WRESTLING HERITAGE

D: Dhondt- Diamond

Wrestling Heritage A-Z

Frank Dhondt
The Belgian near heavyweight made a four week visit to Britain in January 1973, part of a Continental team brought over to mark Britain's entry to the European Community, or Common Market as we called it in those simple times. During his tour of (mainly) southern rings it was quite a busy month with Frank meeting a surprisingly wide range of opponents from Kevin Conneally to Steve Veidor. On tv he faced Paul Mitchell (read all about it in Armchair Corner's Wrestling Leads The Way)  and Mick McManus. At the Royal Albert Hall he was disposed of by Adrian Street.

Les Diables Rouges
In comparison with the opposition promoters masked men on television were a rarity. The first masked man on tv is believed to have been The Black Mask in 1960, we were allowed the Outlaw a few years later, but hooded terrors remained a scarcity. So what chance a masked tag team on tv? In the 1960s and early 1970s there was no chance. That does not make them any less worthy of celebration as this team used their considerable skill to raise the ire of fans in the north and midlands in the early 1970s. 

This villainous pair dealt out their rough justice for some seventeen years, working for both Joint Promotions and the opposition promoters. They made a colourful and menacing sight as they entered the ring in their red cloaks and hoods. Underneath the masks were two well seasoned professionals, or a permutation of two out of three from the original Eddie Rose and Pete Lindberg, with Ian Wilson.

Mythology had it that the masked pair were trained in Paris by Quasimodo, but then all Heritage readers know about wrestling mythology. Les Diables Rouge were a class act, ranking alongside better known and more widely travelled tag teams. Losses were only ever by disqualification and they triumphed in most bouts, against opponents that included the Hells Angels, the Black Knights, the Borg Twins, the Cortez Brothers, the Cadmans, and the Barons. Not even the Royals could overcome the hooded terrors.

Les Diables Rouges' time with Joint Promotions spanned five years until 1972. During this time their impressive performances failed to cut ice when it came to television appearances. Increasingly despondent they chose to make the transition to the independent promoters. With the opposition they took the Anglicised form of their name, The Red Devil. Less exotic, but more accurate!

Al Diamond (Canada)
Canadian wrestler visited Britain between August and December 1954. Opponents included  British heavyweight champion Ernest Baldwin, Jack Wentworth, Mike Marino and Jack Pye. Also see the entry for The Ebony Kid.

Johnny Diamond
Birmingham's Johnny Diamond worked for the independent promoters of the north and midlands in the 1960s/70s. Johnny, real name John Hemms, owned a jewellery shop, hence the name. We saw him just the once, in a boxer v wrestler contest in which he wore the gloves. 

Paul Diamond (Canada)
We offer two Paul Diamonds in our A-Z. The original was Canadian Paul Lehman who was born in Toronto in 1935. He came to Britain in his twenties and  made his professional debut for Dale Martin promotions in 1960.  Paul returned home shortly afterwards and went on to wrestle the big names that British fans read about in those American magazines of the 1960s newsstands: Don Leo Jonathan, Lou Thesz, Giant Baba and the like.

Paul Diamond
A teenager by the name of Paul Fairbrother was another to receive the magic, certainly not gentle, touch of Jack Taylor in his Leicestershire gym. Paul adopted the family wrestling name when Jack gave him his professional debut in the 1970s,  a tag match partnering his wrestling brother, who was actually his cousin, Bob Diamond. Paul was seventeen at the time, an energetic lightweight who worked the independent circuit for the following couple of years both in single combat and in tag partnership as one half of the Diamond brothers against the likes of the Borg Twins and the Undertakers. As he gained experience opposition became more formidable with opponents including experienced campaigners that included Bob Kirkwood and Tug Holton. When he was nineteen years old Paul moved to London and joined Joint Promotions, his first Dale Martin bout facing Sid Cooper. Other opponents included Johnny "Muscles" England and Tony "Banger" Walsh, with the most thrilling moment of his career being the occasion he partnered Bert Royal in a tag contest. Less thrilling, but equally memorable, was the loss of a tooth in a contest with Peter Kaye; it gives problems to this day!

Page reviewed 1/10/2019

13/08/2019: Al Diamond added