WRESTLING HERITAGE

British wrestling history 

C: Coleman - Collins

 

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Bull Coleman
Aubrey Coleman represented Britain at middleweight in the 1908 Olympic Games, placed 5th after losing to the eventual gold medal winner Stanley Bacon (George F DeRelwyskow took silver). As well as a Greco-Roman style champion Aubrey was also one of the country's best catch-as-catch-can wrestlers.  In the 1930s professional ring he was given the name Bull, a consequence of his aggressive style, wrestling top men such as Karl Pojello. Bull Coleman was the father of Vic Coleman.

Vic Coleman
One of the great post war middleweights, though his career spanned both sides of the war. Vic was trained by his father, Aubrey Coleman, who had wrestled in the 1908 Olympic Games and then wrestled professionally using the name Bull Coleman.  When Vic turned professional he was just fifteen and billed as the World’s youngest wrestler, Young Bull. Like most other wrestlers Vic’s career was interrupted by serving in the RAF during world war two but he returned to the ring to go on to greater success. In March, 1951, Vic won a knock out tournament at the Wimbledon Palais to win the Empire middleweight title. Others competing were  Dan Darby, Ken Joyce, Ken Wilson, Charles "College Boy" Law, Bob Russell, Russ Bishop,and  John  Lipman.

College Boy (Also known as Charlie Law)
Known mostly by the name College Boy Charlie Law started out as a lightweight, (he wrestled Harry Rabin for the British lightweight title in1943) moved through the ranks and was still entertaining the fans as a heavyweight on Paul Lincoln shows in the early 1960s.  That made a career spanning the best part of some thirty years. Born in Dulwich, living in Peckham and later Surrey, Law worked mostly in the south, and was especially popular at Wimbledon Palais.In March, 1951 he fought in a knock out tournament for the British Empire Middleweight tournament, which was won by Vic Coleman. 

Wrestling Heritage reader Palais Fan remembers, "When we used to walk between South Wimbledon station and the Wimbledon Palais on a Thursday evening, he would tell me what a treat we were in for if The College Boy was on the bill. My dad would say "now he can really wrestle" meaning, like Cappelli, Joyce, Kidd etc., he had all the basic skills and wasn't just a showman. He wrestled in a confident and clever (but not flashy) way, with great counter moves. He always looked 'well groomed' with a distinctive 'smart' (for those days) haircut. "

Whilst the name College Boy may have been used by others (the name resurfaced in the 1980s used by a wrestler otherwise known as Mario Santana)  most fans of the golden days consider Charlie to be the College Boy. He died at  far too early, aged just 55, in 1969.

College Boy (Masked)
Memories and discussion of the College Boy almost always revolve around Charlie Law. It was a surprise to just about everyone when Heritage member Johnmac2007UK recalled a masked College Boy who appeared in Newcastle; "There was a name just came to mind from the 60's, a young masked wrestler who often appeared at Newcastle St James Hall, not many appearances, but seemed to fade out of the limelight faster than he came in. He was a masked wrestler possible lightweight by the name of College Boy, I believe he was billed as from Newcastle. Entered the ring in a Black Mask, and if my memory is not playing tricks on me a black leather jacket"

Whilst everyone was perplexed by the memory, Dave Sutherland came to the rescue, "I remember The College Boy to whom John refers as he came on the scene in the autumn of 1964 just after I had started to work at St James and he won a lightweight knock out competition staged at that time. He was billed as coming from Newcastle and his autograph (not that that gives much away) is in my collection published elsewhere on this site. He made a couple of appearances after winning the tournament both of which, I believe, he won but at the expense of a fair bit of blood as his nose appeared to be rather weak. Then, as has been said, he just disappeared."

Ian Pringle added, "I was told by someone behind the scenes that he was a very young Steve Best as his Parents did not take to kindly to their sons activities as it  interfered with him studying to become a teacher."

The masked College Boy remains a mystery. If he's reading this, do put us out of our misery.

Bob Collins
Bad boy of the 1970s and 1980s rings, and sometimes referee, of southern England Kentish Town's Bob Collins was a frequent opponent of Tom Thumb. Worked for both the independent promoters and Joint Promotions.

Danny Collins
Bristol born Danny Collins was a fans favourite from the day he wrestled Adrian  Finch in his  professional debut in 1983, aged just sixteen. Danny’s style was was fast and furious, but he complemented his athleticism and agility with good wrestling skill. Having said that, one of Danny’s backwards somersaults from the top rope, was a site to behold. Danny's breathtaking style in the ring was matched with his meteoric climb to  fame.  National popularity was secured with a television debut in January 1984 when he defeated Peter Kaye. He sensationally returned to television two months later to beat British champion Jim Breaks. Now we were certain there was a new kid on the block. The win over Breaks established Danny as one of our top welterweights, culminating in a win over Jim Breaks at the Royal Albert Hall in march 1984 to snatch the British welterweight title.  He went on to hold the British welterweight title three times, the European welterweight title, the World middleweight title and twice the British heavy-middleweight title. Without doubt one of the late twentieth century’s top wrestlers.

Derek Collins
Like so many Wrestling Heritage readers Derek Collins interest in wrestling began as a ten year old child when he  joined the fans at Leeds Town Hall. Wrestling wasn't his first sports love. As a schoolboy he was a successful runner, representing Yorkshire Youth. It was whilst running that he took up wrestling in order to keep his weight down!
Derek was an amateur wrestler for nine years at the Hilltop Wrestling Club in Bradford. Derek would go along to the Hilltop when he wasn't  at work down the coal mine, not just earning an honest crust but also building up the strength and stamina necessary for a career in the ring. With a good amateur grounding Derek moved to Ernest Baldwin's Tingley gymnasium in preparation for his professional debut. That moment came in 1962, but Derek's career was soon to be put on hold due to a serious knee injury. After  more than a year out of wrestling derek returned and  established himself as a popular worker throughout  northern England and  and Scotland, working for all the major promotions.   The Collins family remains a force in British wrestling with the emergence of Derek's grandson onto the British wrestling scene.as an innovator and colourful character who could wrestle.

Page reviewed: 1/4/19