Wrestling Heritage A - Z
Carlton Smith (Sanky Allan,Chameleon)
Delve back into wrestling history and the name Carlton Smith crops up time and time again. Our earliest finding of Carlton is in October, 1937 at Doncaster. In the 1940s the so-called “Cock o' the North” seemed to be just about everywhere. In His earliest days we have found him billed as Chameleon. Wartime opponents included Jack Harris, Ted Beresford , Norman Morrell and Frank Manto. Frank Manto! The mystery of this man's wrestling pedigree begins to reveal itself when we consider that Frank Manto was Frank Manterfield, brother of Bert Manterfield (otherwise Bert Mansfield) and Alan Manterfield, otherwise known as Carlton Smith.
Yes, Carlton Smith came from the same great wrestling family as Bert Mansfield and Frank Mantovich, and he clearly continued to learn from his brother Frank during the early days of his professional career. Carlton Smith, born in Barnsley in 1914, was destined to become one of the top post war middleweights, considerably lighter than his brothers. Name any lighter weight wrestler you know from the 1950s and Carlton Smith (or his alter ego Sanky Allan) wrestled them and most likely beat them on occasions. His wrestling career continued until the end of the 1950s, we last spotted him in 1958.
Davey Boy Smith (Young David)
To the world he was the British Bulldog, a hugely successful British flag carrier to the corners of the world. The more elderley Heritage readers recall a very young looking Young David, a scrawny kid some might unkindly say, who was tossed to the lions, namely the likes of John Naylor. The scrawny kid was destined to cross the Atlantic and emerge as Davey Boy Smith, the British Bulldog.
Born in Golborne (near Wigan), in November, 1962, David claimed his name was actually "Boy" due to a clerical error when his birth was registered. Whether or not that's true, or just a bit more wrestling codology, we wouldn't know. Trained by Ted Betley Young David followed in the footsteps of his cousin, Dynamite Kid, into the wrestling rings of Britain. His young looks made him a popular addition to the ranks. Only fifteen years old when he made his television debut in September, 1978, his opponent, to us, seems slightly odd. Opposition was provided by Wonderboy Steve Wright; an odd choice because he too was another up and coming youngster being given a push by the promoters. We would have expected the fifteen year old to have lost. No one would have been surprised and he would not have been discredited. Yet the match went to a very entertaining draw. Two stars were born. It wasn't long before David was recruited to the long list of Big Daddy tag partners. Not the best of career moves, but at least he learned to take the bumps.
To be fair the Big Daddy tags did Young David no harm as far as as singles career was concerned. His push up the ranks continued with a televised win over British welterweight champion Jim Breaks at the beginning of December, 1979. This was followed by a title match, again televised and broadcast on 29th December, 1979. In a controversial finish Young David took the required two falls with the result disallowed due to Breaks being distratcted by Young David's mentor, Alan Dennison.
Young David became Davey Boy Smith and in 1983 he followed cousin Tom across the Atlantic, initially working for Stu Hart Stampede Wrestling Promotion in Calgary. Dave trained with the Hart family and was promoted to a Calgary headliner during and following a feud with cousin Dynamite Kid Tommy Billington. In 1984 David married Diana, the youngest daughter of Stu and Helen.
From Canada he went on to Japan in 1983, working for New Japan Pro Wrestling. Shortly afterwards Dave and Dynamite joined forces as the British Bulldogs, partnered by cousin Dynamite Kid Following Japanese success were signed by the WWF, later accompanied by their bulldog mascot, Matilda.
To say that Davey (and Bulldog's) time in North America was stormy would seem an under-statement. We have no first hand knowledge of Dave's wrestling in North America or Japan but his success is well documented elsewhere – a WWF champion in the 1980s and 1990s, defeating Bret Hart for the WWF Intercontinental Championship in the main event of SummerSlam 1992.
David returned to Britain in January, 1994, replacing Big Daddy as Max Crabtree's main attraction. British wrestling was in near terminal decline and David could not halt the process. He returned to the WWF in 1994 and worked for the WWF and WCW until 2,000.
With a body abused down the years David Smith tragically died on 18th May, 2002, aged just 39 years.
See the entry for Tony Andrassi
Most Wrestling Heritage readers will remember Gordon Smith as one of the referees we saw on television when getting our weekly wrestling fix. In his early twenties Gordon wrestled as a promising welterweight until turning to third man duties in 1960. A northern referee for Morell and Beresford Promotions the tall, slim figure of Gordon Smith moved niftily around the ring at a speed uncommon amongst many of his colleagues. Dave Sutherland recalls seeing Gordon referee at the New St James Hall, particularly the time he devoted talking to a ringside youngster with learning difficulties.
