Rex Maxine (Also known as Max Rexine, Freddie Rex, Ted Elliott)
A man of mystery. Discussions of Rex Maxine through the years had yielded little information until his family got in touch to provide some details. We knew that he had been an active worker from 1937 until the early 1950s, had used used a variety of names, but that was about all. Rex Maxine, Freddie Rex, Max Rexine, the use of so many names obscures the significance of this man during his fifteen year career.
Not in the Bert Assirati or Douglas Clark class the records that exist suggest that here was a man who could hold his own with the likes of Vic Hessle, Frank Manto and Tarzan Hunter. Wrestling fans understand that pro wrestling isn't just about winning. Here was a man who could get work all over the country, and lots of it.
Whatever the name on the poster the promoters of the 1930s doggedly stuck to a place of origin, Bulgaria (with an occasional variation of Australia, South Africa or the USA). We know promoters were economical with the truth, but Bulgaria? Where did this come from? The family had no idea either. They assured us Rex Maxine was Yorkshire born and bred, there was no connection with Bulgaria, Australia or South Africa.
Born in Wombwell, a small town five miles from Barnsley, in 1906 with a birth name of John Leonard Bradbury, he was known to family and friends as Len.
In 1926 he married and the couple celebrated the birth of a son two years later. A second child was born in 1930, followed by tragedy when Len's wife, Doris, died a few weeks later. Tragedy struck again, in 1931, with the death of Len's fourteen month old daughter.
By this time Len was boxing around south Yorkshire, already with an assumed name, Freddie Rex. We first find him in March, 1931, beating Billy Rodgers on points at the Empire Palace, Grimethorpe. . In 1933 we come across him on a combined boxing and wrestling show, where he beat Young Devaney in a boxing match where the bill was topped by his neighbour, Jack Pye, in a wrestling contest.
We come across the name Freddie Rex on wrestling posters in May, 1937, and Rex Maxine in October of the same year. The two names appear on bills simultaeneously throughout the 1940s, along with the occasional Rexine and other variations. Different names in different halls it seems.
Then there was Ted Ellliott. We can find only eleven recorded bouts for Ted Elliott, all of them at Preston. Then on his twelfth appearance, on 1st September, 1939, we find Preston promoters advertising Rex Maxine (formerly Ted Elliott). So it seems we can add another name to the list.
In a match against the stylish Costas Astreos the newspaper reported, "A tip top bout was that between Costas Astreos, of Greece, and Freddie Rex, of Doncaster. The first and second rounds were drawn. Rex took the third with a body slam and press in 1 minute and 5 seconds. The Greek took the third with a body press in 2 minutes 27 seconds. The fifth and sixth rounds were drawn and he contest ended with a draw of one fall each."
In the 1940s the promoters dropped the nonsense of Bulgaria and Aussie Maxine, giving credit to the county of his birth. The last match we uncovered was in June, 1951, wrestling Mike Marino.
Grandaughter Sarah, who joined us in the forum, said. "I have many fond memories of the big man, he was deaf as a post due to his enormous cauliflower ears, but we always had a giggle."
Len Bradbury, also known as Rex Maxine and others, died in 1992.