I had been in
touch with Tony frequently in recent years, as we had been in the
process of concluding his memoirs with the hope of realising a
During the course of our discussions, I had been given an
opportunity to understand what a kind natured man he was. I learned that
Tony Duignan had enjoyed a varied life,
which included some time as a second-generation boxer and steady work as
an antiques dealer. However, he always maintained that his true career
calling was to be a professional wrestler, after falling in love with
the business at an early age and being inspired by the great Jack Pye.
He had assumed several names in the industry, finding fame as ‘Dropkick’ Tony Francis and an alias as the masked ‘El Diablo’, with a later career as a nefarious manager nicknamed ‘The Brain’. But it was in his personal life where he found the roles which he cherished the most; as husband to Anita and as a loving father and grandfather.
I will miss my
friend, but I know that he will be fondly remembered by those who knew
The Reunion send our condolences to Tonys family and friends at this sad time and may he now RIP.
On the 22nd May 2013 the wrestling world went into mourning at the loss of its biggest legend of all time when Mick McManus sadly passed away aged 92. Although Mick had been of ill health for a short time his death came as a great shock and saddened wrestling fans around the World.
On the day of Micks death the Reunion were inundated with requests for interviews and statements from media around the world and in one day dealt with over 150 enquiries such was Mick popularity, for a man who had been retired from the ring for over 30 years this went to show just how much he meant to everyone.
Mick McManus has left a legacy in the wrestling business that will never be equalled, he was THE star of the ring and even long after his retirement was in high demand. When Mick retired from in ring action he continued to give his time to the business and was always willing to pass on his knowledge to the next generation of stars. Even in his later years when it was obvious that he was getting frail Mick continued to be a great supporter of the Reunion and was always the first to offer help and advice on any matters that may have arisen.
Mick McManus will never be forgotten, on the anniversary of his death wrestling websites and social media are paying their own tributes to the great man, something that we are sure will continue for many years to come.
For a full tribute to Mick McManus please read his obituary which can be found in the relevant section above, this gives a real insight into not only Mick McManus the wrestler but Mick McManus the man. You can also read his Hall of Fame induction again this can be found in the relevant section.
this years Reunion on the 13th August many of Micks wrestling items
will once again be on display thanks to Martin Gillott who purchased them at
Auction and has very kindly donated them to us.
On the 22nd May we will always pay tribute to the greatest legend of the ring, the man that was.......MICK MCMANUS
David Boy Smith was born in Golborne, Lancashire on the 27
November 1962 and died at the young age of just 39 in Invermere, British
Columbia on the 18 May 2002.
Davey Boy Smith, also known as the British Bulldog, delighted millions of wrestling fans who watched his bouts live and on television throughout the Eighties and Nineties.
Wearing beaded dreadlocks and red, white and blue tights, with his 56in chest, 21in biceps and 19in neck draped in the Union Jack, the 5ft 11in, 18-stone wrestler cut a distinctive figure and floored opponents with his trademark move, the Running Powerslam.
Starting out in the ring as a teenager, Davey Boy went from partnering the legendary Big Daddy and then Dynamite Kid (Smith's cousin Tom Billington) to becoming Intercontinental, Tag Team, European Heavyweight and Hardcore champion before moving to Canada and joining the World Wrestling Federation. In 1992, Smith feuded with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and his brother-in-law Bret "Hitman" Hart whom he beat in the infamous Battle of the Brothers-in-Law held during SummerSlam 1992 in front of a sold out Wembley Stadium.
Starting in the halls of the UK Davey Boy was soon in high demand in Japan and Canada before getting the call from the World Wrestling Federation where he initially teamed with the Dynamite Kid and the British Bulldogs tag-team became a huge success.
Whilst in Canada Davey Boy competed with the Dynamite Kid in the Calgary Stampede organised by the trainer Stu Hart . Smith subsequently joined the extended Hart family, teaming up with Stu's sons Bruce and Owen, and wrestling against Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart and Bret "Hitman" Hart, whose sister Diana he married in the late Eighties.