Everyone was agreed how smart Gordon Smith looked in the ring and he always had time for a word with the crowd outside the hall prior to the evening's matches, usually to discuss the day's football scores. Unfortunately the last time I saw Gordon he was carried from the ring having been knocked over by two top heavyweights. Iit might have been Albert Wall and John Lees or two fellows of similar stature, who landed on top of him
Gypsy Joe Smith was a 1960s/70s mid heavyweight from Northamptonhire, often remembered as a serial masked man. Made a television appearance, as Gypsy Smith, against Alan Dennison in 1977.
1930s lightweight from Dewsbury, Harry Smith, was a body builder and rugby player known as The Pitmans Hercules. One of the early exponents of All-In, turning professional in 1931. Opponents included Jack Dale, Mario Magisti, Dick Wills and Carl Romsky, but most frequent opponent of all seems to have been Masutaro Otani, the Japanese wrestlers who came to Britain fresh from the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics.
Harry's interest in wrestling was aroused when he joined Chickenley Weight Lifting Club. During the Second World War Harry taught unarmed combat to military and Home Guard personnel, was a physical training instructor for the Royal Navy and organised and wrestled in charity wrestling events.
It was, however, in rugby league that Harry gained most of his fame, a lifelong obsession with Rugby League that began when he joined Westborough Boys Club in 1920. A long serving player, and later coach, for Dewsbury Rugby League Football Club in 1966 a plaque in his honour was placed above the entrance to main stand. Harry was honoured with life membership of the Dewsbury Rugby League and the Referees’ Society
It's true. The world famous show jumping champion Harvey Smith made it into our wrestling rings in the 1970s. And he wasn't bad. At least the fans apreciated him., entering the ring wearing a large "V" on the back of his velvet robe, a reference to an incident of some notoriety during his show jumping days. . A frequent opponent of Peter Kaye, Harvey would ride him cowboy as though it was the Horse of the Year Show! Another famous opponent was Jackie Pallo. Following a match between the two colourful characters at Blackburn Harvey was left nursing a black eye. The national press loved it, with stories vowing Harvey’s promised revenge. It wasn’t just the press that loved it. Harvey too relished the moment according to Pallo’s son, Jackie Junior.
Although we do not generally favour others cashing in on their personality status by taking up wrestling Harvey did seem to have the guts, strength and character to make him a worthwhile addition to our rings.
Known as a bit of a tough 'un, to both fans and co-workers, Hurricane Len Smith worked for the independent promoters of northern England in the 1960s and 1970s. .
Hurricane took up amateur wrestling in 1960, a student at the Leeds Amateur Wrestling Club. Learning how to fall correctly is one of the the first, and most important, lessons for any professional wrestler, but for Len Smith it was even more important than usual. Serving in the Green Howards Regiment Len had suffered a spinal injury, which made him more susceptible than most to further injury. A year later, in 1961, he began working professionally, initially for Cyril Knowles and later for other independent promoters in northern England like ACE Promotions and members of the British Wrestling Alliance.
Len recalled one particularly heated exchange when he and tag partner The Doc were facing The Diaboliques team of Judo Al Hollamby & Roger L Sandilands. “We played the crowd up that night big time. I put one of The Diaboliques' head over the ropes and shouted to the crowds 'If you fancy your chances come and have a go.' The next thing all the audience were trying to get into the ring, and me and the Doc were running round trying to keep them out. They wanted to lynch us.”
Len worked mainly around the north for twelve years, until tragedy struck. In 1972 he fell awkwardly and the old army injury recurred. He was never to wrestle again.
Hurricane Smith was in good health and living in Leeds when we last heard from the Hurricane in October, 2012.
We want to learn more. Pet Smith, a lightweight said to be from Newark, worked for the independent promoters in the 1960s and 1970s. A wiry fella and a good worker. There was a Pete Smith in the 1950s but we do not know if he was the same man We did say we needed to know more.
An old timer who was "A right tough un.". That was Wigan's heavyweight Ernie "Saxon" Smith according to fellow heavyweight Dwight J Ingleburgh. Saxon was a first class heavyweight facing other hard men such as Jack Beaumont, Jim Foy and Count Bartelli. British heavyweight champion of some independent rings in the early 1960s. Ernie was a very strong man who Sam Betts remembers could pick up an opponent and repeatedly lift him up and down in the air. He retired from the ring in 1964, but remained involved as a referee and promoting shows with Buddy Ward.
Page revised 16/05/19: Revision of Davey Boy Smith entry