WRESTLING HERITAGE

British wrestling history 

C: Cabellac - Carpentier

Wrestling Heritage A-Z

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Rene Cabellec
The weight training that he has continued into his seventies created a muscular French middleweight that popped over the channel twice, in June and September 1964, working for Dale Martin Promotions. The good looking  twenty-seven year old picked up many admiring fans with opponents that included Jackie Pallo, Johnny Kwango and Jack Dempsey.

Alex Cadier (Also known as Axel Cadier)
Alex Cadier (the name was Anglicised from his name of Axel by which he was known throughout the rest of Europe and America), was a heavyweight standing only 5 feet 9 inches tall. Axel Vilhelm Teodor Cadier was  born in Varberg, Sweden, on 13th September, 1906.  

Cadier turned to wrestling fairly late in life, having already established himself as an accomplished swimmer. He was 21 when he took up wrestling and just five years later represented Sweden in the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. He took a bronze medal in the middleweight Greco Roman competition, losing after eighteen minutes to the eventual gold medal winner, Finland’s Vaino Kokkinen. Four years later he returned to the Olympic Games, in Berlin, and won all six of his matches to take a gold medal in the Greco-Roman light heavyweight division.  He won the European light heavyweight championships in 1935, 1937 and 1938.

His amateur background was in evidence as he pursued his professional career that began shortly afterwards. 

Alex Cadier came to Britain shortly after the war, making at least six visits between 1948 and 1954. Many of his bouts were for Atholl Oakeley who was at that time attempting to re-establish the all-in style of wrestling  against the inroads being made by the new fangled Mountevans rules. 

He successfully defended  the European heavyweight championship against Frank Mantovich at Harringay Arena in April, 1950, eventually going on to lose the title to Bert Assirati at the same venue in shortly afterwards. 

Cadier regained the title only to lose it once again, this time to Joe Robinson of Newcastle at the Royal Albert Hall on 28th October, 1952. Robinson won in the fifth round, rendering Cadier unconscious by the application of a nerve hold on his neck. 

 Following his time in Britain Alex Cadier went on to wrestle in the United States. 

Alex Cadier died on 29th October, 1974. 

Jose Cadiz (Also known as Joe Heaton)
Not the American star of that name of recent years, our man was there and did it long before. Mind you, our Jose Cadiz was not even the Spanish star he claimed to be . He may have been billed as a leading Spanish wrestler in the 1950s but like all the good  uns he was from Wigan. Joe Heaton was a bus driver during the daylight hours. He trained alongside his friends the Belshaw brothers. Joe took up wrestling in the early 1940s, and also wrestled using his less exotic sounding family name of Joe Heaton, the Fighting Miner. Trained by Cliff Belshaw  we have no doubt that he was a very hard and respected wrestler. In days when wrestling was slower with a greater emphasis on ground moves Jose Cadiz was known for his acrobatic moves, resulting from his love of gymnastics, at which he excelled.  Fans were thrilled when they saw him climb on to the top rope, preparing to propel himself into his speciality back somersault. Another favourite move was the Indian Death Lock, as testified by his two sons, who tell us they spent time gripped in this hold on the living room floor! Joe's sons would like to learn more about their father; anyone with memories or information please get in touch with us.

Sonny Caldinez  
Well over six feet tall and very muscular Sonny Caldinez was a heavyweight campaigner born in Trinidad and living in London. He trained at Forresters Amateur Wrestling Club and worked mainly for Dale Martin Promotions in the mid 1960s.  Sonny later went on to film and television work, and David Mantell told us that he played various demonic roles in Dr Who. He also had roles in high profile films including The Man With The Golden Gun and Raiders of the Lost Ark. In 1976 he appeared in "Sunshine in Brixton," a play in the BBC tv series "Plays for Britain," written by the wrestler Brian Glover (Leon Arras).

