P: Proctor - Pye
Wrestling Heritage A - Z
Our knowledge of Jack Proctor is very limited, but we do know Heritage members would like to learn more. To date our members have ascertained Jack originated in Cornwall, wrestled in the 1950s most likely at light heavyweight, moved to the North East where he refereed for Norman Morrell. We have found reports of Jack from 1946, wrestling Cliff Green in Hartlepool.
The early 1960s masked man was quite unique amongst the hooded brigade as he defeated all placed before him. Unique in that he was entered the ring dressed in a red academic gown complete with mortar board, unique in that he was clean and scientific. Heritage member Dave Sutherland told us, "I saw The Professor a number of times at Newcastle. I was quite surprised to see a masked man who wrestled within the rules." Uunique in that....well, if you want to learn more, including his identity you will need to take a look at The Wrestling Heritage Top Twenty Masked Men on www.wrestlingheritage.com
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Bad Bill Pye
Unrelated to the famous Pye wrestling dynasty Bad Bill Pye was a villain of the independent circuit trained by Eric Pleasance, and later Brian Trevors in the 1960s and 1970s. Although he was born in Lancashire Bill moved to Lowestoft whilst a toddler. Other sporting interests included boxing, he was a schoolboy champion, and rugby, but it was wrestling that Bill chose to pursue as a means of making his money. The Norfolk based heavyweight worked mainly in the east of England and is best remembered for his partnership with John L. Hagger in The Stompers tag team.
Frank Bully Pye
Another of the famous Pye clan, Frank Pye was the original Bully Pye, a nickname later assumed by brother Tommy in the post war years. Born in Wigan in 1916 Frank was one of the eleven children of Henry and Ellen Pye (nee Bennett). Frank moved to Stainforth near Doncaster whilst still a child, and it was here he learned the wrestling business alongside his brothers, the most notable of whom was Jack. All the Pye brothers would train at a local gym and at Jack's home in Stainforth. Frank saw the success of big brother Jack, making money in the wrestling ring which was much more preferable than working down the pit. He was determined to join him and turned professional in 1933 when he was just seventeen years old. From the start of his career he travelled widely, often accompanied by brother Jack. Like his brother Frank was highly volatile in the ring with little regard to the sophistication of the sport's rules and was soon credited with the name Bully. Our records indicate that it was his temperament, prolific appearances and reputation rather than technical ability that justify made him one of the top wrestlers of the 1930s.. Some years ago we heard from Frank's son, James, who told us his father had married Rachel Greenall in Thorne in 1939, fathered James in 1941 and died in 1944.
See the entry for Harry Bennett
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Although he never reached the illustrious heights of his more famous brother Harry was a prolific worker and one of the top wrestlers of the 1930s.
Harry Pye followed brother Jack into the wrestling ring. Until then he had worked in a ring of another kind, boxing 63 professional contests. Some sources report Harry boxing until 1935, but he was certainly wrestling as early as 1933. Harry was no doubt attracted to the money that Jack was making as one of the country's top wrestlers.
Yes, he was a Pye, and that's probably enough to tell everyone enough about his style!
Bernard Hughes saw Harry in action, albeit post war, and recalls that although Harry could wind up the fans he could not match the rising fury achieved by Jack. "Trying to look and act villainous, but not really getting there”
When Harry entered the ring fans expected little in the way of scientific wrestling the sort of rough house tactics for which the family were famous. Nonetheless, in February, 1936 the Daily Worker reported, “Another interesting bout was between Val Cerino and Harry Pye. Maybe this will come as a surprise to many fans but Harry Pye is really learning how to wrestle. Harry Pye was the winner by two falls to one.” In November, 1934, we have a record of Harry beating Carver Doone by two falls to one, a giant of a man who must have outweighed him by many stones.
In one match against Harry Brooks it was reported that Pye grabbed his opponent by the hair, kneed him in the groin and tossed him over the top rope into the ringside seats; and all that was before the bell had rung!
Following the end of world war 2 continued wrestling the new freestyle rules until around 1960. By then he and his wife, Vera, had moved to Blackpool, as had Jack, and had a guest house. Harry also went into business with Jack managing the Horseshoe Club. If that wasn't enough in the mid sixties he was still spending his leisure time teaching youngsters how to box.
Read our extended tribute Top Wrestlers of the 1930s – Jack Pye
Joe Pye (1930s)
The first of our two Joes remains a bit of a mystery. We are not entirely sure he was a member of the famous family, on balance thinking it likely, but his was a much lower profile than the rest of the Pye family. He wrestled in the 1930s, and we have matches recorded from 1935 until August, 1939. In September, 1939 it was announced in the ring that he had joined H.M. Forces, and after that we have only one recorded match, in May, 1941. Ron Historyo has found that Jack Pye did have a younger brother Joe. Surprisingly in the fifty plus adverts we have found for Joe about three quarters state Blackburn as his home, a town not associated with the Pye family. On only one occasion is is stated that Joe is a brother in the wrestling family, in September, 1939 when he is part of a Pye Team alongside Harry, Frank and Tommy.
Rough House Joe Pye
The younger generation of the Pye family Joe's uncle was the Doncaster Panther himself, Jack Pye. He had a short lived career in the 1970s, opponents including Max Raeger and Honey Boy Zimba. After losing to Zimba by straight falls at Blackpool Tower in 1975 he reported "Zimba body slammed me eleven times." Around 1970 we did see a wrestler (just the once) billed as Cousin Pye, tagging with Dominic. We've no idea whether he was the creation of the promoter, a family member, or could it have been Joe Pye?
Another member of the first family of wrestling, Tommy Pye was brother of Jack Pye. He turned professional in the second half of the 1930s and was a major figure in British wrestling for twenty years, with the same disregard for the rules as the rest of the Pye family. Following retirement he became landlord of The Greyhound Inn, in Boothstown, Lancashire. Following the second world war Tommy assumed the name Bully Pye, made famous by brother Frank, who had died in 1944.