D: Diaz - Dodo
We have found matches for Camberwell's Wally Dix between 1936 and 1939. He had family connections which brought him to our attention. Born in Camberwell, his father was a coachbuilder, he had four brothers and two sisters. One brother was wrestler Sailor Barnes whilst the younger brother was a man known to most wrestling fans between the 1930s and the 1960s, the referee Lou Marco.
Dick the Dormouse
A giant of man Dick Rogers, known as Dick the Dormouse, started out running a boxing and wrestling booth around his hometown of Plymouth in the 1930s. He went on to gain greater fame as promoter (along with his wife Jessie) at Belle Vue Stadium, Manchester. During the second world war Dick served in the navy and Jessie took over as promoter at Belle Vue. Post war Dick was the resident referee at Belle Vue and sometimes wrestled. Ray Noble remembers, "One of the most memorable fights I saw at the Kings Hall Belle Vue was Saturday 12th June 1954, Dick (The Dormouse) Rogers, Belle Vue's popular Referee V Bill Benny. I think they were both disqualified." Another fan remembers Dick as a huge man wearing a white athletic vest and trousers.
He was a master of the head scissors and preferred to finish his bouts with a perfectly executed suplex. The popular Berlin heavyweight made fleeting visits to the UK during the late 1950s and early 1960s, although his greatest successes were reserved for the other side of the Atlantic. Having been trained by Bela Barothy and Axel Cadier the twenty-six year old German’s first visit to Britain came in 1959, four years after having turned professional. Axel had learnt the business at the Heros Club in Berlin before making his professional debut. His first tournament was in Krefeld, soon to be followed by more of the German tournaments that were held on successive nights for up to four weeks. His first overseas trip was to Spain in 1958, and shortly afterwards he travelled to Britain. During his career Axel wrestled throughout western Europe as well as South America, the Middle East, and the far east. He stood 6’2” tall and was a muscular 16 stone, and wrestled the best that Britain could offer during his short tours, which were mainly confined to the South. For more than ten years Axel based himself in Barcelona, travelling extensively throughout the wrestling world. Axel retired from full time wrestling in 1987, continuing his interest in the sport through refereeing and promoting. Axel's son, Axel Dieter Jr., continues the family tradition in the pro wrestling rings of Germany.
Arthur Riley adopted the name Jack Dillon and was a busy Manchester heavyweight of the 1950s/60s, as well as manager of the Lonsdale Club.
Salah al Dine
Kurdish heavyweight Salah al Dine visited Britain for just under a month in February 1968. Although he came with credentials claiming the heavyweight championship of Egypt for nine years his results in Britain were less than impressive, straight fall losses against Tibor Szakacs, Pat Barratt, Sean Regan and Albert Wall; stopped by Ezzard Hart and Al Fontayne.
A twelve stoner from Gravesend, Kent, Gerry Diprose was a regular worker, mostly for Dale Martin Promotions, between 1965 and 1967. Opponents included the familiar names of Linde Caulder, Reg Trood, Bobby Barnes, Peter Szakacs and Johnny Kwango. Gerry trained at veteran professional Bill Warner’s club in Gillingham alongside Alan Kitto and Tony Bates before turning professional initially for the independent promoters. Gerry Diprose died in October, 2016.
To be added soon
The muscular Jamaican heavyweight Dory Dixon was an impressive figure during his 1968-9 tour of Britain. Fast and agile for a man of his size, more skilful than most of the American heavyweights that visited Britain he established himself as a fans favourite. Despite the impressive credentials (ex NWA light heavyweight champion, holding Buddy Rogers to a draw) and undoubted skill British promoters didn't allow him to have everything his own way. Dory's British results were mixed to say the least. Amongst the wins over the usual suspects routinely sacrificed to visiting heavies, Jim Hussey, Roy Bull Davis and Leon Arras were surprising losses to Crusher Verdu and Johnny Yearsley and not so surprising defeats by Mike Marino (in three World Mid heavyweight championship clashes), Tibor Szakacs at the Royal Albert Hall Geoff Portz and Andy Robin. Dory's physique was a result of a background in weight lifting which had led to a professional wrestling debut in 1955, with most of his experience being in Mexico and the United States before he came to Britain.
“The Doc” was a promising 1970s wrestler known to fans throughout the North and Midlands. Prior to turning professional he had trained at Bradford’s Hilltop Amateur Wrestling Club, with his friends Dave Barrie and Garfield Portz, and later at the Leeds club run by George de Relwyskow. With that sort of grounding he was destined for fame and fortune that failed to materialise. The nickname “The Doc” had been given to 1970s welterweight Michael Stocks by a workmate long before his July, 1970 professional debut, in which he lost to Ian Gilmoure. That match was at the Middleton towers, Holiday camp, Morecambe, and the Doc lost by two straight falls. Out of the ring The Doc was committed to charitable work as part of SPARKS (Sportsmen Pledged to Aid Research into Crippling). In the 1970s the bearded Doc seemed to many that he was destined for the top, but his ambitions were to remain unfulfilled.
Sugar Ray Dodo
See the entry for Ezra Francis
Page revised 13/08/2019: Addition of Wally Dix