British wrestling history          
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D: Dabrowski - Dark

Wrestling Heritage A-Z


Adolph Dabrowski

Like so many before him Adolf Dabrowski travelled to Britain following the second world war. He joined a large number of his fellow countrymen and settled in the city of Coventry.

A skilled French polisher by trade Dabrowski took up wrestling and turned professional in the early sixties, quickly billed as the Polish Hercules.

His tactics did nothing to endear him to fans, being a rough, tough heavyweight villain of the independent circuit, tackling the likes of Pat Roach, Pete Roberts and Wild Angus Campbell in their formative years. A collector of porcelain and paintings the real life Adolph was far removed from his ring persona. 

ADolph died of a heart attack. Aged 81, on 30th March, 2006. The funeral was a colourful affair that reflected his flamboyant personality with a New Orleans style jazz band playing as a horse-drawn hearse carried the coffin to its final resting place. Amongst those queuing up to pay tribute to the influence of this undeservedly overlooked bruiser was Tony Banger Walsh, a long time friend and trainee.

Count Daidone (Conte Dia Donde)

The bearded Italian Count Daidone visited Britain during the winter of 1960-1961, journeying frequntly between Britain and the continent.

Working throughout the country for Joint Promotions he met a wide range of opponents from 12 stones Johnny Kwango to heavyweights Alan Garfield and Billy Robinson.

He failed in his challenge of Mike Marino in their World Mid heavyweight Championship clash held at Sheffield on 14th December, 1960. Heritage member Pantaleon Manlapig has told us that Daidone was well known throughout Europe and often competed in the Austrian and Germany tournaments in the 1960s  and 1970s.

Additional information was received from heritage member Indikator, who told us he was surprised to find Daidone wrestling in California in 1956 and apparently he was also in Japan for IWE as Daidone Mussolini in 1972.

Mick Dalby

1960s heavyweight from Leicester trained by Jack Taylor, worked for the independent promoters in the 1960s, billed as Midlands heavyweight champion. A professional boxer of that name had two matches in 1958, but we do not know if this was the same man.Please get in touch if you can provide more information.

The Biggest Drawing Stars? 

For me it was probably Pye closely followed by Kendo. It could be somebody I have forgotten to mention.Andy Robin was massive north of the border.


In my time, Jack Pye and The Ghoul. Later George Kidd. Maybe Jim Breaks. Perhaps following that, Rocco Jones and Finlay.

Bernard Hughes

In the early 1970's at Newcastle Les Kellett was a huge draw because he also drew in the casual punter due to his profile being so high on TV, Adrian Street/Hells Angels, Kendo Nagasaki,always drew the punters and Jackie Pallo must have been a draw as he was up here quite a lot in both singles and with JJ


In his time Jack Pye filled the halls week after week after week. I remember on one ocasion seeing him in Morecambe and the timekeeper confessed he had broken his glasses but he had pinched his wife's even though it was her night for whist. 'I'm not going to miss Jack Pye for anyone', he said. Many of us would have agreed. I think also we all had a liking for Masked Men in the false hope they woud actually be defeated.  I suspect therefore Paul Lincoln as Doctor Death would have been as big a draw as anyone.

James Morton

Jack Dale

Most wrestling fans of the Heritage years know the name Jack Dale as one of the founders and director of the leading wrestling promoter, Dale Martin Promotions.

In the decade before he began promoting wrestling Jack Dale was one of Britain's top lighter weight wrestlers. Good enough for the esteemed wrestling historian Charles Mascall to list him one of the world's greatest ever middleweight wrestlers; bettered in Britain only by Billy Riley.

Jack Dale at his best could beat anyone of similar poundage and many that were quite a bit heavier. His skill was supplemented by remarkable strength for one so slight of build, developed by a rigorous weight training routine which he continued long after retiring as a wrestler.

