WRESTLING HERITAGE

B: Mr Big

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Mr Big 

(Also known as Roy Parkes, The Big Brute)

Big by name, big and powerful by nature. Mind you, big in the sense of a normal heavyweight.  at a mere 18 stones he was a midget compared to what we were to be subject to ten years later. It’s unfair to mention Mr Big in the same breath as some of those giants, because Mr Big was a muscular man who could actually wrestle.  Six foot 3 inches tall, a 48 inch chest, the eighteen stones was distributed over a well proportioned body.


The personality behind the persona was Frederick Roy Parkes. He  was born in Scarborough on 22nd May, 1933. Roy was called up for national service when he was eighteen years old  and it was here that he was able to pursue his sporting interest, not wrestling but boxing.  Boxing and tug of war were his army interests, with wrestling not considered.  Like many of our favourite stars of the ring destiny took its course and he moved  from one form of combat to another.

In 1953 while living in London Roy married and continued to pursue his boxing interest. Meeting up with wrestlers at the gym he took to the mat and found it came rather naturally. The multi tattooed Roy  learned amateur wrestling at the United Amateur Wrestling Club alongside Johnny Williams, Johnny Kincaid and Len Hurst. Senior instructor at United  was the respected Jack Ingle. He took an interest in teaching Roy, as did Len Allen.  Len Allen wasn’t a bad trainer either. That’s an understatement as he was to become  a member of the 1964 Olympics wrestling team in Tokyo. These two made sure that Roy knew how to actually wrestle before going on to learn the rudiments of the professional ring.

Roy turned professional in 1966, and it seems to have been the name Mr Big on the posters from the start..  It was  a baptism of fire when faced with Alan Garfield in his first professional contest. Promoters had confidence in him and an early push by Dale Martin Promotions saw him in with some big names and victories over Yuri Borienko, Johnny Yearsley and the aforementioned Garfield.  We didn’t find a win, but the masked mammoth Zebra Kid was a frequent opponents. It seems that in the second half of the 1960s Mr Big was destined for, can we say, big things?

Having wrestled almost exclusively for Dale Martin Promotions  Mr Big was brought to national attention by The Wrestler magazine in May 1968.  We were all set for greater things, but what happened then?  The promise forecast by the Wrestler magazine in 1968 never really materialised and Mr Big remained in a supporting role for a career that was somewhat stop-start. He disappeared from our radar at the end of the 1960s with only sporadic appearances in the years that followed until 1977 when Mr Big once again became a more regular feature on the wrestling bills.

A masked man appeared on the scene in 1980. Beneath the hood of The Big Brute, managed by Reg Trood, was Roy Parkes.   After beating John Elijah and throwing down a challenge at the Royal Albert Hall ring in September, 1977,  nothing materialised and that was more or less  the end of The Big Brute.  The Mr Big persona continued and was last seen in September, 1980.  

Roy Parkes died on 11th November, 2007.

Reviewed 17/03/2022