British wrestling history 

C: Crossley - Curry

Wrestling Heritage A-Z

Sam Crossley
We came across Sam Crossley at Newcastle in September, 1944 fighting Alf Rawlings. It was the first of many finds through the 1940s  with heavyweight Sam wrestling some of the biggest names of the time: Charlie Scott, Bert Collins, Jack Pye and Jack Atherton.

The Crusader
A new heavyweight masked man appeared on the wrestling scene  in 1964. This one was hard to miss; he was dressed head to toe in white. His speciality was predictably  called the crucifix, and Jim Hussey is seen above as the unfortunate recipient.  Find out more and discover who was beneath the mask in the Wrestling Heritage Top 20 Masked Men.

Chic Cullen (Also known as Robbie Stewart)
Frank “Chic” Cullen was a British wrestling great of the latter part of the twentieth century.  A world heavy middleweight champion who found success on both sides of the Atlantic, but we guess did have a few regrets that he had not been born a few years earlier.  Fans should be thankful to the likes of Chic Cullen that British wrestling survived into the twenty-first century. Born twenty years earlier Cullen would still have been a major player in the more competitive days of the 1960s, combining charisma, action and wrestling skill.

Who could possibly tell his story better than the man himself?

From early childhood to this day I've been asthmatic and it's through that I got into wrestling really. I recall not being able to run  without collapsing in a heap struggling for breath. In those days Asthma treatment meant for me a three month stay in Bannockburn hospital near Stirling.   I always had an interest in wrestling from watching World Of Sport on Saturday afternoons with my Granny Jenny. Fun for us as 13 -14 year olds was a twice weekly trip to the local Argyll Youth Club in Stirling. It's there that I met Brian McInally who was teaching Amateur Wrestling, and since I couldn't play too much five-a-side footy like my pals I took up Brians offer to join in.
Soon we moved to nearby Bridge of Allan amateur wrestling club. I enjoyed it very much and although not too successful it was enough to get me hooked on all things wrestling.

At sixteen I met Orig Williams who was promoting shows at the Albert Hall in Stirling. I approached him a few times and was given 'the short sharp shift' for which he was renowned. However I persevered and finally got an opportunity to get in the ring with the late Brian Mason (Crusher Mason or at that time The Mighty Chang). He, and the also late Steve Peacock provided me with the springboard to becoming a pro-wrestler. Orig asked to meet my parents and told them I may have what it takes and he'd like me to relocate to Rhyl .... I thought where?  Never heard of it!!

My parents who seemed delighted at the prospect of getting rid of me consented and off I went. After a few hours of training and debut matches, we were off to Sunny Spain! Me on tour as a pro-wrestler in Sunny Spain? You can imagine how excited I was at that prospect.... If I told you it was one of the worst experiences of my life I wouldn't be lying.

We travelled all over the country in a twin wheelbase transit complete with ring onboard, performing in Bull Rings, some that hadn't been used in years, some were derelict! In one Bull ring the curator was scything the long grass where the seating area was, as we erected the ring in the middle. Quite often no more than 10 or 12 people would show up..... What a let down to say the least, then we found ourselves not being paid for days on end and getting rather hungry at times.

Crusher however was to be saviour, we all laughed when he packed his primus stove and accessories back in the UK.... we weren't laughing when he proudly produced it in the middle of a car park somewhere in Madrid and proceeded to make us all lunch! Those of you who knew him will remember his array of gadgets, swiss army knives, torches etc etc.... God Bless him.. By the time we returned to the UK I was ringman/driver/wrestler/gophur etc etc..... Pro-Wrestling The Big Time!!  

Jim Cully
In April 1950, when Irishman Jim Cully “The Gargantuan Gael” was brought over from Ireland to face American Ed Don Virag at Harringay Stadium.  Promoter Athol Oakeley claimed the Irishman stood 7'7” tall and weighed 24 stones. Virag defeated him. Oakeley may have been overstating, but not by much, various sources record Culley as 7'2” tall.  "The Tiperary Giant"  started out as a weightlifter on Irish fairgrounds before turning to fairground wrestling and professional wrestling. Made the unusual route of  going to the United States in 1948 and turning from professional wrestling  to professional boxing,  but seems to have fought only a couple of professional boxing matches.

Jack Cunningham
In days when wrestling barefoot was considered an exciting gimmick, though his rather splendid monkey climbs may also have endeared him to fans,  Jack Cunningham was a popular South African middleweight who came to Britain in 1938 and went on to become an equally popular referee following his retirement due to a neck injury, sustained at Exeter in 1964. In his youth Jack was a champion swimmer in South Africa, representing his country against the United States of America whilst a teenager. During the war Jack served in the South African Air Force. For quite a few years he lived in Manchester, where he shared his wrestling commitments with playing rugby for Sale Rugby Union Football Club. 

Pat Curry (Canada)
Maybe the name just didn't suit the suave north American image, but the wavy haired, good looking Canadian, Pat Girard adopted the name Pat Curry when he made his 1947 debut in British rings. We can also find little evidence of Pat being a big name wrestler in North America as, unsurprisingly, British fans were led to believe. We do know, however, that following his British wrestling activity Pat returned to his Montreal home where he become one of the most highly respected Canadian wrestling trainers, responsible for mentoring  Pat Patterson, Terry Garvin, Ronnie Garvin, and  Sunny War Cloud amongst others.  

Pat was a familiar heavyweight in British rings from 1947 until the mid 1950s.  He met all the great names of the day, men such as Bert Assirati, Francis St Clair Gregory, Dave Armstrong and Ernest Baldwin, and losing to Tony Mancelli in a World Junior heavyweight title clash.

Page revised 9/6/2019: Addition of Sam Crossley