WRESTLING HERITAGE

British wrestling history 

T: Taylor - Thomson

Wrestling Heritage A-Z

Horace Taylor
Horace Taylor of Leeds was a celebrated northern area amateur champion and England representative from the  Bradford Premier Club during the early years of the 1930s. In July 1934 he took part in the finals of the trials of the Empire Games. Having missed out on the Games, and after representing England in their match with Belgium in November, Horace took the professional road, having his first match on December 3rd, 1934. We have found many professional matches for Horace between 1934 and 1938, all of them in Lancashire and Yorkshire. In each of them he was in supporting matches but he had an impressive record with wins over Val Cerino, Cab Cashford, Fred Unwin and The Farmers Boy, amongst many others.

Sheik Michael Taylor ( Also known as Sheik Abdul Singh)
Did you see Michael Taylor? There'll be no uncertainty; if you saw him you will remember. We have two memories of him, one in the ring and one outside. We first came across the self styled Sheik (the title was allegedly bestowed by one of his yoga teachers) when he appeared on the Dave Allen chat show. He demonstrated pushing knitting needles into one cheek and out though the other cheek without  bleeding. As a follow up he smashed and ate a glass bottle! He explained these feats were possible through meditation, which enabled him to withstand intense pain, a useful attribute for a wrestler. 

Mind you, when we next saw Michael Taylor, in the ring on an independent show at Blackburn, he was fairly ordinary in the ring after dispensing of his costume and allowing a couple of members of the audience stand on his chest as he lay on a bed of nails. Whether the nails were rubber, the men were hollow, or there was some truth in what Michael claimed we shall never know. 

Martin Campbell, at the time a second at the wrestling in Wisbech, recalled “He would lie on broken glass in the ring (a nightmare for the seconds, like me, to clear up.) He lay on beds of nails. He said he could control pain. Sadly this control appeared to desert him when the bell rang and his limited wrestling abilities really did put the onus on his opponents to carry him through to a reasonable finish.”

Michael Taylor lived in Kings Lynn where he owned a tattoo shop and reputed to be a very good tattooist,

When not wrestling or performing any of these stunts Michael could often be seen hypnotising,  eating fire, juggling, stilt walking or displaying various other  talents as an entertainer up to his death.

Michael Taylor, born 29th December, 1936. Died 27th April, 2011.


Rocky Taylor
Yes there was a Rocky before the great Dave Taylor. This Rocky Taylor was a Manchester based wrestler working for the independent promoters in the north during the late 1950s.

Teddy Bear Taylor
Regular readers of Heritage know of the Old Mossblown Gym. A small, functional gym in the village of Mossblown, a mining community in South Ayshire. It was  built by it's members and run by the Bryden brothers, Andy and Bill, known to the wrestling world as Dale Storm and Bruce Welch. From this small gym came a dozen or more wrestlers who entertained the people of Scotland throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Don't take our word for it. Read the books of Eddie Rose to understand how highly regarded was the gym and the wrestlers that emerged.

One of them was a youngster by the name of Ian Taylor. Ian was a mechanic by trade.  In the late 1960s he was joined at the garage by a new mechanic,  Andy Bryden. Ian hadn't long left school, he was sixteen when the two met, and it was Andy that introduced  Ian to the wonderful world of professional wrestling. Andy had been to Australia, brought into wrestling by Danny Flynn, and could tell a good tale.

Not that Ian was interested in wrestling. Okay, he watched it on television, as most of the population did in the 1960s. Everything stopped at 4 o'clock.  Les Kellett and Catweazle were his favourites. Not for the wrestling mind you. For Ian it was the entertainment aspect that enthralled him. The way the wrestlers could control the emotions of the audience. 

Andy and Ian talked about wrestling, and Andy told him of his gym and collection of aspiring wrestlers. Still not convinced the seventeen year old accepted Andy's invitation to join him, his brother and the rest of the gang. 

Hooked! 

Twice a week Ian learned the rudiments of the business at the Mossblown gym. After around eight months the decision was made to introduce him to the paying public, an opportunity to demonstrate not just what he knew about wrestling, but about entertainment. That first match was against another Mossblown man, Young Starsky.

Smitten! By now re-named Teddy Bear Taylor (he was a Glasgow Rangers fan) Ian travelled around Scotland and  entertained the fans. He was a good pupil of both wrestling and entertainment according to tutor Dale Storm, "Teddy Bear taylor could be hilarious." At times he would tag partner Mad Michael O'Hagan; not an obvious partnership but one that just worked.

 Rocco, Pallo, Street. These were the men he admired. He respected their wrestling ability but again it was their ability to entertain that he really admired.  Wrestling in 1971, married in 1974, life was looking good for Teddy Bear. Until disaster struck. It was 1978. A fire left Ian seriously injured. Months of recovery, and lucky to escape with his life, there was no way Teddy Bear Taylor could return to the ring. 

Not the happy ending we would like to tell. But happy in that Ian fully recovered, enjoys life as he is added to the A-Z in 2018, and looks back on a good life as an entertainer.

Lee Thomas
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.

Norman Thomas
“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.”

Clay Thomson
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. 

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.

Related article: Shenanigans, Skulduggery and Betrayal in Armchair Corner on www.wrestlingheritage.com 
 
Scott Thomson
Known to everyone as “Wee Tam” Scott Thomson was the wrestling name of Tommy Stevenson. Tommy was born in Govan, Glasgow on 18th August, 1940. In 1961 he moved to Ayrshire, marrying Margaret Scott the following year.

Following a chance encounter with Dale Storm after a show  he was persuaded to attend Dale's  gym for a tryout. Having been taken under the wing of several top stars, he emerged as a formidable opponent, not only in his own lightweight division, but could hold his own with most in higher brackets as well. 

Being one of the fastest and strongest in the lightweight class, he excelled in the ring in most of his one to one contests and even found some fame along with his regular tag team partner Jeff Bradley when it came to a four up. Occasional spells as a referee helped improve his overall knowledge and understanding of the finer points of wrestling and he quickly became a huge crowd pleaser. Amongst his toughest opponents he listed Ireland's Mad Mike O'Hagan, Jim Morgan (the younger twin in The Fabulous Harlequins Tag Team),   Ian McKenzie and Aberdeen's Len Ironside.

After he retired Scott moved to the Scottish Borders where he developed an interest in local politics, standing as a Scottish Nationalist Party in local elections. He was also an elder at Teviothead Church,   chair of the village hall committee and a recipient of the Service Above Self Award, the Rotary Club's highest honour for an individual Rotarian.

Scott Thomson died in July, 2018.