WRESTLING HERITAGE

T: Taborda - Thomson


Wrestling Heritage A - Z


Tarzan Taborda
The most famous Portuguese wrestler of all time, Tarzan Tarborda wrestled in Britain for around three months from September 1958. His curriculum vitae combines the peculiar combination of body builder (runner up in Mr Europe), heavyweight wrestler, stuntman and ballet dancer in Paris!  He was 23 years old when he came to Britain to face the likes of Jack Pye, Ramon Napolitano, Al Hayes, and Alan Garfield.  His wrestling career extended until 1981, following which he became a wrestling commentator on Portuguese television.  Albano Taborda Curto Esteves died on 9th September, 2005, aged 70. 

Keith Talbot
A trainee of the St Lukes Club in Middlesbrough, Ian Gilmour was another, Keith went on to further his education at Alex McDonald's Gym in Middlesbrough and finished off at Jim Stockdale's Gym in Stockton on Tees. When he turned professional in the early 1960s he used his real name, Keith Smith. Some time later Keith became landlord of The Talbot Public House in Stockton High Street and  he changed his ring name to Keith Talbot. He and his wife, Georgina were to keep charge of The Talbot for more than twenty five years. Their hosting of the pub is remembered by locals to this day, not least the Midsummer Christmasses and the time Keith walked into the bar with two lions.  Shortly after assuming the name of the pub in the ring  the brewery changed the name of  The Talbot, to "No. 9." Yes we know you're wondering. No, of course he didn't change his ring name to Keith No.9! Keith worked for the independent promoters in the North East of England.

Talio Kid (Also known as Derik Standing)
Talio Kid, known to family as Derik Standing, hailed from Halton, near Lancaster. Derik was trained by the Cumberland and Westmorland champion and heavyweight pro, Gerry Hoggarth.  Derik the Talio Kid worked for the independent promoters,  and when not wrestling he worked in a textile mill. His textile work tragically led to his premature death from an industrial disease in his early fifties.

Gora Tanaka
Japanese visitor to northern England during the winter of 1973-74. He worked in the country for four months  with mixed results with opponents that included Barry Douglas, Johnny Yearsley, Tibor Szakacs and Steve Veidor. Flirted with various tag partners including Colin Joynson, Bobo Matu, Barry Douglas and  Hiroshi Yagi. Made two television appearances, against Lee Sharron and disqualified against Mike Marino.

Togo Tani
Here is a career-long professional who had started out as a Sumo wrestler before the War, excelled in that art during the War, and turned to professional wrestling after it. In 1953 he featured on the first ever professional wrestling bill run by a Japanese promoter.  His opponent was Toshio Yamaguchi, but the pair of adversaries would go on to found the All Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance together in partnership.  Togo Tani then wrestled his way around the world, settled for some little while in South America, and wrestled extensively in Spain and Africa.  He didn't return to Japan until 1970, 14 years after he had left.  In Spain, he trained Klaus Kauroff for the professional ring.   His Spanish had become so good that the story even got out that he wasn't Japanese but Peruvian!

In the modern era he would tag alongside Shozo Kobayashi and would referee big box office bouts featuring the great Antonio Inoki in the 1970s.  He was known in all wrestling countries but Britain by his real name, Umeyuki Kiyomigawa, usually, sumo-style, using only the surname.  The wanderlust took hold of him again, and he returned to Germany to feud with Axel Dieter in 1973, and he frequently tagged alongside Le Gland Vladimir.  Towards the end of his life he tried to set up a Women's Wrestling promotion in Japan.  Togo Tani died in 1980 aged 63.

Togo Tani takes his place in our A-Z by virtue of his British appearances in the mid-sixties, and of course that most famous of tag bouts on wrestling's Night of Nights when, partnered by Chati Yokouchi, the villainous pair caused outrage with their evil tactics against Steve Viedor and Mike Marino at London's Royal Albert Hall. 1965 had seen Togo Tani wrestling on Paul Lincoln bills, and another little can of worms presents itself through the fact that Paul Lincoln, in his pre-Doctor Death days, had wrestled as Togo Tani alongside tag partner Joe D'Orazio.  Can it be that Kiyomigawa took his more manageable name for British tongues from a tag pairing several years before he had wrestled in Britain?

