Promoters: S - Z
Wrestling Heritage Promoters A - Z
Whenever wrestlers gather together they like to complain about wrestling promoters. Not where Tony Scarlo is concerned. Tony was one of the most highly respected of promoters with a reputation for always treating his workers fairly. Dwight J Ingleburgh spoke highly of Tony as a promoter, "Most of the promoters were good. The London lads were good payers – Tony Scarlo , Len Britton and people like that. They gave you £10 a job, 10 shillings for bed and breakfast (which actually cost 7 shillings and 6 pence), and £10 for the car. That was good because you could get to London and back for £3.10s in petrol. It was a marathon, though, taking 7 or 8 hours from Barnsley." Tony promoted mainly around London and held a contract for promoting wrestling at the Classic cinema chain. At times he used the name Empress Promotions.
One time boxing promoter Bill Shelton was a colourful character who promoted wrestling at the Sports Stadium, Brighton, Caledonian Road Baths and the Merry Fiddlers public house at Becontree.
1930s boxer, manager and promoter until the 1980s from Alfreton in Derbyshire Billy Shinfield worked as a ring erector and promoted in association with Norman Morrell.
Started promoting in Redruth, Cornwall in 1947. Historian Ron Historyo told us: "Perhaps Charlie Simpson's biggest achievement was to bring down Bert Assirati to fight Chick Knight on June 26th 1947."
1960s south westtern promotion run by wrestler Al Solak.
Solent Wrestling Promotions
Solent Wrestling Promotions was owned by wrestler Jimmy Hagan until it was taken over by Portsmouth’s Ian Dowland. Ian was, at the time, refereeing for promoters that included Brian Dixon, Jackie Pallo and Orig Williams. Ian ran Solent Wrestling Promotions for five years, from 1973 until 1978, putting on shows in Andover, Southampton, and Portsmouth, amongst other towns along the south coast. Wrestlers working for Solent Promotions included Ricky Knight, Tarzan Johnny Wilson, the Lapaque brothers, Jackie Pallo, The Wildman of Borneo, Judo Al Hollamby and The Tarantula, who Ian also managed. When Wrestling Heritage spoke to Ian he singled out Al Hollamby as one individual who had been a great help to him when starting out in the business, and someone to whom he will always be grateful.
1960s and 1970s Bournemouth based outfit presenting shows, not surprisingly, in the South.
South Midland Promotions
South Midland Promotions staged shows in the midlands during the 1970s, and was run by Bletchley lightweight Roger Tofield. Bills featured established stars such as Reg Yates, Pete Lindberg and Ray Fury alongside newcomers Ron Marino and, of course, Roger himself. The name South Midlands Promotions was revived by Roger’s son, Sean, in 2012. When Sean staged wrestling at their local Towcester Leisure Centre the Master of Ceremonies was an old favourite, Roger Tofield.
South Pier Promotions
Dirty Dominic Pye took up the wrestling mantle from father Jack. When the family moved from Yorkshire to Blackpool Dominic opened a wrestling gymnasium training youngsters like Harry Strickland, later to gain fame as Jock Cameron, and Frank Hoy, otherwise Wild Angus Campbell.
Dominic staged wrestling shows in the north west, but his base was the seaside town of Blackpool. During the summer season Dominic would promote shows three times a week in Blackpool, usually featuring himself and his wrestling brother, Crafty Casey Pye, otherwise known as Harry Bennett the Barnsley brawler.
A ringside seat for six shillings in the mid 1960s was good value for money in anyone's book.
Rex Strong told us of the might he was wrestling Dominic on one of Dominic's own shows. Dominic was in a bad temper and giving Rex a particularly hard time. Suddenly Dominic smiled and let up on Rex - he'd remembered where he'd put that night's advance takings.
During the day mini skirted girls would walk up and down Blackpool promenade handing out adverts for that days tournament – innovative marketing in those days!
See also Wrestling Federation of Great Britain
We are sure all Heritage readers know of Spartan Promotions, the Ayr based company run by two Heritage members, Andy and William Bryden, who wrestled as Dale Storm and Bruce Welch.
Spartan Promotions staged wrestling throughout Scotland in the 1960s and 1970s. Young wrestlers, like Scott Thomson, Young Starsky and the Harlequins trained at the gymnasium in the Ayrshire village of Mossblown, and would then appear on Spartan’s bills.
Alongside the boys from the Mossblown gym would be stars of the independent circuit from the south, including big names such as Adrian Street, Les Kellett and Jackie Pallo. Both Adrian Street and Eddie Rose have praised Dale, Bruce and Spartan Promotions in their books. There was a third wrestling Bryden boy, known in the ring as Big Ian Millet.
