D: Dennison - Diamond
The Strongman nickname was appropriate for this Northern hardnut who resembled the Mighty Atom.
Smaller than he appeared on television the biceps bulged and Dennison was always willing to use his strength to overcome opponents.
After turning professional in 1958 Alan soon became a familiar face to the television fans. A one strap leotard and wristbands were the trademark of his ring attire.
For many years he was one of the great bad men of the ring, but like so many the character mellowed in later years, sometimes to the point of becoming sweetily sickening.
He could change his style to suit the occasion but always gave value for money. In the 1960s The Dennisons team of Alan and Syd Cooper antagonised fans, especially when matched against the blue-eyed teams like the Royal Brothers and the White Eagles.
When Cooper moved South it could have been the end, but his place was admirably taken by Hooker Ted Heath, the perfect replacement.
A gentle and kind man Alan?s place in the nation?s heart was demonstrated when his untimely death was announced on the national television news.
Alan Dennison died following a match at Southport on 27th June, 1984.
The dashing young French viscount toured Britain twice in the mid-sixties and is seen left with an armlock on Gentleman Jim Lewis.
Born in Paris and mentored by Georges Cohen, he was trained for the ring by Albert Ben Chemoul, father of the European Middleweight Champion, René, and became a favourite on French televised wrestling. 5'5" Noirbreuil wrestled all over France and tagged surpisingly with N'boa the Snakeman.
On his UK tour he challenged Alan Colbeck for the European Welterweight Championship and faced many of the UK's top middle and welterweights.
His sole UK tv bout was against Jon Cortez. But his record shows four 1965 losses against Jackie Pallo, all at coastal locations.
Joel was back in Britain in the 1980s, dutifully losing to Rollerball Rocco on 26th August, 1981 in a World Heavy Middleweight championship contest.
A name known to every fan of television wrestling as one half of Relwyskow and Green Promotions. Before turning his hand to wrestling promoting George was an outstanding wrestler in a short lived 1930s career.
Born to parents George and Clara DeRelwyskow on 8th January, 1914, wrestling was in young George's blood because his father was one of wrestling's all time greats. George F.W. De Relwyskow Snr, had won gold and silver medals in the 1908 Olympic Games. Naturally dad had a big influence on young George, as did the former rugby player and all-in wrestler, Douglas Clarke.
Having turned professional at twenty George gained a few years experience before defeating Rashid Anwar to take the Empire lightweight title.
Whilst his wrestling years were limited to around six years George was an immensely busy worker during this time, wrestling most nights of the week from the south west of England to the north of Scotland. He was a popular all-action wrestler famed for one of his favourite moves "The monkey climb."
But there was much more to George. Talk of hidden depths.
Secrets can be taken to the grave and that was almost the case when George died. It was a secret that had been well kept, even George's wife, Elsie, only made the discovery as she went through his papers following the death.
It transpired that, unknown to any of his friends and family, George had been a secret agent parachuted on numerous occasions behind enemy lines during the Second World War.
On the outbreak of war George signed up as a physical training instructor, and was shortly afterwards recruited by the Special Air Services. George was seconded to a section known only by the name Room 98. It is believed that George's section was involved in the training of agents in preparation for planting in the occupied countries of Europe, amongst them Odette Sansom, the French born British spy awarded the George Cross for her work behind enemy lines in the Second World War. George trained agents in unarmed combat and parachuting.
He became one of the first men to become expert in the use of plastic explosives, which he used to good effect behind the lines in Libya. In total George made more than 350 parachute drops during the war. George's war time exploits ended in 1945, when a land mine exploded as he was trying to reach Allied lines in Italy. The exploding mine destroyed the vehicle in which he was travelling, leaving George with head and leg injuries
The injuries brought his wrestling career to an early end. In 1948 George and his wife Elsie, became licensees of the Concle Inn in Barrow. For wrestling fans that may have been for the best because following the war George and brother Doug (later a referee) turned their attention to car rallying and then to wrestling promoting. It is for his contribution to wrestling as a promoter, in which he formed a business partnership with Arthur Green, that George de Relwyskow is most often remembered.
George DeRelwyskow Jr died in January 1980.
