H: Hunt - Husberg
Wrestling Heritage A-Z
1960s independent promoters heavyweight from Cheshire went on to work for Joint Promotions in the 1970s; mostly as a serial masked man - Bula, Dr Death, Outlaw, Red Devil etc
This boy could move, and move fast. Maurice Hunter was a fast and skilfil lightweight from Widnes seemed equally at home as Lancashire's Maurice Hunter and his dual personality, Scot Ian McKenzie. We are not sure where the Scot came from, maybe just an imaginative promoter, but Maurice Hunt, that was his birth name, was Lancashire bred, born in Widnes on 31st March 1940. We first came across Ian McKenzie in the halls of the independent promoters, but later saw him as Maurice Hunter on both opposition and Joint Promotion bills. One ding dong battle with welterweight champion Jack Dempsey stands out in our minds. An all action yet scientific wrestler we would consider him one of wrestling's great under-rated stars. His daughter, Joanne, told us, “I remember going and watching him fight and screaming 'dont hurt my dad' lol...I remember old ladies loved him...oh my goodness...they really did, and he signed photos and autographs and I would be sat on his shoulders. He still has his boots, cloak and belt, he won the European something for a few years in his weight class...for a small man he hand big hands like hammers...many good memories.”
In July, 1973 Maurice Hunter made his television debut, losing to Tug Wilson in Southport. More formidable opponents followed with Leon Fortuna, George Kidd, Bill Ross and Vic Faulkner amongst those in the opposite corner. In all Maurice Hunter made nine television appearances.
6’4” Tasmanian tag partner of Judo Al Hayes in their Lincoln days, and a globetrotting Heavyweight Champion of the Commonwealth who lost his title to Alan Garfield.When Hunter came to Britain in 1950 he had been the youngest Commonwealth wrestler so to do. He recovered from unsurprising initial disappointment at the hands of Assirati, and with Aussie schoolmate Paul Lincoln, earned his Rebel tag by breaking away from Joint Promotions to set up a rival promotion.
Success came in German heavyweight tournaments and the sixties saw a hedonistic jet-set lifestyle in Soho where Lincoln and he owned the famed 2 Is coffee bar, haunt of Tommy Steele and others. He was linked also with Sophia Loren.Feuded in the early sixties with Docker Don Stedman and made a successful transition back to Dale Martin's at the end of the decade before disappearing mysteriously from the scene around 1970.
Canadian Rick Hunter was billed as American when he visited Britain in 1981, working for both Joint Promotions and Brian Dixon. He seems to have impressed those who saw him, with members requesting his inclusion in the A-Z. We are told that although given the image of the stereotypical Yank with attitude he did rather impress the fans with his wrestling skill. Rick was not a wrestling villain despite being teamed by promoters with villains Bulldog Bob Brown and Jim Harris against the noble Brits. At the time he came to Britain Hunter was already an experienced professional of over twenty years.
Tarzan Hunter ( Also known as Billy Hunter, Wild Tarzan)
Canadian Heavyweight Billy Hunter was a regular worker in Britain from the mid 1930s. We are unsure where he served during the war, but by 1947 he was back in wrestling action in Britain. He even found himself a wife in Britain, and the story goes that he wrestled on the evening of his wedding, at Bury in Lancashire, unfortunately getting injured during the course of the contest. He wrestled throughout Britain, though mostly in northern England and the midlands, facing the best of the day including Bert Assirati, Mike Marino, Vic Hessle, Billy Riley and Jack Pye. He had a number of great bouts with Count Bartelli, holding the masked man to a draw on numerous occasions. He seems to have disappeared from our rings by the mid 1950s.
The rough, tough Australian heavyweight came back to the UK in 1949, we find him here in April proclaimed as Australian heavyweight champion. In those first few months he met the heaviest men in Britain, including The Ghoul, Ray St Bernard and Bill Coverdale, Red McKenzie and a Harringay loss to Jack Pye. In December of 1949 he was reported to have given out a lot of punishment to British champion Bert Assirati before being knocked out in the fourth round. He met the top men in Britain but rarely had his arm raised in victory. Frank left Britain in February 1950s and was not to return until 1960, having spent the intervening years in Australia, the United States and Canada.
