D: Dabrowski - Dalton
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. Dabrowski 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.
Between January 1937 and July 1939 we have found around forty matches of Bull Dagnas, opponents including Jack Dale, Rex Maxine and Harry Brooks. Bull was described as a short, heavily built wrestler with a devastating Boston Crab specialty. His other specialty was breaking the rules, earning the nickname “The Terror of the Ring.” He was consistently said to be from Chicago, which he may well have been but we have found no evidence of him in American rings.
Count Daidone (Conte Dia Donde)
The bearded Italian Count Daidone visited Britain during the winter of 1960-1961, journeying frequently 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.
1960s heavyweight from Leicester trained by Jack Taylor, worked for the independent promoters in the 1960s, billed as Midlands heavyweight champion.
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.
A bulky 15 stone American from Chicago Johnny Dallas worked in Britain between February, 1937 and August, 1939. A wrestler capable of displeasing the fans with his rough house tactics. Occasionally nicknamed the "Golden Greek," suggests possible Greek parents. We have found no evidence of his American credentials but there was a Johnny Dallas working in the United States immediately before and after his British bookings.
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 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.
See the entry for Mustapha Nasser
Page revised 23/6/2019: Addition of Bull Dagnas and Johnny Dallas