P: Patton - Poilve
Wrestling Heritage A-Z
Ian Stenner adopted the name Pat Patton when he turned professional wrestler in 1977. Pat Patton was one of the better new breed taking over from the post war stalwarts in the 1970s. He got into the wrestling business after being trained by a work mate, John Holt, who wrestled as Johnny England.
Pat was a familiar figure wearing brightly coloured judo outfits and a busy worker for promoter Max Crabtree during the 1980s. He made an ignominious television debut in February,1979, the gallant loser inevitably going down by two submissions to nil against the skulduggery of Jimmy Breaks in a British welterweight championship eliminator. This was to be the first of around forty television appearances right up to the end of televised wrestling in Britain.
Whilst his favour with promoter Crabtree brought a busy engagement book and television exposure the downside was that Pat was regrettably overshadowed by his tag partnership with Big Daddy. In July, 1982, Pat was one of the last group of British wrestlers to work in Zambia.
Born in Wolverhampton and living much of his life in Cannock, Staffordshire, Pat followed many other wrestlers into the pub trade when he retired from wrestling, running the Apple Tree Pub in Bilston, near Wolverhampton, the Samson Blewitt in Hednesford and the White Hart in Cannock.
Pat Patton died on 2nd April, 2015.
Liverpool's Roy Paul was rough and tough when we first watched him in the second half of the 1960s. He was on one of the first shows we attended, knocking around Ireland's Kevin Coneelly. He was no less rough or tough when he gained more widespread recognition as one of the Liverpool Skinheads tag team (alongside Terry O'Neill), looking the stereotypical part wearing denim shorts and braces. Never one for the niceties of wrestling techniques Roy was an underrated wrestler and a great villain, who progressed from working for the independents to mostly working in the north and midlands for Wryton Promotions.
Gaylord Steve Peacock
Adrian Street led the way and others followed. In the case of Gaylord Steve Peacock he followed with some style and class. The Peacock could strut his stuff.
Gaylord Steve Peacock is remembered as a very entertaining wrestler of the seventies capitalising on a gay character that could enrage fans whilst bringing a smile to their faces.
He worked for both Joint Promotions and the independents. When working for the independents he formed a tag partnership with both Adrian Street and The Gay One. The photo above shows tag team partners Street and Steve Peacock.
A Scotsman who based himself in Blackpool, which was something of a hotbed of the 1970s wrestling scene. Steve made his way into wrestling following a chance meeting with Steve Fury whilst he was working in a Blackpool amusement arcade. Steve introduced Steve to wrestler-promoter Bobby Barron. The rest, as they say, is history.
Steve Peacock sadly passed away in February 2006, believed to be in his fifties.
Fiery Phil Pearson
Leeds mid-heavyweight from an impressive amateur background, active as a professional throughout the seventies, seemingly on a part-time basis. We have a World of Sport re-run to refresh our memories of his in-ring skills as he clashes with Vic Faulkner and manages to make a great bout with an awkward opponent. Phil had been Yorkshire's amateur light-heavyweight champion and originally turned pro for the independent promoters before being booked by Relwyskow & Green Promotions. Never seemed to travel far south from that Leeds base, though worked the Scottish halls for Relwyskow and Green. A popular, clean wrestler he remained active throughout the eighties and one of several we would have liked to have seen more of.
Harry Pearson from Wakefield was a middleweight working mainly for Cyril Knowles and Ron Farrar in the 1970s. Not to be confused with Fiery Phil Pearson.
Louis Pergantis had been wrestling for over ten years when he wrestled in Britain from1935 and 1937, which may well have been the twilight of his career. We find him in the United States from 1919 until 1926, when he moved on to Australia. Louis, billed as light heavyweight champion of the world, was also said to have wrestled as the Masked Marvel, and in April 1936 we find him unmasked (as The Masked Wrestler) by Frank Judson at Portsmouth. Described as a “hairy specimen” by the press we have found a report of a match against Joe DeValto when DeValto was disqualified for repeatedly plucking hairs from Louis’ chest.
