WRESTLING HERITAGE

K:  Kaiser - Kennedy


Wrestling Heritage A - Z


Adolf Kaiser

It is now fifty years since the villainous German Dr Adolf Kaiser stomped his way around British rings.  We have no personal memories of his encounters, mostly in southern England against top class opposition such as Gordon Nelson, Georges Gordienko and a Royal Albert Hall loss to Jerry DeJager. We have been told that he was an aggressive wrestler who used his not inconsiderable strength to work over his opponents physically and work up the ringsiders mentally.


Wrestling Heritage reader Pantaleon Manlapig has provided details of the monocled stereotypical German. He was in fact a Hungarian, born on 9th February, 1921, by the name of Hans Waldherr. Hans grew up in 'vienna and was later a Austrian citizen. Normally he was billed as "Würger aus Wien" (Strangler from Vienna). He also used  the moniker Dr. Adolph Kaiser in Vienna for Georg "Schurl" Blemenschützs famous Heumarkt tournament.  Later he was a renowned Actor playing in numerous movies and in many theatres. He and his wife also owned the  "Winterhuder Bierstube" in Hamburg.   Adolf Kaiser was immortalised in oil by renowned artist and wrestling fan Peter Blake in a painting housed in the Southbank Centre, London. 


Peter Kaiser

Hamburg's Peter Kaiser  was the nephew of the famous German wrestler and promoter Gustl kaiser. Peter made two visits of around a month to Britain, mainly  northern England,  in the spring and autumn of 1960. Opposition was first class: Bill Howes,  Gordon Nelson, Ray Apollon, but results were less than impressive. Peter kaiser passed away on 25th October, 1985.


Sergei Kalmikoff

Sergei Kalmikoff was known as the  “Siberian Cave Man” and wrestled in the United States in the early 1930s. Atholl Oakeley met the giant when he travelled to the United States in 1932. 


Oakeley was apparently impressed by what he saw and the Russian wild man promised to visit Britain and work for the Briton, which he did. Oakeley claimed Kalmikoff stood over seven feet tall, but whilst big this does seem to be another of Oakeley's wild exaggerations.


When he came to Britain as part of the 1930s revival Kalmikoff drew large crowds fighting the likes of King Curtis and other Oakeley men.


There are reports that the name Sergei Kalmikoff was used post war by the Dutch heavyweight, Hektor Van Mullen, usually known as Le Grand Vladimir.


See also the entry for Le Grand Vladimir


Kamikaze

Most readers with memories of Kamikaze probably recall the man in the striking, somewhat scary, masks who faced Jimmy Breaks and Tally Ho Kaye in 1981 and 1982.  We have been told Ian Gilmour was beneath the hood but have no confirmation of this and know that many wrestlers have used the gimmick through the years. Our earliest memories of Kamikaze were on the independent bills of the 1960s.  The masked man proclaimed "Death before dishonour," but even that was not enough to save him from occasional losses. Unlike most masked men he did not state that he would unmask if beaten, which was just as well,  the justification being that his face was so hideously disfigured due to burns sustained in the Korean war that he could never reveal his face. In March 1964 the middleweight Kamikaze gave away over a stone in weight when he tried unsuccessfully to defeat and unmask the villainous Doctor Death at the Edmonton Granada Cinema. Regular under the mask for the 1960s independents was  Eddie Stratton. Eddie was the real deal as far as the martial arts were concerned. He was a British aikido teacher and the founder of Yoshinkan UK, and the Shudokan Institute of Aikido International.  


We offer yet another Kamikaze, and this one we believe to have been the original. Beginning a five year masked career around 1960 this masked man was revealed as a very famous internationally renowned wrestler when unmasked by Conde Maximilian.  


