H: Ted Heath
There have been a few famous Ted Heaths. A band leader, a Prime Minister and the one who interests Wrestling Heritage.
He was a Yorkshire grit type who found success on both sides of the Atlantic, though he probably didn’t take that “Hooker” Heath nickname to the States with him.
Ted Heath turned to professional wrestling in the mid 1960s following a career in rugby league, and with such a background he had just the style that you’d imagine. If you’re not sure what that means then just contemplate a wrestler who was disqualified in his first professional bout!
He was a robust, submission style brawler with the characteristics of a villain despite rarely actually breaking the rules. Well, not often. It was a different matter on those occasions he pulled on a mask to wrestle as the outright villainous Red Scorpion.
Admittedly Ted the Scorpion was not an original. We can offer a couple of Red Scorpions. Ted is the one most likely remembered by Wrestling Heritage readers in the late sixties and early seventies mostly seen in the rings of northern England and Scotland working for Norman Morrell and Ted Beresford. There were always rumours that the face behind the mask Yorkshire heavy middleweight Ted Heath, and when the mask was removed by Scots star Andy Robin it was indeed Ted Heath whose features were revealed. The name Red Scorpion had previously been used by the heavyweight Mitchell Gill whilst wrestling in the Far East and could be found on independent bills in the 1950s.
As masked man Red Scorpion Ted Heath tagged with another hard northerner, John Foley, who was at that time also wrestling under a mask as The Katt. Wrestler Dale Storm told us:”He was a great worker and a really tough man. I remember particularly his Red Scorpion guise way back then in my day! I never worked with the man personally but I did share the odd dressing room.”
Promoter Graham Brook: “It was at The Kings Hall, Manchester, that promoter Max Crabtree persuaded him to don his old Red Scorpion mask in a wild encounter with Alan Dennison. He was indeed a no-nonsense grappler I believe he gave the young Gary Cooper (Catweazle) a right royal pasting and refusing to sell any of his moves for he thought that Gary's demeanour brought the game into disrepute.”
Within a year or two of turning professional Ted was introduced to a national audience when promoter Norman Morrell gave him a place on a televised show from Preston. His opponent was Alan Dennison, a man with whom his career was to become entwined. This was to become the first of around forty televised appearance, with opponents that included Mick McManus, Jackie Pallo and Les Kellett.
It was as tag partner of fellow Yorkshireman Alan Dennison he is most fondly remembered by wrestling fans of the 1970s. Ted's aggressive style perfectly complemented team captain, Alan Dennison. Wrestling fans' disappointment that Sid Cooper had moved south were soon dismissed when Ted took over his role in the tag team, an impeccable replacement to accompany Dennison in tag mayhem. “Great with Dennison, they looked like Roman Gladiators with their wristbands,” remembered Ron Historyo.
Late in his career Ted wrestled in Australia and finally settled in the USA where he gained some success as Texas Ted Heath. He did return to Britain after he settled in America, but again his features were often hidden from fans under the mask of the In the United States he formed a formidable tag combination with his old friend and former tag partner, another British old-timer, John Foley (above, left)
The British Bulldogs, and yes this was long before Dynamite Kid and Davey Smith set foot on the North American continent.
A low key masked man, The Ringer, appeared briefly in the mid 1970s. Usually the man beneath the mask was Ted Heath, but both Jack Rowlands and Phil Pearson were unmasked in occasions.
Wrestling Heritage member Steve has fond memories: “He is my all time favourite wrestler. I did a dvd for him so that his granddaughter could see him in action, just a collection of his few bouts on world of sport. He sent me a brilliant thank you letter and his sister shared many pics with me.”
Ted Heath died in August, 2014. Following his death Ted’s sister, Margaret wrote to us: “ Edmund (Ted) was my only brother ,loved dearly and sadly missed, I went to many a wrestling show with him and enjoyed every one even though he was nearly always the bad guy!”