T: Tsickikras - Tyrone
Wrestling Heritage A-Z
We've seen all sorts of colourful costumes in British wrestling rings, but only once can we remember Greek national costume as worn by Souris Tsickrikas and his tag partner, George Bouranis, collectively known as the Helenes. Souris made a ten week tour of Britain in 1967. Mostly tagging with partner George it was a singles match appearance at the Royal Albert Hall in which Souris lost to Kalman Gaston, an odd result to our minds. We are equally surprised that Dale Martin Promotions elevated the Greek to Albert Hall status because the vast majority of his matches were for the northern Joint Promotion members. In tag action the popular Greek pairing had some action packed matches with the Royal Brothers. On television was a victim of the 1967 push being given to Peter Preston following his giant killing defeat of Mick McManus.
Tommy Tucker was a heavyweight boxer and pub landlord from Bamber Bridge in Lancashire who turned turned professional wrestler in 1935. Although his wrestling seems to have been confined to the north of England he worked for almost twenty years and in the early 1950s was facing distinguished opposition that included Alan Garfield, Arthur Beaumont and Francis Sullivan.
Wrestling Heritage is all about memories, and where Bill Tunney is concenerned those memories are golden. Bill Tunney was certainly not one of the most well known names, but the Preston light heavyweight was one of those that proved Joint Promotions did not have all the best men. Tunney was a skilful wrestler and we can only assume that like quite a few others it was his choice to remain with the independents. He first appeared in our rings in the late 1950s, working nationally for the main independent promoters Paul Lincoln, Jack Taylor, Devereux, Cape Promotions, Don Robinson. Working for the opposition didn't mean a lack of quality opponents - George Kidd, Joe Murphy, Reg Trood, Doctor Death, Andy Robin and Randy Turpin. Here at Heritage we always argue that quality wrestlers worked for the opposition, and few independent workers deserve your admiration more than Bill Tunney. The photo shows Bill receiving punishment from Frankie Price at the Ilford Baths for Premier Promotions.
See the entry for Tarantula
readers will recall the kilted Rory Campbell of tv wrestling in the
1980s. Life had begun earlier for Rory as Edinburgh's Bill Turner,
using the name Boy Turner in his early professional matches. Those
were in the early 1970s when he was just a teenager, being born in
1955. His first professional match was at the Eldorado Stadium,
Edinburgh, and Bill worked almost always in Scotland in his early
years, against opponents ranging from fast and classy welterweights
like Ian Gilmour, to the more aggressive and heavier Eric Cutler and
the biggest of them all, Big Daddy. It was against Shirley Crabtree
that Bill made his professional debut, a 1975 match at Bradford,
unsurprisingly losing by a knock out at a time when Crabtree was
dismissing all his opponents by very quick KO's. Incidentally, this
was Crabtree's the last televised match in which Crabtree used his
real name, returning shortly as Big Daddy. If that debut wasn't hard
enough for Bill they were made no easier for his second tv bout,
three months later, his opponent being masked man Kendo Nagasaki. By
1975 with Max Crabtree taking over management of much of the northern
Joint Promotion circuit the cajoling of promoters Max and Ann
Relwyskow brought Bill from his Scottish home to Leeds. On his first
day in Leeds he was told that his services were required that night,
in Edinburgh! In the years that followed Bill travelled more widely,
meeting most of the big names, and around the 14 stones mark could
take on lighter men such as Mike Jordan and Marty Jones to the
biggest of the heavyweights, including Gargantua and Jim Moran. One
night in Aberdeen he even avenged that tv loss to Shirley Crabtree.
He travelled widely around the world to north American, Spain,
Germany, India and the Middle East. In the 1980s Bill Turner was
transformed into Rory Campbell, with many fans still remembering his
televised match against Giant Haystacks.
