C: Corrigan - Coulolias
Wrestling Heritage A-Z
Braka lived in Bonnyrigg, a suburb twenty-three miles west of the centre of Sydney, New South Wales. We discovered him wrestling in 1958, his debut year, working in Sydney clubs for promoter George Gardiner.
A muscular, powerful heavyweight he came to Britain the following year, a four week tour November, 1959. Top class opponents included Norman Walsh, Ray Apollon, Johnny DaSilva and Alan Garfield. At the Royal Albert Hall he had the dubious privilege of being matched with Mike Marino, dutifully going down to the popular Brit.
Heritage member Graeme Cameron has told us Braka inadvertently found himself in a position of power in late 1969 when a group of twelve wrestlers, including himself, broke away from Hal Morgan to form their own promotion after being refused a pay rise. He was appointed matchmaker, referee and liaison to WCW promoter Jim Barnett, handling the arrangements for supplying talent to the larger promotion, mainly because he got along with everyone.
Braka Cortez moved to Brisbane in the early 1970s and turned to refereeing. By the mid 1970' he was a full time referee for WCW. (the independent promotion only lasted two years) . Braka Cortex died in Brisbane in 2014 from Alzheimer's Disease.
He was born on 7th July, 1932 named Alfonso Carlos Chicharro. He arrived in Britain in 1957, staying about a month and losing to Bill Verna at the Royal Albert Hall. He returned for another short visit in November, 1963, this time working mainly in northern England and Scotland. Although now known as Hercules Cortez in the United States he retained the name Pepe in Britain.
Pepe was tragically killed in a car crash on the return from a wrestling show on 24th 1971, aged 39.
Young Billy Coulolias was one of those who just couldn't decide, boxing or wrestling? So he did them both, with some success. In 1946 he won the New Zealand amateur middleweight championship at wrestling whilst also boxing as an amateur. The following year he opted for boxing and turned professional. Following a professional boxing match in Greece he decided to explore more of Europe and in June 1947 ended up in Britain. He made his British professional boxing debut in August 1947, losing to Bert Sanders when cut in the fourth round. He boxed 36 matches in the United Kingdom (W14 ,L22 , D2), finally retiring in May, 1951.
It was then that he decided to try his hand at professional wrestling and began to use the name Basil. Initially he over-relied on his strength, which was immense for a welterweight, but returned to the gym and developed his professional wrestling skill. He worked regularly for Joint Promotions, often matched against heavier opponents such as Steve Logan and Johnny Czeslaw. In October 1962 Paul Lincoln tempted him across to work for the opposition promoters and Basil was to remain a prominent name on the independent circuit until our last recorded match for him was in February, 1966.
Page revised 22/12/2019: Update of Braka Cortez entry, update of Pepe Cortez entry
24/10/2019: Update of Braka Cortez entry
09/06/2019: Addition of George Corrigan