Dropkick Johnny Peters (Brighton)
Skilful, exciting, fast, Dropkick Johnny Peters had it all. Not to forget the looks which made the Brighton based matman a popular figure for many years. In the 1950s and 1960s there seemed to be an unwritten rule that wrestling fans could not utter the name Johnny Peters without the prefix of "Dropkick." Those feet were magic,and the way they threw across the ring and propelled themselves at his opponent meant that he was always Dropkick Johnny Peters.
Although London born Johnny resided in Brighton for many years, a popular figure at the Brighton Sports Stadium and venues around the country. His fast, furious and exciting style meant that his appearances were always welcomed by wrestling fans, but his popularity reached a crescendo in the early 1960s when he formed a hugely successful tag partnership with Dazzler Joe Cornelius. The style of the two wrestlers made them a natural partnership and they were one of the heavyweight pairings that helped build the popularity of tag team wrestling in Britain.
Johnny's professional career had its foundations in a successful amateur career that brought him various titles at several weights whilst serving in the forces in the Far East during World War Two. Once demobbed he turned professional and soon claimed the astonishing and unique distinction of a 12-second knockout victory over George Kidd. Ring activity and regular training soon began to build up Johnny's muscular frame and he moved up to welterweight in 1947, where he had the equally unusual but less satisfying claim to having his British Welterweight title fight with Jack Dempsey cancelled - due to rain! Consolation came in Paris in 1953 when he defeated Gilbert Le Duc to snatch the European Welterweight Championship.
He continued to climb through the weights to heavyweight and the record books show a drawn decision against Bert Assirati when he challenged the Islington Hercules for his British title in the independent rings. Record book opponents from George Kidd to Bert Assirati must make this popular wrestler quite unique. Whilst the British heavyweight championship remained illusive he was holder of the Southern Area Heavyweight title for many years. Johnny retired from wrestling rather abruptly in 1965 due to an ear injury. Following retirement he combined a greengrocery business with wrestling promotion. Johnny was the brother in law of French lightweight Julien Morice. Dropkick Johnny Peters. Always was and always will be. Dropkick Johnny Peters passed away on 24th May, 2011.
Johnny Peters (Thirsk)
Not to be confused with the dropkick king from Brighton this Johnny Peters was a familiar figure to wrestling fans of the North East of England in the 1970s. Johnny was from West Tanfield in North Yorkshire, Thirsk being the biggest nearest town that you've probably heard of. Blond haired Johnny was a popular middleweight of some skill having been trained by Norman Walsh, from whom he acquired skill but not temperament. A couple of televised bouts saw him lose to the Rev Michael Brooks and Barry Douglas. Later in his career Johnny filled out into a fully blown heavyweight. Three of his sons also went into the wrestling business.
Dave Phillips (Known also as Dave Jantzen)
Eighteen year old Dave Phillips, the Camberwell middleweight, was given his chance in the professional wrestling ring by independent promoter Paul Lincoln. That was in 1961 and Dave was soon swapping holds with other youngsters who were destined for future fame - Leon Fortuna, Zoltan Boscik, Johnny Williams and the like. After a couple of years he was signed up by Dale Martin Promotions and was soon receiving regular bookings throughout the south. Dave's clean, fast style made him very popular, never more so than when he made his television debut against Jackie Pallo in September, 1964. Dave lost that one, but was more fortunate in his second television outing when he beat the hard Lancastrian Colin Joynson. Dave seemed to have a promising future but in 1967 decided to pursue a teaching career and temporarily retired from wrestling to study at a teachers' training college. Four years later, having qualified as a teacher, Dave returned to the ring, this time using the name Dave Jantzen.
Percy Kid Pitman
The name Kid Pitman may not be familiar to most readers but he is more worthy of inclusion in the pages of Wrestling Heritage than many of those we more readily remember.
Londoner Percy Pitman was born in October, 1919 and became interested in wrestling in his early teens. He joined the John Ruskin Amateur Wrestling Club and turned professional shortly before the outbreak of war, a bout at Rochester Casino in 1938. His career was interrupted in 1939 when he was called up for service, winning a medal for bravery for his actions during World War 2. Before the war a youngster turned up at the John Ruskin who was befriended and encouraged by Percy. That youngster was Mick McManus.
