R: Reiss - Rigby
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.
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.