WRESTLING HERITAGE

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A:  Mark Anthony

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Mark Anthony


Back in the old days we knew who the bad guys were because we had rules. Admittedly the concept seemed beyond the wit of some wrestlers but without those rules and their gay abandonment we wouldn't have had half as much enjoyment.

When Mark Anthony arrived on British shores in October, 1968, we were left in no doubt that here we had a villain of the first order, and that was even before the wrestling started. The black tights, the trimmed beard, the heavily tattooed arms. We knew the signs and if anyone was left in any doubt  as to his dubious character a snarl at the audience was the final condirmation that here was a wrestling baddie. Any lingering doubts were cast aside when the first round opened with blind side moves, failure to break on the ropes and a few more snarls and complaints to fans and referee. That, it seems was the way it had always been, and always was during a surprisingly short career.

Mark Anthony Walker had been a professional wrestler for just a couple of years when he arrived in Britain. As was so often the case it was serendipity that led to  a wrestling career. In the mid 1960s he was working as a building labourer in Sydney. Weighing 18 stones, strong as the proverbial ox and 6'3" tall he was made for the job. Working alongside him was a professional wrestler by the name Big John Marshall. John suggested that Mark had the build and the aptitude for professional wrestling.  

John introduced Mark to promoter Hal Morgan who ran Top Wrestling Promotions at around twenty-five different clubs in Sydney and the surrounding areas. Mark made his debut in 1966 and worked the clubs of New South Wales,  and the higher profile Sydney Stadium, dutifully going down to American visitors. It was a role he was to continue when travelling. A reliable, hard working grafter Mark Anthony did the right thing on most occasions, and made the British boys look good!

Within a few days of arriving in Britain Mark Anthony was rewarded with a booking at the Royal Albert Hall. Reward may not be the most appropriate word as he was matched with Tibor Szakacs. It was a case of good fortune for Mark as he was a last minute substitute for Kendo Nagasaki who had delayed his return from Japan. There's no doubt what the instructions would have been that night as Tibor was one of the most popular and successful wrestlers to appear at the Albert Hall.  Mark Anthony did his stuff – he infururiated the fans, upset referee Tony Mancelli, took the lead with a second round shoulder press and then dutifully went down for the count after being bombarded with a series of Tibor's speciality chops. At least he had the consolation of having a good view of the splendid Royal Albert Hall ceiling.

The promoters lined up the big names for the twenty-something: Steve Viedor, Albert Wall, Jo Zaranoff, Bruno Elrington, Mike Marino, Al Hayes, Pat Roach,  Wild Angus, John Lees and John Cox. The result was invariably the same. The boy was doing his job, and doing it well. We have found a consolation draw against Johnny Czeslaw and wins over Roy St Clair and Syd Hardin. Yet in the whole of his stay the promoters showed no more kindness to the man from down under – Czeslaw was allowed a couple of KO wins over the man who was  at least four stones heavier, as were St Clair and Steve Haggetty. Pro wrestling was a funny old world where results counted for little. Here was a young man enjoying himself as he travelled the world, making a bit of money; why should he care if his hand was raised in victory?

Mark Anthony didn't have the wins, but he did have something special. Rewarded with an appearance on the FA Cup Final Special of April 1969. Opponent Sean Regan, and knocked out once again.

In June 1969 Mark Anthony was on his way once again with more of the world to see: France, Spain Germany were part of his travelling plans. Fortunately that wasn't the last we saw of him. Mark Anthony was back in 1972. This time the promoters were a little kinder, but not too much, even allowing a televised win over Wayne Bridges.

With wanderlust satisfied Mark Anthony returned home in 1973 working for World Championship Wrestling. All seemed to be going well.  Tag partnership with the Masked Australian (Les Roberts) even led to a tag team title (albeit for only a week), and then suddenly the name Mark Anthony disappeared. He appears to have left the business in 1973.

We can discount a rumour that that he met an unfortunate end in 1994.  Mark Anthony was a known motor cycle enthusiast and in 1994, a motorcycle gang member and drug dealer, named Mark Anthony Walker was shot dead by rival dealer but it was later determined that this was a different Mark Anthony Walker.

Where he went we don't know, but would welcome information.

Page added 05/01/2020