T: Terry - Thunderbird
Wrestling Heritage A-Z
We are seeking information on Yorkshire heavyweight Maurice Terry, a trainee of George de Relwyskow.
Tall, slim and wearing his habitual white trunks Dundee's Lee Thomas quickly became one of the most popular Northern middleweights of the late sixties and early seventies. Turning professional in 1967 he quickly established himself throughout the north. Lee was a fast and skilful wrestler who combined agility, acrobatic flair and wrestling skill. His flying body scissors and drop kicks were a delight to the fans. He proved a real contrast to those other Scottish middleweights, the rough hard man, Chic Purvey, and the dour Ted Hannon. Seemed at ease with his frequent tag partner George Kidd, who was also from Dundee.
“The Cockney Kid” weighed around 13-14 stones and was a prolific worker in the 1940s and 1950s. So much so that we feel guilty for not knowing more. We come across him in 1946 when it is said he has just finished serving in the RAF. Throughout the 1940s we find Norman billed as Welsh, which he may well have been. By 1950 we find references to Norman Thomas “The Cockney Kid.” In a moment of wrestling inspiration a young Tony Scarlo wrestled Norman Thomas for use of the title “Cockney Kid.”
Billed from Glasgow he wrestled for most of his titled period out of Leeds and then Essex. A dedicated amateur who we are told was trained for the professional ranks by Norman Morrell. His professional debut is reported as at Blackburn against Don Branch in 1959, though our earliest documented record is in Coventry wrestling Pasquale Salvo in February, 1960.
Star quality was evident from the beginning. In April, 1961, the Evening Express reported a two falls to nil win over Eric Tylor. He quickly won the Scottish Light-heavyweight championship and within two years had twice failed to defeat Ernie Riley in British championship bouts. He did, though have a short reign as holder of the Heavy Middleweight belt, defeating the champion at Aberdeen in July 1961. and there was little surprise when he later went on to take the British Middleweight Championship.
Undoubtedly skilful but Clayton struggled to find a niche amongst the colourful antics of his peers. Did we really want to know in 1969 that he had gone six months without being pinned? Did this make for exciting professional wrestling? Perhaps at the time it seemed so.
He surprised everyone by his heel turn when donning a mask. Almost unbeaten, never ununmasked, but the phase failed to arouse much excitement all round. To discover who he was and find out more about his masked alter-ego you will have to turn to the pages of The Wrestling Heritage Top 20 Masked Men.
Wrestled once again as Clay mid-seventies before disappearing without ado. News of Clayton's 2010 death, as announced at the Wrestlers' Reunion that August, came as a shock to many.
Page revised: 06/10/2019 Revision of Chief Thunderbird (Canada) entry