British wrestling history 

M: Maxine - McClarty

Wrestling Heritage A-Z 

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.

Earl "Mr. Universe" Maynard

Barbados born heavyweight Earl Maynard was a wrestler with muscles on his muscles. A wrestler with a fine physique who took up body-building  as a  seventeen year old in 1954.  He won the Mr Europe title in 1959, Mr England in 1960, Mr Universe Pro in 1964, and 1978 Mr America title. Not bad considering that he weighed under ten stones when he  moved to England aged eighteen years. Shortly afterwards he was called up for national service and after serving in the Royal Air Force Earl turned professional wrestler in 1962. He went on to become one of the most popular and successful sixties wrestlers in Britain and Europe before finding even greater success in the United States. Twice American Tag Champion (with Rocky Johnson and Dory Dixon) Earl was listed as one of the WWE top wrestlers of all time.  Following his retirement from wrestling Earl turned to acting, and appeared in many films before turning to film producing and directing.

Jackie McCann
Jackie McCann wowed the fans in the 1980s, winning the BWA championship in the process. In 1987 she defeated Stella Fox to take the title and held it until her retirement in 1989. A superb wrestler with power and skill Jackie was one of the top female wrestlers of the 1980s. Retiring as undefeated British champion wasn’t quite the end of the road for Jackie who made a one-off return to the ring in 2008, an exciting match with Shelby Beach. Jackie’s interest in wrestling is no lessened today, as an enthusiastic wrestling historian and founder of the Blackpool Wrestlers Reunion.

Roy McClarty (Also known as Sir Garth McClarty)
Canadian Roy McClarty was thirty years old and had been wrestling professionally for less than a year when he visited Europe in July, 1948. For twelve months he wrestled in Britain and the Continent, sometimes billed as Sir Garth McClarty, mostly in the north of England and Scotland. British opponents included the top heavyweights of the time Ernest Baldwin, Robert McDonald, The Ghoul and Hassan Ali Bey amongst them. His obituary notice stated that he had been born in Expance, Saskatchewan on 31st July, 1918 and served as a Sergeant with the Canadian Army during World War 2. His wrestling career continued in North America and Japan  until the early 1970s. Roy McClarty sied on 27th April, 1998.

28/02/2021 Roy McClarty added