Togo Tani was given a baptism of fire on his UK television debut, facing Billy Robinson, but enjoyed a less imposing opponent in Charlie Fisher when we last saw him on our small screens in 1967.  Clearly well rated within the business, Togo Tani's photograph appeared on the cover of The Wrestler magazine.

Belatedly we can state that it is no wonder Togo Tani was able to dovetail so well into the wealth of talent in mid-sixties British rings, now that we are able to put this fuller, but no doubt still woefully inadequate, biography together.   The man did it all!  We hope our Japanese visitors to the Wrestling Heritage site will get in touch with more information on one of the all-time greats.

Sheik Tannous
A visitor to Britain in 1961 and again in  1964, all in the north with opponents Andy Robin, Albert Wall, Barry Douglas, Pietro Capello, Billy Joyce, Gordon Nelson, Masambula, Reg Williams and Gerry DeJager. The quality of opponent suggests a respected and high calibre wrestler. Defeated  Ian Campbell on tv in 1961 when the wild Scot was disqualified in a match in Morecambe.  Sheik Tannous was an experienced wrestler who was well known in Germany and Spain.  Wrestled as  Youssef Tannous in Germany and Jouseff Tannous in Lebanon, where he was last reported wrestling in 1998, when he had already turned 60. He died in July, 2015. 

Tarantula (Also known as Arachnamaniac, The Barbarian, Alan Turner )
Covered in tattoos heavyweight villain Tarantula made a colourful addition to the wrestling world of the seventies and eighties. The Portsmouth based grappler was accompanied at one time by his manager C.J.Percival, otherwise known as Heritage member and long time supporter of pro wrestling, Ian Dowland. When he wasn't frightening fans as Tarantula he could be found frightening them as Arachnamaniac, The Mummy,  The Barbarian or the much less scarey Alan Turner, who was the son in law of Bruno Elrington.  Big Bruno didn't just give Alan a daughter, he also passed on much of his wrestling skill as Alan was a trainee at Big Bruno's Portsmouth gymnasium.    It was Tarantula that was given the privileged role of opposing Count Bartelli in his last ever contest. Later in his career Alan moved to Birmingham, where he continued wrestling and trained Darren Walsh, the son of Banger.
Jose Tarres
Jose Roses Ibañez  wrestled as Jose Tarres and was one of the best post war Spanish wrestlers. A 1960s visitor from Barcelona known, for obvious reasons, as “The Man with the Iron Head.” We understand this was because of his fondness of headbutting rather than the rumour his head was implanted with pieces of metal  following an accident. jose is reputed to have head butted and knocked a bull unconscious on one occasion. Presumably the likes of Ken Joyce, Johnny Yearsley and Joe Cornelius did better. One time European heavyweight champion.

Tiger Tasker (Also known as Alaskan Tiger)
Canadian Ken Tasker came to Britain with his friends Whipper Billy Watson, Al Korman and Tommy Nelson in 1936, and stayed in Europe for three and a half years until he returned home in June, 1939. Like many of the overseas visitors 23 year old Ken Tasker was a novice when he came to Britain to gain experience in the rapidly expanding British wrestling scene. He had been a professional for only a year or so, and what he learned facing the likes of   Jack Pye, Charlie Green and Stan Roberts   gave him a good foundation to continue wrestling  back home in North America until 1964, at which time he joined the ranks of the referees. He was the referee of the 1963 encounter of Lou Thesz and Buddy Rogers. Billed as Alaskan Tiger on occasions Ken Tasker was from Toronto, Ontario. Tiger Tasker died on September 30th, 1991.

King Kong Taverne (Also known as Paul Taverne) 
Big, bad and bald King Kong Taverne (Omer to family and friends) nipped over from Germany twice to upset the wrestling fans of Britain. He was here for short tours in 1951, 1955 and 1958. Opponents included  Count Bartelli, Vic Hessle, Jack Pye and Indian Dara Singh. 