A stocky masked heavyweight of the early 1970s, and a regular of Wryton Promotions bills, who made little impact on the national scene. We understand that underneath the mask was accomplished heavyweight wrestler Jack Fallon of Wigan. His style was unexciting, though, and the masked Destroyer failed to rival contemporaries such as The Outlaw or Kendo Nagasaki. Billy Stock, amongst a multitude of others, donned the mask and adopted the name on the independent circuit.
Effervescent and irrepressible, that was the bundle of energy known as Jimmy "Boy" Devlin, a highly regarded wrestler well known to fans in the north and midlands during the 1960s and 70s.
Jimmy was from Stckton on Tees, a hotbed of wrestling that produced not only the Boy but Les Prest, Sean McNeill, Harry Rose, TommyStones, Dicky Swales, Jim Stockdale, Ray and Milton Clarke, and many others.
Even amongst a troupe like this Boy Devlin stood out above the crowd. Those who faced him in the ring have told us that he was a fast and skilful wrestler, but a bit of a nightmare to work with because he was just so energetic.
Wrestling was the only sport that interested Jimmy and one night in 1959 when he was a spectator at the Stockton Corporation Hall he got talking to Jim Stockdale, a legendary figure amongst the north eastern wrestling fraternity. Jim invited the youngster along to his gym, and that was Boy's inauguration into the world of wrestling. Jim Stockdale had a reputation as a strong disciplinarian, and Jim's rules had an immediate and long lasting impact on young Jimmy, with smoking and alcoholic drinking no longer allowed a place in his life.
Little more than a year later Jimmy made his professional debut at Stillington, and being paid the princely sum of a half crown Jim Stockdale impressed on the youngster that he must make sure he gave the crowd their money's worth. That he did, and Jimmy was soon receiving regular bookings against the likes of Earl McCready, Zoltan Boscik, Johnny Saint, Pedro the Gypsy and Butcher Goodman. Jimmy established himself as a popular figure on the independent circuit, working regularly for Don Robinson, Paul Lincoln, Cyril Knowles and other opposition promoters. Family and full time work commitments prevented him from taking up the offers to work for Joint Promotions because he knew that would require travelling further from home, which he didn't want to do. Most of Jimmy's bookings were in the north and midlands, with routine bookings as far as Lincolnshire, though he did work further south on occasions and toured Finland for three weeks, making sure he phoned his wife, Valerie every night. "I was very popular in Barnsley," joked Jimmy, "because I would take the lads a crate of Newcastle Brown"
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 Conneely to Steve Veidor.
On television 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.
Mysterious French tag team that appeared on Joint Promotions bills in the early seventies.Les Diables Rouges
In their full-length red outfits and cloaks it was very hard for fans to gain any inkling as to their identities and they were well weighted at light-heavyweight to take on the best teams from lighter and heavier ranks. The pair made a big impression in the rings of the north and midlands, working mostly for Wryton Promotions.
Later anglicised their names to The Red Devils.
Regular readers of Wrestling Heritage will probably be in no doubt who these masked villains were, but true to form
Top Masked Wrestlers' identities are revealed only in the Wrestling Heritage countdown of Top 20 Masked Men"over on wrestlingheritage.com
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.
Please get in touch if you can provide more information.
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.
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!
Standing well over six feet tall meant that Ray Diamond was a man not easily messed with in either the classroom or the wrestling ring.
At Ferryhill Grammar School he was PE teacher Mr (Ian) Glasper but once in the ring he was transformed into Ray Diamond, the popular Middlesborough wrestler trained by British mid heavyweight champion Norman Walsh at the St Lukes Amateur Wrestling Club. Ray began wrestling as an amateur whilst serving in the Durham Light Infantry.
On occasions he donned a mask and assume the character of the White Angel, aided by his female assistant in her revealing costume. We are still searching for a photo of Ray Diamond but in the meantime have come across this one of the masked Ray as the White Angel with the lovely Yvonne.
When neither wrestling nor teaching Ray could be found promoting wrestling throughout the north east, having set up Europa Promotions in 1974, or alternatively advising film and television production companies as a fight co-ordinator.
Ray Diamond was killed in a car crash on 4th January, 2012. He was aged 73.