WRESTLING HERITAGE

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D: Roy Bull Davis

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Wild West Hero 


Roy Bull Davis


No not that Wild West. We are talking West Country and our West Country heavyweight champion, a mythical title that never seems to have been won or lost. It just existed. In the red corner, and we can hear the  booing already, Roy Bull Davis.

There was no mistaking him. The leotard; the growl; the hair.The balding ruffian Roy Bull Davis sneered and snarled at the fans, who did him the compliment of enthusiastically booing and jeering him. Davis was a beefy, rugged type, with the  remnants of what was presumably once  a fine head of hair. David Franklin: "He  always had the old "brylcreamed back"  style that was disappearing fast on the top; actually getting thinner and thinner each year. Then suddenly somebody must have got out the hair clippers and it had all gone."  
Another fan, Ballymoss, also remembered the hairstyle: "I prefer to remember Roy "Bull" Davis with his old brylcreamed hair style, although  it appeared to disappear very quickly. A one-time fairground wrestler, and I believe, boxer, the "Bull", whose real name was Charlie Northey, was a top-notch heel, and I fondly recall his "feud" with "Dazzler" Joe Cornelius. The crowd were usually against him, particularly when he held the upper hand over Cornelius, and he taunted his opponent in his wonderful West Country burr "Come on Dazzler". When I saw him Roy "Bull" Davis usually lost or was disqualified, and I recall he even played the heel against the peerless Alan Garfield- but he was a wonderful entertainer."

Although his  physique was not the sort normally associated with a fine athlete Roy Bull Davis was a far cry from the super heavyweights that later brought wrestling into disrepute. Here was a man who could wrestle, move nimbly around the ring and knew how to work a crowd.   

Charles Northey was born on 15th January, 1926. After serving in the merchant navy, where he learned the rudiments of the wrestling ring, and with a background of fairground booths  taking on all comers these were the skills that he brought to the wrestling business. This was an entry route to the sport that contrasted with the amateur background of most professionals, but lack of those credentials did him no harm at all. 

His early matches were around the West Country, using the birth name of Charlie Northey.  He later moved to Lancashire and could be seen nationwide.  By the early 1960s  he was working for Joint Promotions and  we can assume he had already been working professionally for some years. 

In the 1960s  Roy Bull Davis could frequently be seen on television. Rugged, volatile matches against the likes of Bill Howes, Hassan Ali Bey and Bill Robinson as well as tangles against the good guys Steve Viedor, Joe Cornelius and Dennis Mitchell. Whoever the opponent fans were assured of an all action, aggressive rule bender. And we wouldn't have wanted him any other way.

In the late 1960s Roy formed a tag team with Jumping Jim Hussey, a natural pairing of two men similar in physique, style and temperament. Their name could only be the Riot Squad. The name also applied to a four man team Davis and Hussey compromising of the two heavies, Davis' son, Steve Young and one of Terry Downs or Colin Joynson. The team took on combinations of, invariably, good guys in a combination of single and tag matches.

He was a wrestler who  combined wrestling knowledge learned in the business with the cunning and skill of the experienced street fighter. Not to forget a great character. It was a combination that made him a popular figure on any wrestling bill. 

Skilful technician, no, value for money crowd pleasing villain most definitely.

Page added: 08/09/2019