WRESTLING HERITAGE

British wrestling history 

G: Terry Garvin


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Gorgeous  Terry Garvin


Gorgeous Terry Garvin strutted his stuff and enraged British fans with his rule bending antics during his winter 1961-2 tour. An outrageous character who no doubt left an impression not just on the fans but on British wrestlers as they developed their own characters.

Like many overseas wrestlers he came to Britain near the start of his professional career to learn about the different style on this side of the Atlantic. His months in Britain were the mere tip of his wrestling career iceberg that was to last until 1985. What an iceberg it was! We will leave it to American focused websites for you to learn more of his later career.

In days when effeminate characteristics were rarely displayed with such openness the overly-perfumed, immaculately coiffured blond would bring fans to a frenzy simply with his majestic, over-emphasised bow when he was introduced to the audience.These were the days when the public portrayal of British wrestling was a legitimate sport. Unlike others who later portrayed this role Garvin was open about his homosexuality.  

Terry was born in 1937, in  Montreal, made his debut in 1958, and was a one time holder of the Canadian Junior heavyweight title, which he won from Eddie Jackson in front of 14,000 home town fans. 

Although many fans recall Garvin working for Paul Lincoln Management he was actually brought to Britain by Dale Martin Promotions. Garvin based his ring character on the original Gorgeous George who he had watched frequently as a child.  His only contest on a televised bill was not actually broadcast, maybe this man was just too controversial for our living rooms. Opponents for Joint Promotions included Dave Armstrong, Dennis Mitchell, Bill Robinson and Joe Cornelius, which shows that here was a man who could rough it with the best. The following year he moved to the independents, where he worked with the likes of Al Hayes, Ray Hunter and Bob Kirkwood.

Heritage member Chris told us of a match between Terry and Dr Death, staged by Paul Lincoln Management, "This was round after round of foul filled mayhem. At one stage both wrestlers refused to go to their corners at the end of the round and stood in the ring exchanging forearm smashes for the entire rest period. Later Garvin was dumped out of the ring and threw a chair at Dr. Death. Eventually both were disqualified. Some time after we saw the pairing again at Burnt Oak Essoldo. The premise here was if defeated,  Death would unmask whilst Garvin would leave the country in 60 days if he lost. (I guess his visa was up).  It was another roaring contest though I think they wisely toned it down a bit from the first affair.. Dr Death duly triumphed this time."

Indeed, Chris was right. That match was on 4th June, 1962, and Garvin was out of the country before the month was out. But not before tag partnering his evil enemy, Doctor Death, the following night. Hey! This is wrestling. 

Following a highly successful North American career Garvin went on to promote in the USA before dying of cancer  on 17th August, 1998.

15/08/2021: 

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