Eddie Rose spoke fondly of the visits made by the Manchester lads to work on Spartan bills, and the welcome they received from the whole of the Bryden family.
In the 1930s so called Sporting Clubs, like the Doncaster or Nottingham Sporting Clubs, presented wrestling under their own banner, usually with a wrestler managing the show on their behalf.
Sports Enterprises were owned by wrestler maurice Letchford and promoted in Peterborough, Wisbech and Wimbledon.
Maurice was co-promoter (along with William Smyth) of the high profile match between Bert Assirati and The Angel at Tottenham Hotspur Football Ground on 10th August, 1948. This was a huge event with 12,000 fans reported to have seen Assirati gain a controversial win.
On 24 April, 1952, he, his wife and now two children departed Southampton to set up home in Durban. He was to become one of the main wrestling promoters in South Africa until his death on 15th August, 1965, aged only 57.
Late 1960s and 1970s East Midland promotion of Bill Clark and Les Lunn.
Tom Storr was a well known boxing promoter from Colne. In October, 1949, he and wrestler Billy Riley began promoting wrestling at Colne's Municipal Hall. The partnership continued until Tom died in 1952, aged 72.
See Centaur Promotions.
See Apollo Promotions (Stockton on Tees)
See Centaur Promotions
Josef was an Hungarian refugee who was wrestled professionally . He tried his hand at promoting with mixed results. He could go from a full-house one night to an empty one the next and eventually this ebullient, good humoured wrestler decided to call quits on the wrestling scene and concentrate on leisure management.
See A & T Promotions/Kellett and Taylor
See International Promotions (Olympic International Promotions)
1970s promoter based in Bexley Heath and a member of the British Wrestling Alliance.
See also British Wrestling Alliance.
See Anglia Wrestling Promotions
Promoted wrestling at the White City, Hull, in 1933
See Ringsport Promotions
Mike Agusta remembers working for Triple Promotions and it's a Heritage quest to discover the people behind this promotion.
Long before taking over almost the whole Joint Promotion network Max Crabtree was a successful and creative independent promoter. Taking advantage of the abolition of the Entertainments Tax in 1957 he started up Twentieth Century Promotions, with his brothers Brian and Shirley, and Norman Berry, the following year. Norman Berry had previously worked in the publicity department of Norman Morrell. One of his star attractions, of course, was brother Shirley Crabtree, who the British Wrestling Federation recognised as British heavyweight Champion. Twentieth Century Promotions made good use of disaffected Joint Promotion stars like George Kidd and Docker Don Stedman.
In 1962 Max Crabtree, alongside other independent promoters that included George Kidd, Joe D'Orazio and Eddie Capelli, began co-operating with Joint Promotions and Max often worked as a representative for George DeRelwyskow.
Whatever the criticism of Max Crabtree, and many are quick to criticise, there were few with a greater knowledge or understanding of British wrestling than Max Crabtree. When a manager was sought to take over operational control of Joint Promotions in the 1970s there was no one better qualified than Max Crabtree.
See also British Wrestling Federation and Wrestling Federation of Great Britain
UUnique Wrestling Promotions
Grant Foderingham was a wrestler who seemed to have been around forever, known as The Black Panther. He was another who turned his hand to promoting during the 1960s with Unique being yet another of those Manchester based outfits that made the North West such an exciting place to be for 1960s fans of the independent scene.
Grant’s contribution went further, much further, as dozens of hopefuls learned to wrestle at the Black Panther gymnasium. “I walked in one day and told him I had six years amateur experience and wished to become a professional. A heavyweight with a well muscled body, Grant was very friendly and helpful. Yes I could come to the gym. No he would not charge me but would expect some help around the gym. I could not believe my luck! I always feel a great debt of gratitude and friendship to Grant for his help, advice and training. A great influence on my wrestling development.
Grant was a Barbadian who worked for Direct Works Department, Manchester Corporation as a joiner. He had enjoyed a very successful career as a heavyweight during the years 1945 - 1965 -ish after a war time career in the RAF.
Amongst those who trained with Grant Foderingham we can include: Johnny Saint, Johnny South, Paul Mitchell, Mike 'Flash' Jordan, Pete Lindberg, Sugar Ray Francis, Ian Mad Dog Wilson, Jumping JIm Moser, Ken Else and Al Marquette.
