Terry O'Neill

Blood and Guts

Terry O'Neill

Another tough Northerner, born in Scotland to Irish parents,  but latterly from Southport, and one half of the Liverpool Skinheads tag team.

Terry and partner Roy Paul entered the ring wearing denim shorts held up with braces.  He combined the courage and stamina of days as a coal miner with the discipline developed as  an amateur boxer and put it all to good use to become a professional wrestler with a career spanning twenty-odd years.

In the 1960s he would sometimes pull on a mask and adopt the persona of Doctor Blood, a villain who was finally upended, and unmasked by that other good doctor, Death.  

To be honest, Terry was almost ignored on the Talk Wrestling Forum until  wrestler Paul Mitchell revealed that O’Neill was, in his opinion, the best opponent of Kendo Nagasaki.  “Nagasaki didnt know what to expect and always performed better under the circumstances. Terry hurt Nagasaki …. no respecter of reputation or bill position,  strong agressive and never gave less than 100 per cent. Terry was a very underrated performer, as well as seeing him wrestle Kendo Nagasaki I saw him wrestle Ray Glendenning once, strangely the only time I saw him win in singles matches. Like many baddies, the in ring and out of ring persona was totally different. A lovely guy to speak to"
Wrestling enthusiast Frank Thomas then told us that he had witnessed a Terry O’Neill versus Kendo match at Birkenhead, and it was a “Riotous affair that looked near to a genuine shoot match and ended in a double disqualification. Genuinely feel that Kendo knew he was up against it, and resorted to underhand tactics, and got himself disqualified, the crowd roared for him to unmask, but the MC quoted at the time that he wouldn't have to unmask if he lost by the disqualification route.”

Terry O’Neill was an all action wrestler with a career that began in the late 1950s and  spanned both the independent and Joint Promotion organisations. As was often the case Terry started out working for independent promoters, often in the clubs and smaller halls, By the end of the decade he was working in the bigger halls and travelling further afield, covering much of the country and working for the top independent promoters such as Jack Jefferson, Cape, Matsport  and Paul Lincoln.  Opponents included The Ghoul, Black Butcher Johnson and Reg Williams.

By 1963 Terry was working for Joint Promotions He was a frequent worker at the two big North West venues, the Liverpool Stadium  and Belle Vue, Manchester. He was also the second opponent for a young Kendo Nagasaki, following in the path of Jim Hussey and losing by the KO route at Birmingham's Embassy Sportsdrome on 17th November, 1963

Although he wrestled a wide spectrum of opponents from Bobby Barnes to Ski Hil Lee it is probably for his 1970s appearances as one of the Skinheads (and no, he wasn’t) that he is best remembered.

Dr Blood

v Dr Death

by The Main Mask

When Australian wrestler Paul Lincoln broke away from his Dale Martin paymasters in 1958 and set up the rival Paul Lincoln Management it was always going to be an uphill task. The Dale Martin organisation had a near twenty year head start, held exclusivity contracts with all the well known names, showcased their matches and stars on television and had well established contacts and contracts with wrestling halls from roughly Coventry south.

Overcoming the odds required courage, creativity and energy. Fortunately Lincoln had bagfuls of all three. In his mission to challenge the might of Dale Martin Promotions he was supported initially by a small band of novice wrestlers, a few more experienced men who already worked for independent promoters and largely unknown wrestlers tempted over from the Continent. The influx of more well known names from Joint Promotions was some time away.

Scotland’s George Kidd had already given Lincoln the idea of creating an instant star by putting a mask on a run of the mill wrestler. That is exactly what he did. According to Lincoln’s good friend, wrestler and editor of the Wrestling World magazine, Lou Ravelle, Paul Lincoln was a very ordinary wrestler until he pulled on the black hood and was transformed Doctor Death. It worked. A star was born and Paul Lincoln Management had a new top of the bill star from early 1958.

The story of the showdown between Doctor Death and The White Angel is documented elsewhere on Wrestling Heritage, culminating in the unmasking of Judo Al Hayes by the Doctor on 4th April, 1962. The match was a sell out, and one that Lincoln was keen to repeat in halls around the country.

Yet this sensational contest was not Lincoln (or the Doctor’s) venture into Mask v Mask territory. A blueprint for the 1962 Match of the Year had taken place the year before.

It involved a good for nothing masked man going by the name Doctor Blood.  Doctor Blood had been unleashed on the wrestling public at the end of 1960. With a lower profile than his boss, Doctor Death, the alternative Doctor had not so quietly destroyed opponents that included Dai Sullivan,  Bobo Matu and Billy Fogg. Doctor Death was apparently incensed that his name and credentials had been de-valued by the attempt to usurp his name.  Doctor Death challenged the newcomer, who not surprisingly obliged (from a box office point of view) by ignoring the challenge. After a suitably lengthy build-up of public challenges the mask v mask contest took place in the winter of 1961.

Reports tell us that it was the sort of hard, well fought tussle that we would expect, with near victory to-ing and fro-ing from one combatant to the other. Eight rounds it went before victory was grasped by Death! Naturally.

The fans awaited the unmasking. Beneath the hood was Terry O’Neill, a man who coincidentally had appeared a year earlier on the White Angel v Doctor Death bill.
Page added 15/11/2020