E: Estelles - Executioner
The alleged Heavyweight Champ of Switzerland (sometimes France) weighed 17 stones and first appeared in British rings from 1934 to 1937. He worked as an engineer in London and met the biggest names of the time, including Jack Sherry, Karl Pojello, Mitchell Gill and Bill Garnon, with mixed results. One report tells of Estelles succumbing to a fall in the first round of a one fall match against Cordite Conroy. Protests from the crowd were so great that the match was allowed to continue as a three fall contest with Estelles coming out the winner.
The young welterweight started out with Paul Lincoln promotions in his native south Wales in 1960. With a bit more experience he began appearing throughout the country and was working for other independent promoters by the mid sixties. We wonder what happened to him, possibly a change of name?
We would like to learn more about this wrestler from South Wales who turned professional in the late 1930s and wrestled until 1950, seemingly every week at Blackpool. Posters proclaimed him as a former international rugby player and one of the best heavyweights from Wales.
Jackie "Glitterboy" Evans.
Originating from Gloucestershire, Jackie learned the business the hard way, working the fairground boxing and wrestling booths for the first three years before joining the ranks of Associated Promotions based in Bristol, working the west country. Later signings with several other promoters took him further afield, eventually taking him to most venues in the British Isles. He became a firm favourite in several holiday camps during the early seventies.
His flamboyant persona in the ring of blonde hair, brightly coloured gowns, face glitter and make-up, made him a popular commodity for any promoter during the glam rock years. Jackie finally hung up his boots at the end of the seventies, having spent twelve years in the game, and re-trained as a Back Specialist, working now from his home town of Andover in Hampshire.
Pete Evans started wrestling at Birmingham Amateur Wrestling Club in 1963/64 when he was 19 years old. Whilst learning to wrestle amateur style he would go along to the Embassy Sportsdrome in Walford Road, Sparkbrook to watch professional wrestling presented by promoter Conrad Davies.
Pete was hooked and quickly acquired the the appetite to become a pro wrestler. He was taught the professional techniques by Coventry's Prince Barnu (Freddie Barnes) and Birmingham's John Clarke. Pete's first paid bout was in one of the wrestling booths run by Ronnie Taylors at Hearsall Common, Coventry, in 1967.
A short time afterwards he made his indoor professional debut. It was for promoter Cyril Knowles, at the Dudley Hippodrome, on 16th April 1967, against George Leddington of Stafford. Against the odds for a newcomer Pete won that pro debut, by 2 falls to 1 in 5 rounds.
He bought a wrestling ring (from Sucha Singh) in the late 1970’s and started promoting shows along with ‘The Badger’ (Barry Potter) and also wrestling as well for other promoters including Lew Phillips (ex boxing promoter), Vic Kendrick, Jack Taylor and Ronnie Taylor on fair ground.
Martin Conroy,who was then the matchmaker of Wryton Promotions. signed Pete up for Joint Promotions It was Martin that gave Pete his nickname of ‘The Balsall Heath Basher’. Pete and Pat Roach grew up in the same area of Birmingham and were business associates in the scrap business as well as working together in the ring.
Pete trained many young aspiring wrestlers, ladies and gents alike, in a career that lasted 35 years. To this day Pete runs a scrap metal/clearance business in the Birmingham Area and maintains an interest in wrestling through the ex wrestlers associations and has attended several reunions in recent years. And reading Wrestling Heritage of course!
It’s not unknown for a sportsman to turn to wrestling as a second career. That was the case for the burly 1960s heavyweight Sam Evans. Sam was known to rugby followers as a player for Hull Kingston Rovers and Wakefield Trinity before turning to wrestling in 1962. His background also included a six year stint in the Household cavalry, which led to him standing guard at Buckingham Palace and performing duties at the state opening of Parliament and trooping the colour. Tall, muscular, and broad shouldered the bearded heavyweight Sam Evans appeared, and indeed was, something of a giant as he leaned over the top rope to interact with the ringside fans. That interaction normally consisted of mutual abuse as Sam's style was not one that appealed to the purist! The initial interest aroused by his fame as a professional rugby player was sustained when he showed that he had the natural ability to succeed in the rough and tumble world of professional wrestling. His professional debut, in 1963 against Bob McDonald, led to a disqualification defeat, which must be quite a distinction for a first outing. At Belle Vue, Manchester, Sam even managed to get himself disqualified against the villainous Italian, Pietro Capello, in itself quite an achievement! Within a short time Sam was appearing regularly in northern rings against top men such as Les Kellett, Albert Wall and Dave Armstrong. In the mid 1960s Sam fell from the limelight, working for the independent promoters, until re-emerging onto the Joint Promotions circuit in 1970.
The Executioner has been a frequent name for masked men from the 1950s onwards, with the name most often associated with Birmingham wrestler Gordon Corbett in the 1970s.