Verdun Leslie Promotions
London based members of the 1970s British Wrestling Alliance. Owners Al Hollamby and Roger L. sandilands made use of their middle names to create the authoritative sounding Verdun-Leslie. Verdun-Leslie put on good quality shows with many well known names around southern England in the 1970s. Verdun-Leslie were promoters of a historic match in 1979. Their planned contest featuring British Ladies Champion Sue Brittain was prohibited by the Greater London Council. Female wrestling had been banned by London County Council during the war. When the Greater London Council was formed in April, 1965, one of the first acts passed was to continue the ban on female boxing and wrestling. After being prevented from wrestling for Verdun-Leslie Promotions at the Manor Baths, Southwark, in 1977, Sue Brittain took the council to an industrial tribunal on the grounds of sexual discrimination and challenging the bye law. She won her case in June 1979. A few weeks later, on 23rd August, Sue Brittain and Jane St John wrestled the first female match in a London public hall since before the second world war.
See also British Wrestling Alliance.
The one time boxing promoter William Wallis introduced All-In wrestling to Beverley and Hull in 1932. In 1933 Wallis attempted to promote female wrestling at Madeley Street Baths which led to the banning of wrestling in the hall.
WAW Wrestling Around the World)
See Jackie Pallo Enterprises
See Action Promotions
See Independent Promotions
See Olympic Promotions
Welsh heavyweight Orig Williams was a main event performer on the independent circuit back in the 1960s. He also promoted wrestling shows featuring big names such as Klondyke Bill, Count Bartelli and, of course, Orig Williams. Orig later adopted the name British Wrestling Federation which had been used some years earlier.
Not on our original list of WFGB members Welsh man Orig is named as a Committee member in 1966. Brian Dixon worked for Orig in the early days. He came to national prominence in 1972 when he featured as both wrestler and promoter in the BBC2 documentary series, The Philpott File. In that programme Orig could be seen pounding away at Klondyke Bill, performing a tribalistic victory dance on the prostrate giant's chest, with the unfortunate referee Brian Dixon looking on.
Orig outlasted the WFGB by many decades. He established himself as one of the top independent promoters, promoting throughout Britain, Ireland and across the globe, taking wrestlers to Africa and Asia.
As promoter, commentator and presenter of the S4C television channel's Reslo programme Orig established himself as his nation's pro wrestling supremo.
See also Wrestling Federation of Great Britain
A professional boxer from Derby between 1918 and 1921, and then a boxing promoter Frank Woodhouse started putting on wrestling shows at the Highfield Boxing Club in 1932, later moving on to the Old Beckett's Hall and later the Kings Hall where he promoted in association with Joint Promotions.
See Cape Promotions
World Enterprises Ltd
Promoters at Chelmsford Corn Exchange in 1937 and possibly 1939. Historian Ron Historyo believes Atholl Oakeley may have been the man behind the enterprise. Other halls included Southend Skating Rink.
See B & T Promotions
Gordon Corbett is another of those often overlooked important men of British wrestling. He was a mainstay of the independent circuit of the 1960s, and did work for Joint Promotions at times. Gordon, ably assisted by wife and business partner, Elaine, went on to promote under the Worldwide Promotions banner from his Birmingham base. Elaine would often officiate as Master of Ceremonies on their wrestling shows. Heritage member Graham Brook remembers, “
I recall hiring a ring from Gordon and Elaine back in 1981 when was staging a show at Hilltop British Legion. Elaine was very businesslike and quietly spoken so it was a real surprise when I saw her again a couple of weeks later, at a Max Crabtree promotion, just down the road at The Gala Baths, West Bromwich, as Barrington with Gordon Corbett bonneted up as The Exorcist. She was the total extrovert and gained tremendous crowd heat.”
Worldwide Promotions (Gillingham)
1970s promoter who was a member of the British Wrestling Alliance.
See British Wrestling Alliance
World Wide Wrestling Promotions (St Annes)
Dave Shillitoe was Bobby Barron, a charismatic Blackpool heavyweight. He is another of those rarely applauded heroes to whom so many wrestlers have acknowledged their gratitude. In the 1970s Barron took over from where Dominic Pye had left off, training and promoting young professionals throughout the North. He held the contract for Pontin’s holiday camps.
Apart from running regular tournaments Bobby was one of the last in the country to stage challenge matches. Wrestler Tony Francis takes up the story, “I think it was 1978, Bobby Barron and I were partners in promoting wrestling shows at Blackpool Pleasure beach every Saturday and Sunday afternoon. These were regular wrestling shows,and it was a struggle to get enough customers in to cover the expenses. Then one day Bobby booked Abe Ginsberg to wrestle,and from then on everything changed! Ginsy more or less took over, and turned the show into a wrestling booth,with himself doing the spieling .I remember the very first time, the Horseshoe bar,which held about 500, was full within 30 minutes. The atmosphere was electric,thats how it all started.
