British wrestling history 

K: King - Kirkpatrick

Wrestling Heritage A-Z

Curly King

Wigan's Freddy Morley was active in the 1940s and 1950s, given his ring name as a result of his curly hair. Our earliest record is of a contest in January, 1947, against Sankey Allan at the Caird Hall, Dundee.

Johnny King

Johnny King of Doncaster was a busy worker in the 1940s and 1950s, travelling nationwide to tangle with the likes of Jack Dempsey, Jack Beaumont and Count Bartelli (in the days Bartelli weighed around 13 stones). A 1940’s Masked Marvel and a  forgotten hero with a place in wrestling history, Johnny King is credited as the man who trained Albert Rocky Wall.

Kiwi Kingston (Also known as The Great Karloff)

Lanky Sussex-based equestrian and 6"5" heavyweight wrestler whose features assured him a movie role as Frankenstein’s Monster.  On the back of his film stardom, he wrestled for a while also under the intriguing name, The Great Karloff

In-ring master of the spinning cradle hold, this New Zealander faced all the great heavyweights of British wrestling in a two-decade career that came to an end in 1970.

The tough New Zealander came to Britain after serving in the air force and in  1946 was well placed at a time professional wrestling was re-establishing itself as a popular  spectator sport. 

Before the war Ernie Kingston had been runner up in the New Zealand heavyweight amateur boxing championships of 1938, and also played rugby. 

In Britain he established himself as one of the country’s most popular heavyweights of the 1950s and 1960s, and found similar success wrestling on mainland Europe.

Ernie is also remembered as an excellent horse rider, and in Germany would ride his horse into the stadium and up to the ringside.

Red Kirkpatrick

A villainous American who made his way across the pond from his home in Brooklyn. Bernard Hughes recalls visits to Britain in the 1950s of  Red Kirkpatrick, "He was a real rough house, and a handful for the referee." 

The American had little time for the scientific aspects of the sport and Bernard tells us he was disqualified on the first three (of six) occasions he saw him at the New St James Hall, Newcastle. Red was easily identified by the bluebirds tattooed below each collarbone. "A handy bloke to have in a streetfight!" said Bernard. Another member who remembers Red is Raven, who told us that unlike his ring persona Red was a lovely man to talk to after the show.

Page reviewed: 10/4/19