B: Ed Bright

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Haystacks The First

Haystacks Ed Bright
(Also known as Strangler Bright, Tiger Bright, Lucky Bright, Haystacks)

Strangler, Tiger or Haystacks Ed Bright was a long time career heavyweight villain from Essex. Yes there was a Haystacks before the mammoth Martin Ruane. Nowhere near as big as the 1970s giant we saw Haystacks Ed Bright just the once. It was 1966, an independent promoters show. Bright was clearly not in the first flush of youth, but he was good enough to ignite the crowd. Admittedly a big man he didn't look close to the twenty-four stones that was claimed. If memory serves us correctly he was a fairly short, stocky man, only serving to emphasise his girth.  A man who relied on size,  strength and dubious tactics Haystacks Bright certainly had the ability to upset the fans.  

Following the war Strangler Ed Bright was one of the Oakeley men, as Atholl Oakeley strived to re-establish his pre-war promotions against the unstoppable tide of promoters using the new fangled Mount Evans rules. We come across him for the first time in 1950, and the following year wrestling in a European heavyweight championship tournament at Harringay. He lost in the first round against the eventual winner Alex Cadier.

Haystacks  wrestled the huge German, Kurt Zehe at the Royal Albert Hall in 1952.  Posters claimed Zehe stood eight feet four inches tall. We think that's an exaggeration by about a foot, but he was a big man.

In the same year Haystacks travelled to  Singapore where he wrestled stars from around the world. We found him sharing one of those Singapore bills with a young Australian named Paul Lincoln who was en-route to EnglandWhen Oakeley ceased promoting Ed (real name William) continued working for other independents At the end of the 1950s when that same Paul Lincoln began promoting Ed Bright went to work for him, along with other independent promoters such as Jack Taylor, Bert Assirati, Danny Flynn amd Fred Woolley. He made a more than credible opponent for top heavyweights that included  Bert Assirati, Ray Hunter, Al Hayes and Mike Marino, though invariably on the wrong end of the decision. The number of matches against Assirati in the second half of the 1950s tells us that in his best years here was a hard man who feared no one, It was Ed Bright that Shirley Crabtree defeated on 20th May, 1961 in Leicester, to be crowned the British Wrestling Federation  Heavyweight Champion.

Haystacks Ed Bright made a  valuable contribution to British wrestling for the best part of twenty years, fading away in the second half of the 1960s.

Page added 21/06/2020