WRESTLING HERITAGE

British wrestling history 

E: The Exorcist

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The Exorcist


The May 1974 release of the supernatural horror film in Britain "The Exorcist" heralded a new masked wrestler of that name. Dale Martin Promotions, historically none too keen on masked wrestlers, were quick to cash in on the box office  success of a film that provoked controversy and protests from Christian groups around the country.

A black cape, a bible and a candle were the hallmark of The Exorcist.  

Masked men abounded in the Mountevans wrestling era……. Some, like Nagasaki, were born into greatness, whilst others were short lived attempts by promoters to lure a gullible public.  The Exorcist fell into neither category. Despite extensive Dale Martin publicity, a clearly identifiable personae and extensive wrestling ability The Exorcist never caught the imagination of the paying public. Beneath the mask of The Exorcist was a fine wrestler, Clayton Thomson,  who gave up the gimmick without being unmasked. Clay Thomson used none of his wrestling skill and depended on a really rather laboured claw hold to create the alleged terror. Heritage member Main Mask said, "This First version of The Exorcist turned into a good draw and his ring craft was a  million miles away from his alter-ego beneath the mask - so no one would surely have had an inkling to his true identity!

The Exorcist may not have created too much heat but even the greats that included McManus, Tibor, Marino and Bartelli had to comply with the requirement that he was to remain an undefeated masked man.

The Exorcist character returned in 1976 on independent programmes with Birmingham's Gordon Corbett behind the mask. Corbett had gathered a following on the independent circuit as "The Executioner." When Thomson dropped "The Exorcist" gimmick Corbett rebranded himself as The Exorcist. Corbett made a more interesting character in our opinion, with the added spice of his lady manager, Miss Jamie Barrington, otherwise known as his wife, Elaine. 

Graham Brook told us of his encounter with Elaine the time he hired a ring from Gordon Corbett in 1981, !"She was very businesslike and quietly spoken so it was a real surprise when I saw her again a couple of weeks later at a Max Crabtree promotion just down the road at The Gala Baths, West Bromwich, as Barrington with Gordon Corbett bonneted up as The Exorcist. She was the total extrovert and gained tremendous crowd heat." 

As is only to be expected there were no doubt other short lived Exorcists working for independent promoters. Let's face it, any old wrestler can pull on a hood. One other known Exorcist, and certainly not "any old wrestler" was the great technician Eric Taylor.

Page added 24/03/2021