British wrestling history 

has a name


G: Ginsberg - Glendenning

Wrestling Heritage A-Z


Abe Ginsberg

How could a black leather helmet arouse such anger amongst the wrestling public?

But it did. The helmet, the leotard and the beard were enough to tell the fans that here was a first class villain even before the opening bell rang.

Not long into the first round Ginsberg’s dastardly tactics would confirm the fans’ views, and soon they would be screaming at his opponent to remove the helmet.

As was often the case the personality outside the ring was a very different matter. Peter Abe Ginsberg was known as a kind, generous man, with a shrewd business brain, his wife joked that Peter would have enjoyed his funeral "He'd have loved it, with all its colour and fun - a celebration of his life. The only grievance he would have had was not charging a quid at the door."

Cheetham's Abe came into wrestling after serving in the royal navy and having a few fights as a professional boxer.

That Abe Ginsberg was a collector of antiques, a successful businessman, and a highly intelligent and well-read man will not surprise any of his fans.

Nothing he did would surprise them, inside or outside the ring.

My Friend, by Tony Francis

Peter Ginsberg died on November 6th 2001,at home in Prestbury,Cheshire.

He was a remarkable man,a fine wrestler,and a terrific showman.Born in pre war Manchester,he was brought up by his Granny until he joined the Navy as a very young man. After leaving the navy,he found himself fighting on the fairgrounds against all comers,a wonderful education for the career he was about to undertake.

A chance encounter with the legendary Jack Atherton led to “ABE” becoming the founder of the legendary Black Diamonds tag team.Wrestling fans of a certain age will remember that his first partner was John Foley.a dour Wiganer,who complemented Ginsberg perfectly.His second partner was Eric Cutler,himself a highly skilled grappler,and I was honoured to be chosen as the last member,after Eddie Rose.

Peter had a special gift…when he spoke,everyone listened. I can hear him now,with that distinctive lisp,doing his Pied Piper act outside the wrestling booth that me and my partner, (the wonderful Bobby Baron) ran at the Pleasure Beach in Blackpool. He often had crowds of hundreds hanging on his every word,as he introduced the motley crowd of wrestlers awaiting challengers.

Abe Ginsberg had the Midas touch,he built up a portfolio of property in Manchester valued in the millions.He had his own show on Radio Picadilly,and also small parts in various TV shows.

I was delighted to be his best man when he married the love of his life, the beautiful Pauline, in a marvellous wedding in his home town,with the fabulous reception in a vast marquee at his home.Peter went on to father two lovely children, Adam and Beth, who were the light of his life.

It was an honour and privelege to have known Peter Ginsberg,he taught me a lot about the wrestling business, about life,and people.

To me,he was the perfect mentor,but more importantly,he was my friend.

Butts Giraud

Whenever a U.S. wrestling villain came to Europe to ham up the American loud-mouthiness, it invariably transpired that the man behind the meanness was in fact Canadian! 

Such was the case with Vancouver’s Butts Logger Giraud, who toured Britain effectively in 1972 and returned for a second dose eight years later.  Clad in the at that time largely unseen gridiron helmet and gear, and hurling really rather clever abuse all round, this was a first rate entertainer who nestled comfortably into the British style and proved the perfect adversary for the likes of Viedor, Bridges and Tibor. 

Standing 6' and 17st 2 lbs, Butts had been e genuine gridiron star, playing for Western Washington State University, The Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and The B.C. Lions.   He became an "All-American" by dint of being rated one of the top three players in his position in the USA. He had met the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in Canada in 1970. 

Equally chatty outside the ring, but not mean at all, we retain very fond memories of Butts Logger Giraud.  And he remains in contact with Wrestling Heritage in 2012.

Read our extended feature: Butting In

Leo Giroux

A big man even amongst the heavyweight Leo Giroux stood 6’ 5” tall and weighed around 20 stone. French-Canadian. Leo Giroux, from Ottawa, was  just twenty years old when he  wrestled in  Britain during 1943 and 1944, presumably serving in the American forces. He returned to Britain following the Second World War in 1947 and 1948, finally departing our shores  from Southampton on 25th September, bound for Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Angelo Giusto

The Italian heavyweight from Rome performed high wire and trapeze feats before turning to wrestling.

It was good training as the speed and force of his dropkicks made the fans gasp.  

Not as much as Johnny Czeslaw, however, who Angelo knocked out in the second round at the Royal Albert Hall in October, 1964 during the brothers' 1964-5 British tour. 

Angelo is shown drop kicking Johnny Yearsley.

Pasquale Giusto

The younger of the high flying brothers who had been professional for just a couple of years when he came to Britain for the first time in 1964. 


The Little Things We Remember

When we reminisce about anything from bygone days, we don't, can't, remember every detail of that event. What we recall may be just an incident or several, or maybe just a fleeting picture of some intangible, random memory, locked away waiting for something to bring it to the front of our minds. I've been reminiscing recently and have come up with a few 'highlights' from the memory bank.

Arjit Singh going scarlet in the face from a Clayton Thompson head scissors, Johnny Kwango looking as though he was about to face defeat by a rookie, landing the headbutt that won him the match in the dying moments of the final round. Ricky Starr getting a huge ovation even though he came to the ring with an AMERICAN flag (well he was against Garfield), Portz slowly but surely turning defence into airplane spin and the defeat of The Great Togo, Joe Critchley taking a bump from an 'Irish' whip, flipping head over the heels after what seemed to be an eternity after the throw had been completed, Lou Marco walking to the ring at the R.A.H. after a mate had told me six years previously that the 'Man in Black' had DIED, Joe Cornelius raising the ire of Jack Bence by continually 'goosing' the Texan. Tibor beating Da Silva live on t.v. Gordienko making big Gwyn submit with a simple leg trip and roll up and John Allen pinning and winning over a bigger, hairier and scarier Zando Zabo. 

Ray Glendenning (Mr Hercules, Ray Thunder, Thunder Glendenning, Thunder Glenn, Stomper Thunder)

A hard grafter of a wrestler from Bury, Lancashire, this squarely built heavyweight came to national prominence after being featured in a television programme “So You Want To Be A Wrestler.”

Glendenning joined the professional ranks in 1963 working for the independent promoters, alongside his day job as a plumber and glazier. It was working for the independents  we first came across him on one summer in Southport. Working for the independents he opposed men such as Jack Beaumont, Cowboy Cassidy, Bobo Matu and Jack Martin.

Eventually Ray's potential was spotted and he was signed up by Joint Promotions. He had a blustery, no-nonsense style relying on strength and size rather than wrestling skill, not that he was short of that either.

Never matching the star status of the biggest names of the time Glendenning was an important part of that backbone of wrestling that made the sport so rich in talent. He wrestled throughout the world where it seemed that his talent was recognised more than it was at home.

During the final part of his career in the name which had gained respect and a following was oddly dropped on his return to Britain he was known by the name Ray Thunder. Ray Glendenning passed away on 19th October, 2007.