know very little about Chick Rolfe despite his presence in British
rings for twenty plus years. We came across him for the first time in
1933, fighting Phil Siki. Billed from America, "The tough guy
from Bowery, New York," this may well have been promoters hype,
and the later billing of Birmingham (that's Birmingham, UK) was
probably more accurate. Although there are reports that Chick could
wrestle, there are more frequent reports of a more rugged character,
on one occasion tearing the referees trousers to shreds! In his
twenty year career Chick met most of the big names, Black Butcher
Johnson, Dave Armstrong and Vic Hessle.
heavyweight Rito Romero was a good friend of World heavyweight champion
Lou Thesz and travelled to Europe with Thesz during the winter of
1957-8. Whilst his early career was in his native Mexico Rito settled
in the United States, winning the NWA Pacific Coast Heavyweight
Championship, defeating Verne Gagne for the Texas Heavyweight
Championship and twice holding the NWA World Tag Team Championship. In
Britain Rito faced the likes of Jack Pye, Sandy Orford and Dennis
Mitchell, going down to the Bradfordian at the Royal Albert Hall in
February, 1958. Rito Romero died of a heart attack on 17th January,
Russian Army Officer proclaimed the wrestling balderdash. Unlikely we
feel as George Bawden, the alter ego of Romsky, was born in Sheffield on
29th January, 1987, and worked in one of the Sheffield Steel Works by
day. He was one of the earliest entrants into the All-In rings
following it’s emergence in December, 1930. Our earliest recorded match
for Karl Romsky comes in February, 1931, wrestling Johanfesson at the
Astoria, Morecambe. Johanfesson. Little Hackenschmidt and George Johnson
were frequent opponents during Romsky’s short career that we can find
no later than 1933.
was a match against George Strangler Johnson, described by the press as
“savage and brutal” that came to national attention when Johnson died
following the contest at Romsky’s local Hall the Palais de Danse in
Attercliffe, Sheffield. The inquest, recorded a verdict of death by
heart failure, adding that wrestling ought to be barred. Questions about
the death of Strangler Johnson and the need to regulate wrestling,
were raised in Parliament.
Romsky retired shortly afterwards, our last recorded match being in September, 1939. George Bowden died in 1967
here’s a name. Guido Ronga, the man from the Ashdown Wrestling Club who
trained Bert Assirati and prepared him for the professional wrestling
skilled amateur Guido himself turned to the professional style in the
1930s and we have found him on the bills from 1935. In 1952 we find
Guido working for Atholl Oakeley and winning a World Middleweight
Championship contest against Pat McGee. Following Oakeley’s demise
Guido continued wrestling with our last reference in 1956. Surely a man
about whom we should know much more.
Ronto the Bull
Ron Moore from Heanor, a small town in Derbyshire. Well known in the local community Ron Moore used the wrestling name Ronto the Bull he was a good friend of Jack Taylor and worked for the independent promoters around the Midlands in the 1950s and 1960s.
Ron also taught wrestling at the Heanor Football Club, where he and Jack Taylor ran the Heanor Health and Strength Club two nights a week. One of Ron's proteges was Vince Apollo, known on television as Tubby Hodkinson.
Ron also promoted his own small scale shows at Heanor Town Hall, where he wrestled and refereed.
By the time Bob Roop came to Britain in 1972 Wrestling Heritage writers had been around long enough to know the ropes - American wrestler was over-hyped by the wrestling press, came to Britain, showed little wrestling ability, broke the rules and disappointed immensely. Then came Bob Roop. He was different. He could wrestle, and did wrestle, and we rather liked him. We now look back on his UK record and see quite a few disqualification losses. Those losses conflict with our memories of a skilful heavyweight who could work with the best we could off. Little wonder, because Bob Roop had represented the USA in the 1968 Olympic Games. The year following the Olympics (he came seventh) Bob turned professional and so had three years pro experience when he came to the UK. Bob Roop retired from wrestling in 1988 as a result of injuries received in a car accident.
Globe trotting heavyweight Earl Black told Wrestling Heritage:
“I first met Bob Roop in Tampa, Florida. I had never heard of him. To me, he looked like a big, chubby, 13-year-old, though he was actually 25 at the time. He just did not look like a Special Forces paratrooper, which of course he had been. Two other wrestlers also thought he did not look so tough. They challenged him to a fight in the gym, and these were big, strong guys. Never one to back down, Bob climbed into the ring, and punched one between the eyes, which was the end of the line for him. The other one tried to grab Bob, but he turned him upside down and drove him head first into the mat. You just can't judge a book by its cover. “
Eddie Rose (Also known as Wat Tyler, Masked Baron, Red Devil)
Long-time Northern Area Middleweight Champion, Manchester's wrestling schoolteacher Eddie Rose had a long and varied career in a number of guises. Sometimes we can under-estimate the importance and impact of wrestlers not regularly seen on television, but with a list of opponents such as Eddie Rose's, make no mistake: Count Bartelli, Johnny Saint, Adrian Street, Jack Dempsey, and in tag, leading pairs The Hells Angels and The Royals. Eddie tagged principally with Pete Lindberg and Ian "Mad Dog" Wilson, a one time member of the Skinheads (with Roy Paul) but also notably was for a couple of years Abe Ginsberg's final partner in the Black Diamonds. At other times Eddie would pull on a hood and become one of the masked Barons tag team, a pairing that could raise heat like few others. If that's not enough, those who remember a young Wat Tyler on Jack Atherton shows might well have noticed a similarity, yes that too was Eddie.
He wrestled both for Joint Promotions and on the independent circuit. For a fuller account of his career read his own highly acclaimed book "Send in the Clowns."
Lew Roseby (Also known as Len Ross)
Manchester's Lew Roseby's wrestling career started in the 1930s and lasted into the 1960s; with a short break during the Second World War as he served in the Fleet Air Arm. We find him in 1935 wrestling at Preston, where he is said to be a clean and scientific wrestler.
Following his retirement from wrestling, the last time we find him is in 1958. Lew could still be seen in the ring every night as a referee for Wryton Promotions. Back in the early days he was one of the country's fastest middleweights and was aptly nicknamed "The Manchester Express." From early in his career he combined the jobs of referee and wrestler. He was known in some halls as Len Ross.
“Hard-boiled Herbie Rosenberg, The sneering, jeering Jew”, from Chicago, well that’s what the posters told us. What we do know was that Herbie liked to play rough, with one report announcing "Such was the scene, the worst in local sporting circles for many years, which brought forth loud and long bursts of booing from the crowd." Never seemingly a regular main eventer Herbie obviously entertained the fans and was active in British rings from 1934 until 1945.
The scientific Scientific German heavyweight was a frequent visitor to Britain from 1960 until 1962. Working in the north in the winter of 1960 later visits concentrated more in the south, with Royal Albert Hall losses against Joe Cornelius and Tibor Szakacs. The wrestling world was shocked when it was reported that Matthias Rosges had been murdered in Dusseldorf in 1962.
A popular wrestler in the 1970s Pete Ross was the “Farmer's Boy” from Sedgefield who worked for both independent and Joint Promotions in the 1970s and 1980s. He made a handful of television appearances between 1979 and 1984, including the inevitable couple as a tag pairing for Big Daddy.