Many stars of the future would pay their dues,week in week,week out,and soon we were running two or three shows a day. Just imagine the parade of wrestlers standing awaiting challengers: Quasimodo (Dave Duran), The Monster (Jim Green), Apache Pricess (Mrs Barron), Pedro the Gypsy, Harry the Dwarf, Masked Destroyer (Me) and various other midgets freaks and clowns. All introduced to the hundreds in the crowd by Abe Ginsberg, resplendant in white slacks, scarlet shirt ,and straw boater, cane in hand enticing the challengers and filling the hall. Halcyon days indeed!
The list of wrestlers with kind words to say about Bobby is a long one…Steve Regal, Steve Fury, Klondyke Kate, Steve Peacock, Dave Duran and more. Bobby Barron made a huge contribution to British wrestling, largely unrecognised by those who only had eyes for the Joint Promotion shows.
Raymond Wray Promotions
Raymond Wray of Kilburn, London, was a used car salesman who registered his wrestling promotion business on 5th June, 1947.
The Promoters A-Z lists quite a few wrestlers that also promoted shows, but there were many others that promated on a small scale that are not listed, Bruno Elrington, Earl Black amongst them. Reality was that in the 1960s dozens of wrestlers on the independent circuit had a go at promoting their own shows. Naturally wrestlers demonstrated uncharacteristic coyness when it came to acknowledging themselves as promoters.
See All-Star Promotions/Wrestling Enterprises
Wrestling Federation of Great Britain
The name Wrestling Federation of Great Britain had been used in 1948 as a Wrestlers union. It re-surfaced in 1962 following the demise of the British Wrestling Federation. We can't put a precise date on their formation but Jack Taylor's International Promotions were members of the British Wrestling Federation in July, 1962 and members of the Wrestling Federation of Great Britain four months later in November 1962.
Unlike the earlier incarnation the WFGB was now a group of promoters who at least appeared to work collectively in opposition to Joint Promotions. In 1966 the Wrestling Federation of Great Britain claimed to have these promoters and
200 wrestlers as paid up members.
Don Robinson Promotions (Wrestling Spectaculars Limited)
Cape Promotions (Danny Flynn and Fred Woolley)
International Promotions (Jack Taylor)
North Western Promotions and O’Shea Enterprises (Jack Jefferson)
Twentieth Century Sports (Norman Berry)
Northern International (Cyril Knowles)
Paul Lincoln Managements
South Pier Promotions (Dominic Pye)
Not to be outdone by Joint and their Lord Mount Evans pedigree the Wrestling Federation of Great Britain's figurehead and President was Lord Corrigan. We assumed that everything was not as it appeared and that Corrigan was a Scarborough businessman and no doubt an associate of the Federation's Chairman, Don Robinson. Our assumption was confirmed by Heritage member Allan Richardson. He told us: "That would be James Lord Corrigan - definitely not a member of the peerage. The family still operates an amusement arcade on the Scarborough foreshore. One of my summer jobs in about 1962 was that of a 'key man' in that arcade, then run by the son, Jimmy Corrigan. My job involved walking around with a bunch of keys round my neck, and if a coin stuck in a machine, it was my job to open the machine and deal with the problem. It was also my job to empty the machines of coins every evening. Sometimes I think that my shoulders still ache!"
See Don Robinson Promotions (Wrestling Spectaculars)
See also Wrestling Federation of Great Britain
See Wryton Promotions
They claimed to be the world’s biggest wrestling promotion, though we struggle to understand how they reached this conclusion with Dale Martin controlling nearly half of England. Started by a young Mancunian business man, Arthur Wright, he promoted his first show at Hyde during the war. The earliest record of the name Wryton Promotions we can find is in 1945. Wryton Promotions presented shows at many halls throughout the north and midlands. Their shows tended to be a bit more adventurous than the Dale Martin variety. Of all the Joint Promotion members the chance of seeing a bit of blood or action outside the ring was most likely at a Wryton shows.
New talent for Wryton Promotions was developed at an old cinema in Bolton that they owned and grandly re-named Wryton Stadium and where they presented weekly Friday night shows. For quite a few years masked man Count Bartelli worked exclusively for Wryton Promotions as part of an arrangement as he re-paid a loan for the purchase of a garage. It was, therefore, no surprise that Wryton Promotions gave a young Kendo Nagasaki his professional debut and matched the two masked men in a loser to unmask contest at Hanley in 1966.
When Martin Conroy became a manager of Wryton Promotions around 1970 a new lease of life was brought to the group with an import of stars from the independent promoters that included Johnny Saint, Wild Angus and Al Marquette.
Like all the other component parts of Joint Promotions, except for Relwyskow and Green Promotions, Wryton and Best Wryton Promotions were absorbed by William Hill in the 1970s.
Wryton Promotions went into voluntary liquidation on 16th December, 1974. The Best-Wryton company endured, until 1992, when it was dissolved on 27th October.
Page added 20/03/2022