Following the end of the war when both Mick and Percy returned home Percy encouraged Mick to turn professional. The two of them also went into business and started a haulage company that specialised in transporting timber. As the revival of wrestling continued in the late 1940s Percy and Mick found that wrestling took up too much time for them to also concentrate on their haulage business. So they sold their lorries and started a printing business in Peckham High Street. They specialised in printing sporting tickets, programmes and literature. Again the business was a success and outgrew the two of them, at which time they sold it to Norman Morrell.
For twenty years Percy Pitman wrestled the top names in British wrestling, retiring from the ring around 1960, becoming a proprietor of a garage in Lambeth before retiring to Staffordshire.
The Spanish middleweight made his way to Britain for the first time in January, 1960, facing the big guns of Mick McManus, Cliff Beaumont and a European middleweight championship tilt at Bolton's Bert Royal. With impressive results against our best he was surprisingly laid down to rest by Wigan's Jack Dempsey at the Royal Albert Hall. Made numerous returns to Britain during the 1960s, sometimes with brother Nino, forming a tag team facing the Cortez brothers, Hells Angels, McManus & Logan, but most notably the Royal brothers.
The lighter of the two Pizarro brothers from Valencia, renowned for speed and skill. Followed his brother Gomez to our shores in 1962, going down to World champion George Kidd on television. Made a number of return visits during the 1960s, with another high profile defeat, this time against Jackie Pallo, at the Royal Albert Hall in December 1964.
Tom Plant was one of Apollo William Banker's troupe of wrestlers that toured Britain in the early 1930. Billed as British middleweight champion Catch-as-catch-can style he certainly seems to have had a number of illustrious opponents including Billy Riley, Alec Munro and Billy Wood.
The Ploughboy was a 1960s worker for the independent promoters, otherwise Trevor McDonald of Beccles in Suffolk. We can find him only working for promoter Jack Taylor.
Don Plummer of Burnley was trained by Bob Bannister alongside Ian St John, Andreas Swajics and Phil Kenyon (Mike Agusta) at Bob's gymnasium in Accrington. As one of the more experienced and skilful of Bob's Army Don took on the role of one of the main trainers at the gym. He worked for northern independent promoters in the 1960s. A stocky light heavyweight Don had the skill to match fully blown heavyweights and the speed and agility to suggest a middleweight. Mike Agusta remembers Don, who he tells us will now be in his eighties, “We were even billed together at an outdoor “Miners Fete” day, great contest with both of us showing the skills that were taught! This contest (so we were told) was filmed along with the other contests. The film was to be shown at miners clubs & events all over the north of England.”
Popular good looking heavyweight Emile Polive was surprisingly born in Cheshire. Publicity claimed his unusual name arose from his French mother's maiden name. This may or may not have been the case, but our Emile should not be confused with the French Olympic wrestler Emile Poilve, who died in 1962.
Following his wartime service as a parachute instructor in the R.A.F. Emile entered the professional wrestling ranks when he met the Mighty Elmo, Jim Foy, at Willenhall. From 1948 onwards he wrestled regularly throughout the midlands and north of England, most frequently for Wryton Promotions.
Following a successful wrestling career which saw him travel across Europe Emil went on to become a popular referee.
Eddie Rose told us: “Emile Poilve came from the same little village as me (now gobbled up as part of Stockport but then fairly quiet and remote). He had a good career as a heavyweight until back problems forced his retirement. He was particularly close to Jack Atherton and looked after Jack and his wife when old age and illness took their toll. As a ref? You hardly knew he was in the ring with you yet he kept good control. He had a VW camper van to travel to shows and the lads used to tussle to get in first for a lie down on the journey home after a show: 2/3 hours up the M6 in the dark!”
Rex Strong told us, “A referee could make or break a match, and Emil had the inate skill of knowing precisely when to intervene.”
04/03/2020: George Pencheff entry revised