WRESTLING HERITAGE

British wrestling history 

S: Stacey - Starr

Wrestling Heritage A - Z

Steve Stacey

Welterweight from Witham in Essex turned professional when he was sixteen years old, working for the independent promoters in the 1970s. Steve was featured in the March, 1972 edition of the Wrestler magazine and was said to be a seed salesman from Witham, Essex. Russell Plummer said he was a future star. We didn't hear anything more of him. Or did we?

There was a striking resemblance between Stave Stacey and Steve Casey of Boston, who made television appearances in 1981 and 1983. Could they be one and the same person? We would very much like more information.
Johnny Stafford  
We would like to learn more about Mancunian Johnny Stafford. Weighed around 12 stones, Johnny worked around northern England in the 1940s. Said to have been the first opponent of Danny Flynn in the late 1930s the first time we find him wrestling was in 1943, disappearing from our rings in 1950. Opponents included Terrence Ricardo, Ted Betley and Alf Kent. Johnny Stafford wrestled at the big wrestling halls of the north and midlands, including Belle Vue, Manchester, Liverpool Stadium and Madeley Street Baths.

Wolfgang Starck
The stylish German heavyweight with American citizenship made a good impression on British fans during his visits spanning 1967 to 1970. His methodical textbook style and some rather nifty high flying manoeuvres made a pleasing contrast to the majority of imported heavyweights. Certainly not invincible the popular German matured over time and visibly improved over successive tours, which tended to be southern biased. Notable achievements included three scalps in one night at the Royal Albert in April 1968, cutting through Count Bartelli, Professor Adiwasser and Jim Hussey to take the Royal Albert Hall in his place. Drawn verdicts at the same venu against both of the top masked men of the time, The Outlaw and Kendo Nagasaki, cemented his popularity at the Kensington venue. At other times results were more mixed, surprisingly being held some midcarders on occasions and suffering straight falls defeats against Mike Marino and Billy Robinson. Wolfgang was the son of Rudi Saturski who had held Mike Marino to a draw at the Royal Albert Hall in 1956.
Dave Starr
We discover the muscular Dave Starr in the 1950s as Herculean Dave Starr with  wins over Doug Joyce, Jack Atherton and (an admittedly young) Gwyn Davies. The boy must have had something.  

He certainly did. Those muscles were due to a long time interest in body building. Leeds born in 1920, as David Cohen, his enthusiasm for body building led to him successfully encouraging 16 year old Reg Park to take up the sport. Until he met, and began training under the guidance of  David Cohen,  Park’s only sporting interest had been football. Park went on to become Mr Britain and Mr Universe. 

By 1952 it was a change of name, to Dave Starr, and a change of sport to professional wrestling. We come across him for the first time in May, 1952, wrestling Abdul the Turk. Other opponents included Dennis Mitchell, Jim Anderson and Ernest Baldwin.  Leeds Town Hall was a favourite venue, and it was here that Dave wrestled on the same bill as World Heavyweight Champion Frank Sexton in Septembe, 1952. The venture into wrestling was short lived, around two years, despite making an impression with his fine physique and wins over established stars in Britain and Germany. 

Dave Starr had bigger things on his mind. Another change of name, to David Morgan, and the opening in the early 1960s of The David Morgan Health Club, in Hanover Square, Mayfair, London.  Not just any old club; this was the club to be seen at. The Dave Morgan Health Club gained some fame and was frequented by celebrities of the day, such as Engelbert Humperdinck, Marlon Brando, Andy Williams, Bruce Forsyth, Jimmy Tarbuck, Rod Steiger and Richard Harris,  until closure in 1975.

Dave Starr died in London in 2011 aged 91.

Page revised 08/10/2019: Revision of Steve Stacey and Johnny Stafford