When an injury forced the Dynamite Kid to retire, Davey Boy went solo on the WWF circuit. His considerable earnings enabled him to buy a 15-bedroom mansion in Florida but he lost the Intercontinental title and soon after left the WWF.
Davey Boy moved to World Championship Wrestling before re-joining the WWF in the late 1990s as well as returning for a short stint working for Max Crabtree in 1994 taking over the top of the bill slot from Big Daddy who had retired the previous year.
Davey Boy Smith sadly passed away suddenly on the 18th May 2002, a great loss to the wrestling business but he will always be remembered and his legacy lives on through his son Harry Smith who himself has become a huge star around the World.
In 2016 Davey Boy Smith was inducted into the British Wrestlers Reunion Hall of Fame and his daughter Georgia collected the award on her late fathers behalf.
(Georgia Smith accepts the Hall of Fame Award on behalf of her father at the 2016 Reunion)
The event will involve an on stage interview, autographs & photographs with our star (all included in the price of the ticket!), and a fans question and answer session at the end (time permitting).
Our second & very special "Evening with" event will feature non
other than British & indeed World Wide Wrestling Legend, KLONDYKE KATE!
Get road stories, in ring stories and insights and much more from a 40
year wrestling legend! Think of this as a live shoot interview
unfolding live right in front of you on stage!
From her debut in
1977 on Blackpools famous pleasure beach taking on all comers from the
crowd, to her first TV appearance in 1982 in Osaka, Japan in front of a
live audience of 72 thousand people, to her ground breaking appearances
on ITV's World of Sport Wrestling TV show and much, much more Klondyke
certainly has some very interesting stories to tell!
A woman who
was one of the first to take on Men in intergender matches, against ppl
like WWE Star Val Venus, WCW Star PN News and 7 times World Champion Marty Jones.
Her female opponents read like a genuine who's who of many generation's of all time greats, from British Legend & Champion Mitzi Mueller, WWE Hall of Famer & WWE Women's Champion Wendi Richter, the incomparable Luna Vachon, right up to current WWE Stars Natty Neid-Hart & Paige and so, so many more!
meet & listen to the road stories of one of the most legendary
figures the UK has ever and probably will ever produce, a woman who has
wrestled on every continent bar Australia, the only star to bridge the
gap between the Classic & Golden era of ITV World of Sport having
stared on the show in the 80's & today's era of W.O.S as she
prepares to film new episodes as an on screen talent....This will be a
night to remember!
Saturday 27th May 2017
Birchills Liberal Club,
Tickets just £10
This includes the on stage interview, a fans ask the questions Q &
A, an opportunity to meet the star, an autograph & a professional
photograph with her!
The Reunion wish PWL and Klondyke Kate all the very best with this event and we are certain that it will be well attended and a great success for all involved.
As we have previously reported a movie on the life of the Exotic Adrian Street is currently underway and now a documentary on the life and legacy of the Brynmawr-born wrestler is in production and will feature an interview with an American wrestling icon.
Feature film biopic, Adrian will dramatise the life Adrian who as many of you will know previously worked in Beynon’s Colliery in Blaina.
The films Producer, Newport University of Wales graduate Joann Randles, is currently
shooting a documentary to accompany the film are is speaking to wrestlers
around the World. This included a recent interview with American professional wrestler, Mick Foley, who like Adrian, has
built a reputation over the decades for his own charismatic personas.
Ms Randles has stated that Mr Foley provided a “knowledgeable and colourful insight into Adrian’s life as a professional wrestler”.
Ms Randles, in a recent press release, states "It is important to me that I also produce a documentary that is to be released in tandem to the feature film drama to illustrate to audiences that Adrian’s story is very real and is not the work of fiction. It will also illustrate different perspectives of Adrian’s life with interviews from those who know Adrian best, including Adrian’s family members, friends, fans and fellow professional wrestlers and it also features family films which has never been seen before as well as Adrian in action in the ring
Speaking about the interview with Mick Foley, she added: "US legendary
professional wrestler Mick Foley, who is also in the WWE Hall of Fame,
contacted me personally wanting to be part of the documentary, which to
me made the interview that much more special. "Mick knows Adrian well as Adrian taught Mick the art of wrestling before he became a professional superstar".
