WRESTLING HERITAGE

British wrestling history 

Y: Yamada - Yukon


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Fuji Yamada

With a couple of years experience under his belt  Fuji Yamada came to the UK in 1986 working for All Star Promotions at a time when the Merseyside organisation were at their peak.  At a time when talent in British rings was at an all time low the addition of a colourful, dynamic character with wrestling ability was greatly needed. His speedy and acrobatic style made him popular with British fans though he was more than capable of  mixing it when the occasion demanded. Cheered on by fans in his four television appearances, one of them a tag match with regular partner Iron Fist Clive Myers.  He won the World Heavy Middleweight Championship twice, once in September 1986 and once in March 1987, both times defeating "Rollerball" Mark Rocco and both times losing it back to him, the last of these title changes being televised on ITV. Rocco was also  Yamada's opponent in one of his three televised Reslo outings shown on Welsh language channel, S4C. Each time he appeared on television Kent Walton promised someone as good as the earlier visitor, Sammy Lee. For once, Kent's predictions rang true as Fuji Yamada as the wrestler went on to international acclaim during a period well outside the Heritage years (search for Jushin Leger).


The photo of Fuji Yamada was kindly supplied by Norfolk Snake who told us, "This very grainy old picture I took of Fuji Yamada after his first bout in Norwich Corn Exchange where he sensationally defeated Rocky Moran - He probably was the most popular foreign star of the late 80s early 90s (forget the precise date). Saw him in some titanic battles with th This one was due to be on the front cover of Ringsport, but due to Evan's death and the demise of the magazine it sadly never happened."The photo of Fuji Yamada was kindly supplied by Norfolk Snake who told us, "This very grainy old picture I took of Fuji Yamada after his first bout in Norwich Corn Exchange where he sensationally defeated Rocky Moran - He probably was the most popular foreign star of the late 80s early 90s (forget the precise date). Saw him in some titanic battles with th This one was due to be on the front cover of Ringsport, but due to Evan's death and the demise of the magazine it sadly never happened."


The Mighty Yankee
A generic name used by 1970s and 1980s promoters that was unconnected to a specific wrestler for any length of time. Promoter Graham Brook recalled Ian Glassmore,  Jim Moran and Eddie Rose billed as the Mighty Yankee. "Fellow promoter Stuart Miller thinking it was a good name so billed Al Miquet versus The Mighty Yankee at a show he was promoting at Nantwich Civic Hall. I remember Eddie Rose being quite surprised when he turned up to find that he was The Mighty Yankee but he said nothing and just got on with the job." We are told that promoter Max Crabtree also used the name for a variety of wrestlers in the 1980s. The best known of these was the muscular American Steve Disalvo, who didn't wear a mask. . He stood 6 feet 6 inches tall and looked the part of the "Mighty Yankee" when he visited Britain in 1981. He was an opponent  of Wayne Bridges  in the eliminators for the vacant World Heavyweight Title and lost in straight falls to Wayne at The Royal Albert Hall. Powerlock told us Steve DiSalvo wrestled in WCW as the Minotaur and WWF as Billy Jack Strong, as well as wrestling in Calgary for Stampede,  and AWA for a while.

Harry Yardley

One of the old school, a hard as nails type heavily influenced by all-in great and promoter Athol Oakeley Tamworth’s heavyweight Harry Yardley featured regularly on wrestling bills for more than two decades from the end of the war until the late sixties when he took up refereeing duties. Mostly working for the independent promoters of the north and midlands the posters proclaimed he was the Midlands Area heavyweight champion.

Reg Yates

Popular middleweight Reg Yates turned professional in the early 1960s and quickly became a regular on the plethora of independent shows in the midlands. A frequent opponent of independent stars such as Jim Lewis, Gordon Corbett, Butcher Goodman, Jack Dempsey and Johnny Saint he was signed up for a stint with Joint Promotions in 1970. Thrown in against the big names of Faulkner, Sergeant and the rest Yates was given no breaks and faded from the scene.

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Roy Yeates

One of the two  Yeates brothers that worked from their Oxfordhire base throughout the midlands, Wales and the West country during the sixties and  seventies.  Many of their bouts were for the late Cyril Knowles, a man for whom they still have great respect. Roy was the most experienced of the two brothers, but both could be relied on to provide excitement for the appreciative fans.


Tony Yeates

The other half of the Yeates boys, who not surprisingly tagged his wrestling brother. When not wrestling Tony and Roy pursued their other passion, motor cycling. The two brothers performed as stunt motorcyclists for The Mohicans at venues in Britain and abroad.  

The Yellow Streak

The Yellow Streak was a masked welterweight who appeared on Dale Martin bills in the mid-seventies.  When he first appeared at the start of 1975, the promoters treated us to exotic translations of his name:  "De Gele Rechter" in Dutch and "El Verdugo Amarillo" in Spanish.  Whether he had actually tried out his routines in Holland and Spain we may never know.  He wrestled all the lower weighted wrestlers and though initially presented as a title contender this skillful south London  welterweight remained in supporting matches even with his pale skin concealed by his full yellow strip.

