V: Los Vaqueros

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Masks, Mystery, More Questions Than Answers

Los Vaqueros

When it comes to mystery and intrigue professional wrestling is the gift that just keeps on giving. Even when the identity of the Los Vaqueros tag team was revealed we were left with more questions than answers.

Los Vaqueros were a masked tag team that appeared in British rings during the  winters of 1969-70 and 1970-71, working mostly in the north of England and Scotland for promoters Morrell-Beresford and Relwyskow Green. We come across them for the first time together on 2nd November, 1969, at Halifax, wrestling The Untouchables team of Leon Arras and Bobby Graham.

In the months that followed they worked, and were by no means undefeated, against the Black Diamonds, Saints, Royals, Hells Angels and a multitude of ad hoc pairings. The final appearance of the pair together was on 17th February, 1971, a rare appearance for Dale Martin Promotions at the Royal Albert Hall. It was on that night their identity was revealed. Probably.

The mystery began with a Dale Martin programme cover that stated the Los Vaqueros tag team had been unmasked at the Royal Albert Hall. No additional information was given and the promised article inside the programme was not available.

Fortunately, Royal Albert Hall tournaments at that time were reported in The Wrestler magazine  so a solution seemed close at hand. The Wrestler magazine was an unofficial mouthpiece of Joint Promotions with content vetted by Dale Martin Promotions publicity department.

As if. In direct contradiction to the programme it was reported that Los Vaqueros had defeated the team of the Judokas, thus keeping their identity intact. The Wrestler magazine at odds with a Dale Martin programme. Mystery and intrigue indeed.   

Did they win or lose? Did they unmask or not?

In the discussion that followed Ian Pringle’s suggestion that the team were Spaniard’s Carlos Moll and Manuel Polman found a lot of support, though there was a word of caution from wrestler Paul Mitchell, who usually knows about such things. Subsequently more than half a dozen occasions were found when Moll, Polman and the Los Vaqueros team were advertised to work in different halls on the same night. 

The Moll and Polman pairing looked less likely. Unless there was more than one Los Vaqueros pairing, suggested Powerlock. Some wrestling enthusiasts can be very suspicious.

The mystery lay dormant for eight months until Heritage member Main Mask came across a copy of the aforementioned programme complete with missing article.

The article reported that the Judokas were indeed victorious and two black masks were removed to reveal the identities of Carlos Moll and Manuel Polman. Furthermore, the match ended with a submission from Carlos Moll who had sustained a broken hand during the contest. A programme for the event, with results handwritten by the owner, also confirms a victory by the Judokas. 

Five nights later, at Newcastle, Los Vaqueros were billed to appear. One of them was substituted by Alan Dennison, supporting the authenticity of the injury report. Manuel Polman continued his tour, unmasked, whilst Carlos Moll disappeared from our rings.

So, mystery solved?

Well, yes, but with a few loose ends.

Why did the Wrestler magazine seemingly report the match incorrectly? Could it be that the reporter had been “given the nod” of the intended result and left the show before the unfortunate unplanned  ending?

Who was masquerading as Los Vaqueros on the occasions the masked men, Moll and/or Molnar appeared in different halls at the same time?

When the injury was sustained why could a more creative ending not have been found that would have protected the identity of the masked men? Or once revealed, why were the Newcastle fans not allowed the thrill of seeing a voluntary unmasking a few days later?

As always with wrestling, more questions than answers.

Page added 04/07/2021