WRESTLING HERITAGE

British wrestling history 

B: Baber - Barratt

Wrestling Heritage A-Z


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Ron Baber
To be added soon


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.

Jesse Baines
A low key lightweight, “The wrestling pitman” from Burnley who we have found wrestling in Lancashire in 1937 and 1938.  We found only a dozen or so matches, mostly with little to note, but one match at Preston drew our attention. Jesse was matched against the highly rated Olympian Joe Reid and was reported to have proved a surprisingly hard opponent who handed out to Reid an unusual amount of punishment in a match described as wild from the start.

Laszlo Bajko (also known as Bajko Laszlo)
We have seen both variants of the name, probably arising from Hungarian names normally being written with the surname followed by the given name, which is often reversed when translated to English. Laszlo was based in Yorkshire in the second half of the 1950s. In 1957 we found him working on a Norman Morrell bill at Bradford against Don Branch and again for Morrell against Dicky Swales, Brian Trevors and Fred Woolley, and  Chic Purvey. He also worked for Dale Martin Promotions with opponents that  included Jackie Pallo, Ken Joyce and Bob Archer O'Brien. In October, 1959 he went over to the independent promoters, where he was billed as European welterweight champion.There was a brief moment of fame for the young wrestler in 1963 when he was featured in the Pathe News (remember them?) wrestling Jack Taylor, considered  newsworthy because the referee was a vicar, the Rev Reginald Thompson.

Rough House Baker     
George Baker was a very busy worker throughout the 1930s, wrestling around the country against the big names like Iron Duke, Jack Pye and Jack Atheron. George was usually billed as Rough House Baker,and it didn't take too much detective work to uncover how he came about the name. Even in the hotheaded days of 1930s George Baker could rouse the ire of the crowd. Advertised as a man who didn't like referees, it didn't take fans (or the referee) long to discover why. In one match alone, he threw a stool at his opponent, assaulted the referee, pulled the loudspeaker socket from the wall and tore it to bits. On one occasion refereed George DeRelwyskow did manage to subdue the Rough House with a right punch to the jaw which knocked the wrestler out cold. In a bout in which he was thrown from the ring by Harry Pye returned carrying a club, intent on causing damage. The club was removed from his possession before going on to defeat Pye bt two falls to one. No George Kidd then.

Mike Bandele
Apart from a handful of showings on Dale Martin promotions in the summer of 1969 our only knowledge of Mike Bandele comes from his unexpected inclusion in “The Who's Who of Wrestling,” (published 1971). The book claimed he was the Nigerian middleweight champion  and owner of an electrical store in Lagos. 

Prince Banu (Also known as Bob Russell)
By 1950 the recently introduced Lord Mountevans rules had re-established the integrity of professional wrestling in Britain and the sport was beginning to flourish once again. Numerous overseas wrestlers made their way to Britain, and amongst them was a young Maori named Bob Russell. Russell travelled from his home of Te Puke, in the Bay of Plenty area of New Zealand, to Britain in 1950.  Despite wrestling top British wrestlers like Jack Beaumont and Eddie Capelli Russell lacked the charisma to make him a fans' favourite until he adopted the name Prince Banu. This added touch of colour did the trick and the popularity of Russell in Britain was transformed. Not enough, though for Heritage member, Bernard Hughes, who saw Banu three times at Newcastle. "The most disappointing contest that I saw was the first time that Prince Banu came to Newcastle.  After a nothing happening first round where I felt that he was being carried, he got behind his  opponent and jumped onto his shoulders. By twisting his head backwards and forward and then side to side he forced him to the canvas. We then had 2 further rounds where he appeared to be boring his knuckles into his hapless opponents temples. Eventually he rose from his opponent and watched whilst  Les Kellett ,the ref, counted to 10. Boring to unconsciousness. The audience were asleep before the opponent."

Sooty Barak
Said to be an elusive opponent with an unorthodox style there’s little we can add at present about the Indian Sooty Barak who wrestled in northern England between February and August, 1938. Opponents included Jack Pye, Iron Duke Bill Garnon and Padvo Peltonin.

Rudi Barbu
We have matches for heavyweight Rudi Barbu between  1933 and 1936, said to be the heavyweight champion of Romania.  Wins over Dave Armstrong and George Clarke suggest he was a wrestler of considerable ability.We have matches for heavyweight Rudi Barbu between  1933 and 1936, said to be the heavyweight champion of Romania.  Wins over Dave Armstrong and George Clarke suggest he was a wrestler of considerable ability.

