WRESTLING HERITAGE

British wrestling history 

J: Terry Jowett and Tom Jowett

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Terry Jowett

Soar Like An Eagle
For the 1960s wrestling fan the names Terry Jowett and Johnny Eagles  seemed inextricably linked. Night after night their well practiced routines against the villainous Cadman Brothers, Black Diamonds, Hells Angels and Dennisons brought the crowd to fever pitch. Occasionally we would be treated to a scintillating skilful match, a rarity in tag wrestling, against the likes of the Royal Brothers or the Saints. These were the teams that made tag team wrestling a hugely popular spectacle in the 1960s with most shows, particularly in the midlands and northern England climaxing with a four man match going the predictable twenty minutes duration and ending in good time to catch the bus home.
The White Eagles were up there amongst the very best. The trademark white trunks, looks and mannerisms meant they could only be the fans favourites, whilst avoiding that sickly-sweet goodyness for which we have been known to accuse others.

Eagles was the more senior in terms of age, by three years, and had been wrestling professionally for around a year when Terry turned joined the paid ranks. Without the intention of disrespect it did seem to us, as fans at the time, that Eagles overshadowed Terry in their tag partnership. Maybe it was due to the name of the team, or maybe it was just because life can be unfair, but there is no doubt that Terry was more than an equal partner, and by considering the whole of his career arguably the more rounded and versatile of the two. He was one of the bright young stars of the early 1960s, a classy wrestler whose career stretched from the early sixties late into the 1980s.

It was at the beginning of 1964 Terry joined up with his friend, Johnny Eagles, to form the White Eagles tag team. Eagles was adorned with a tattoo of a large Eagle, amongst others. Terry followed suit with his own Eagle tattoo. Now that’s dedication and a commitment to stay the course. If covering your body in tattoos is considered a gimmick then Jowett was a gimmicky wrestle, but nothing was further from the truth. He relied on nothing more wrestling ability and speed to make him a popular middleweight.
Tom Jowett
The Leeds Athletic Institute had a reputation for producing good wrestlers. Well, that’s where Tom Jowett started out in the amateur ranks in 1965. At that time his elder brother, Terry, was making his name known as an up and coming welterweight and one half of the White Angels tag team.

It seems that wasn’t enough to motivate Tom and he drifted away from wrestling for a short time. It didn’t take too long and Tom returned to wrestling, this time joining the Doncaster Y.M.C.A. where he met Catweazle Gary Cooper, Tiny Lee and Dave Shade.  

Tom made his professional devut in 1969, initially gaining experience with independent promoters. A couple of years later it was the time for a move forward with regular bookings from George DeRelwyskow bringing him into the Joint Promotions camp. It was June 1971 and Tom spent the summer wrestling the likes of Peter Kaye, The Doc, Jim McKenzie and Bill Ross. Another opponent during that first summer was Tiny Lee. Tiny and Tom knew each other well, having met at the Doncaster YMCA. The following summer they formed a tag team, known appropriately for two Doncaster lads as The Dons.

We are saddened that Tom did disappear from our view in the 1970s., which leads us to request more information from anyone in the know.
Terry always gave  100% and matched his illustrious partner in every aspect. In fact, many voiced the opinion that Jowett was the real worker of the team.  Fellow wrestler Paul Mitchell was one to quickly speak up in favour of the Wakefield wrestler, “Terry Jowett was a superb worker who made others look world class but occasionally sent out a reminder how good he really was and nice guy to boot.”

Terry Jowett was born in Wakefield on 3rd March, 1938, part of a large family.  In his teens he developed an interest in wrestling which he was able to pursue when called up for  National Service. We estimate that Terry turned professional around 1960,  losing to York’s Jim Grosert in that first professional bout.  Our records only begin in October, 1962, wrestling Frank Robb in Newcastle. More contests followed against Brian Trevors, Ian Gilmour, Eric Sands and Barry Cannon.  By 1963 Terry could be found most nights of the week wrestling all the top welterweights and middleweights in the north of England and Scotland.

It was 1964 before we personally saw Terry in action, and that was when he made his television debut. Things were looking up for the youngster, and looking up fast. A television debut in August 1964 (recorded 10th June) against the heavier and experienced Ken Cadman was a challenging start for any novice.  If that wasn’t enough Terry was back on television the following month, this time for Dale Martin Promotions, in an international clash against the stylish Frenchman Michel Saulnier.  The promoters hadn’t finished. They were determined to make sure this was a baptism of fire. In November Dale Martin Promotions brought him back to the small screen against none other than Mick McManus. By the end of 1964 Terry Jowett was established as a popular television wrestler.

That popularity was to reach new heights in February of the following year when the White Eagles made their television debut in the Queens Hall, Preston against the Black Diamonds Foley and Ginsberg. The hall was packed out, not just because it was a good show with the James Bond villain Great Togo Harold Sakata topping the bill, but because promoter Norman Morrell gave free tickets to those who had attended the previous weeks show. We were not disappointed, other than for the result which was a draw.

For the next ten years or so Terry remained a familiar figure to television viewers as well as being fully committed to working the halls around the country. On television the White Eagles combatted the likes of McManus and Logan and the Dennisons whilst in solo combat McManus, Street, Rocco and Colbeck amongst a dozen others.

Both Terry and Johnny were regular travellers, resulting in the occasional inclusion of Wigan’s Roy Wood as a third White Eagle. It was a shock to wrestling fans in 1971 when Eagles’ wanderlust took him further afield than usual, and permanently, as he emigrated to the United States.

Whilst this could have been a career defining, even career breaking moment, it was far from it.  Terry took the opportunity to travel even more, with  success in Mexico in 1969 to add to his European travels, and develop a new, harder, more mature style. The man we had cheered all those years we now found doing a few underhand deeds that we would never have anticipated.  It was this harder edge that led to our opinion at the start that Terry had a rounded, balanced career.

In the mid 1970s Terry began working for the independent promoters. Do not begin to think this was the twilight of a long career. He was as hard working as ever, from Scotland to Conwall his name appeared on the bills. With the exodus of wrestlers from Joint Promotions during this time he continued to work with some of the most respected wrestlers in the business – Adrian Street, Eric Taylor, Peter Preston and Jackie Pallo amongst them.

The end came in the early 1980s, by then in his mid forties the nightly tussles and long distance travelling must have begun to take their toll. An illustrious career came to an end. The eagle had landed.
Page added 28/06/2020