W: Watson - Weston
Wrestling Heritage A - Z
Whipper Billy Watson
Bronco Roger Wells was a rowdy rough guy who was one of the great baddies of the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s. Trained with his friend Bruno Elrington, for whom he was driver in the late 1960s, and started appearing on bills for independent promoters in the early 1960s. By the mid 1970s he was a regular worker for Joint Promotions, mostly Dale Martin Promotions, travelling throughout southern England to raise the ire of the fans. Although never a main eventer in his own right Roger met all the big names on the southern circuit, Bruno, Tibor, Kumali and the like. Promoters told us that he weighed 21 stones 7 pounds, but we reckon this was on the generous side. For a time Roger tagged with Big Bruno, though we perceive the peak of his career being chosen as the television opponent of the recently unmasked Kendo Nagasaki. It had been as the opponent of another former masked man, Count Bartelli, that Roger had come to the nations attention two years earlier when he made his television debut in November, 1976. Other tv opponents included Lee Bronson and Ed Wensor, but by November, 1978, had reached the ignominious fate shared by so many others, canon fodder for Shirley Crabtree. Towards the end of the 1970s Roger took to refereeing, though continued wrestling until around 1982, returning to the independent promoters for the last couple of years. A regular and welcome addition to any bill Roger lacked the height to be considered a serious super heavyweight.
Claimed by Canadians as one of their own and one of their great wrestling legends Jack Wentworth was as Lancashire as pies, puddings and Uncle Joe's Mintballs. He was born in Lancashire in 1907 but did move to Ontario, Canada in 1910, leaving Liverpool on 24th June on The Virginian. When it came to wrestling though, Jack was back on the boat to England and established himself as one of our Top Wrestlers of the 1930s. Shortly after making his professional debut in Canada he worked his way to Southampton and remained in Britain for most of the decade.
He quickly dropped his family name of Alfred Hodgson and took the name Jack Wentworth, Wentworth being his home county back in Canada.He travelled throughout the country, meeting the biggest names in the business - Iron Duke, Jack Pye and King Curtis amongst them. He was only 5 feet eight inches tall and weighed around thirteen stones, but Jack was a solid and powerful wrestler, with great stamina from swimming and football. Once he was established in Britain Jack was joined by his wife and two children. In 1937 he travelled to South Africa, where he stayed for two years, filling out to a powerful sixteen stone heavyweight. In 1939 with war approaching he returned to England and resumed wrestling until 1940 when he returned to Canada.
Jack returned to Britain, with a group of his protégés that included his son Robert, in 1954 and again in 1958. In 1958 he opened a wrestling gymnasium in Hamilton, Ontario, one of his many proteges being Ivan Koloff. The passenger list of the 1954 state his occupation as wrestler, whilst by 1958 it had changed to gum instructor.
Jack Wentworth passed away in 1984, aged 77.
German mid heavyweight visited Britain in 1953 and made a number of further visits during the 1950s. Was knocked out by Al Hayes at the Royal Albert Hall, and lost to Dennis Mitchell in the 1956 Royal Albert Hall heavyweight tournament. Reward came his way with a defeat of Alf Cadman on television.
A clean and skilled lightweight of the 1970s with hair to die for, humungus sideburns and heavily tattooed arms. Those are our memories of the popular Chatham lghtweight Mick West. In later years he moved up to middleweight, but then that's the fate of most of us. Sad to say we can offer little more, but if anyone has memories or information to please get in touch.
Yes there was wrestling life in the 1920s, and Heritage member Ron Historyo discovered it. Whilst just about every other wrestling source states there was no wrestling in Britain between 1910 and 1930 Ron has disproved this opinion on numerous occasions, and none more forcibly than in the case of Sid Weston.
Sid came from Chesterfield and Ron told us that on 17th July, 1922, Sid Weston wrestled Joe Sheppard (known as Johanfesson) at the Chesterfield Hippodrome in a Catch-as-Catch-Can contest. Weston (billed as British Heavyweight Champion) outweighed Sheppard by four stones. Weston took the only fall after 53 minutes, but as the challenge was for the heavier man to throw the local man three times, Sheppard was declared the winner after one hour.
Ron uncovered another match between the two men in 1924, with Sheppard again declared the winner.
Consequently Sid Weston was well placed to benefit from the 1930s wrestling boom, which he did billed as “The Perfect Man” on account of his wonderful physique or “Pitman's Champion,” suggesting a mining heritage. He faced the best of them all, Billy Riley, Henry Irslinger, Mitchell Gill and Douglas Clark.
Page revised 26/10/2019: Addition of Dave Webb