Under the hood at various times were Bob Anthony, Al Miquet, Eric Taylor, Tug Wilson, Bob Anthony, John Foley, Maurice Hunter, Ray Crawley, Ian Gilmour and undoubtedly various others. First to grab the name was arguably a Continental star active for five years in Spain before being unmasked in July 1965 by Conde Maximilian. Beneath tha mask was the stylish Spaniard Modesto Aledo.


Frank Karalius

A hard man from Widnes  and a difficult opponent for all but the toughest, most experienced wrestlers. Eddie Rose remembers him, “I took exception to a couple of hard fore-arms so at the first opportunity I got him in a double elbow and went down with him like a sack of nutty slack. Wham! That's him sorted. He was up in a flash and dotted me painfully on the nose with a big grin."


Vince Karalius

The name came from his Lithuanian grandparents. Vince Karalius was one of the biggest names in British rugby league during the 1950s and early 1960s, making twelve appearances for Great Britain. A ferocious, intimidating player he was known as “The Wild Bull of the Pampas.”  The one time St Helens rugby league forward was another who transferred from one rough sport to another; with a short career working mainly for Wryton Promotions in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He was trained for the professional ring by his long time friend Ted Betley, the man who was also responsible for the early development of Dynamite Kid, Steve Wright and Young David.   Karalius and Betley were neighbours in the Isle of Man where they both moved with their families after retiring from their sporting activities. When Ted died in 2001 Vince Karalius gave a heart-rending speech about his friend and was one of the pall bearers.   Vince Karalius passed away in December 2008, aged 76.


Stanislaw Karchinski

The self styled “Russian Bear” a very powerful heavyweight, said to fear no-one, though his record suggested maybe he should have been a bit more cautious!


Stan Karoly

Hungarian middleweight Stan Karoly was a familiar figure in Southern England in the late 1960s. We were told at the time that like many other young Hungarians he left his home country in 1956 and settled in Austria where he continued to pursue his interest in amateur wrestling, but now with an eye on turning professional. Whether or not that is true we cannot confirm because he was also said to be the son of Stanislaus Karloyi who had left Hungary long before 1956. Maybe a reader, or Stan himself, can shed some light on his background. Following a short career with the independent promoters was eventually signed up by Dale Martin Promotions..


Stanislaus  Karolyi

Stanislaus Karolyi was an internationally acclaimed wrestler who worked around Europe from the 1930s until the 1950s. He is usually reported to have been born in Nagykanizsa, Hungary, 2nd March, 1906, although  British Journalist Charles Mascall did state in the Ring Magazine of November, 1948 that he was an Hungarian born in Paris.

A  pre-war European light heavyweight champion he lost his title to Mike Demitre, reported in the March, 1938 issue of Ring Magazine by Charles Mascall  "Mike Demitre, who won on a foul, took the European lightheavy crown from Stan Karolyi at the L' Elysee Montmartre in Paris."  The Newcastle Chronicle reported that Karolyi won the return match but the championship result was declared void as both men exceeded the weight limit and Mancini retained the title.

Acknowledged for his physique and superb physical condition he was a visitor to the USA in those days when transatlantic travel was unusual. A skilful technical wrestler he won many bouts with his favourite move the Scorpion Death Lock. He made short term vists to Britain  each year from 1933 until 1937 and again in 1950 and 1951. Opponents included Dave Armstrong, Jack Pye and Bert Assirati. With various spellings of his name in existence many promoters settled on a simple Stan Karolyi. 

Klaus Kauroff
It came to light with Togo Tani's inclusion on these listings in 2011 that, as Umeyuki Kiyomigawa, he had been responsible in  Spain for the training of this German super-heavyweight. A lorry driver by day, an amateur boxer in his youth, he was destined to become one of the great wrestling baddies on both sides of the Atlantic.

Klaus-Dieter Kauroff’s  first UK tour was in November 1967, he was a newcomer to the wrestling ranks at that time, brought over by his mentor Togo Tani. Our records show he  lost every match by a knockout or disqualification with the exception of a tag match partnering Wolfgang Starck.

