WRESTLING HERITAGE

British wrestling history 

M: Mack - Manning


Wrestling Heritage A-Z


Johnny Mack
Liverpool hard man Johnny Mack roughed it up with the best of them, Dempsey, Riss, Sherry and the like for around twenty years from the late 1940s until the mid 1960s. “He was as hard as nails,” Buddy Ward told us. Such a description should not mislead us  though. Johnny Mack was a skilled technical wrestler with first class credentials. He was the trainer at the Crosby Amateur Wrestling Club and trained Empire Games light heavyweight champion Tony Buck.

Johnny's birth name was John McLoughlin. Although he was an accomplished amateur boxer he should not be confused with either pro boxer Johnny Mack or Canadian heavyweight wrestler Jack McLoughlin.

Apart from entertaining wrestling fans for two decades Johnny also bestowed on the wrestling world his son  Johnny Locke (Johnny Palance).

Johnny Mack: born 8th January, 1918; died on 7th April 1975.

Tommy Mack
A whirlwind from Doncaster labelled “The Hurricane He Man.” Tommy was a real old time villain known as Tommy the Demon and by all accounts lived up to the name. Billed from Doncaster in the early 1930s we occasionally find him from various Lancashire  towns and even London by 1939. In 1944 we find Tommy Mack organising a wrestling show as part of the Holidays at Home scheme in Rochdale, possibly a clue to his place of abode. We last found Tommy Mack on the posters in January, 1952.  

The Mad Axeman
Not one of the great career masked men that we treasure here at Heritage. By the 1970s masked men proliferated and  towards the end of the decade it seemed that anyone could be given a hood and be deemed a hooded terror for the night.    The Mad Axeman was a 1970s masked man who failed to make it into the premier league of British masked men. There may have been others but the most notable men beneath the Mad Axeman hood are believed to be Gordon Corbett and Gypsy Smith, both serial hooded terrors.

Pat Madden
Pat Madden was a Lancashire tough un. His dad was born in Platt Bridge, Wigan and moved to Coppull as a coal mine hewer. It was here that Pat Madden was born in 1911, the ninth child of Thomas and Mary, with the name Alfred Prescott on the birth certificate. He followed in the footstaps of his father, working as a shot blaster in Bradford Colliery.

They made them hard  and Pat was no exception, "Reputed to be the roughest and toughest welterweight" proclaimed the posters,  but nonetheless skilled in the art of wrestling and described as  "A class wrestler."  

Not one of the biggest names in the business but he was by all accounts an accomplished performer who worked regularly around the north of England throughout the 1930s and 1940s.

Quite a few of those contests were at two of the biggest stadiums in the country, the St James Hall, Newcastle and  Belle Vue, Manchester,  where opponents included Red Brokau, Frank Manto and Lew Roseby.

The quality of opponent suggests that Pat Madden was indeed a tough and knowledgeable wrestler – men like Jack Beaumont, Jackie Harris and Jack Alker were not the sort to be messed with.

Pat was one of those wrestlers whose careers spanned both sides of the Second World War, with our last sighting of him being this 1947 outing against Billy Fogg at Blackpool Tower. Pat Madden moved to Bradford, where he died in 1976.

Pat Madden did bestow one more gift on the wrestling world. His son, Graham Pullen, was one of the finest amateur lightweight wrestlers of the 1960s. He was tipped for a place in the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico, finally pipped to the post by Roger Till.

Pat Magee
Bearded Irish light heavyweight Pat Magee got into the wrestling business from the outset of the all-in days and was certainly working as early as 1931. His matches were described as skilful exhibitions, something of a rarity in the 1930s. After what appears to have been a career as a well respected wrestler a reports in 1947 describes Vic Coleman wrestling for the second time in one night to defat an ageing Pat Magee.

We may well have thought that was the end of Pat Magee's career.However, promoter Atholl Oakeley who was keen to rebuild his wrestling promoting empire had other ideas. He gave Pat's career a new lease of life, wrestling  Guido Ronga for the World Middleweight Championship in December 1952, and Jack Beaumont in March, 1953, both Oakeley promotions at the Royal Albert Hall. Pat Magee was also the referee  Oakeley's matching of  Jack Doyle against Martin Bucht at the  Harringay Arena  in February, 1950. He finally disappeared following one last high profile outing, a win over Bruno Forte at the Royal Albert Hall in May, 1953.

Walter Magnee
Belgian Walter Magnee brought a dash of international flavour to the British wrestling scene between 1932 and 1934. By then he was in his forties and may have brought a wealth of experience of which we are unaware. We do know he was living in Leeds in 1916, with references to his prowess as a boxer and wrestler.

Not a big winner by any means he was often in opposition to top rated opponents such as Jack Pye, Half Nelson Keyes and Karl Pojello. A wrestling oddity occurred in 1934 when newspapers reported a contest between Black Mask and  Walter Magnee. In the third round the masked man voluntarily removed  the mask to reveal himself as W.A.Ord, apparently “well known in Nottingham.” The now de-masked Black Mask won the contest, reportedly his first professional contest, in the fourth round. 

He appeared in numerous minor film role and was and adviser in The Night and the City (1950), Tales from Soho (1956), BBC Sunday-Night Theatre (1950) and Television World Theatre (1957)

Walthere Hubert Marie Magneee was born in Liege on 20th June, 1889 and  died on 22nd March, 1974 in Leigh-on-Sea.