Before he started wrestling Jack was a physical culturalist trainer. But there was wrestling in the air; his father was a boxing and wrestling promoter. Which brings us to a bit of a mystery. Wrestling folklore relates that Len Abbey changed his name to Jack Dale for  a wrestling promoter one night in 1929 when a promoter had advertised a non existent wrestler of that name. Fair enough, but by the time Jack's father, John George Abbey, was killed in a car crash in 1936, he also was known professionally as Jack Dale. It seems very unlikely that father would have taken his son's wrestling name, which leads to the conclusion that wrestling mythology is just that, a myth.

Our earliest evidence of Jack Dale wrestling is 1933. He was soon wrestling far and wide, travelling up and down the country. 

He was a fast and exciting grappler, known as the “King of the Flying Tackle,” and naming the double wristlock as his favourite hold when feeling less energetic. Bob Archer O’Brien said there was no tougher wrestler. By 1935 Jack Dale was British middleweight champion, a title he was destined to hold for fifteen years,by which time his priority was to develop the potential of the promotional business started by his father.

Jack formed a friendship with another young wrestler, Les Martin. They spotted the potential of professional wrestling as a spectator sport. Their first show was at Beckenham with Jack Dale topping the bill.  With little money in reserve a failure at Beckenham would have meant a very quick end to Dale Martin Promotions. Fate stepped forward once again, and success at Beckenham was the start of Britain’s biggest and most influential wrestling promotion business.

Mike Dallas

Mike Dallas was one of that multitude of talented 1960s wrestlers who had the skill, agility, looks, and regular television exposure, but never really made it to the top.

Born in Warrington, and trained by heavyweight Mick Millman, sporting interests as a schoolboy included rugby, swimming and boxing. 

Mike turned professional when he was seventeen years old and quickly established himself as one of the country’s most popular heavy middleweights.

Dallas was a popular mid card worker throughout the north and midlands during the second half of the 1960s and first half of the 1970s. He was a television favourite and met the big names such as McManus and Pallo before continuing his career in Australia where he held the Australian Light Heavyweight Championship for two months in 1977.

Scrubber Daly (Malcolm Hardyman, Masked Marauder, Red Mack)

Scrubber Daly was one of those less than scientific heavyweights used by promoter Max Crabtree to perpetuate the myth that his brother, Big Shirley, was invincible.

Having said that if you are looking for a man who could snarl, growl and wind up the fans then Scrubber was your man.

Men like Scrubber took the bumps to enhance the stars of the day, and for that reason alone played an important role in 1980s British wrestling for which us fans should be grateful.

Wrestling Heritage reader Paul Evans was only a child when he watched Scrubber Daly at Weymouth while on holiday and Cheltenham Town Hall, but told us "So to me Scrubber was a real hero. He scarred the life out of me the few times I met him in the flesh!" In the flesh Scrubber daly was a milkman from Nuneaton. That might  not sound quite so glamorous but didn't stop Scrubber wrestling in the Middle East and India. Trained by Birmingham's Pat Roach he was initially known as Red Mac, but within a matter of weeks given the name Scrubber Daly by Max Crabtree and later pulled on a hood to become one  half of the  Masked Marauders tag team.


Pete Danby

Warrington middleweight from the Ted Betley stable with a short lived career in the second half of the 1960s. We wonder if he could have been the older brother of Mike Dallas?

Please get in touch if you can provide more information.

Carl Dane (The Outlaw)

Yorkshire born and Manchester domiciled Carl Dane is just the sort of wrestler that we cherish here at Wrestling Heritage. Whilst other websites are content with remembering the likes of McManus, Pallo and Nagasaki we celebrate the unsung stars of wrestling, the lesser known names who allowed the stars to shine.

Carl Dane fits into that unsung hero category, one of the essential deep seam of British wrestling talent.

Following his national service an interest in boxing  led to Carl meeting up with Charlie Glover who had a boxing and wrestling gymnasium in Barnsley. Charlie, who wrestled as the Red Devil, encouraged Carl and trained him for a career in wrestling, with a helping hand from other Glover boys such as Jack Land and Dwight J Inglebergh. 

