British wrestling history 

K: Kauroff - Kaye


Wrestling Heritage A-Z

Klaus Kauroff
It came to light with Togo Tani's inclusion on these listings in 2011 that, as Umeyuki Kiyomigawa, he had been responsible in  Spain for the training of this German super-heavyweight.

Klaus-Dieter Kauroff’s  first UK tour was in November 1967 - and our records show he  lost every match by a knockout or disqualification with the exception of a tag match partnering Wolfgang Starck.

Kauroff made his way back to the UK in January 1975 and stayed about six weeks. Although he again wasn’t very successful in his bouts against mainly mid-carders, he stepped into the ring with some top-notch opponents such as Steve Viedor, Georges Gordienko, Tibor Szakacs and Mike Marino.  He did however chalk up a victory over Prince Kumali, and perhaps his highlight was defeating the masked Exorcist in Liverpool.

At the Royal Albert Hall he lost to Steve Viedor. On television he beat Roy St. Clair but lost matches to him around the halls.

In Germany, the affectionately held Hanoverian won the World Cup tournament twice and later became one of the most hated men when he worked as the heel manager for the US stars, in the now defunct Catch Wrestling Association when he brought theiri villains to Germany and Austria.

In June 2011 the now retired legend returned for one night only as manager at Westside Xtreme Wrestling’s charity event “wXw with you, Japan”.

Born on 24th January, 1941, Klaus Kauroff died on 24th November, 2020.

Dave Kaye

The older of the Kaye boys followed his younger brother, Tony, into the wrestling rings of the 1970s. 

Dave is remembered by fans as a hard man of the ring and by fellow wrestlers as a tough opponent who would give no quarter. Prior to wrestling Dave served in the army and  was a very handy amateur boxer; showing a willingness to use these previous experiences whenever things got difficult in th ring. 

Dave was trained by Yorkshire promoter Cyril Knowles, and many of his bouts were for Cyril and other independent promoters. A long running feud with Jackie Pallo Jr was played out around many northern halls. 

Apart from those memorable bouts with Pallo many fans also recall Dave sauntering to the ring, cigarette in hand, and stubbing it out on the corner post! Oh for such innocent days!  One special memory for Dave was the occasion when one of his contests, a Blackpool Cyril Knowles show, was refereed by the legendary Jack Pye. When Max Crabtree took over matchmaking for Joint Promotions Dave was one of the opposition wrestlers he brought across to Joint rings.     

Fuzzy Kaye

Whilst midget wrestling never equalled the prominence it reached in the United States the inclusion of midgets on a wrestling bill always aroused interest. The most famous midget of them all was Royston Smith, who went by the ring persona of Fuzzyball Kaye, working for both independent and Joint Promotions from the late 1940s until the mid 1960s. Born into a travelling family Kaye often shared the ring with Tom Gallagher, either as an opponent or tag partner. Kaye, an associate of the Kray Twins and other London criminals Kaye  ran a club for dwarves in  Soho as well as the  Kismet Club, and  was a genuinely hard man who could put fear into men literally two or three times his size.  He also worked in the Morton Fraser Harmonica Gang, played in pantomime and appeared in Trapeze with Burt Lancaster.   Later became a busker. Kaye's colourful life story can be read in the book “Little Legs: Muscleman of Soho,” by George Tremlett (published by Harper, 1989).

Jeff Kaye

The popular Leeds middleweight was another who combined a career in wrestling with that of a farmer. What was it with wrestlers and farms, or public houses? It didn't do him any harm at all, as Jeff was one of those wrestlers respected by all his colleagues After turning professional in 1962 the agile and skilful Kaye was well placed to capitalise on the benefit of television exposure. 

He quickly established himself as a firm favourite amongst television fans, seen at his best against similarly speedy technicians but also delighting viewers by outwitting the likes of McManus and Pallo whilst on the way to inevitable defeat.