His routine developed to be much more along comic lines and he would spend much of each bout in amongst the audience.  Defeated by Kwango and Baron amongst others, the Yellow Streak just slipped away after doing the rounds for a couple of years.

With most masked wrestlers the mystery is involved during their run and revealed at their unmasking.  In the case of the Yellow Streak, perhaps the greatest mystery  is at the start of his run as described in our Year of Wrestling 1975.

Related  article: Wrestling Heritage Top Twenty Masked Men on www.wrestlingheritage.com

Chati Yokouchi
Shinichi Yokouchi  was known to British fans by the more easily digestible name Chati Yokouchi.

He could bow and smile as much as he liked but British fans were all agreed that Chati Yokouchi was a bad un. A bad un they enjoyed  watching and booing.

The villainous Oriental (what else could he be in 1960s Britain?) was introduced to the British public by independent promoter Paul Lincoln in the Autumn of 1963, and this was the beginning of regular visits extending until 1967. Yokouchi fitted in perfectly with Lincoln's colourful assortment of characters, tussling with the likes of Doctor Death, Docker Don Stedman and the Wildman of Borneo.

A professional at the time for only two or three years he already showed the potential that was to take him on to success around the world, most notably North America. 

Yokouchi often tagged with the equally cunning Togo Tani. In 1965 the pair were signed up by Joint Promotions, which led to television appearances and matches at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall. The most memorabl match of them all was a blood stained epic against Steve Veidor and Mike Marino, a Royal Albert Hall event that was broadcast live to eleven cinemas around the country in those pre satellite tv days. 

The Wrestler magazine reported that “there was an evil look about the black-clad Japanese combination and the crowd needed only a few minutes to make up their mind.” 

Whether it was the punishing nerve holds, the ferocious chops or just a few blindside punches Chati Yokouchi was never short of finding new ways to fall out with people. 

He was definitely one of the many colourful characters of the 1960s wrestling scene and a very welcome visitor. Chati Yokouchi died, aged only 45, on 15th December, 1982.

The Yorkshire Kid (Also known as Eric Dudley)
Eric Dudley was The Yorkshire Kid.  The name no doubt came from his birthplace, which was Pontefract, Yorkshire, though his ten year wrestling career was mostly in the south of England for Dale Martin and independent promotions, including his own promotions, Den Promotions.  The Yorkshire Kid turned professional around 1955, and in the late 1950s was one of the first workers for Paul Lincoln Management. He opened a wrestling club behind the Red Lion Public House in Wadhurst, Sussex, in partnership with the landlord of the pub, Steve Stephens. Steve was one of The Yorkshire Kid's trainees, eventually wrestling himself under the name Steve Courage.   Eric and Steve later began promoting, as Den Promotions, putting on shows in and around Sussex,  including a weekly event at Selsey Bill holiday camp on the south coast.

Den Promotions courted controversy in the early 1960s by promoting female wrestling contests, which were at the time banned by local councils up and down the country. Amongst those trained by Eric were  Ann Starr and Chi Chi, Empress of the Black Dagger. Eric continued wrestling and promoting until the mid 1960s. He passed away in December, 2004.

Akio Yoshihara
Here’s a surprise;  a 1960s Japanese wrestler who broke the mould.

None of that scheming underhand stuff here, just scientific wrestling from this 5'11" middleweight who made a number of visits to the UK between 1962 and 1964. He and tag partner Teizo Okado did stick to role with all that bowing at every opportunity, which in itself did seem to annoy fans.  Akio worked for both independent and Joint Promotions on occasions, including one televised appearance against  Gorilla Reg Ray.He was born in Tokishima Shikiku near Tokyo but moved to Brazil whilst a teenager where he gained a judo black belt and then developed his wrestling style.   He takes his place amongst a notable trend of oriental visitors in fact being based in South America.

Mike Young
Lightweight Mike Young hailed from Birmingham and made his professional debut in 1967 against fellow Brum Dave Wade. His career prospects became seriously limited when he moved home to the Isle of Man, continuing to train at the club run by George Barnabus but with wrestling opportunities now severely limited. When not wrestling Mike ran an engineering company on the Isle of Man  and spent his spare time reading poetry, horse riding and teaching gymnastics. Usually one of the fans favourites Mike wasn’t afraid of mixing it with the villains and putting his amateur boxing experience to good use. 

Terry Young 
Harlow's Terry Young trained at Neil Sands gymnasium in Chelmsford and the Key Glass Wrestling Club. Neil Evans remembers him as a good wrestler, fast and skilfull,  against whom he had many good bouts before the two of them formed a tag team called the Essex Jet Set. 

Mario Yugueros
Spanish heavyweight, dubbed the Galant White Panther, made a short visit to Britain in December, 1967. Was a victor, via the disqualification route, when he met Hans Streiger on television.

Billy Yukon
He was billed from as Canadian but we would guess that Cannock Chase was the nearest Smethwicks Billy Yukon came to the prairies.  A 1960s favourite on the independent circuit  Billy Yukon went on to work for Joint Promotions in the late 1960s, under his own name and under the guise of masked wrestlers.