WRESTLING HERITAGE

British wrestling history 

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Heritage

S: South - St Bernard

Wrestling Heritage A - Z

Johnny South (Johnny Southern, Legend of Doom)
Johnny South was one of the new wave of talent, which included Johnny Saint and Al Marquette,  brought over from the independents to Joint Promotions in the summer of 1969. There was a difference. South had a rougher edge and didn't mind  bending a few rules on his way to victory or disqualification. Johnny had around four years experience when Martin Conroy tempted him across to Joint Promotions, working for promoters like Don Robinson and Dale Storm  against Jim Armstrong, Ian Wilson and Brendan Moriarty and Eddie Rose. In July 1969 he entered Joint Promotion rings and showed that he could stand up against bigger names like Peter Stewart and Colin Joynson. Fans enjoyed what they saw, or more precisely usually enjoyed booing what they saw.  In the years that followed Johnny was a prolific worker for all the northern promoters, but mostly Wryton, which left time for only the occasional jaunt south of Worcester. Tag partner of Paul Mitchell in The Broughton Rangers, bringing fame and glory to the suburb of Salford. The original Broughton Rangers were a rugby union club, founded in 1877, later to  become a rugby league club and one of the  founder members of the Northern Rugby Union (forerunner of the Rugby League) in 1895.He appeared on television more than twenty occasions. When wrestling disappeared from the television screens Johnny South was still going strong, and continued to do so  for many years to come.

Arthur Sparks
See the entry for  Arthur Fisher

Brian Sparks
The "Essex teenage idol" was a popular youngster of the late fifties and early sixties. It was hardly surprising that Brian turned to professional wrestling as he was the son of  Charlie Fisher, one of the great wrestling family of seven  grappling Fisher brothers   He made his professional debut in 1958, combining grappling with studying. Whilst a student at London University Brian's studies took him to Los Angeles State College where he continued to train and it was said he even worked out with  Lou Thesz, Dick Hutton and Buddy Rogers.  He seemed destined for success, appeared on television in 1964, but disappeared from the rings of Britain in 1965.

Frank Sparks
See the entry for  Al Brown.

Spartacus (Jacques Pecheur)
Another Gaulic heavyweight invader. Beneath the gladiatorial costume was the champion French Body builder and wrestler, Jacques Pecheur. He visited the UK in the early 1960s, impressively making his ring entrance dressed as a Roman Slave. Made his first visit, for northern promoters, in 1962; returned for the independents in 1963; and made his first visit to southern Joint Promotions rings in 1964. In 1971 he made a fleeting visit to Britain using the name Jacques Pecheur, losing  in the opening round of the 1971 Royal Albert Hall tournament to Mike Marino. Following his retirement Jacques Pecheur .went on to work in films and as a bodyguard for the rich and famous.  

Spiderman
See the entry for Ray Crawley

Chris Spyros
Greek mid heavyweight visited Britain between 1964 and 1965,coming to Britain with an allegedly impressive record in India, Australia,, Egypt and Malaya. Maybe, but when  meeting an impressive array of British based mid heavies and heavies he seemed to  frequently lose to them.

Ray St Bernard
A very powerful heavyweight who certainly looked the part. Ray St Bernard was a one time hammer thrower who took up professional wrestling and was known as the Jewish Heavyweight Champion. A giant of a man, both physically and in reputation. He was a big man, said to be around 17 stones in the mid 1930s, who grew into an even bigger giant who weighed around 23 stones and met big names like Bulldog Bill Garnon, Douglas Clark and Mtchell Gill. 
Whave found claims that on  November 11th, 1934, whilst wrestling in France Ray wrestled the American World Heavyweight Champion, Strangler Lewis, in Paris. Apologies if we are wrong, but we are sceptical of those claims. We have found Ray working in Britain around that date, often wrestling a man called Strangler Burke. Call us sceptics. 

His finest moment probably came when he was just twenty-five years old when he tackled   former World Heavyweight Champion, Dick Shikat, in 1939 at the Tower Ballroom, Brighton.  This was a titanic struggle which lasted over fifty minutes before Shikat gained the upper hand and took  the bout. 
St Bernard continued his wrestling career after the war, finally leaving the ring in 1950, we find him wrestling long term rival Francis St Clair Gregory at Derby on October 9th, 1950.

In that same year  he went on to a bit part in the film “The Night and the City” (1950), in which he wrestled The Strangler (Mike Mazurki). 

Outside of the ring Ray was a used car salesman, working for Raymond Wray, one of  Britain's most successful used-car dealers.

Wrestling Heritage reader Brighton Belle recalls Ray as a big, smiling man who sported a bushy moustache and was always generous and full of fun.