WRESTLING HERITAGE

British wrestling history 

P: Pollard - Priore

Wrestling Heritage A - Z

Red Pollard
Canadian Red Pollard (not to be confused with the Aylesbury wrestler Ted Pollars arrived in Britain in November 1970 and stayed for almost three months, dutifully going down to home grown talent in northern England and Scotland. The Joint Promotions flyer announcing his impending visit said the 19 year old had been wrestling professionally since 1956. Er? Well he would have been five in 1956! We know that our promoters could tell porkies, but this one takes some beating. Tom Pollard sported a ginger beard, hence the nickname and came to the UK with his friend Billy Watson Jr. We are told the two of them often wrestled each other in Ontario in the early 1970s. His tour ended suddenly at the end of January, resulting in his planned bout against Mike Marino at the Royal Albert Hall being cancelled. 

Ted Pollard
Aylesbury's Ted Pollard has devoted his life to body building (he was a Mr Universe competitor), all aspects of martial arts and the entertainment world. In 1965 he turned professional wrestler and worked the rings of Southern England for four years. He curtailed his wrestling career to perform in cabaret, on television and in the theatre performing a combination of martial arts and acrobatics. 

Manuel Polman
Lean and muscular mid heavyweight Manuel Polman was a popular and frequent visitor to Britain during the 1960s, arriving on our shores no fewer than nine times. The Wrestler magazine dated his first visit in 1963, but our unofficial records suggest he worked in Britain as early as 1959. Whenever his first appearance  he seemed to turn up for at least a few bouts every year during the 1960s. Skilled and classy, with a Spanish mid heavyweight championship to his name Manuel Polman had, neveretheless, a mixed bag of results.  Intermingled  with some impressive performances  we found high profile losses against Bill Howes, Steve Logan and Mike Marino at the Royal Albert Hall, and unsuccessful attempts to take Ernie Riley's European Light Heavyweight title and  Marino's World Mid Heavyweight crown. 

Heritage member  SaxonWolf  discovered that Polman was Spaniard Manuel Perez Lopez.

Member djmask said: "According to John Listers excellent ITV Wrestling site the Perez Lopez Tv bout versus Jackie Pallo was in 1962. This would appear to be his only appearance as P. Lopez but he did reappear on Tv in 1963 as Perez Polman in a Tv contest versus Andy Robin. He then reappears for several televised bouts as Manuel Polman between 1969-1971."

When not in Britain the globetrotting Spaniard worked extensively throughout Europe and South America, using the name Manuel Lopez. Polman's wrestling career extended into the 1980s. Heritage member Gernot Freiberger took up the story and told us that Manuel Polman lived in Hanover for many years where he managed a Spanish restaurant, "La Mancha."


Milo Popocopolis 
Professional wrestling boasted a plethora of Golden Greeks, but Milo Popocopolis was one of the hardest and best, emerging onto the British wrestling scene in the mid 1930s as a teenager making his way against older and more experienced men. Milo was born Andrea Nicola Yiannopoullos.  In 1947 he defeated Bulldog Bill Garnon in the first round of the World Heavyweight Championship tournament at Harringay, before losing by the only fall required to the eventual winner Bert Assirati. He defeated Guy Lombardo at the Royal Albert Hall in April, 1953, one of the last shows promoted at the venue by Atholl Oakeley. In the twilight years of his career Milo became heavily involved in campaigning for better conditions and pay for wrestlers and was instrumental in one of the attempts to form a wrestlers union, the Professional Wrestlers Welfare Association.  In the early 1960s Milo Popocopilis  wrestled for Paul Lincoln Management and around that time  began promoting his own shows in London and southern England. Like his brothers, Johnny and Tommy, Milo owned a restaurant in London's Soho district, and was also the proprietor of the DeMilo Hotel in Hastings.


Stan Powton 
Stan Powton was a fish monger on Chillingham Road in the Heaton area of Newcastle upon Tyne. Our earliest find of Stan is in June, 1932, defeating Mosey Lawson at North Shields in a match described as the “Light Heavyweight Championship of the North.” Stan wrestled throughout the 1930s and into the 1940s, mostly in the North East in preliminary matches, often at the St James Hall.