As always the Reunion wishes all involved with the project the very best of luck and the final results are eagerly awaited by wrestling fans around the World.
To find out more search ‘Adrian Film’ on facebook or follow @FilmAdrian.
professional wrestlers can boast an in ring career of over 40 years but
Bob 'Blondie' Barratt is one such man, one of the last wrestlers who
appeared on ITV Wrestling before it was axed from our screens in 1988
who is still in active competition today.
Although Bob has faced many of the great grapplers from around the World over the years he is best known for his long association as the tag partner of the legendary masked man of mystery Kendo Nagasaki. Bob and Kendo toured the UK on a nightly basis facing all comers in many a bloody battle but when the dust settled it was normally Kendo and Bob who were victorious.
These days Bob is still a regular name appearing at wrestling shows around the country and when many men his age are starting to take it a little easier Bob is still taking the bumps night after night and whilst Kendo retired many years ago Bob has aligned himself with another veteran of the ring in Keith Myatt where they are known collectively as The Old School taking on the best not only in the UK but also our wrestling friends from the USA and Europe.
To commemorate Bobs illustrious career one of the UKs leading Promoters, PWL are holding 'An Evening with The Rock and Roll Express Blondie Barratt' on Friday 21st April 2017 at The Darlaston All Active, Willenhall Road, Darlaston, West Midlands, WS10 8JG commencing at 8.00pm. Tickets are priced at £10.00 and are available by calling 07404 279 880.
This event is certainly a must for any wrestling fan as Bob will give an insight into his life in the wrestling business and the wrestling business in general. The evening will consist of an autograph session and a photo opportunity whereby you will have a professional picture taken with the guest of honour (both autograph and photograph are included in the price of admission), a live interview "shoot interview style" and a Q & A where the crowd get to ask their own questions!
Make a note for your diaries as this promises to be entertaining night, full of anecdotes and one that will be remembered for many years to come.
We would like to start by wishing each and every one of our members a very Happy Easter and that whatever you have planned you have an enjoyable day.
We are now just four months away from the wrestling social event of the year when on Sunday 13th August 100s of wrestlers, officials and fans will gather at The Bridges, Horton Road, South Darenth, Kent for the 26th annual Reunion. This year we will again be joined by an array of World, European and British champions and can confirm that guests will be travelling from the USA, Canada and from various destinations throughout Europe as well as from around the UK to join us for what will be another memorable occasion.
As always a number of events are planned for the day itself as various awards will be presented to those who have made their own contribution to the wrestling industry over the years. A number of high profile wrestlers will be inducted into the Hall of Fame and Colin Joynson will lead the tributes to those grapplers who have gone to the Dressing Room in the Sky over the last 12 months followed by the ten bell salute.
This year we will once again be joined by resident vocalist Barry Howard alongside Chris Buckwell who will entertain us all. Last years wrestlers memorabilia was a huge hit with our guests and so items belonging to Mick McManus, Kendo Nagasaki, Big Daddy, Wayne Bridges and others will be on display. Ever present Roy Smith and Ray Clark will be selling various wrestling items on our behalf and a raffle will be held with some great prizes to be won. Food and drink will also be available to purchase and our very popular Souvenir Programme will also be produced once again with a brand new look and this will be available on the day and also afterwards via our website.
This year, as in previous years, there will be a private area where wrestlers can go to chat to their friends and former colleagues should they so wish.
In addition to the above this years Reunion will be filmed by not one but two camera crews, the television cameras will be in attendance filming the Reunion and interviewing many of the wrestlers for inclusion in a wrestling show to be broadcast later in the year and the second crew will be filming for a drama series soon to go into production.
