WRESTLING HERITAGE

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E: Eagers - Elder

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Mike Eagers
Mike Eagers was a popular 1960s middleweight, born in Blackpool, and moving to Sheffield when he was three years o ld.  On leaving school he became a joiner and learned to wrestle in his spare time. 
 
He turned professional in 1965, making his debut against Derek Collins on an independent show. He soon caught the attention of Joint Promotions, and  gained television exposure early in his career. His fast, clean style was an immediate hit with viewers.
 
No gimmicks, no illusions, just a well trained professional wrestler who entertained fans with his know-how. That training came at Ernie Baldwin’s Tingley gymnasium. 
Mike was a real golden boy of the 1960s, and was voted by TV viewers as the one to wear the World of Sport Gold Cloak. Nevertheless, Mike was pulled by promoter Norman Morrell from a tv bout against Mick McManus and replaced by Peter Preston in the infamous double cross. Officially Mike was injured at the time, but our records suggest his injury enabled him to be pretty active elsewhere at the time!
 
After a whirlwind start, and having established himself as one of the best middleweights fans were shocked when Eagers announced he was retiring from the ring to devote his time to church work. It was hard to believe that such a promising career could be curtailed so abruptly. No one has left his fans simply clamouring for more. 

Don Eagle 
Made a couple of television appearances in the autumn of 1986, one in which he tagged with Johnny Wilson, and the second facing Birmingham's Steve Logan. Not to be confused with the original and highly acclaimed Don Eagle,  who died in 1966. 

Johnny Eagles
Only one wrestler entered the ring with a geisha girl on each arm. Yes, and an eagle on his chest, a tiger and a couple of soldiers. The wrestler was Johnny Eagles, the popular Mancunian welterweight whose body was covered with a dozen tattoos, geisha girls included. Apart from those tattoos Eagles was known for a rather snazzy range in dressing gowns, and some lightning speed dropkicks. Born in Manchester, with the name  Roy Boyd, he was destined to become one of the most popular and successful 1960s wrestlers, cheered on by fans as he was robbed yet again by the dastardly McManus and Pallo
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During his national service Johnny found an interest in wrestling, and after leaving the army he began to learn the professional style  under the watchful eye of Dick the  Dormouse. We find him wrestling for the independent promoters in 1959 having made a professional debut  losing to Ray Kimba  at Hyde Town Hall which we have been unable to confirm. Early opponents on the opposition circuit included Terry Nyland, Fred Woolley, Doctor Death and Lord Bertie Topham.

The transition to Joint Promotions came at the start of 1962, with a television debut against Abe Ginsberg in September of the same year. It was the first of around forty television matches, making him one of the most recognisable and popular figures in British wrestling. 

Johnny was an imposing figure in the ring, a combination of athleticism, skill and looks.  During the 1960s his speed would bewilder opponents, making  him  one of the most popular figures in British wrestling, especially facing up to villains McManus and Pallo in singles contests or the dastardly Dennisons and Black Diamonds  as one half of the White Eagles tag team. Away from wrestling Johnny was briefly involved in the music scene, managing a Manchester pop group, The Big Three, on their tour of Sierra Leone.

Wrestling took Johnny around Europe, Africa and America. Eventually  he set up home in the United States and pursued  his wrestling career. Johnny Eagles  died on May 12th 1999, aged just 64.

Mir Zaffer Ealam
Pakistani Welterweight who made the first of three televised appearances against Jim Breaks in 1963, the following year versus Bob Archer O'Brien and in 1966 knocked out Tony Borg when the Maltese wrestler made his 1966 televised debut.

Kennet Earlsa
See the entry for Ken Else

Vince Earnshaw
1950s Yorkshire heavyweight from Huddersfield. Vince was the brother of Huddersfield rugby player Terry Earnshaw. Opponents included Arthur Jackson, Jack Atherton Vic Stewart and Dave Valentine.

Ebony Kid (Al Diamond)
Doncaster's Ernie Bowman was trained in the early 1970s by Yorkshire wrestler/promoter Cyril Knowles. In the mid 1970s he began wrestling for Cyril and independent promoters of the north. After a couple of years he was signed up by Max Crabtree for Joint Promotions  where he sometimes used the name Al Diamond (not to be confused with a 1950s Canadian heavyweight of that name).
 