Kauroff made his way back to the UK in January 1975 and stayed about six weeks. By now he was clearly more experienced than his previous visit and made a big impression, though again he wasn’t very successful in his bouts against mainly mid-carders. Nevertheless, he stepped into the ring with some top-notch opponents such as Steve Viedor, Georges Gordienko, Tibor Szakacs and Mike Marino.  He did however chalk up a victory over Prince Kumali, and perhaps his highlight was defeating the masked Exorcist in Liverpool. 

At the Royal Albert Hall he lost to Steve Viedor. Just appearing in that hall was something of an acknowledgement that he had made it. On television he knocked out Roy St. Clair but lost matches to him around the halls. The television match with Roy St Clair is one etched on the memory. He really did seem so big and so bad, or as SaxonWolf said, “He was Germany’s Mick McManus.”

In Germany, the affectionately held Hanoverian won the World Cup tournament twice and later became one of the most hated men when he worked as the heel manager for the US stars, in the now defunct Catch Wrestling Association when he brought theiri villains to Germany and Austria.

Klaus Kauroff’s final ring appearance was in 1996, a  tag match in Graz, Austria, when he partnered  Rene Lasartesse against Otto Wanz and Steve Wright.  Heritage member Gernot Freiberger was there.

In June 2011 the now retired legend returned for one night only as manager at Westside Xtreme Wrestling’s charity event “wXw with you, Japan”.

Born on 24th January, 1941, Klaus Kauroff died on 24th November, 2020.

Dave Kaye

The older of the Kaye boys followed his younger brother, Tony, into the wrestling rings of the 1970s. 


Dave is remembered by fans as a hard man of the ring and by fellow wrestlers as a tough opponent who would give no quarter. Prior to wrestling Dave served in the army and  was a very handy amateur boxer; showing a willingness to use these previous experiences whenever things got difficult in th ring. 


Dave was trained by Yorkshire promoter Cyril Knowles, and many of his bouts were for Cyril and other independent promoters. A long running feud with Jackie Pallo Jr was played out around many northern halls. 


Apart from those memorable bouts with Pallo many fans also recall Dave sauntering to the ring, cigarette in hand, and stubbing it out on the corner post! Oh for such innocent days!  One special memory for Dave was the occasion when one of his contests, a Blackpool Cyril Knowles show, was refereed by the legendary Jack Pye. When Max Crabtree took over matchmaking for Joint Promotions Dave was one of the opposition wrestlers he brought across to Joint rings.     


Fuzzy Kaye

Whilst midget wrestling never equalled the prominence it reached in the United States the inclusion of midgets on a wrestling bill always aroused interest. The most famous midget of them all was Royston Smith, who went by the ring persona of Fuzzyball Kaye, working for both independent and Joint Promotions from the late 1940s until the mid 1960s. Born into a travelling family Kaye often shared the ring with Tom Gallagher, either as an opponent or tag partner. Kaye, an associate of the Kray Twins and other London criminals Kaye  ran a club for dwarves in  Soho as well as the  Kismet Club, and  was a genuinely hard man who could put fear into men literally two or three times his size.  He also worked in the Morton Fraser Harmonica Gang, played in pantomime and appeared in Trapeze with Burt Lancaster.   Later became a busker. Kaye's colourful life story can be read in the book “Little Legs: Muscleman of Soho,” by George Tremlett (published by Harper, 1989).

Jeff Kaye

The popular Leeds middleweight was another who combined a career in wrestling with that of a farmer. What was it with wrestlers and farms, or public houses? It didn't do him any harm at all, as Jeff was one of those wrestlers respected by all his colleagues After turning professional in 1962 the agile and skilful Kaye was well placed to capitalise on the benefit of television exposure. 


He quickly established himself as a firm favourite amongst television fans, seen at his best against similarly speedy technicians but also delighting viewers by outwitting the likes of McManus and Pallo whilst on the way to inevitable defeat.


