WRESTLING HERITAGE

B: Robert Bruce

Well if you're a Scottish lad looking for a wrestling name then a Scottish warrior king from the 14th century isn't a bad place to start. It certainly sounds more impressive than John Young, born in Musselburgh on 3rd November, 1943, the son of Joseph and Elizabeth.


He was nine years old when he went to watch his first wrestling show, and one look at Jack and Dominic Pye who were on the bill and he was hooked. As a youngster John was interested in horse riding, judo and wrestling. None of which were any great help when he left Musselburgh Grammar School and went on to become an accountant.


But there was always a bit of a dreamer in the youngster. He had an interest in acting too, and the world of accountancy just wasn't big enough. Well, life can be a bit of a jigsaw and sometimes the pieces fit together. John the accountant with an in interest in judo and wrestling got work as a bouncer outside Edinburgh night clubs. The interest in acting led to a part of a bouncer in the film "A Clockwork Orange."


In search of gold John was tempted by the streets of London and invaded the land of the sassenach. He moved to the capital and joined the police force where he became friends with wrestler Pasquale Salvo.


The upshot, obviously was, that he developed his interest in wrestling, trained at the United Amateur Wrestling Club and turned professional in 1967.


Working for Dale Martin Promotions early bouts saw him billed as Robert the Bruce, the brave hearted Scottish warrior wrestling the likes of Tibor Szakacs, Danny Lynch and Johnny Yearsley. He stood just over six feet tall, weighed in at around 19stones, a force to be reckoned with. Despite some skill, and roughening up his style, he never reached the top spot. As we've said so many times before there were many decent wrestlers who just didn't get a break, Robert Bruce was one of them.


Then he disappeared in 1971. Only to turn up in New Zealand on a tour of from which he never seemed to return. According to www.wrestling-titles.com/ Robert defeated John DaSilva at Upper Hutt on 2nd March,1972 to win their version of the Commonwealth Heavyweight Championship and held it for eighteen months. He continued to travel and wrestled also in Australia, Fiji, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, and South Africa.


Graeme Cameron told us: "Robert Bruce made two brief tours of Australia in 1972 and 1973. On the first, he was cast as a villain and seemed to spend most of time doing his duty to Bob Roop. On the second in 1973 (when the Tennessee promoters were here), he was a blue-eye this time and treated with greater repect. Records show two drawn matches with John DaSilva as well as teaming with Roop for two drawn matches against the tag team champions, Don Carson and Dick Dunn from Tennessee. There's also a record of a TV match in which he teamed with Texan Scot Casey against The Medics (US Olympian Dale Lewis and Bob Griffin, another American). Bruce' role was to pretend to be injured on the floor while the masked villans beat up Casey in the ring. The result is not noted but I think it was a No Contest."


In New Zealand Robert Bruce developed a harder edge and more villainous persona. Retiring from wrestling in 1977 owing to injuries he opened New Zealand's first talent and theatrical agency, called The Robert Bruce Ugly Agency and a security company for visiting celebrities. He was a supporter of the native Maoris, and vice-patron of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Robert Bruce died on 2nd March, 2009.


Following his cremation his ashes were taken to the Isle of Mull where his grand father had been the lighthouse keeper and he had holidayed as a child.



Page added 27/02/2022