His career continued well into the 1990s. The Ebony kid died of cancer in December 2013. Photo (left) was taken when we met Ernie at the Leeds reunion in 2011, on the right he is in action against Red Brocco, and the poster features him using the name Ebony Kid on a Joint Promotions show.
Heritage reader Rob Hans wrote:

Ernie was an employee of mine in the late eighties. A lovely bloke, he was a driver for a waste management company I was brought in to manage, he worked with a guy called Dave Adams (who also wrestled under the name `Grizzly Adams`).

Ernie was hard-working, loyal and a devoted dad. All the people I inherited at that particular depot were lazy and worked to meet their own agenda, and ended up gone. Except Ernie. 
I put him through his Class 1 HGV (which he failed about eight times!) but you couldn`t give up on the guy as he was just so willing and enthusiastic he was a pleasure to have around. What you saw was what you got.
Ernie became a friend, rather than an employee, and he came up from Askern near Doncaster to Halifax to do some plastering for me. He brought his daughter with him and she was amazed at the hills where we are (Askern being very flat). She was an absolute credit to him.

We eventually lost touch (as you do....), but I often wondered where he was and tried to track him down with little success. Anyone meeting him just couldn`t help but  be captivated by his massive beaming grin and smile, and his huge and hearty laugh.

I never saw him wrestle, but a quarter of a century on, I still feel a better person for meeting him, and that applies to very few people I`ve met, believe me.
Rob Hans
Flash Lee Edwards
Lee Edwards had the ability to upset the fans before he entered the ring. Long before, in fact, as his entrance was often interrupted by frequent stops to sneer at the audience and give them that familiar Lee Edwards “look.” It was a look of arrogance and conceit for those around him as he swaggered towards the ring. Once  he eventually made it in to the ring Edwards would slowly  removed his satin  robe.  As the ring lights caught the sequins of his robe and the wavy blond hair fans would have no thoughts of later more famous sequined blonds because Lee Edwards pre-dated flamboyant blonds by quite a few years. As was to be expected by his entrance Edwards wrestling style paid little attention to the rules; he was a tempestuous brawler who appeared in a hurry to end his bouts as quickly as possible. A regular in British rings from the mid 1950s onwards Edwards was at his most prominent when he became a regular on the Paul Lincoln independent shows of the early 1960s.

Vince Edwards 
A stocky blond haired 18 stone heavyweight from Manchester who was a bill topper for the independent promoters in the 1960s, opponents included Dominic Pye, Jim Foy and Wild Angus Campbell. Our earliest documented record is from September, 1960, when Vince wrestled Earl Maynard in the main event at Chester. His career lasted from the late 1950s until the late 1970s, but he remained relatively unknown in Britain as much of his work was overseas, working at times with the Bholu brothers.

Joe Egan
We have around a dozen recorded appearances in the midlands and northern England for this welterweight in 1952 and 1953, opponents including Alan Colbeck, Jim Mellor and Bernard Murray.

Wolfgang Ehrl
German Wolfgang Ehrl was a scientific wrestler who visited Britain in the mid 1950s defeating George Kidd amongst others, and often matched with far heavier opponents including the likes of Ernie Riley and Les Kellett. Ehrl's credentials were outstanding, being a silver medallist in the 1932 and 1936 Olympic Games and European champion  in 1934. Born in  Munich on 4th March, 1912, seventy seven year old Ehrl died on 11th June, 1980. 

Jim Elder
Dundee’s Scottish Lightweight Champion seemed a very promising prospect in the early 1960s. A skilful wrestler he rarely travelled far south of the border. He entered wrestling following completion of his national service and trained in Dundee alongside other Scottish professional such as George Kidd, Ted Hannon and Chic Purvey. Jim’s professional career was shortened by other interests, and the world of wrestling prematurely lost another potential star. We have been told that Jim emigrated to the United States in the early 1970s.

Page revised 13/08/2019: Vince Edwards and Vince Earnshaw added