A man who just slipped into the Heritage Years Salisbury wrestler Clive Cannell’s career lasted long into the twenty-first century. Born in 1963 Clive turned professional in 1986, not good timing for someone wanting to make a career out of pro wrestling. Nonetheless, he did receive regular bookings, mainly in southern England during the 1990s. An ambition was achived ehen he travelled across the Atlantic to wrestle in the United States in 2003. Whilst there he and Gareth Humphries from Trowbridgewon a Trans Atlantic Tag Team Championship bout and Clive won the United States East Coast Championship belt.
In the early 1960s, with the number of shows nearing their mid decade peak an influx of new stars came onto the professional circuit. It is a credit to the promoters of the day that the quality of those newcomers was so high. One of the most promising was a young wrestler named Barry Cannon. A highly skilled, fast and popular Bradford welterweight Barry gained increasing recognition in the 1960s following his 1962 debut at Colne. Having become interested in wrestling whilst participating in his national service, Barry returned to Britain and was trained by Les Kellett. The Wrestler magazine featured Barry only weeks after his professional debut and made much of “the fact” his father was a good friend of Kellett on more than one occasion that w e wonder if this was a lad with friends in high places. Suspicions more aroused with a television debut at Preston against Eric Sands less than two years after his debut. Barry was a popular and regular contestant on the small screen, no fewer than ten matches in the next couple of years, culminating in his final and predictable loss against Mick McManus in 1967. Matched against the top welterweights of the day, but rarely above preliminary level, fans were disappointed when he disappeared from the scene in 1968. We suspect there is more to his story and would like to hear more.
When we watched the wrestling in the 1960s it seemed that Eddie Capelli had been around forever. We weren't far wrong. London born Anglo Italian Eddie Capelli was a stalwart of British wrestling for around thirty years. He was a class act and he's a man about whom we should know far more.
We have been told Eddie was born in 1927; but even that we can't confirm and have no idea of his birth name. We are more confident he had his first professional bout in 1947 and two years later he succeeded Harold Angus as the new British welterweight champion.
In 1949 Eddie Capelli won a tournament at Maidstone to acquire the belt that had been held by the deceased Harold. On winning the championship Eddie Capelli revealed that as a youngster it was a contest at Blackfriars between Harold and George French that had inspired him to take up wrestling.
Our confidence evaporates at that point. Many references state he lost the title to Mick McManus in 1952. Yet our research shows that McManus was billed as champion in January, 1951, and Arena magazine of February, 1951 referes to Capelli as a former champion.
We can conclude that wherever the start and end of his championship reign it was only short.
But this is wrestling, and titles didn't really matter that much.
In the 1960s and 1970s he remained popular, and his change of nature to become a baddie of the ring never quite seemed to ring true. Good guy Eddie did help raise money as part of the Lord Taverners Cricket Team. Our memories found Eddie in the preliminary contests, often providing a stepping stone for future stars, no less a star for that role. Eddie retired from the ring in 1976.
Pietro Capello (Also known as Maurice La Chapelle, Rene La Chapelle)
Italy’s Pietro Capello, known in parts as Maurice La Chapelle or Rene La Chapelle, was one of the great villains of the 1950s and 1960s. "There was no pretence of orthodox wrestling...hit hard and hit first to survive," Eddie Rose remembers. He moved from Italy to Canada, to follow a career as a chef we were told at the time, where he was trained to wrestle by Tony Lanza. Shortly after turning professional he moved on to Australia before arriving in Britain in 1962. He was to remain a regular feature of the British wrestling landscape for the next three years. Television executives selected opponents to show him at his villainous best - Masambula, Czeslaw, Cornelius, Veidor and Ricky Starr amongst others.His contest against Ricky Starr is a popular view on You Tube. Pietro Capello sneered at the crowd and oozed self confidence, usually en-route to defeat against the good guy of the day. He was one of those wrestlers who turned villainy into a work of art. Pietro's career was cut short in 1966 when he suffered a severe heart attack shortly after leaving the ring. Interestingly wore a gold earring in those days when men didn't do such things. We just put it down to him being foreign.
Nick Capone (Also known as Lee Gordon)
Muscular heavyweight of the 1970s independent scene in the north of England Nick Capone was Gordon Mudd, who also used the ring name Lee Gordon. The name lived on into the twenty-first century with the opening of Capone's Pizzeria in Coulby Newham.
The tall, muscular blond wavy haired John Carlo was another of the new wave of wrestlers who permeated through Dale Martin bills in the mid 1970s. His style made him a popular addition to the ranks of the mid heavyweights. From Ashford in Kent he turned professional in the late 1960s. A tough 1973 televised debut against the heavier and experienced Johnny Yearsley was followed the next year with matches against against El Extioco, Terry Rudge and Bob Kirkwood. Kent Walton forecast great things for the youngster, but he disappeared from our sight shortly afterwards.
Terry Carnell was a promising heavy middleweight of the early 1970s. His home was in Bradford Upon Avon but he trained at Bristol Amateur Wrestling Club under the guidance of Tony Charles and Johnny Czeslaw. Terry turned professional in 1966 working for independent promoters in south Wales and the West Country. In the mid 1970s we have reports that he wrestled for Joint Promotions in the North East.
Yes, the Ambling Alp and World Heavyweight Boxing champion Primo Carnera did turn his hand (and feet) to wrestling.
In fact it was the other way around and Carnera was a wrestler in his native Italy long before finding fame as a professional boxer.
Fame maybe, but fortune certainly did not come his way in the boxing ring. The story of Primo Carnera is one that professional boxing has little to be proud of.
At six eight and twenty stone the former circus strong-man looked threatening enough but was a cumbersome and one dimensional fighter.
Carnera turned to wrestling once again after leaving the boxing ring and his visit to the UK for Joint Promotions is documented in Blood, Sweat and Speedway elsewhere on this site.
Around the time the ex World heavyweight boxing champion Primo Carnera turned to wrestling and toured the UK in the 1960s the heavyweight Gino Carnera appeared on the independent circuit. Now don’t call us suspicious.
Edouard Carpentier (Also known as Edouardo Wieckorski, Eddie Wiecz)
A Heavyweight visitor to Britin with genuine iternational credentials Eduard Carpentier combined an impressive physique, wrestling knowledge and athletic style developed during his earlier gymnastic career. Born in France in 1926 Edouard Wiercowicz was a prominent member of the resistance during the second world war, receiving the Military Cross for bravery. His initial visit to Britain was in 1953, at that time using the name Eddie Wiecz and Eddie Wiercowicz (his surname was Wiercowicz ).
Wiercowicz moved to Montreal in 1956, adopting the ring name Edouard Carpentier. He defeated Lou Thesz the following year for the NWA World heavyweight championship, the title change later being reversed due to a dispute between Carpentier's management and the NWA. Thesz was to defeat Carpentier by disqualification in the subsequent return contest.
He re-visted Britain in the 1960s, notably drawing with Geoff Portz at the Royal Albert Hall and losing against Jim Armstrong when the BBC ventured fleetingly into the realms of televised wrestling.
Carpentier died of a heart attack in October, 2010
A 1960s Manchester heavyweight working for the independent promoters about whom we feel we should know more. No doubt George Shaw thought the name Paul Carpentier far more exotic than his given name, regularly travelling to venues with his friends Pat Curry and Billy Graham, both of whom also borrowed their names from famous overseas stars. As well as wrestling through the north and midlands Paul also promoted shows, sometimes in conjunction with Jack Cassidy.