . That was the start and Bob was on his way. It was still hard going with the day job until Bob turned misfortune into good fortune. The misfortune was that Bob was made redundant. Good fortune was that he took a risk and decided to wrestle full time.
That gave him time to travel further afield and accept bookings all over the country. It also opened up the opportunity to develop a tag partnership with masked man Kendo Nagasaki. He'd had various tag partnerships previously but this really was the big time. Main event matches nationwide for around five years. Bob learned a great deal from Nagasaki, who was the ultimate professional. He told us each match was carefully dissected and notes made for future learning.
Five years of working alongside Nagasaki also boosted Bob's profile in singles matches as he clashed with Rollerball Rocco, Dave Finlay and Giant Haystacks. During the Heritage Years Bob worked for the top promoters including all the Joint Promotion members, and top independents that included Brian Dixon and Orig Williams. In later years following the disintegration of wrestling he worked for a multitude of promoters, including LDN, Premier Promotions, and Brian Dixon's All Star.
His contribution to wrestling didn't end there. Bob formed Rebel Pro Wrestling, training young wrestlers and promoting shows mainly in the north and midlands of England. Whilst almost all of his contemporaries faded away Bob just kept on going, and going, and going. As we add this tribute in 2022 he's still out there at large, often seen in partnership with his friend Keith Myatt, approriately known as The Old School.