Red Callaghan
When we started watching the wrestling in the 1960s Red Callaghan was working for the independent promoters and a veteran of some twenty years reaching the twilight years of his career. Our earliest record of him came whilst trawling the newspapers when we discovered an appearance at Tipton Baths in February, 1946. More bouts followed quickly against the likes of Jim Holden, Jim Mellor and Jack Cunningham. During the 1950s Red worked regularly for Joint Promotions, mainly in the midlands and northern England for Wryton Promotions. Like many others in the late 1950s he became disillusioned with the rewards offered by Joint Promotions and began working for independent promoters in the winter of 1957. The move to the opposition didn't mean less work or a lowering of  standards, as Eddie Capelli, George Kidd, Jim Lewis and Carlton Smith were then working for the independents and became regular opponents. During the 1960s Red was actively involved in the formation of a wrestler's union, campaigning for fair wages for wrestlers, and began promoting with Jim Lewis and Chick Elliott, paying more than many other promoters.

Tiny Callaghan
Tiny by name, but that was about all. Tiny Callaghan was one of the 1980s heavyweight big boys, weighing in at around 30 stones. Eric Callaghan worked our rings for eight years and often found himself in tag action, the villainous fall-guy in the opposite corner to Big Daddy and one of his myriad of partners. Televised appearances for Tiny in 1984 saw him partnering Sid Cooper, Lucky Gordon and Scrubber Daly, with Big Daddy one of the opponents in each match.  At the Royal Albert  Hall he partnered Lucky Gordon to dutifully go down to Big Daddy and Danny Collins.  For a short time in 1984 Tiny revived one of the great names of British wrestling, The Ghoul. Tiny's biggest challenge came twenty years later, when he began the battle against the bulge. As we made contact with him in the 2010s he was  a shadow of his former self and tipped the scales at around twenty stones, and going down. 


Kid Callon

Kid Callon was a man with a story to tell. He was born, Derek Anthony Callon, in Keighley on 26th January, 1926,  Young Derek was taught to box by his father, a former bare knuckles fighter, whilst he was still at school. When he left school Derek started work in the local metal works, on full production as part of the war effort. In 1944, aged 18, he  was conscripted into the army and within a short time he was posted to Singapore, a hotbed of professional wrestling in the 1940s.  In 1945 we find him wrestling at the Great World Arena in Singapore,  wrestling alongside the likes of Con Balassis, Jeff Conda and Dara Singh,labelled. From 1945 until 1948 he was a regular competitor in the rings of Singapore  and Malaysia, a man renowned for his rough tactics inside the ring. 

In 1948 Derek returned to Britain where he continued his wrestling career and played rugby league for Keighley. We found him in 1950 wrestling the likes of Bob McDonald, Larry Laycock and Alf Cadman in northern England and Scotland. 

Derek callon died on 1st July, 2008, aged 82, but his remarkable life, more so for his exploits outide the ring, live on in the book that celebrates his life,  "The Untamed White Savage," written by his son Derek.


Dave Cameron (Huddersfield) (Also known as Elvis Cameron, Elvis Jerome, The Godfather)

Worked mainly for the independent promoters in the 1970s, though did have two televised bouts (as Elvis Jerome) in 1975 against Pete Ross and Eddie Riley. We would welcome more information.


Dave Cameron (New Zealand)

Yes, another wrestler sharing a name with a British Prime Minister. 

Our second Dave Cameron is something of a legend amongst serious wrestling fans. Not so much for the two  visits to Britain, in 1957, and again  in the early 1960s, where he  worked professionally for Wryton  and Dale Martin Promotions. Dave, from Gisborne on the east coast of the north island, took up amateur wrestling in 1951. In a country dominated by heavyweights Dave discovered that his impressive amateur credentials were not enough to allow him to make the grade as a professional wrestler. 

It is for his work as a wrestling historian, documenting the history and development of wrestling in New Zealand and around the world that Dave is celebrated. Many fans of the 1960s will remember  him as a regular contributor to The Wrestler magazine, where he brought us news of the New Zealand wrestling scene. John Shelvey reminded us, "He has authored hundreds of stories for countless wrestling and boxing magazines around the globe and also has written and published the first of two books on the history of New Zealand wrestling."

Clive Cannell
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. 

Barry Cannon
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.

Eddie Capelli
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.

John Carlo
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
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.

Primo Carnera
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

Paul Carpentier
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.

24/05/2019: Revised Alex Cadier entry.

9/6/2019: Addition of Nick Capone
30/6/2019: Revision of Clive Cannell, Barry Cannon, Eddie Capelli