Ed Flash Barker (Also known as Ed Blondie Gordon)
A popular blond Anglo-Canadian heavyweight with the looks that could only make him one of the fans favourites. Edward Barker was born on 10th September, 1915 to parents, Florrie and Ernest. The family moved to Canada and it was here that he became interested in wrestling.  Eddie returned to Britain as a teenager and wrestled  in this country  from just before the second world war up to the late 1950s.  Even   during the austere years of the 1940s he would enter the ring wearing a silver cape which was enough to make him stand out in a crowd. You'd be hard pushed to find a Flash Barker in a Wigan bus queue.   At times in his career Flash was known as Blondie Gordon and Flash Gordon, but his real name was Edward. Prior to the war Barker combined his wrestling career with that of a speedway rider for West Ham and later Crystal Palace. Wrestling came first, but Eddie is still fondly remembered amongst speedway fans of the 1930s. In 1938 Ed was selected as member of a Canadian speedway team in a moment of creative genius of which any wrestling promoter would have been proud. West Ham speedway promoter, Johnnie Hoskins  came up with the idea of a Canadian team. Great, other than that the Canadian team didn't take part in any international matches, but they did tour Britain meeting local teams throughout the country.   A colourful character who helped establish professional wrestling as one of Britain's  major sporting entertainments. Eddie Barker  died from a heart attack on 1st January,  2007, aged 91.

Sailor Barnes
We uncovered around a dozen matches around the country for Londoner Sailor Barnes between 1934 and 1939. He may well have passed under the radar and gone without mention until we discovered family connections. Born in Camberwell, his father was a coachbuilder, he had four brothers and two sisters. Amongst the brothers were wrestler Wally Dix and a man who was to go on to become one of the top referees in the country, Lou Marco.

Lloyd Barnett
Former boxer Lloyd Barnett wrestled the big names around Britain and Europe during the 1950s. Opponents included  Dave Armstrong, Don Mendoza, Francis St Clair Gregory, Karel Istaz and the rest. Jamaican born Lloyd's boxing career had spanned six years, including losses to big names  like Don Cockell and Ingemar Johansson. He retired from boxing in June, 1953.

Nick Barone (Also known as Michele Barone)
The 17 stone man from Rome who claimed to be the heavyweight champion of Italy visited Britain in during the winter of 1966-7 facing top heavyweights Tibor Szakacs, Mike Marino, Gwyn Davies, and Bruno Elrington.  Was well known throughout Europe and workied for the WWWF in the United States.

Blondie Barratt (Also known as Bob Nickerson)
In the mid 1970s, a time when British wrestling was beginning to show signs of age, a new kid appeared on the block,  Bob "Blondie" Barratt. Unlike most newcomers of the time this one had a bucketful of talent and two bucketfuls of charisma. We only wish Bob had been born twenty years earlier so that we could have enjoyed watching him during wrestling's greatest years. He would have been a star in any age. 

Bob became an increasingly popular figure in 1970s British wrestling with a memorable feud with Johnny Kidd and clashes with Rollerball Rocco, Dave Finlay and Giant Haystacks. The "Rock and Roll Express" moniker and more colourful outfits only embellished his place in 1980s wrestling. Most memorable of all, though, is Bob's long running tag partnership with Kendo Nagasaki. 

Irish Ivor Pat Barratt
The red haired Irishman was a popular 1960s figure in British rings and we remember him entering the ring carrying his sheleighly, a sure warning to any wayward villain. Not long after his professional debut in 1958 Ivor had itchy feet and was soon working regularly on the continent, especially in Germany. With his wanderlust unsatisfied in the winter of 1962 Pat  travelled across the Atlantic and gained  success and fame in North America, working for both the NWA and WWWF.  Between 1966 and 1968 he returned to Britain frequently enough for fans to remember him, but was simultaneously developing an American career forming successful tag partnerships (and later feuds) with both Tim Geoghegan and Don Leo Jonathan. Further success came in winning the WWWF tag team culminating championship alongside Dominic Denucci.  On 15th May 1975 Pat wrestled Bruno Sammartino for the WWWF World Heavyweight championship, losing by a knock out. Having wrestled throughout the United States, Australia, new Zealand and the Pacific islands Pat returned to Ireland where he had his last contest in 1985.

Page revised 10/3/19: Addition of Jesse Baines