British wrestling history 

L: LeDuc - Lefebvre

Wrestling Heritage A-Z

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Gilbert Leduc

World class French mid heavyweight, erstwhile world champion, made a number of visits to Britain, usually of a short duration. His first visit, to northern England  was in 1949, numerous short visits during the 1950s and finally tours for Paul Lincoln Management in 1964 and 1965

Dean Lee

When heavyweight Dean Lee came to our notice he was Kiwi Dean Lee, New Zealand champion no less, or so the promoters claimed. Reality was that he was a Yorkshireman, and although resident in New Zealand for quite a number of years this was a homecoming.  When Dean Lee and his wife packed their bags for New Zealand in 1963 his sporting background was confined to boxing and judo. Interest in wrestling developed in New Zealand where he was trained by John DaSilva, a man already well known to British fans. Our earliest sighting of Kiwi Dean Lee back in Britain is an Edinburgh show in December 1970. Opponents included Andy Robin, John Lees and Tony St Clair. He then moved to work for the independent promoters and we last found him at Tamworth in 1973 wrestling The Wild Man of Borneo. We would like to learn more.

Kwik Kick Lee

Not as acrobatic as his namesake, Sammy, young Kwik Kick (Akira Maeda)  came to Britain in 1982 and 1983 where his not inconsiderable skill was placed on the back burner in matches against  Giant Haystacks and Big Daddy.  Lee returned to japan where he established himself as one of the country's top wrestlers and promoters. He allegedly fell out of favour with Japanese promoters when he began to take the combative element of the sport just a little bit too seriously! 

Tiny Pat Lee

A young lightweight who worked in the north and Scotland during the late sixties and 1970s. Trained by Leon Arras he worked for the independent promoters before being signed up by George deRelwyskow for Joint Promotions. Tagged with Tom Jowett as The Dons, with reference to their home town of Doncaster.

Sammy Lee

Sammy lee was unknown to ritish fans when he came to our shores but his speed and agility led to an immediate acceptance by the UK fans.  Flying head scissors, dropkicks and a succession of leg executed throws following one after the other at bewildering speed  made the young Japanese wrestler unique in British rings.  Sammy Lee was trained by Karl Gotch, the American based Belgian who had learned his trade from the Wigan wrestlers in the 1950s. Unsurprisingly Lee was chosen as a frequent tag partner of Big Daddy, but we won't hold that against him.  The name Lee was bestowed on him, real name Satoru Sayama, to capitalise on the martial arts film star BruceLee. On returning to Japan Lee took to wearing a mask and became Tiger Mask, going on to become a legend of Japanese professional wrestling.

John Lees

Memories of John Lees are of a fine wrestler who never quite made it to the first division and television commentator Kent Walton drooling over his muscular frame. No offence intended to either men, who were both excellent practitioners in their own field. 

Lees did indeed have a muscular frame, which led to numerous body building achievements, culminating in the 1957 Mr Universe title. Ray Hulm remembers: “After John won the 1957 Mr Universe Health & Strength serialised his life story and I remember that his efforts to get a tan on wind swept Cheshire building sites were mentioned “ Turning his attention to wrestling he turned professional in 1959.  In the wrestling ring he was a fine wrestler who lacked the flair to lift him to the very top. Remember, though, that this was an age when the heavyweight division was brimming with talent, and although he may never have been number one John Lees was more than capable of holding his own with the likes of Joyce, Robinson, Davies, Wall, and anyone else you care to mention.

Leo Lefebvre

Billed as French heavyweight champion as he wrestled up and down the land between 1936-9; we don't know if he was honoured in the same way across the channel. Was oddly allowed to challenge for the British Empire title. Work that out.  It might well have been because he was Canadian!