Alec Taylor
Brighton’s Alec Taylor was trained by Bert Assirati, alongside his younger brother Tony and Ray Luxford. He worked for the independent promoters in the 1970s. Tragedy struck in December, 1978. Whilst wrestling in Bombay, India, as “The Mongol Warlord” Alec complained of chest pains and died following a match.

Bob Taylor
Bob Taylor was a well known and popular wrestler of the  1960s and into the 1970s,  twenty odd years in the business. Bob turned professional  with a draw against Tommy Milo after ten years experience in the amateur ranks. In the late 1950s and early 1960s Bob made regular appearances for Paul Lincoln, Tony DeMarto and other independent promoters, and was working for Dale Martin Promotions by 1962 with televised matches against Bill Howes and Spencer Churchill. The match against Howes was a particularly fiery affair with the advantage to-ing and fro-ing until Howes knocked Bob out with a piledriver.   The following year he made his third, and possibly last televised match, against Ray Fury. 

More television exposure would possibly have come his way had he not been such an extensive traveller. He made his first overseas visit in 1959, wrestling in Germany and Austria.  He had hardly caught his breath at home before he was off again, this time to India. It was a pattern repeated in the years that followed, with France being another regular jaunt.

When in Britain Bob wrestled the biggest names in the business, Billy Joyce, Danny Lynch, Axel Dieter and Gerhardt DeJaeger amongst them. 

He continued working until around 1980, by now for the independent promoters and on occasions donned a mask as Torbellino Blanco, he White Whirlwind or another White Angel.

Sheik Michael Taylor ( Also known as Sheik Abdul Singh)
Did you see Michael Taylor? There'll be no uncertainty; if you saw him you will remember. We have two memories of him, one in the ring and one outside. We first came across the self styled Sheik (the title was allegedly bestowed by one of his yoga teachers) when he appeared on the Dave Allen chat show. He demonstrated pushing knitting needles into one cheek and out though the other cheek without  bleeding. As a follow up he smashed and ate a glass bottle! He explained these feats were possible through meditation, which enabled him to withstand intense pain, a useful attribute for a wrestler. 

Mind you, when we next saw Michael Taylor, in the ring on an independent show at Blackburn, he was fairly ordinary in the ring after dispensing of his costume and allowing a couple of members of the audience stand on his chest as he lay on a bed of nails. Whether the nails were rubber, the men were hollow, or there was some truth in what Michael claimed we shall never know. 

Martin Campbell, at the time a second at the wrestling in Wisbech, recalled “He would lie on broken glass in the ring (a nightmare for the seconds, like me, to clear up.) He lay on beds of nails. He said he could control pain. Sadly this control appeared to desert him when the bell rang and his limited wrestling abilities really did put the onus on his opponents to carry him through to a reasonable finish.”

Michael Taylor lived in Kings Lynn where he owned a tattoo shop and reputed to be a very good tattooist,

When not wrestling or performing any of these stunts Michael could often be seen hypnotising,  eating fire, juggling, stilt walking or displaying various other  talents as an entertainer up to his death.

Michael Taylor, born 29th December, 1936. Died 27th April, 2011.


Rocky Taylor
Yes there was a Rocky before the great Dave Taylor. This Rocky Taylor was a Manchester based wrestler working for the independent promoters in the north during the late 1950s.

Teddy Bear Taylor
Regular readers of Heritage know of the Old Mossblown Gym. A small, functional gym in the village of Mossblown, a mining community in South Ayshire. It was  built by it's members and run by the Bryden brothers, Andy and Bill, known to the wrestling world as Dale Storm and Bruce Welch. From this small gym came a dozen or more wrestlers who entertained the people of Scotland throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Don't take our word for it. Read the books of Eddie Rose to understand how highly regarded was the gym and the wrestlers that emerged.

One of them was a youngster by the name of Ian Taylor. Ian was a mechanic by trade.  In the late 1960s he was joined at the garage by a new mechanic,  Andy Bryden. Ian hadn't long left school, he was sixteen when the two met, and it was Andy that introduced  Ian to the wonderful world of professional wrestling. Andy had been to Australia, brought into wrestling by Danny Flynn, and could tell a good tale.