Northern based, with only sporadic raids into Dale Martin territory Kaye’s television appearances brought him popularity throughout the land. Nonetheless, in the early days we considered him a stylish, clever but unspectacular wrestler. Colourful was not a word that came to mind. Jeff would climb through the ropes, do his job effectively, and leave the ring. Scots born Ian Gilmour was a frequent opponent and the two had some cracking contests. Then it all changed. Jeff and Ian joined forces as The Barons tag team, taking to the ring to battle the likes of villainous teams The Masters, The Dennisons and The Black Diamonds as well as scintillating lightening fast scientific displays with the Royal brothers and the Jet Set.


Suddenly the monochrome became full colour. The Barons distinctive costume of  gold boots, ponchos and purple trunks was more than enough to excite us in those days. 


Following his retirement Kaye became a highly respected referee and trained youngsters along with his friend Drew McDonald; with Dave Taylor being one of their many proteges.


Peter Kaye

Long time seasoned professional Peter Kaye was a ubiquitous Lancashire mid-heavyweight of the late sixties who scaled down to middleweight in the seventies   A profuse sweater who always gave 100% and displayed a whole array of holds. Seemingly a genuine horseman and for ever associated inextricably with the foray into pro wrestling of controversial Show Jumping star, Harvey Smith. For this feud he abandoned his Stubby Kaye persona and donned doublet and hose in creating Tally-Ho Kaye,  complete with top hat and bugle. Often seen in-ring training and dutifully going down to young starlets, but remember he was trained himself in the sixties by the great Jumping Jim Hussey. In our Years of Wrestling series you can find details of his run behind a mask, mostly northern-based but getting as far as Eastbourne as the programme shows and ultimately unmasked in Scotland by Les Kellett. Peter was well respected by promoters and was given the responsibility of putting many a novice through his paces. Forty years after the event many Heritage readers have told us of their fond memories of Tally Ho Kaye, “He seemed to be a genuinely tough guy, without being a really top-level shooter. I always enjoyed his banter with the audience and he often made me laugh, even though he was a heel,” Heritage member John told us. Andy added, “Kaye was great at winding up the crowd and of course could wrestle too. I always thought his gimmick was terrific - especially blowing his horn while the MC tried to introduce his opponent!“


Tony Kaye  (Also known as Tony Caine, Mr Flowerpower,  Flower Power Caine, Sweet Lord Byron)

There must be something in the Yorkshire water that has enabled the county to produce so many professional wrestlers.  Tony Kaye emerged on to the professional scene following three years expert guidance at the Jack Lane Amateur Wrestling Club in Leeds and professional tuition from Cyril Knowles. After two years of pro tuition it was Knowles that gave Tony the chance to move from the amateur to professional ranks by giving him his first paid contest in 1968 when he was nineteen years old. For three years Tony wrestled in the north and midlands on the opposition circuit alongside the likes of  Johnny Saint, Fred Woolley, Al Marquette and Catweazle. In 1971 he joined Joint Promotions and was soon exchanging holds with established stars that included Al Miquet, Ian Gilmour, Jim McKenzie and Al Nicol.  It wasn't just a change of opponents but a change of name also, as Tony was re-named Tony Caine for his Joint Promotion appearances.  Tony told Wrestling Heritage that it was the 1970s and working for the Crabtrees that was the most enjoyable and demanding part of his career. Max Crabtree encouraged Tony to develop a more flamboyant style, dye his hair blond and wear more colourful costumes, reminiscent of Bobby Barnes in his Beautiful Bobby days.  "Let's hope Caine can wrestle as good as he looks," quipped  Kent Walton when Tony made his television debut against Colin Bennett in 1974. With the colourful persona came new names:  Flower Power Caine, Mr Flower Power and Little Caesar. For Tony they were great times, which he enjoys reminiscing at the Leeds Reunion. "I'm still living the good life, but nowt to do with wrestling," Tony tells us; and searching for photos, posters and programmes of his wrestling career to pass on to his fifteen grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Get in touch with us at Wrestling Heritage if you can help.