Over the coming weeks we will be making further announcements on our website and via our facebook page (British Wrestling, the Glory Years) so make sure that you check back on a regular basis for all the up to the minute news.
We thank you all for your continued support and hope that many of you will join us at the Ring of Friendship on the 13th August, remember it is a free event and everyone whether you are involved in the wrestling busines or a fan are invited. Come and be part of Europes largest wrestlers Reunion and together we will make the 2017 event another great success.
A haunting message scrawled on the dressing room wall of a theatre: the scene of the first murder.
It had been written using the blood from the victim, previously drained in a separate location.
At the autopsy, D.I. Gardener and D.S. Reilly are shown a riddle carved into the chest of the corpse, informing them there would be more.
Their efforts to find out why are continually blocked by a wall of contradiction, with little in the way
of evidence to support their cause.
Steered back to the scene of the crime and a disused prop room, Gardener and his trusted sergeant find
The murderer – it seems – is playing games.
The second victim is hanging upside down in a busy city centre shop in mock crucifixion, with yet another
message. And once again, the killer has used the victim's own blood.
Later, at the autopsy, another conundrum awaits them.
It soon becomes clear to
Gardener and Reilly that to find the killer they have to solve the
clues, and to
do that, they have to tunnel their way into the past, to the
beginnings of motion picture production: where the streets were paved
with gold, and to
a man who terrified people before either of them had even been born.
Following a startling revelation they realize that their murderer is a master of disguise and the ultimate
question facing the two detectives is: how do you catch a killer you can’t see?
We wish Ray all the very best with his new novel and we very much look forward to seeing him at the Reunion in August.
We here at the Reunion work with many people and organisations in and out of the wrestling business throughout the year in various roles such as advising, clarification on wrestling matters or as a source for information.
Two such people who we correspond with on a regular basis are known to the wrestling fraternity simply as Hack and Anglo Italian, two wrestling enthusiasts who ten years ago set up a wrestling website to keep alive the memories of all the great wrestlers who have climbed through the ropes over the decades. April 2007 saw the birth of the Wrestling Heritage website and from its inception to today it boasts thousands of pages consisting of photos, programmes, posters and the most comprehensive a~z of british wrestlers you will find anywhere in the World plus much more, a true encyclopedia of wrestling which is viewed by wrestling fans from around the World.
Hack and Anglo Italian have spent literally thousands of hours researching and compiling articles for your pleasure (with the exception of the 2nd Sunday every August when Hack, and on occasions Anglo, always make their yearly visit to see us at the Reunion) and even after ten years they still have a lot more to bring to you we are sure.
The Reunion have worked alongside Wrestling Heritage on several projects and we would now like to congratulate them on their ten year anniversary, a great achievement and all of the hard work that they put in to the website is much appreciated by those not only in the business but the fans as well.
We look forward to seeing Hack, and hopefully Anglo in August and as for your website, here is to the next ten years....well done chaps.
ITV Studios Entertainment Manchester announced today that it has teamed up with IMPACT Wrestling, a subsidiary of Anthem Sports & Entertainment Corp., to bring WOS Wrestling back to ITV, with an initial commission for a 10-part series.
The commission from ITV’s Helen Warner follows a successful one-off-special, which aired on New Year’s Eve 2016. The Executive Producers for ITV Studios are Tom McLennan and Simon Marsh. Jeff Jarrett, the Chief Creative Officer for IMPACT Wrestling, will be the Executive Producer for IMPACT Wrestling.
Thirty years after the original WOS ended – and legendary stars such as Big Daddy, Mick McManus and Rollerball Rocco left British screens – this new series will feature the very best of today’s wrestlers from the current red-hot U.K. wrestling scene.
They will compete in front of a live audience at the intimate Preston Guild Hall on Thursday 25th May and Friday 26th May (doors 7pm / bell time 7.30pm).
