Y: Yamada - Yellow streak
Wrestling Heritage A-Z
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). At the time of writing (2010) he was still wrestling in the United States.
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.
Muscular American Steve Disalvo 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.
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.
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.
As we look back over the years we sometimes astound ourselves when we consider the sheer breadth and depth of quality in the heavyweight division. Take the Cardiff mat man Johnny Yearsley as an example. Few would equate his wrestling skill with the likes of Robinson and Joyce, his colour with Cornelius or Hayes, his skulduggery with Campbell or Garfield or his girth with Elrington. Stop and think again. Here was a man with considerable wrestling ability, tremendous strength and a style of villainy that would upset the mildest of maiden aunts.
Johnny Yearsley was one of the post war greats overshadowed only by the proliferation of so many other post war greats. He was no colourful figure but could rouse the ire of the fans with a scowly look, a hint of arrogance and a few deftly delivered blindside moves. Whilst others required masks, colourful costumes or outrageous antics to infuriate the fans Johnny Yearsley could do it just by pretending to be the man he wanted us to believe.
The Cardiff strongman had held five national weightlifting titles before turning professional wrestler and in the early sixties he had an impressive win record. During his final twelve years, however, he hardly ever seemed to taste victory and invaraibly ended up disqualified or knocked out by smaller less threatening opponents such as Les Kellett.
A prolific bad man but an affectionately remembered popular villain, appreciated by fans for his exaggerated selling of opponents' moves. Yearsley could wreak even greater havoc when in heavyweight tag alongside fellow villains Alan Garfield, Danny Lynh or Bruno Elrington. Wrestled towards the end as John Henry Yearsley. Wrestling fans were shocked by the death of Johnny in January, 1980. Unknown to most fans he had suffered from cancer for some time and died younger than fifty years old.
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.
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.