D: Donlevy - Doone
When compared to big brother Seamus it seemed that middleweight Mike Donlevy was made up of the calmer set of Donlevy genes. He was certainly the more popular of the two with female fans.. Following in the footsteps of his older brother Mike left his hometown of Charletstown to set up home in Liverpool, then Birmingham, and into the professional wrestling ring a couple of years after Seamus. They made a formidable tag team in opposition to the White Eagles, Black Diamonds and Cadman brothers. Highlights of his career included a bout with Jack Dempsey on television and clashing with Mick McManus at the Royal Albert Hall. Sometimes overshadowed by the exploits of his tough guy big brother Mike did claim one record of distinction, a four second fall over Ken Cadman. Mike has now returned to Ireland and cotinues to live in his birth place of Charlestown, County Mayo.
Another fighting Irishman, and the one who played the saxophone in the spare time. Born in 1934, in Charlestown, County Mayo, Ireland, the rugged Seamus Donlevy was to become one of the promising Irish heavyweights of the 1960, though he remained overshadowed by the successes of Pat Barrett and Sean Regan. At 17 years old he moved from County Mayo to Liverpool as a carpenter. After training at Riley’s gym Seamus, by that time living in Birmingham, turned professional. He was a regular worker in Joint Promotion rings, working throughout the country from his home in Birmingham Seamus' rugged features alerted fans straight away that they were about to witness a ring villain, and they were rarely disappointed. His intriguing life story, which includes an attempt on his life when bullets were fired into his car, and management of various midland night clubs, can be read in his auto biography, "Finally Meeting Princess Maud."
Leeds welterweight wrestler Wilson Burgess was one of those fans that lived the dream, going from fan to magazine seller at Leeds Town Hall and then professional wrestler in the 1970s. He learned amateur wrestling at the Jack Lane Club in Leeds before learning the professional style at Ron Farrar’s gymnasium at Batley.
Baron Donovan (Detroit Donovan, Bill Bennette)
Baron Donovan came on to the British wrestling scene at around the time we were losing interest and so we happily succumb to our members to fill in the gaps. Knowledgeable members NagasakisNumberOneFan and Graham Brooks. Donovan emerged onto the scene in 1974, often going down to Big Daddy, including his only tv appearance, partnering Giant Haystacks in their loss to Big Daddy and Tony St Clair. Billed from the USA, this was another part of wrestling kidology. He was really from Southport where, if Graham remembers correctly, he worked as a chiropractor. Max Crabtree billed him as Baron Donovan and Graham recalls a particularly good tag bout at Belle Vue where he was teamed up with Lee Sharron against The Barons (Ian Gilmour and Jeff Kaye). We are told he was Bill Bennett (Martin Conroy of Wryton Promotions added an "e" and billed him as Bill Bennette from Canada. Graham refereed him once at Tower Beach Holiday Camp, Prestatyn, for Bobby Barron where, unusually for him, he played the blue eye against heel Ragnor the Viking.
Whilst we have taken exception with some aspects of Atholl Oakeley’s interpretation of wrestling history we will willingly give him some credit. He was a creative and talented promoter and a major player in the resurgence of British wrestling in the 1930s. He was also the creator of some of wrestling's greatest characters, one of whom was Carver Doone. Oakeley was obsessed with Lorna Doone, a novel by Richard Doddridge Blackmore. In “Blue Blood On the Mat” Oakeley writes that he took one look at Jack Baltus and immediately named him after Blackmore's creation, Lorna Doone.
Carver Doone was the stuff of legends. Irrespective of any wrestling skill he may or may not have possessed few names are as evocative as the name given to Jack Baltus.
Although Oakeley portrays Carver Doone as some invincible monster, “The Frankenstein of Devon,” the results we have seen suggest something otherwise. Doone was said to stand seven feet tall (we'd settle on 6'9"), certainly a tall man, but no monster, he was well proportioned. Oakeley introduced his new giant to the unsuspecting public in 1931, and he was to remain a permanent fixture on the British wrestling scene for much of the decade.
Carver Doone's over-reliance on his size and strength made him something of a novelty and inevitably a short career that fizzled out before the outbreak of war. Irrespective of wrestling ability, or lack of it, Doone was a headline act for Oakeley during the 1930s, heavyweight champion of Somerset and Devon no less! Said to weight anything between 20 stones and 29 stones; in the wonderful world of professional wrestling we feel he deserves acknowledgement as one of the top wrestlers of the 1930s.
Related article: On the Trail of Carver Doone in www.wrestlingheritage.com
A low key, supporting role wrestler, billed from either Leicester or Bradfor, who frequently appeared around northern England and Scotland between 1938 and 1948. Described as “A human dynamo” his legendary speed seems to have had little effect against the top lighter men as our results usually find him on the wrong end of the verdict.
Page reviewed: 01/10/2019
13/08/2019: Billy Donnegan and Jimmy Doran added