When wrestling outside of the locality Stan assumed the identity of mystery wrestler “The Question Mark.” Whether or not his features were concealed by a mask we don’t know, but there was little attempt at mystery back home where the Newcastle Journal revealed his identity. A match between the Question Mark and Bob Gregory, in Banbury, was reported in the press to have “embodied all the fine arts and scientific experiences of the game.”

In the 1940s Stan’s wrestling appearances decreased and he could more often be seen refereeing at Newcastle’s St James Hall and the Caird Hall, Dundee.

Ken Prest
Gateshead's Ken Prest first ventures into the professional wrestling ring was on the continent in 1965, but it was another three years before he was seen in British rings. turned professional in 1968. Prior to this the British debut twenty-three year old Prest had learned a great deal in the fairground wrestling booths of the north east. Ken appeared in various westerns filmed in Spain and also appeared in “Women In Love.” Despite being featured in a full page Wrestler article we have no first hand knowledge of Ken, but would welcome readers contributions.

Corrie Pretorius
Seventeen stones of pure muscle and standing 6 feet 3 inches tall Johannesburg's Corrie Pretorius came to Britain in 1952 to compete in the Mr Universe contest in London. Pretorius came first in the class 1 competition, with Britain's Arnold Dyson runner up. Following the competition he took to Britain's wrestling rings and remained in the country until the end of the year. Despite his unquestionable physical presence Pretorius was not given an easy ride, going down to Britain's best, including Dai Sullivan, Charlie Scott, Mike Marino, and Dave Armstrong.

Frankie Price
Croydon's Frankie Price was an element of London wrestling in the 1950s and 1960s for whom we feel guilty of not knowing more. Not only was he an active wrestler he was also an independent promoter and trainer of the 1960s, responsible for bringing numerous youngsters into the business. Frankie promoted under the banner of Premier Promotions, a member of the British Wrestling Federation.

Steve Prince (Also known as The Black Prince)

Soldier Boy Steve Prince squeezes into the Heritage years, joining the professional circuit in the late 1980s and wrestling occasionally when we added him to the A-Z in 2011.

Born in Plymouth Steve appeared on television (using the name Black Prince) in March 1985, knocked out by Dave Finlay.


Steve adopted the name The Black Prince, a barefooted martial arts expert dressed in black, challenging his opponent (a la Kendo) with his sword as part of the pre bout rituals. Well known as part of the "Task Force One" tag team with Vic Powers. Now lives in Warrington, Cheshire.


David Manntell added to our vey limited knowledge:

"Soldier Boy Steve Prince was a heel noted for his infamous loaded boot (an idea nicked off The Iron Sheik in America) and for wearing camouflage trousers and throwing stroppies with the referee. He beat Doc Dean for the British Welterweight title in 1993 and carried on defending it for some years after, although it had been inactive for a good while by the time TWA took over the title in 2000 and held a Johnny Storm/Jodie Fleisch match to fill the vacancy.


There's a camcording of him losing a hair vs hair match to Robbie Brookside somewhere in the West Country in the early 90s and coming back later in the night to participate in a Batlle Royal. There's another camcording I've seen of him losing to Johnny Saint and getting all stroppy whenever Saint does one of his counter holds.


I saw him some years later in Leamington Spa in 2005 and he was a bit of a reformed character by then, staying clean for several minutes against James Mason before doing a temporary heel turn. When Mason won, Prince made it up with him and said James had come a long way since 1993. A year or so later I saw Steve working as a referee for All Star and being unusually strict by 21st century All Star standards in enforcing the No Followdowns rule and giving the faster 10 counts at the old school speed. At both of these shows, I met him afterwards at the £5 Backstage Pass meet and greet and he was very friendly and very keen to talk about the old days."


Nicolas Priore
Italian Nicolas Priore was a visitor to Britain during the 1960s and 1970s. A middleweight when he arrived in 1962 he filled out a decade later, but the increased poundage failed to prevent a Royal Albert Hall loss to Brian Maxine in October 1971.