A return to Britain in 1960 brought one of his few high profile matches. Dale Martin Promotions billed him at the Royal Albert Hall on 21st September, 1960. For Frank there were none of the favours often granted to visiting overseas wrestlers. They pitted him against the ever popular Dazzler Joe Cornelius, a man in his prime on his own turf. Frank did what was expected of him, as always, and went down by two falls to nil,
Based in Britain for the next seven years Frank worked mostly for Dale Martin Promotions in southern England. On television he was inevitably the bad guy, wrestling Peter Maivia and Roy St Clair, twice. His last tv outing was against Roy St Clair in October, 1965. From then on appearances seemed to become rarer, with our final sighting at Coventry on 17th February, 1968, wrestling Mr Big.
It was said at the time that Frank Hurley was the most travelled wrestler in the world which seemed quite believable. His hobby of ballroom dancing seemed less believable to us but then Heritage sleuth John Shelvey got on the scent. He reported “"I met Frank and asked him about his being a ‘good dancer’. Turning to his better half he replied 'Ask the missus.’ I did and she confirmed he was a very good dancer. You have to remember guys back in Frank’s day usually did learn to dance and would go regularly."
Frank also told John that he had wrestled, for real, in the gym with Karl Gotch and Buddy Rogers among others. Back home in Australia it seems that Frank made his last appearance much later than we had assumed as John last saw him in the 1980s in Sydney in a Battle Royal which included Andre the Giant.
For more than twenty years John Hurley could be found flitting around the wrestling rings of southern England. Like all good professionals at the time John knew the necessity of a good amateur foundation followed by an old pro to teach him the ways of the professional world. That old pro was Dulwich's Len Britton, brother of College boy Charlie Law. On the nights that Len wasn't teaching the youngster the moves John could be found observing his master, and other professionals, in action at close quarters as one of the wrestling seconds. John had well and truly caught the wrestling bug by the time he turned professional in the mid 1960s, taking those first nervous steps into the paid ring at Acton Town Hall. In the evenings he would wrestle in the halls for the independent promoters and during the day take on all comers in the fairground wrestling booths. There was good money to be had in the booths, but the hours were long, the conditions lousy, and there was always the prospect of having to deal with the local lads who thought they could show the pro a thing or two. They were wrong. In 1974 John came to the attention of Dale Martin Promotions and was signed up to work for the Joint Promotion organisation. John worked for Joints for around ten years, making a couple of wrestling trips to Germany. In the early 1980s he began to cut back on his wrestling commitments and returned to the opposition promoters, finally hanging up his boots in 1986. In the 1980s John went into pub management, taking over the oldest public house in Maidstone, the Royal Albion.
Born in Jamaica Hurst came to Britain as a teenager and joined the YMCA to pursue his interest in weightlifting. It was here that he became interested in wrestling and joined the United Amateur Wrestling Club to develop his amateur wrestling skiill. When he consisered himself ready Len chose to follow a papid career and was subsequently taken on as a professional by Dale Martin Promotions. Having made his debut in the winter of 1965, aged twenty-one, it didn't take long for Len Hurst to achieve national popularity through his regular television appearances. Making his tv debut in 1967 he was an immediate success and featured regularly over the next fifteen years. His combination of technical ability, speed and agility made him a popular regular on bills in the 1960s and 1970s. Len Hurst is shown with a backhammer on Tony Costas, a frequent opponent.
Related article: Roman Trilogy in Armchair Corner on www.wrestlingheritage.com
“The Nordic Marvel” Finnish born and French based wrestler made a one week visit in September 1952. He returned for a couple of weeks in 1963 and again in 1964 for Paul Lincoln Management.