WRESTLING HERITAGE

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L: Larsen - Law

 

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Dave Larsen (Young Hackenschmidt)

The wunderkind of the Paul Lincoln set-up seemed headed for high places as 1966 dawned.  Made premature screen appearances whilst working for the independents in the 1962 film The Wrestling Game (he partnered Ray Hunter against Dennis Dean and Don Steadman), and again in 1965 when BBC tv showed wrestling (in London and the South East only) on their new channel, BBC2. Less than a year later he was part of the Paul Lincoln invasion force that made their way into Joint Promotion rings. He featured at home as the blue-eyed golden boy, struggling against villains and particularly regular foe, Steve Haggetty. Lincoln wrestlers had a pathway to Paris and it was in France that Larson wrestled as Batman. But he seemed to go part-time after the 1966 merger and eventually disappeared from the scene completely in the very early seventies.


Billy La Rue

Battersea born, Kent based,  middleweight wrestler Billy La Rue turned professional in 1968 following a stint in the merchant navy.  Boxing was his firs interest until his friend Basil Riley  encouraged him to take up wrestling, 

He was trained by former wrestler Frank Price at his Canterbury gym before undergoing his wrestling apprenticeship on the independent circuit, facing the likes of Tony Scarlo who he held in high esteem. It was Frank Price that created the name Billy La Rue, a colourful exchange for his birth name of Brian Thomas.

Having worked the independent circuit for a few years Billy moved across to Joint Promotions in the early 1970s. He went on to work for Joint Promotions around Britain, Germany and Spain.

Jack La Rue

See the entry for Bob Francini


Maurice LaRue (Wild Red Berry)

Read our extended tribute: Majestic Magnificence


Roy LaRue

Roy La Rue was another of the Jack Taylor Leicestershire stable of wrestlers, training and working alongside his good friend Al Tarzo and Spike O'Reilly.  Roy was one of Jack's first "finds" when he opened his training street in Eldon Street, Langley Mills, working alongside Jack for quite a few years before Jack began promoting.  Around 1956 Jack decided that it was time for Roy to make his professional debut, and Jack's creative mind changed the ordinary sounding Ron Houseman into the more colourful Roy LaRue. The story goes, and this is from another Taylor protege, Al Tarzo, "Jack was in his kitchen putting together one of his first  wrestling bills and dreaming up colourful names.  He got to Ron's name and was a bit devoid of an idea then he happened to look across the kitchen and looked at the gas cooker.  "BINGO" it was a La Rue, there you have it."


Within a short time Roy was working regularly for the opposition promoters with opponents including Eddie Capelli, Jack Taylor, Frank O'Donnell and, of course, Al Tarzo. He was a fans' favourite wherever he appeared, with a large following at the Granby Halls, Leicester. Roy was heavily involved in the formation of a wrestlers union and this may well have had a negative impact on his career progression.


Roy and Al had been close friends for many years, working together in the coal mines as well as promoting. Roy was Godfather to Al's eldest daughter. Unfortunately Al and Roy lost contact a few years ago and Al would very much like to make contact once again, "The last I heard was he was planning to sail around the world and was looking for an all female crew!"



Jack Lasar (Rene Lasartesse)

Stamping Jack Lasar, the arrogant strutting villain of the 1960s had something of an identity crisis. In Britain Stamping Jack billed as the American villain who would taunt his opponent, mercilessly punishing him to antagonise the crowds. In America he would equally enrage fans but was known as Ludwig Van Krupp. To the Germans he was Frenchman Rene Lasartesse, whilst to the French fans he was a German. He was actually Edouard Probst, born in Basel, Switzerland, in 1928. His career spanned thirty  five years, beginning in 1953 and concluding in 1988 as he neared his sixtieth birthday. International success came in 1958 when he worked in the United States.



Rene Lasartesse

See the entry for Jack Lasar



Jack Laski

Canadian heavyweight Jack Laski made a six month visit to Britain during the winter of 1956-7 and returned once again the following year. Between times he wrestled in Austria and Germany. Opponents included Jack Pye, Mike Marino, Count Bartelli, Francis St Clair, Ray Apollon on television and Royal Albert Hall bouts against Ray Hunter and  Black Butcher Johnson.

Scarface Laval

The twenty stones French villain who appeared fleetingly in Britain at the start of the seventies.  

 

Originally he came to the ring dressed Mafia-style as Al Capone, see above, but later assumed a full-length villain's gown.  Defeated Judo Al Hayes in the 1971 Royal Albert Hall Trophy Tournament, losing out only to Steve Viedor in the semi-final.  Veidor went on to win the tournament.

 

That's Viedor's boot, above right.

 

It was no surprise to see Paris-hopping Judo Al Hayes once again linked to a French visitor.



Kitione Lave 

Born in 1934, Kitione Lave, the Tongan Terror or Tongan Torpedo, was certainly one of the finest boxers to enter the wrestling ranks. Lave outstrips even the important George Nuttall, the original Black Mask, in having defeated British favourite Nosher Powell.  Nuttall had been unable to overcome Powell in their Royal Albert Hall encounter.  Kitione Lave was only outpointed by the great Brian London and had actually put away British Champion Don Cockell in the second round of their encounter (below)  - and Cockell had gone 9 rounds with the undefeated Rocky Marciano.


The famous fifties Queen of Tonga followed Lave’s career closely and also employed him at her palace.


Famous wrestling venue St James’s Hall Newcastle was the 1960 scene of a controversial boxing match where the referee stopped the fight deeming that both Lave and his Ghanaian opponent were “not giving of their best”.


At 72 in the Heritage countdown of the finest wrestling posters, see Kitione Lave billed against Dwight J Ingleburgh in 1965,  just a year after he had retired from boxing as the undefeated Pacific Heavyweight Champion.  (Though he had already been wrestling in Singapore a couple of years before that alongside Prince Kumali for promoter and noted super heavyweight, Emil “King Kong” Czaja.)


Due to Lave’s passion for casinos, during his decade in Britain, Lave didn’t wrestle far from his main business interest in Sheffield, and could easily slip under the radar of less than attentive British wrestling historians.  Kitione served in the RAF, ran a gym at the base, a nightclub in Sheffield and even played a few games for Doncaster’s rugby league team. He returned to New Zealand in 1972 with his English wife, Patricia, who he had married in 1957.


Kitione Lave passed away in 2006.



Shaun Lavery (Shaun Falcon)

Yorkshire based Shaunn Lavery was from Northern Irish stock. He could be seen on the independent circuit of the 1970s, working mostly for Cyril Knowles. Shaun was later signed up for Joint Promotions using the name Shaun Falcon.


Charlie Law 

See the entry for College Boy



Ian Law 

Tayside's Ian  Law was a late 1970's challenger for Johnny Saint's World  lightweight crown and the man credited for training Drew McDonald. In the mid 1980s Ian was laying claim to the world welterweight championship and took part in blood baths with Rollerball Rocco.