By the late 1950s Carl was mixing it with some of the hardest wrestlers in the business, men like Jimmy Hart, John Foley and Billy Joyce.  An April, 1968, a match with Ian Campbell at Belle Vue ended with a "No Contest" decision and was talked about for a long time afterwards.

Carl was  a popular heavyweight of the 1950s and 1960s, working mostly for Wryton promotions in the North and Midlands. When he retired from the ring he turned  his hand to refereeing at which he was equally successful.  "A good heavyweight and first class referee," recalls ex wrestler Eddie Rose.

Carl wasn’t quite so popular when he pulled on a black mask and wrestled as The Outlaw.  Not the original admittedly, but rated highly by all who saw him, and we did!

He is also remembered, particularly by fellow wrestlers, as mine host at the Robin Hood public house, close to Manchester city centre, as this was a place they often ended up following a bout at one of the many Manchester venues.  Carl Dane passed away in April, 2008. 

Marius Daniels

Belgian heavyweight visited Britain in 1962, opponents including Billy Robinson, Alf Cadman and  Matthias Rosges. Lost to Gerhardt  DeJager at the Royal Albert Hall in October 1962.

Please get in touch if you can provide more information.


Dan Darby

Londoner who competed in the 1951 Empire middleweight championship tournament at Wimbledon and challenged for the British light heavyweight championship.

Please get in touch if you can provide more information.


My Uncle Charlie Green went several times to the States in the 40's and 50's. I know he wrestled Gorgeous George and Primo Carnera amongst others, and also wrestled an exhibition match in San Quentin prison (I'm not sure who against) in front of a huge crowd of prisoners. Somewhere I have an old black/white photo of that event, and I remember him telling me the story of how they stamped an ID number on the back of his hand, which got rubbed off during the bout, and it took him ages to get out of the place. For most of his career, he was a freelance wrestler, so maybe that allowed him to travel more than most.

One of his most prized possessions was an Indian Headdress, that was presented to him after a match against a Red Indian wrestler, but I'm afraid that's as far as my memory goes. I did have around 200 wrestling posters, including a lot from the States, but I'm afraid they have all been lost now, which is a shame, as they would have been a valuable addition to this site.

Alan Green 

Dark Owl

Not one Dark Owl but two.

A masked man who aroused great discussion in the forum with confusion arising over Dark Owl, Brown Owl and even one sighting of a Black Owl. Let's not forget White Owl, Micky Flack, whose tragic story is told elsewhere on Heritage.

Heritage member Raven ended the frustration by announcing that he was present at the Victoria Hall, Hanley, on the night the masked Count Bartelli defeated and unmasked Dark Owl.

Beneath the mask was Wigan's Ernie Riley.

There have been credible rumours that Ernie's father, Billy Riley, was the original Dark Owl, though we can only find two references to Dark Owl prior to Billy Riley's retirement in 1947.

One of them has been unearthed by Ron Historyo.  This is the original Daek Owl, believed to be Billy Riley. The second Dark Owl was very busy in the 1950s, mostly in Hanley, which would allow Ernie to be the regular masked man. Opponents  included Dai Sullivan, Black Butcher Johnson, Mike Marino, Dennis Mitchell, Al Hayes and Ray Apollon. in Hanley.

Johnny Dark
In the early sixties Wimbledon's Johnny Dark seemed to have a promising career ahead of him, having made the transition from a wrestling second at Wimbledon Palais to wrestler. After five years as  an amateur he was twenty years old when he turned professional in 1959.
Most of his contests were in the south  for Dale Martin Promotions against the likes of Bobby Barnes, Ray Fury and Steve Logan.

Johnny remained a firm favourite around the south for the best part of a decade.  He even made it onto television, unenviably having Steve Logan in the opposite corner.
We have to admit our  memories of Johnny Dark are limited. We do know that we saw him, and we liked him.