H: Hegan - Hercules
Wrestling Heritage A-Z
Danny Hegan (Diarmuid Hegarty)
The highly respected Irish amateur wrestler Diarmuid Hegarty became the popular middleweight of the second half of the 1960s, Danny Hegan. A one time boxer, and a weight lifter, it was eventually grappling that became Danny's favourite sport and he took up amateur wrestling shortly after moving to England in the late 1950s. His training ground, like many other prospective professionals, was the Foresters Amateur Wrestling Club in London.
Danny turned professional in the early 1960s, before moving across to Joint Promotions early in 1968 and making his television debut in October of that year. He was a popular figure on the 1960s and 1970s wrestling scene. Danny was a fast accomplished technical wrestler who is probably remembered mostly by fans as one half of the Silent Ones tag team, partnering both Harry Kendall and Mike Eagers.
Danny Hegan died on 15th September, 2008.
See the entry for Danny Hegan
The name sounds Teutonic, and he certainly looked the part, but once he begins to talk it is abundantly obvious that Karl Heinz’s roots are closer to Kent than Kiel. Karl Heinz is indeed a Kentish lad, born in Northfleet in 1940. The name Karl Heinz is a wrestling creation, as was sibling relationship with his wrestling brother, Kurt.
Judo was Karl’s first sporting interest, but enthusiasm alone was not enough to buy the required clothing. Times were hard in the early 1950s and so Karl turned his attention to amateur wrestling which didn’t require any expensive equipment or clothing. He spent six years as an amateur at the AEI Sports Club in Gravesend. Karl was at the time working for AEI Cables as a high pressure tyre fitter. At the time Karl had no interest whatsoever in professional wrestling. Whilst at AEI he did meet an army instructor known as Smiley Evans, and it was to be Smiley that suggested dropping his family name of Clarke and assuming the identity of Karl Heinz.
Karl Heinz turned professional in 1964, weighing around 11 stones at the time, and working initially for independent promoters such as Verdun-Leslie, predictably billed as German. With his move across to Joint Promotions in the early 1970s his abode was changed to the more credible Gravesend, Kent. His first opponent for Joint Promotions was Alan Serjeant, a man for whom he still has great respect and from whom he has learned a great deal. Working for Dale Martin Karl began tagging with his “wrestling brother,” Kurt. The pair faced Greg Valentine and Pat Patton on television in June 1987, losing by two falls to one.
For twenty years Karl was a regular worker, mainly in the south, though he does name Belle Vue, Manchester, as his favourite place to wrestle. The wrestling business took him around the world, through Europe, the Middle East and India. In the 1980s he returned to the independent promoters where he continued to work regularly until the mid 1990s.
The Gravesend villain of the 1970s looked very much like Karl Heinz. Or at least he did after he shaved his head. The two claimed to be brothers but were not related. Working for the independent promoters Kurt was looking to be taken on by Joint Promotions. His wish was granted on condition that he shaved his head and became the wrestling brother of Karl Heinz. He made his tv debut in May, 1980, losing to Keith Haward. Half a dozen television matches followed, but we can’t find a win for Kurt amongst them. Kurt was one of those fall-guys who played such a valuable part in British wrestling.
See the entry for Pepe Lapaque
Johnny Hemms was a jeweller from Dudley in the West Midlands. He is remembered by Wrestling Heritage member Mike Richards who watched him in a match in Bromsgrove at the St. John’s Church Fayre, June 1967 in the grounds of the vicarage. A wrestling ring was set up on the large lawn and there were two bouts, Johnny Hemms vs. Dave Scawthorne and Johnny Peters vs, Gorilla Reg Ray. What made it extra unusual, and also turned it into a comedy show, the St. John’s vicar was referee for the first bout! We ponder the possibility that he could have been the Bobby Hemms that faced Dynamite Kid in the Kid's professional debut.
We find John Herbert bookending the 1950s. From Somercotes in Derbyshire he was renowned for a rather snazzy line in leopardskin trunks.Trained by Jack Taylor opponents included Jack himself (of course), Al Tarzo and Chick Elliott.
Kenny Herberts (Les Herberts, Mike Powers)
Kenny (alternatively Les) Herberts was a heavyweight from Warrington who turned professional in the mid 1960s and was a popular figure in northern rings during the sixties and seventies. He was trained by Ted Betley at his gym in Warrington, alongside other Betley proteges that went on to gain success, Steve Wright, Mike Dallas and the Karalius brothers.
Kenny made his television debut in 1966 against Peter Stewart but for his second bout had the misfortune of facing the giant Japanese fighter Shozo Koboyashi, and getting knocked out in the first round! A strong, skilled wrestler Les remained part of the supporting class and failed to make it to top of the bill status. He tried to add colour and gain further acclaim with the name Mike Powers. We don’t think it worked. Our assessment an accomplished wrestler who the promoters did no favours.
An earlier Les Herberts who appeared in Britain in 1950. A heavyweight who wrestled
mainly in the north against top class opponents such as Emile Poilve, Ernie Baldwin and The Farmer. This Les Herberts was said to be from South Africa. This might well be true but we have one unconfirmed report of Les Herberts born in Bradford. He remained a regular fixture in British rings from 1950 until 1952, seemingly firmly rooted in the north, albeit for one jaunt we have recorded to London, working for northern promoter Norman Morrell. We understand that in later life Les Herberts settled in Rhodesia.
See the entry for Ray Glendenning
See the entry for Dave Adams