U: Ubo - Ure
Wrestling Heritage A-Z
A colourful Nigerian wrestler appeared on the British wrestling scene in 1985, heralded as a future star by TV Times.
Based in Yorkshire he made one television appearance, making little impression in a six man tag contest. Even the widely anticipated head-butt failed to gain the required result. We are told he was a likeable, good natured man outside the ring but the general feeling amongst fans seemed to be lovely costume, shame about the wrestling.
If you're reading Wrestling Heritage these days Samson we'd love to hear from you.
In the second half of the 1970s with the ever creative Max Crabtree in charge of Joint Promotions masked men seemed to spring up all over the place. Mind you, most of them were a million miles away from the likes of The Outlaw, Count Bartelli and Kendo Nagasaki. Enter the masked UFO, often accompanied by his manager Charlie McGhee. UFO seemed to have one purpose in life, and that was to lose. He lost to Big Daddy, of course. He lost, not unreasonably, to other top rated heavies such as Tibor Szakacs and Count Bartelli. Then there were the lesser heavies, losing to Honey Boy Zimba and Pete Roberts and the lighter heavies, losing to Clive Myers and Johnny Czeslaw, but then there were the much lighter men, losing to Alan Dennison, Alan Wood, Jackie Turpin and Jim Breaks. We could go on. We know of one man behind the UFO mask. Whether there were others we don't know, but can only guess that there were - it would take a pretty versatile man to lose to that range of opponents!
Decades before the name was taken up by the Americans British wrestling fans booed and jeered The Undertaker, a villain of the independent circuit in the 1960s. A bearded, fearsome looking character, dressed in frock coat and top hat as the stereotypical undertaker of days gone by, would walk unhurriedly to the ring to the accompaniment of the Funeral March. With him was an equally sombre companion and aid. On their shoulders they carried a coffin, albeit one that did look decidedly on the small side. The coffin would be ceremoniously lifted into the ring and propped against the corner post. The aid would produce a tape measure and attempt to “measure up” the opponent, obviously without success. Gestures and words, drowned by the jeers of the crowd, indicated to the opponent where he was going to end up. Of course, he never did, despite the aid pushing the coffin back into the ring at opportune moments for The Undertaker to try once again to get the luckless wrestler inside.
The Undertakers Jonathan and Nathaniel
masked men, top hated and black jacketed, emerged on to the mid sixties
independent circuit, billed from Chicago. They were so-called brothers
Jonathan and Nathaniel, The Undertakers.
It goes without saying they were villains of the first order, and unlike most masked men seem not to have a perfect record. During the early and mid 1960s they were regulars on the independent circuit but were amongst the few masked wrestlers, Doctor Death being another, to transfer to the Joint Promotions circuit. The original Undertakers are believed to have been Vince Apollo and Bob Abbot, though various others took the role during the 1970s.
Related article: Hooded Heydays, The Top Twenty Men in www.wrestlingheritage.com
The Unknown Star (Also known as Alex Alexinis, The Phantom)
The Unknown Star was an American serviceman, serving in the Air Corps and based in Warrington towards the end of the Second World War. He was Alex Alexinis from Long Island, who seems to have come onto the American wrestling scene around 1941. He wrestled in Britain in 1944 and 1945 whilst based in Warrington. He worked for Wryton Promotions, often alongside fellow American Mike Jones. Mike Jones told us that Alex was sometimes billed by British promoters as The Phantom.
Alex was reported in the Daily Mirror for having fought a 450lb Canadian black bear. Apparently the bear grabbed Alex and threw him out of the ring in under one minute. Match over.
On his return to the USA Alex continued to work in Canada and the United States using various names but mostly Al Smith, finally retiring in the early 1970s. Unknown Star Alex Alexenis died in April, 1986.
Would you buy a used car off this man? Maybe, because wrestler John Ure combined his wrestling career with that of car salesman. Born of Scottish parents, the muscular heavyweight from Halifax, a regular trainer with weights, turned professional in 1961.
John was trained by fellow Halifax grappler, Bob Sweeney. It wasn't just an interest in wrestling that brought the two together. It was also a mutual interest in physical culture and healthy living. These interests brought them together outside thr ring also, and John and Bob opened a chain of health studios. He was nineteen years old at the time and his debut in November 1961, saw him lose to Don Branch at Grantham. After a promising start, and a couple of television appearances against Norman Walsh and Ken Cadman the popular Yorkshireman disappeared from the scene in 1964. His early retirement, little more than two years after turning professional, was around the same time that John sold his interest in the health studio business to partner Bob Sweeney and invested in a new venture, launderettes. At the time of writing (April 2011) John is alive and well, living in Florida.