British wrestling history 

B: Baba - Bainbridge

Wrestling Heritage A-Z

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Rudi Babka
Muscular heavyweight campaigner  visited Britain in 1952, met the likes of Mike Marino, Don Stedman  and Alan Garfield

Cubana "King" Badu
From Havana, Cuba, this heavyweight visitor  came to Europe in the early 1950s where he made an impact on the Spanish wrestling scene. 

He moved on to the UK where he stayed for three months in 1955 during which time he wrestled Brixton's Iron Man  Steve Logan at the Royal Albert Hall. 

Known in his homeland as Negro Badu his family name was Ernesto Diaz Barcelo. Following his time in Britain wrestled from 1954-6 in German cities  Bremen, Hannover, Münich and Nürnberg.

Badu went on to work in the United States, finally retiring from professional wrestling in 1961. He then returned to Cuba and taught amateur wrestling.

Chris Bailey 
Short dark hair and good looks didn’t prevent Brixton’s Chris Bailey becoming a man to heckle on the South of England wrestling scene. 

Although a regular in the late sixties and early seventies, and not being short of ability, he made little impact despite his frequent outbursts describing what he was going to do to Jackie Pallo and Mick McManus. The fact was that in the 1960s and 1970s competition was very fierce and even capable workers sometimes failed to stand out in the crowd.  

Chris was eighteen when he turned professional in November 1966. His unruly style, which frequently led to disqualification,  angered the fans. Chris made his television debut in May, 1968, against popular Len Hurst. It was to be the first of around a dozen television appearances, but in terms of his win-loss record the promoters never allowed him to shine. 

Chris's profile stepped up a gear when he formed a tag partnership with fellow Londoner Dick Conlon. They called themselves the Artful Dodgers. The Artful Dodgers had what must have been one of the most nondescript gimmicks of British wrestling, calling out numbers to one another (they described it as an elaborate code) which was allegedly a secret way of communicating to outwit their opponents. Oh yeah!

Laurie Bailey
We have no first hand knowledge of Laurie Bailey, feel sadly lacking, and hope someone with knowledge will come to our rescue. That's because we have records of Laurie Bailey wrestling in 1951-2 and facing top rated welterweights Fred Woolley, Alan Colbeck, Jack Dempsey and Johnny Stead.

Roughhouse Tommy Bailey
Oldham's Tommy Bailey had a bit of a reputation as a rough 'un inside the ring. Rough and very fit that is, because Tommy's stamina wasn't just the result of hours spent in the gymnasium but also a consequence of his preferred method of getting to venues, by bicycle. We are not just talking local. Dwight J Ingleburgh remembers the many times Tommy cycled from his home in Oldham to wrestle in Barnsley, and then cycled back again; a round trip of some sixty miles! Wrestling (and his bike) took Tommy around the north of England for the best part of thirty years, from the early 1950s until well into the 1970s. Tommy worked for the independent promoters, facing a range of opponents including Johnny saint, Fred Woolley, Cyril Knowles and Danny Flynn. The spirit of Tommy Bailey lives on with his grandson, Clinton Steel, who went on to mke his way in the wrestling world.

Peter Bainbridge 
As the Mountevans era reached it's twilight years a new star erupted onto the wrestling scene. Peter Bainbridge was the teenage lightweight wrestling sensation of the 1980s, defeating Johnny Lee at the Royal Albert Hall in April, 1987, on All Star Promotions one and only show at Britain's premier venue. He turned professional aged fifteen and within his first three years as a professional held the European lightweight title a remarkable three times. He beat Jon Cortez for the title in Bath on 25th February, 1987, before losing and regaining it from Jim Breaks finally losing  to Breaks for the third time in April, 1988. Could it have happened in the old days? We doubt it, and suspect that Peter's meteoric rise tells us more about the state of wrestling than about Peter Bainbridge.  Our opinions may be unfair to the young wrestler as by 1988 we had long ago lost interest in wrestling. We would welcome the opinions of our more knowledgeable 1980s fans.

Page reviewed 29/1/19