John Kelly

Brother of Peter Kelly in the older generation of the respected Kelly wrestling family. The wrestling world was robbed of John when he died at far too early an age. We would welcome further information.


Peter Kelly

For a quarter of a century Peter Kelly was a popular figure in the wrestling rings of Britain during the 1960s, 70s and early 1980s. After four years in the amateur ranks he turned  professional in the late 1950s for the independent promoters with opponents including other rising stars Jon Cortez, Adrian Street, Zoltan Boscik and Tony Skarlo. A worker in both independent and Joint Promotion rings he appeared on the televised bill from Brighton in 1965 when the BBC tentatively entered the realms of televised wrestling, though it appears his bout against Tony Grazi was not broadcast. Was finally introduced to television viewers in 1973, losing to Robby Baron at Walthamstow.   In British rings Peter was mostly seen in the north and midlands, though his wrestling commitments took him further afield to France, Spain, Zambia, Kenya and South Africa. Regular tag partners included Tony Skarlo, son Steve and Tony Kelly, who was unrelated. 

Steve Kelly

The younger generation of the Kelly family continued the proud traditions of Peter and John  in the 1970s and 1980s. From such a famous wrestling family it seemed likely that Steve would take to the sport and he turned professional when he was just sixteen years old, making a big impression on fans with his enthusiasm and agility. Mind you, other sports did tempt Steve as he was also a talented soccer player and enjoyed motor racing.  Highly respected by his colleagues Steve was usually the hero of the rings, but could turn on the heat by breaking the rules on occasions. Trained by Peter Kelly and the original Cockney Kid, Tony Skarlo, Steve tagged with  both  Peter and  his mentor.


Although similar in weight to Peter kelly Steve towered over the older generation, nearing six feet tall. He is remembered for superb bouts  with Tony's son, Dino Skarlo and with other notable opponents that  included Jackie Pallo, Ricky Starr and Adrian Street.   Steve made a handful of appearances on ITV's World of Sport and also appeared on Jackie Pallo's televised recording of 1989 (shown on cable and ITV) against Clive Myers and Dino Skarlo. A 1977 Royal Albert Hall clash with Superstar Sanders at the Royal Albert Hall was one of the highlights of his career.


Tony Kelly

The bright lights of Birmingham were a far cry from the relative quiet of County Mayo where Tony was born. Like many before him Tony made the crossing across the Irish Sea in his late teens and he was soon learning the wrestling trade at the club of Grant Foderingham, the Black Panther, and under the tutorship of Jack Taylor in Leicester. Tony's association with Jack Taylor led to a meeting with Lew Phillips the Digbeth promoter, and eventually Tony moved to Birmingham, working firstly for Lew Phillips and then signed  by Joint Promotions in 1971. Tony's career extended into the early 1980s, but by then home was calling and Tony returned to live in Dublin. 


Neil Kemp

Leicester born Neil Kemp was one of those whose entry to the wrestling fraternity was as much through good fortune as good management. In the early 1960s a resident of Leicester was wrestler/promoter Jack Taylor. Professional wrestling in Britain was flourishing at the time and Jack was putting on wrestling tournaments around the country most nights of the week. In 1962 Neil met and made friends with Jack and his brother Doug one night when he was watching the wrestling at the Granby Halls, a huge venue in Leicester where Jack promoted every Saturday evening. 


Neil went along to Jack's gym on the London Road where he began training alongside other Taylor hopefuls Mick Collins and Taffy Jenkins. Jack was a believer that once a youngster knew the basics the best place to continue to learn was in the ring, matched with others of similar ability or those with the experience to help the youngster along the road. A year or so after meeting Jack Neil was introduced into the professional ring for the first time using his family name Neil Kemp, which later became Naughty Neil Kemp. Soon he was travelling around the country facing other Taylor regulars  Mick Collins, Taffy Jenkins, Lord Snooty Monk, and Roger LaDaire. 


