British wrestling history          
has a name     

R: Retsinnab - Rigby


Wrestling Heritage A-Z

Robert Retsinnab (Bob Bannister)

Bob Bannister (third from right) with co-workers at Huncoat Colliery.

If you're in on the joke you'll have a smile on your face already. 

The Master of Ceremonies may have introduced Hungarian Robert Retsinnab, but beneath the dressing gown was Accrington's Bob Bannister. Get the joke?  These promoters really were having a laugh at our expense.

Now for the serious bit. 

British wrestling in the second half of the Twentieth Century was dependent upon many unsung heroes who ran gymnasiums around the country and trained hundreds of wrestlers who entertained thousands of fans around the country. Spartan conditions in small gymnasiums in sheds, above or behind public houses, or anywhere that cheap rent was available. In Accrington, Lancashire, it was Bob Bannister’s gym that trained, amongst the many, Ian St John, Andreas Svajic, Don Plummer and Mike Agusta (Heritage’s Philip Kenyon).

Wrestling wasn’t Bob’s only sporting interest. He started out as a professional boxer (we’ve uncovered nine matches between 1947 and 1949 and there may be more) and was a lifelong fan of Accrington Stanley football club. Then there was the wrestling.

Bob Bannister was born on 1st October, 1926, the eldest son of Robert and Clara Bannister. Prior to wrestling Bob worked down the pit at Huncoat Colliery, midway between Accrington and Burnley. He was called up as one of the Bevin Boys, young men conscripted to work in Britain's coal mines between December 1943 and March 1948. Almost 48,000 Bevin Boys performed essential, dangerous, and largely unrecognised service in coal mines. 

Bob trained youngsters in both boxing and wrestling, at his first gymnasium in Bridge Street behind the Commercial Hotel, later in Argyle Street, and still later at the Central Working Men's Club in Accrington. Leaving school at 14 he worked as a printer’s assistant and later in the local coal pit. Following a pit injury, he became a well-known window cleaner in the family business with his Dad in Accrington. Maybe dad had a hand in that. 

Bob wrestled for the independent promoters in the 1960s, trained dozens of youngsters, promoted his own shows at the Ambulance Drill Hall, Accrington, and provided wrestlers for promoters around the country. An unsung hero worthy of celebrating.

Following retirement Bob moved to Middleton, near Morecambe, pursuing an interest in the electric organ. 

He died on April 25th, 2008, aged 82.

Freddie Rex
See the entry for Rex Maxine

Max Rexine
See the entry for Rex Maxine

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.””

Tomas Riandi
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. 

Ace Ricardo
See the entry for Rick Wiseman

Arthur Ricardo
See the entry for Arthur Beaumont

Terry  Ricardo
See the entry for Arthur Beaumont

Roberto Ricetti
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.

Bob Richardson
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
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. 

Ringo Rigby
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.