R: Reiss - Ring
Wrestling Heritage A-Z
Billed as a heavyweight from Munich, Germany, Reiss visited Britain in 1947 and again in the 1950s, unsuccessfully challenging Frank Sexton for a version of the World Heavyweight Championship in 1954. Faced many of Britain's top heavyweights, and in most cases dutifully went down to them.
Curly haired Tony Renaldo emerged from the Second World War, in which he was captured and held as a prisoner of war, to become one of the promising post war middleweights. A match between Tony and Archer O’Brien at Plymouth in 1949 was reported to have been “The most skilful fight of the evening.” By 1959 he had clearly put on a few pounds, billed as Heavyweight Champion of Italy against Hans Streiger.
We'd like to know what became of him.
Gordon Renton (Also known as The Farmer's Boy)
There have been various Farmer's Boys over the years (George and Harry Broadfield, Pete Ross, Greg Valentine, Jeff Hunt) but none to match the sheer presence of Gordon Renton, only 5'9" tall but weighing well above twenty stones. Gordon was born in Scotland but lived much of his life in Catterick village, North Yorkshire. He came from an agricultural family and worked on the land as a youth, hence the name. Gordon was a 1970s villain around Britain and overseas, wrestling in Europe and Pakistan often in the unenviable role of enhancing the reputations of Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks. Fans would jeer as The Farmer's Boy entered the ring resplendent in his cape with the bull's head motif on the back. Outside of the ring he was a fanatical soccer fan, working behind the scenes for Northallerton Football Club and supporting Sunderland, filling his home with soccer memorabilia. Farmer's Boy Gordon Renton died on 27th April, 2008.
To be added soon
Dirty Dave Reynolds
We had the pleasure of seeing Burnley's Dirty Dave Reynolds in action just the once, a tag match partnering the equally unruly Syd Vickers. Now we would not dare suggest that Dave and Syd were entirely responsible for the near riot that resulted in police being called to quell the crowd disturbance that ensued, but their tactics did little to calm the emotions of the fans present. A bruising battler Eddie Rose said of his good friend, “I found that this was the norm for Dirty Dave and he often switched from his normal affable self to violent brawler. In the ring, Dave was as unpredictable as any wrestler I ever met. He could be your sporting best mate one round and whacking your tender bits the next; all without warning.””
The man with the sombrero and the poncho, colourful Mexican Tomas Riandi visited Britain in 1961. Trained in the United States he went on to become a world top ten as ranked light heavyweight by the NWA. Riandi weighed in around 14 stones and gave weight away when facing top class heavyweights such as Gordienko and Szakacs. Lost to Gerry DeJager at the Royal Albert Hall.
Visiting Italian middleweight during the late 1950s and early 1960s, working for both independent and Joint Promotions around the country, opponents ranging from a young Roy St Clair to the very experienced George Kidd and Mick McManus.
One time tag partner of John Scott, another Scot, in the Braw Lads tag team. They lost by straight falls to the Royal brothers in their only televised appearance, which was from Preston's Guild Hall and broadcast in January 1976.
Jacky Rickard was part of the European contingent who came over to Britain following the country's entry into the European Union, or Common Market as we called it in those days.
Rickard came over to Britain with a reputation as a tough guy, being the tage partner of Scarface Laval. Dale Martin programmes claimed that whenever he appeared on French tv the broadcasters were indundated with letters demanding that he was never allowed on television again!
We know little about the Parisien but gained a clear impression of his ability, and reveal all in our Armchair Corner feature, Wrestling Leads the Way.
One of the sparkling young stars of the 1980s martial arts expert Ringo Rigby was one of the ring's popular figures during the twilight years. He came to national prominence in a televised tournament to crown a British heavy middleweight champion, losing a quarter final match with Judo Chris Adams. From that moment on the televised bouts came fast and furious, making him one of the more prominent 1980s wrestlers. Wrestling also took Ringo travelling, working in the United States and Mexico.
Ringo was a colourful character. He would enter the wrestling ring wearing diamond rings which he would remove prior to combat.
But this man was not all bling.
Ringo had a prior existence, the less glamorous sounding Les Hudspith, national and international judo champion. Les began learning judo whilst he was at primary school. The boy was good. Very good. He was British middleweight champion, European championship competitor and member of the Olympic squad. In the late 1970s Les was invited by Max Crabtree to train as professional wrestler at the Dale Martin gymnasium in Brixton. The transition was a success, with Les, now Ringo, travelling the country, including a memorable tag match partnering Chris Adams against Mick McManus and Steve Logan at the Royal Albert Hall.
Nipper Eddie Riley
Salford lightweight Eddie Riley was nicknamed Nipper for obvious reasons, and the young lightweight could certainly move around the ring.
Eddie learned to wrestle as an amateur for two years at Marty Jones' gymnasium, before he was considered ready for the professional style. Turning professional in the late 1970s Eddie weighed in at 10 stones 12 pounds, just inside the lightweight division, and could be found flying around the ring against the likes of Mike Jordan, Jackie Robinson and Sid Cooper.
Over the years that weight did increase a little and Eddie eventually filled out to just over 12 stones, adding a bit more power to his still fast moves.
Eddie was a television favourite in the 1980s, making seventeen appearances on the small screen. He told us , “It was a privilege to be in the ring with Johnny Saint, Jim Breaks, Steve Grey, and Sid Cooper, plus many more great wrestlers.” Eddie remained active until 1998, when a persistent knee injury finally got the better of him. “These are memories no one can take away from me, and this is why we have to keep our 'heritage'
After retiring from the ring Eddie went into acting and secured roles on many of the most popular television shows. Nowadays television appearances are more likely to be in Coronation Street or Shameless (he was once a victim in Crimewatch!) as Eddie develops his entertainment career.
The name is Riley and the home town is, of course, Wigan. Frank Riley was a trainee of Billy Riley's gymnasium. Respected amongst colleagues he had a short lived career as a welterweight during the first half of the 1960s.
Londoner Len Ring was born on 11th May, 1919 and active from 1937 until 1947 with a break during the war years to serve in the army. Having married Polly in 1943 the two of them emigrated to Auckland, New Zealand in 1947.
He trained at the New Zealand School of Physiotherapy, graduating in 1954 to run a physiotherapy practice in Mount Eden, Auckland. He went on to become a Lecturer in Ergonomics at the School of Architecture, University of Auckland and Lecturer in Industrial Handling for the National Safety Council of New Zealand.
25/04/2021 Len Ring added