British wrestling history 

D: Deakin - Deconick

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Peter Deakin
Nottingham's Peter Deakin followed a route not dissimilar to that of Spencer Churchill, Earl Maynard and John Lees into professional wrestling, being a body builder of international repute. Well, not dissimilar except the latter three did not own a chip shop in Nottingham.

In 1956 and 1957 he was placed 4th in the Mr Britain competition, 5th in 1958. In 1956 he came 4th in the amateur Mr Universe competition, the year that John Lees was runner-up. In 1957 independent promoters gave him the opportunity to show his skills in  the pro wrestling ring, surprisingly being billed as Wonder Boy rather than the name by which he was nationally known.  

By the end of 1958 he had been signed up by Joint Promotions and was immediately pitched in with the top names of the day, and holding his own with them. He stepped up a gear in 1959 when he took part in the Royal Albert Hall heavyweight tournament and television exposure came in April, 1960, in a bout with Welsh heavyweight Gwyn Davies. 

In November, 1961 tragedy struck Peter when a ring injury resulted in a damaged knee and a premature end to a promising career.

Peter Deakin died on 5th  May,  2012.

Alf "Man Mountain" Dean
Alf “Man Mountain” Dean is something of a mystery. One of those wrestling conundrums that we haven’t even started to unravel. We first became aware of him when we read a 1961 Sunday newspaper expose of professional wrestling where Man Mountain Dean revealed all. But this wasn’t Frank Simmons Leavitt, the famous American Man Mountain, who had died in 1953 anyway. This was Alf Dean, who claimed to have been an All-In wrestler.  Searches for information about Alf Dean discovered that he was a small part actor. With only a handful of findings our Man Mountain, and even those were not definitely Alf, we would have concluded that any involvement in pro wrestling was extremely limited. Maybe it was, but we were surprised to find that Alfred James Dean listed his occupation as Professional wrestler and wire worker in the 1939 census. His date of birth was given as 20th April, 1915. His given address at the time was listed as H M Prison, Wandsworth, London, which may have accounted for his limited wrestling appearances.

Danny Dean
We have scant information about this Irish heritage welterweight with a judo background  who,  between 1954  and 1956, faced opponents including the experienced Arthur Fisher and Bob Archer O'Brien as well as new kids on the block like Jackie Pallo and Peter Rann. We would welcome more information from anyone in the know.

Dennis Dean
Australian light heavyweight Dennis Dean was born in Hobart on 23rd September, 1934. A collection of jobs that included Sheep shearing and cattle driving led up to a professional wrestling career that began in Sydney in 1954. Five years later, in the Autumn of 1959, he made his debut for Dale Martin Promotions and was set to become a full time worker,  mainly in the south, for the next half dozen years. In 1962 he followed in the footsteps of numerous other Joint Promotion workers and moved over to the independents, a regular worker on Paul Lincoln shows. Dennis Dean continued to work regularly until the end of 1965 but disappeared from the circuit following the Paul Lincoln merger with Dale Martin in January, 1966. On occasions he would tag with fellow Australian, Aussie Dean (known in Joint Promotion rings as Otto Acron) and also worked with Otto as part of his circus strong man act, when they were known as the Acron brothers. 

In 1962 the two of them bought a Russian brown bear and were granted a licence by London County Coincil to train and wrestle him. The  bear, named Basil, was given a new name considered more suitable for a 25 stone brawler, Igor.  The Royal Society of Cruelty to Animals were outraged a mounted a fierce campaign to successfully get at least some of the events banned.

Desmond Dean
We have a run of matches for heavyweight Desmond Dean, who was said to be from South Africa, between April 1947 and February, 1948.  Opponents included Jack Pye, Hassan Ali Bey, Dave Armstrong and Vic Hessle.  We would welcome more information.

Ian Doc Dean
Ian Doc Dean just scraped into the Heritage Years of Wrestling by virtue of making his debut in his mid teens, at fourteen according to some accounts. By the summer of 1987, as he turned seventeen on the 3rd July, he was already working full time touring the holiday camps of Britain with Robbie Brookside and Steve Regal. 

The partnership and friendship with Robbie Brookside was to endure through the years as they became the top tag team in the country. The Liverpool Lads. Tag teams didn't get any bigger, or more popular than Robbie and The Doc in the late 1980s and 1990s, travelling the country and beating the Superfly team of Ricky Knight and Jimmy Ocean to win the ASW Tag Team Championship. In individual competition Doc Dean twice won the ASW British welterweight title between 1990 and 1993.

With opportunities for wrestlers in Britain reducing dramatically in the mid 1990s Ian and Robbie made their way to the United States, making his WCW debut in 1997. Ian also worked for New Japan Pro Wrestling, competing in the  Best of the Super Junior IV tournament in 1997.

Robbie Brookside returned to Britain whilst Doc Dean settled in the United States. The sad news was received on  14th August, 2018, that he had died, aged just 48 years old.

Mike “Man Mountain” Dean
Bearded heavyweight villain from Garforth weighed in around the twenty stones mark. He was one of a number of 1980s super sized heavyweights caught up in the Big Daddy parade of fall guys. We own up to not having seen him first hand and may be doing him an injustice. We would welcome further information.

Brother Death

Here's a glass half-full or glass half-empty test. For those with a half-full outlook the creation of Brother Death was a touch of creative genius. From a half-empty perspective it's a sign of just how low a promoter could stoop. Brother Death was a short lived invention of promoter Jack Taylor to fill the void left by Dr Death when he went to work for the rival Joint Promotions.

Doctor Death
The mysterious Doctor Death was arguably the most famous masked heavyweight of the 1960s. Even without the aid of television (he was a creation of the independent promoters) Doctor Death was a household name, familiar to many with little or no interest in professional wrestling.

Billed as the mystery man from Hollywood USA, the original Doctor Death was the wrestling promoter Paul Lincoln. Here was a man who could use blindside skulduggery and torment his opponents with punishing nerve holds to bring the fans to a frenzy. Lincoln used his creativity as a promoter to maintain an enduring myth of invoncibility against  his small but talented roster of wrestlers that included Ray Hunter, Al Hayes and Mike Marino.

The character became devalued due to frequent copying; as in the mid sixties numerous Doctor Deaths could be watched around the country every night of the week. Those who saw the original, though, were never in any doubt that they were watching the genuine article. The real mystery is how Paul Lincoln managed to create such a famous and well respected wrestling superstar without the aid of television exposure.

Wrestler Al Marshall told Wrestling Heritage:
“It was a photo of Paul as Doctor Death that I saw when I was a very small boy that made me want to go and watch a wrestling show. I pestered mum and dad for weeks before they relented and dad took me along. After watching this masked man wrestle I was determined that I too would become a wrestler.The saddest thing of all is that I never did get to meet this great man to say "thank you." He did so much for professional wrestling. I saw him wrestle about three times. I know it was him under the mask and not one of the many imposters. Paul, the wrestling world owes you so much. God bless you Paul for you are now in that big wrestling ring in the sky. Thank you, from Al Marshall."

Related article: Top Twenty Masked Men

Paul Debusne
French middleweight made numerous visits to Britain in 1954, 1956 and 1957. Worked mostly in the north of England with opponents including Harry Fields, Jack Dempse, Tommy Mann and Bert Royal.

Roland  Deconinck
Belgian champion visited Britain in 1952; opponents included George Kidd, Carlton Smith, and Mick McManus.

Page reviewed: 28/09/2019

05/09/2018: Dennis Dean updated

23/06/2019: Addition of Alf Man Mountain Dean, Desmond Dean, Mike “Man Mountain” Dean, Paul Debusne, Roland  Deconinck