Not that Ian was interested in wrestling. Okay, he watched it on television, as most of the population did in the 1960s. Everything stopped at 4 o'clock.  Les Kellett and Catweazle were his favourites. Not for the wrestling mind you. For Ian it was the entertainment aspect that enthralled him. The way the wrestlers could control the emotions of the audience. 

Andy and Ian talked about wrestling, and Andy told him of his gym and collection of aspiring wrestlers. Still not convinced the seventeen year old accepted Andy's invitation to join him, his brother and the rest of the gang. 

Hooked! 

Twice a week Ian learned the rudiments of the business at the Mossblown gym. After around eight months the decision was made to introduce him to the paying public, an opportunity to demonstrate not just what he knew about wrestling, but about entertainment. That first match was against another Mossblown man, Young Starsky.

Smitten! By now re-named Teddy Bear Taylor (he was a Glasgow Rangers fan) Ian travelled around Scotland and  entertained the fans. He was a good pupil of both wrestling and entertainment according to tutor Dale Storm, "Teddy Bear taylor could be hilarious." At times he would tag partner Mad Michael O'Hagan; not an obvious partnership but one that just worked.

 Rocco, Pallo, Street. These were the men he admired. He respected their wrestling ability but again it was their ability to entertain that he really admired.  Wrestling in 1971, married in 1974, life was looking good for Teddy Bear. Until disaster struck. It was 1978. A fire left Ian seriously injured. Months of recovery, and lucky to escape with his life, there was no way Teddy Bear Taylor could return to the ring. 

Not the happy ending we would like to tell. But happy in that Ian fully recovered, enjoys life as he is added to the A-Z in 2018, and looks back on a good life as an entertainer.

Lee Thomas
Tall, slim and wearing his habitual white trunks Dundee's Lee Thomas quickly became one of the most popular Northern middleweights of the late sixties and early seventies. Turning professional in 1967 he quickly established himself throughout the north. Lee was a fast and skilful wrestler who combined agility, acrobatic flair and wrestling skill. His flying body scissors and drop kicks were a delight to the fans. He proved a real contrast to those other Scottish middleweights, the rough hard man, Chic Purvey, and the dour Ted Hannon. Seemed at ease with his frequent tag partner George Kidd, who was also from Dundee.

Norman Thomas
“The Cockney Kid” weighed around 13-14 stones and was a prolific worker in the 1940s and 1950s. So much so that we feel guilty for not knowing more. We come across him in 1946 when it is said he has just finished serving in the RAF. Throughout the 1940s we find Norman billed as Welsh, which he may well have been. By 1950 we find references to Norman Thomas “The Cockney Kid.” In a moment of wrestling inspiration a young Tony Scarlo wrestled Norman Thomas for use of the title “Cockney Kid.”

Scott Thomson
Known to everyone as “Wee Tam” Scott Thomson was the wrestling name of Tommy Stevenson. Tommy was born in Govan, Glasgow on 18th August, 1940. In 1961 he moved to Ayrshire, marrying Margaret Scott the following year.

Following a chance encounter with Dale Storm after a show  he was persuaded to attend Dale's  gym for a tryout. Having been taken under the wing of several top stars, he emerged as a formidable opponent, not only in his own lightweight division, but could hold his own with most in higher brackets as well. 

Being one of the fastest and strongest in the lightweight class, he excelled in the ring in most of his one to one contests and even found some fame along with his regular tag team partner Jeff Bradley when it came to a four up. Occasional spells as a referee helped improve his overall knowledge and understanding of the finer points of wrestling and he quickly became a huge crowd pleaser. Amongst his toughest opponents he listed Ireland's Mad Mike O'Hagan, Jim Morgan (the younger twin in The Fabulous Harlequins Tag Team),   Ian McKenzie and Aberdeen's Len Ironside.

After he retired Scott moved to the Scottish Borders where he developed an interest in local politics, standing as a Scottish Nationalist Party in local elections. He was also an elder at Teviothead Church,   chair of the village hall committee and a recipient of the Service Above Self Award, the Rotary Club's highest honour for an individual Rotarian.

Scott Thomson died in July, 2018.