Northern based, with only sporadic raids into Dale Martin territory Kaye’s television appearances brought him popularity throughout the land. Nonetheless, in the early days we considered him a stylish, clever but unspectacular wrestler. Colourful was not a word that came to mind. Jeff would climb through the ropes, do his job effectively, and leave the ring. Scots born Ian Gilmour was a frequent opponent and the two had some cracking contests. Then it all changed. Jeff and Ian joined forces as The Barons tag team, taking to the ring to battle the likes of villainous teams The Masters, The Dennisons and The Black Diamonds as well as scintillating lightening fast scientific displays with the Royal brothers and the Jet Set.

Suddenly the monochrome became full colour. The Barons distinctive costume of  gold boots, ponchos and purple trunks was more than enough to excite us in those days. 

Following his retirement Kaye became a highly respected referee and trained youngsters along with his friend Drew McDonald; with Dave Taylor being one of their many proteges.

Peter Kaye

Long time seasoned professional Peter Kaye was a ubiquitous Lancashire mid-heavyweight of the late sixties who scaled down to middleweight in the seventies   A profuse sweater who always gave 100% and displayed a whole array of holds. Seemingly a genuine horseman and for ever associated inextricably with the foray into pro wrestling of controversial Show Jumping star, Harvey Smith. For this feud he abandoned his Stubby Kaye persona and donned doublet and hose in creating Tally-Ho Kaye,  complete with top hat and bugle. Often seen in-ring training and dutifully going down to young starlets, but remember he was trained himself in the sixties by the great Jumping Jim Hussey. In our Years of Wrestling series you can find details of his run behind a mask, mostly northern-based but getting as far as Eastbourne as the programme shows and ultimately unmasked in Scotland by Les Kellett. Peter was well respected by promoters and was given the responsibility of putting many a novice through his paces. Forty years after the event many Heritage readers have told us of their fond memories of Tally Ho Kaye, “He seemed to be a genuinely tough guy, without being a really top-level shooter. I always enjoyed his banter with the audience and he often made me laugh, even though he was a heel,” Heritage member John told us. Andy added, “Kaye was great at winding up the crowd and of course could wrestle too. I always thought his gimmick was terrific - especially blowing his horn while the MC tried to introduce his opponent!“

Tony Kaye  (Also known as Tony Caine, Mr Flowerpower,  Flower Power Caine, Sweet Lord Byron)

There must be something in the Yorkshire water that has enabled the county to produce so many professional wrestlers.  Tony Kaye emerged on to the professional scene following three years expert guidance at the Jack Lane Amateur Wrestling Club in Leeds and professional tuition from Cyril Knowles. After two years of pro tuition it was Knowles that gave Tony the chance to move from the amateur to professional ranks by giving him his first paid contest in 1968 when he was nineteen years old. For three years Tony wrestled in the north and midlands on the opposition circuit alongside the likes of  Johnny Saint, Fred Woolley, Al Marquette and Catweazle. In 1971 he joined Joint Promotions and was soon exchanging holds with established stars that included Al Miquet, Ian Gilmour, Jim McKenzie and Al Nicol.  It wasn't just a change of opponents but a change of name also, as Tony was re-named Tony Caine for his Joint Promotion appearances.  Tony told Wrestling Heritage that it was the 1970s and working for the Crabtrees that was the most enjoyable and demanding part of his career. Max Crabtree encouraged Tony to develop a more flamboyant style, dye his hair blond and wear more colourful costumes, reminiscent of Bobby Barnes in his Beautiful Bobby days.  "Let's hope Caine can wrestle as good as he looks," quipped  Kent Walton when Tony made his television debut against Colin Bennett in 1974. With the colourful persona came new names:  Flower Power Caine, Mr Flower Power and Little Caesar. For Tony they were great times, which he enjoys reminiscing at the Leeds Reunion. "I'm still living the good life, but nowt to do with wrestling," Tony tells us; and searching for photos, posters and programmes of his wrestling career to pass on to his fifteen grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Get in touch with us at Wrestling Heritage if you can help.

28/02/2021 Fuzzy Kaye added