Highlights included winning a ten-man knock-out trophy, and defeating Jim McLaren at Buxton for the independent promoters version of the Scottish welterweight belt.


Apart from Jack Taylor Neil worked for other independent promoters, including Cyril Knowles. By that time Neil had moved to Yorkshire and it was then that "real life" got in the way. Neil's new wife was concerned about his safety in the ring and so he decided to pack it in, retiring in 1972, having been in the business around ten years.  


Neil moved to Spain with happy memories of his time in the ring "I loved that period of my life and I made a lot of good friends, like George Kidd, Alan Colbeck, Les Kellett, Jackie Pallo (whose capes I sometimes wore), Giant Haystacks, Leon Arras and the like. 


Harry Kendall

A classy Brixton heavyweight who was one of the original Silent Ones alongside Mike Eagers Harry relinquished his place to tour New Zealand and was replaced by Danny Hegan, whom he then returned to partner when Eagers retired prematurely. 


Apart from his tag team acclaim Harry was a highly accomplished singles wrestler, popular amongst fans and well respected amongst his colleagues, “A True wrestler in every sense of the word,” according to wrestler Eddie Rose. . His professional career highlights include a televised tag match alongside Masambula, another top-of-a-televised-bill against Les Kellett, and, in The Silent Ones, a famous Royal Albert Hall victory over The Untouchables. 


Harry’s style made him popular with fans. Heritage member Powerlock remembers him as “Impressive in both singles and tag matches, a well respected wrestler and a competitor who gave the punter their moneys worth”


Singles victims included dangerous Danny Lynch and Johnny Yearsley. Previously he had chalked up perhaps one of the most impressive amateur records through the fifties, including British middleweight championships in 1953 and 1954, a bronze medal in the 1954 Commonwealth Games (again at middleweight) and the light heavyweight championship in 1958, shortly after which he turned professional.


Kim Kendo

Possibly one of the most mysterious and apparently influential names in our listings. This Lincoln Promotions lightweight wore martial arts gear in the early sixties before any other wrestler did, to be followed not so many years later by Alf Marquette, Kung Fu, Iron Fist and others. As early as 1963 he was introducing British wrestling fans to the hitherto largely unknown expression “Kendo”, and this would also go on to form part of the name of at least a couple of well known heavyweights who started their careers later on. Kim Kendo was a regular opponent, and at other times tag partner,of the likes of Jon Cortez, Zoltan Boscik, Johnny Williams and well known contemporary names, but seemed not to make a successful transition after Lincoln and Dale Martin merged at the start of 1966. Photo kindly supplied by Wryton.


Wrestling Heritage curators remain on an ongoing archaeological mission studying the impact and influence of this little mentioned wrestler.


Bill Kennedy

Bill Kennedy was a popular Isle of Man based wrestler of the 1970s. Born in Crosby, near Liverpool, Bill learned the sport at the Barball Amateur Wrestling Club, Crosby. 


After a short spell in London Bill moved to the Isle of Man in the mid 1960s and opened his own hairdressing salon Due to a lack of wrestling opportunities on the island Bill took up judo. He later met a number of others who had wrestled on the mainland and together they decided to form an Isle of man wrestling club..


In July, 1969 Bill made his professional debut at the Villa Marina, Douglas, when he lost by the best of three falls to Ian St John. A few months later, on 23rd August, 1970, Bill overcame Mike Young to take the Isle of Man Lightweight title. 


Bill did make it back to the mainland, alongside fellow Islander Phil Barry,  in 1972 for a trial with Joint Promotions. 


Impressive enough to receive a few bookings Bill seemed to fade away fairly quickly, and Wrestling Heritage writers would very much like to hear from Bill once again to let us know how his career developed and what he is doing these days.