Eric Turner (Eric Leyland)
Not a name readily remembered by wrestling fans Eric remained part of the supporting cast through his short career. We knew that Eric played his part in Britain's wrestling heritage because we saw him twice! Opponents were Stoker Brooks and Casey Pye. Milkman, HGV driver, wrestler; Eric would try his hand at anything. When we put word out on non wrestling related websites that we were seeking Eric it seemed that forty years on his friends remembered him, "Hello to anyone who bathed in the effervescent glow of Eric Turner's personality.....Eric was a 'piece of work,' always with a big grin and a quick quip....When he came into the 'Brazilian Coffee bar' he lit the place up, everyone knew and liked Eric.....His story of driving a truck through a hedge and climbing out of the wreckage to find cows feeding on wide-strewn Waggon Wheels still makes me smile."
In 1967 Eric (using the name Eric Leyland) had a few bouts for Joint Promotions, losing to Terry Downs, Jack Dempsey and Colin Joynson.
Last heard of Eric was on his way to make his fortune in the United States. Wherever you are Eric, get in touch with Wrestling Heritage.
Leamington Spa's Jackie Turpin turned to wrestling in the mid 1970s following a boxing career of 28 fights over four years. The name Turpin did arouse interest, but in fairness Jackie could wrestle and deserved his place in the ring. The promoter's didn't cash in on the famous name, though Jackie was subject to the Big Daddy tag partnership! It was rather refreshing to see a famous name in the wrestling ring being given time to pursue his career in his own time and not subject ot over-hype and abuse. We can only wonder whether or not Jackie would have been destined for greater wrestling glory if he'd come into the business at an earlier age.
One of the saddest stories in sport generally and wrestling in particular is that of Randolph Turpin one time middleweight boxing champion of the world. He turned professional wrestler in January 1961 defeating Frankie Hughes in a boxer v wrestler contest at the Paisley Ice Rink.A left hook as Hughes released a hold on the referee's orders put paid to the wrestler's chances. His fame made him an immediate attraction in both boxer versus wrestler contests and traditional wrestling matches and his place at the top of the bill was assured. Randolph came to London to knock out Leon Arras at the Poplar Baths in a joint top of the bill with Quasimodo and Dr Death whom he later boxed wearing pillow gloves. Other opponents included Gori Ed Mangotich, Hans Streiger, Bill Tunney, Cyril Knowles and Gordon Corbett whom he also boxed on unlicensed shows.
He was lured away from Matsport and acquired a manager who at a time when referees received 30 shillings a night demanded £10 a night to referee if Turpin was working. Randolph was in demand and travelled around the country working for many of the independent promoters.
Having beaten all opposition wearing his gloves Randy then took them off and began wrestling conventionally. His name continued to draw the crowds for a year or two but he had been taught the bare minimum as a wrestler and as he could not or did not wish to learn more the novelty of him faded. Paul Lincoln took him as a boxer to Malta and Orig Williams toured Ireland with him but he had taken too many head shots in the boxing ring and, as he became increasingly forgetful and unreliable, work dried up. He had been made bankrupt as a boxer and he managed his finances no better as a wrestler being made bankrupt a second time. He last worked in 1965. On 17 May 1966 he was found dead in his home in Leamington Spa
With thanks to James Morton.
Billy Two Rivers
Undoubtedly a huge name in British professional wrestling by virtue of the tremendous impact of his headdress and haircut in his initial 1960 appearances at a time when Cowboy and Indian films were still popular, Mohawk chief Two Rivers from Quebec had already started to disappoint by the time he returned to Britain in 1964.
He performed a wardance before polishing off evil-doing opponents with his famed tomahawk chop finisher.
See the entry for Eddie Rose.
Father-in-law Tug Holton showed the 1980s heavyweight Tom Tyrone the ropes and prepared him for life in the wrestling ring. However, Tom only picked up Tug's good wrestling habits and disregarded the villainous ways of his famous father in law. Tom was a popular fifteen stone addition to the ring at a time when wrestling skill was becoming an increasingly rare commodity. Tom started with the independent promoters before being signed up by Dale Martin and shortly afterwards making his Royal Albert hall debut aginst Caswell Martin. His first televised outing was against Dave Bond in April, 1981, and this was to be the first of more than twenty televised contests, including losing finalist to Pete Roberts in the 1987 Grand Prix Belt Tournament.