N: Nichols - Norden
Wrestling Heritage A-Z
Ken “Hercules” Nichols
Popular supermarket manager and young middleweight from Caister Ken Nichols came from the Brian Trevors school at Fleggburgh and was a regular on the East Anglian independent circuit from the mid sixties through to the late seventies. Fellow wrestler Stephen St John remembers Ken as a brilliant wrestlers and one of the Brian Trevor's star wrestlers. A body building enthusiast Ken was not only surprisingly strong for his weight but also a highly skilled technician who always stayed on the right side of the referee. Ken was tipped for success when given the double page spread treatment in "The Wrestler" magazine, but failed to fulfil that initial promise.
The sheer depth of talent to be found in the pre 1980s wrestling business now beggars belief. That is why men such as Nottingham’s Al Nicol are remembered by those that saw him wrestle but is missing from the mythology that surrounds that age. Nicol was a fine welterweight of the sixties, a Middleweight Champion of the Midlands, no less, but had to rely on the likes of McManus and Pallo for the sporadic Main Event appearance. Life is full of such injustices.
Four years of amateur wrestling, and a splattering of judo knowledge, led to s professional debut against the vastly experienced Eric Sands. Following that predictable loss Nicol gained experience and respect amongst the wrestling community. Against the big named opponents he was usually the bridesmaid, but he did have the occasional moment of glory with the odd win over greats Tommy Mann and Jack Dempsey.
The man who beat the gong for Rank Cinemas from 1946-1955. You can learn such interesting facts here on Wrestling Heritage. Not just that professional wrestler of the 1940s and 1950s, Phil Nieman, was one of four men who struck the gong for Rank films over the years. Also, that the filming of this introductory sequence was filmed frequently because the film deteriorated so quickly, and that the sound was recorded separately because the gong was made of papier mache. Unfortunately we are unable to tell you much about the success of film extra, stuntman, and gong striker Phil Nieman as a wrestler.
William Nilan was born in 1910, but to the wrestling public he was Tommy Nilan. This globetrotting Australian heavyweight wrestled in the United States early in 1937. Following a short return home to Victoria, Australia, he and his wife set sail for England on 11th September, 1937. He wrestled in Britain until April, 1939. We first uncovered Tommy wrestling at the Sydney Stadium in May 1931,described as a “sawn off Hercules.” Nilan, weighing 11 stones 7 pounds, was disqualified in his match with Jack Hamon. A rough, tough wrestler whose opponents included Jack Pye, Mike Demitre, Johnny Demchuck and Bert Mansfield. We last came across Tommy wrestling in New York in October, 1946.
Related article: On The Trail of Tommy Nilan on www.wrestlingheritage.com
See the entry for Digger Rowell
Vicomte Joel de Noirbreuil
The dashing young French viscount toured Britain twice in the mid-sixties and is seen left with an armlock on Gentleman Jim Lewis. Born in Paris and mentored by Georges Cohen, he was trained for the ring by Albert Ben Chemoul, father of the European Middleweight Champion, René, and became a favourite on French televised wrestling. 5'5" Noirbreuil wrestled all over France and tagged surpisingly with N'boa the Snakeman, see above.
On his UK tour he challenged Alan Colbeck for the European Welterweight Championship and faced many of the UK's top middle and welterweights. His sole UK tv bout was against Jon Cortez. But his record shows four 1965 losses against Jackie Pallo, all at coastal locations. Joel was back in Britain in the 1980s, dutifully losing to Rollerball Rocco on 26th August, 1981 in a World Heavy Middleweight championship contest.
Top recording artists have to do something before they become famous. Australia's country music star Colin Purssey was the 19stone bruiser who was knocked out by Marty Jones on television in October 1985. That match was said by Digger to be the high point of his wrestling career. Digger, or Colin in those days, was born in the the Illawarra region of New South Wales, south of Sidney. Whilst working as a security guard at ABC in Melbourne he developed his song writing skills, which proved less painful than taking the bumps in the wrestling ring.
GI Joe Nolan
1960s GI Joe Nolan entered the ring in army gear and wrestled for the independent promoters in the 1960s and 1970s. Out of the ring he was landlord of The Champion Public House in Leicester. There may well have been other GI Joes.
Heavyweight bruiser working for the independent promoters in the first half of the 1960s.