Mike Mahoney
Mad Mike Mahoney was a wild man; you could tell by looking at his face and staring eyes. A rugged and unpredictable middleweight, he worked for all promoters including the constituent Joint promotions people before they became Joint Promotions.  In the north of England he was one of those ever present wrestlers who never failed to give audiences value for money. Notable opponents included Fred Woolley, Cyril Knowles, Red Callaghan, Jack Dempsey, John Foley, Jim Lewis, Johnny Willis and a couple of the Beaumonts, Jack and Cliff. Mike mysteriously dropped off the wrestling radar in the late 1960s  He disappeared only to emerge about 30 years later at a reunion in Ellesmere Port along with his old mate Cowboy Jack Cassidy. Where had he been for all those years? God only knows. One look at those mad staring eyes and his high pitched laugh reminded everyone he was not called "Mad Mike" for nothing. Then he disappeared again.

Johnny  Major
We rely on The Wrestler magazine for our limited knowledge of Johnny Major, a welterweight from West Norwood, a residential district of South London,. Johnny  was a popular and busy worker during a short lived career  in the 1960s. A good  amateur training at the United Amateur Wrestling Club led to a promising professional career against opponents such as Peter Szakacs, Bernard Murray and Len Wilding. John started out with Dale Martin Promotions but in mid 1962 he was one of the many tempted across the great divide to join the opposition promoters. Johnny continued working, mostly for Paul Lincoln Management, until the company was absorbed  into Joint Promotions in January 1966. We can find no record of him transferring back to Joint Promotions and he seems to have disappeared from the wrestling scene.

Bill Malloy
Billed as the Irish heavyweight champion but apparently based in the north of England and a regular worker in those parts during the 1950s, wrestling the likes of Ernie Baldwin, Alf Rawlings and Geoff Portz. We  first come across Bill in 1949, losing to Jim Hussey in the main event at Dundee. Bill wrestled Billy Joyce on television in the early days of televised wrestling back in 1958.

Brian Malloy
1970s heavyweight from Woolwich turned professional for Joint Promotions in 1971 and was around for about five years, with the occasional outing for the independents following that. He worked almost always for Dale Martin Promotions in southern England, with only the occasional journey north. 

Frank Malmoa
We always thought there was something very exotic sounding about Frank Malmoa. Not just the sound of his name but the fact he came from Sweden. We were easily impressed forty years ago.

Born in Malmoa, Sweden, but based in Belgium light heavyweight Frank Malmoa brougt a splash of colour to our rings, could mix it with the best, and wasn’t afraid of breaking the rules and upsetting the fans. 

He visited Britain twice, both of them short visits for Dale Martin Promotions in 1972 and again in 1974. In most contests he seemed to face lighter opponents, usually wrestlers with impressive pedigrees. 

But saying that his record was not overly impressive. 

On both visits he was granted Royal Albert Hall showings, both against lighter middleweight opponents. In September, 1972, he drew with Clayton Thomson, and in November 1974 he lost to Bert Royal.

Jim Maloney
The temperamental Irish middleweight, known for speed and agility,  nicknamed Jumping Jim, was a busy worker around the country in the 1930s, our first sighting being in 1933 with a win over Richard Wills. . High calibre opponents included Harold Angus, Sonny Wallis and Jackie Harris. Reports suggest that Maloney was an energetic, athletic and skilful wrestler who could wrestle with the best. Our last recorded match for Jim is in 1946.

Brian Manelli
Watching the wrestling on his parents tiny black and white set in the early 1960s generated a passion for a sport that he knew he wanted to be his life. For Brian Manelli the dream came true, though his was not one of those names that would appear top of the bill and be known by all and sundry. 

Born in Chertsey, Surrey and brought up in Orpington Brian was nineteen years old when he stepped into the professional ring for the first time. That was back in 1964 in Leysdown, a coastal village on the east side of the Isle of Sheppey, and fans cheered as the MC introduced, "The Anglo Italian Glamour Boy, Brian Manelli."

Most of Brian's life was spent working in the south of England, not just wrestling, but putting on his own shows under the name Phoenix Promotions. 

Towards the end of  his career a night at the theatre inspired Brian to pull on a mask and create the Villainous persona of The Phantom. Away from the ring Brian was a kitchen and bathroom designer, with many television and film personalities amongst his customers.

Brian Manelli died, just 68 years of age, on February 5th, 2013.

Marcel Mannevau
The black jackets worn by the stocky, unruly Marcel Mannevau (he was the one with the moustache)  and tag partner, Claude Gessat , as they swaggered towards the ring gave a far from subtle hint about their wrestling style. The two Frenchmen were disliked by the British fans from their first venture across the English channel at the invitation of independent promoter Paul Lincoln  to later 1960s bouts in Joint Promotion rings. Inevitably promoters lined up a range of popular teams such as Ken Joyce and Eddie Capelli, with whom they had many tussles, and the Cortez brothers. British fans couldn't be bothered with the linguistic niceties of translating their "Les Blousons Noirs" name and knew them as The French Teddy Boys. 


Keith Manning 
Wakefield heavyweight trained by Ernie Baldwin turned professional in 1962 and was seen around northern rings until 1967.

25/04/2021: Revision of Johnny Mack, Tommy Mack, Pat Madden, Pat Magee, Walter Magnee
26/10/2019: Addition of Tommy Mack