Tickets for these historic shows will go on sale at 9am on Friday 7th April from Gigsandtours.com / Ticketmaster.co.uk / prestonguildhall.co.uk
There will also be a launch event this Monday (27th March) at 2pm in Manchester, where the full details of the WOS live shows will be announced, including the roster. Press and fans are invited to attend to the launch, which will include a Q&A and meet & greet. Places are extremely limited, to reserve one please email [email protected]
This initial commission is part of a comprehensive co-production agreement between ITV Studios and IMPACT Wrestling to relaunch the WOS Wrestling brand, bringing British stars to ITV while leveraging the roster and creative team of Impact Wrestling along with its expertise in live event production and international distribution.
“This opportunity to work with ITV Studios to revive this iconic brand in the United Kingdom is a perfect example of the ways in which we intend to leverage our strengths to build our presence in international markets in collaboration with local organizations,” said Ed Nordholm, President of Impact Wrestling.
Director of Entertainment, ITV Studios Manchester, Tom Mclennan said:
“Britain’s wrestling scene is thriving and there has never been a
better time to bring it back to ITV after a gap of 30 years.”
Jeff Jarrett, Chief Creative Officer for IMPACT Wrestling, added: “The WOS brand is etched in professional wrestling tradition. My family’s lineage in the industry dates back 70-plus years, so I am honoured for the opportunity to work on reviving the legacy of this historic British series.”
After the mixed comments that the pilot show received we are not sure how this will go down with the die hard wrestling fan of yesteryear but we wish all those involved in the shows every success and it is good to see British wrestling back on mainstream television in whatever capacity as that can only be good for the business as a whole.
For 13 years LDN Wrestling have been one of the major forces in British professional wrestling promoting up to 200 shows a year around the UK. As we speak, LDN are also in negotiations with a major European promoter to co promote shows around Europe bringing their talent to a whole new set of wrestling fans and more information regarding this will be announced in the coming weeks.
Since their inception, LDN have always done their best to bring their fans the best quality wrestling they possibly can and they have certainly achieved their goal with some of the great UK wrestlers together with a number of overseas wrestlers regularly appearing on their shows.
Over the years LDN have promoted a number of Legends shows which are always well received and were the promoters chosen to stage the memorial show in respect of the late great legendary Mick McManus. They were also the only English promoters to have a weekly show on the Wrestling Channel which showcased their talents to wrestling fans around Europe who could access the channel.
With British wrestling being in the best shape it has been in for many years promoters around the country are always looking at ways to bring their product to a whole new set of fans, the best way to do this is via television and this week LDN have announced a major deal with a national television company who will film their shows on a regular basis. The first show has already been filmed and our very own Frank Rimer will be appearing on the show reliving some of his memories from the glory days of British Wrestling.
Over the coming weeks LDN Wrestling will announce how we can all enjoy their television shows and as soon this information is released we will bring it to you.
With British wrestling making a regular return to national television this can only be good for the business as a whole and we would like to wish everyone at LDN involved in the project all the very best of luck
For 33 years British wrestling was an ever presence on our television screens but sadly that all came to an end in 1988 when ITV decided to axe what was once one of their most watched programmes.
During the years 1000s of bouts were aired on ITV and now you can relive many of those bouts thanks to Carl Stewart and British Wrestling DVDs. Carl has spent years obtaining footage on many of the bouts that were shown not only on ITV but on various other channels including bouts of many of our top stars wrestling in Europe and Canada.
Carl has amassed a huge amount of wrestling bouts and having purchased some of these ourselves we can confirm that the quality is good and certainly worth purchasing. Not only can you buy dvds with a mixture of bouts but Carl has also done dvds on individual wrestlers showcasing their talents against numerous opponents.
DVDs start at just £2.00 per disc with each disc lasting approximately two and a half hours, well worth the money and hours and hours of great entertainment.
You can see the full list of dvds available by visiting the website at www.britishwrestlingdvds.vze.com or search for British Wrestling dvds on facebook.
Happy buying and happy viewing.
We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Reunion President JOE D'ORAZIO'S beloved wife and soul mate : Tina, who died following a courageous battle over the last two years or so.
Joe who will be 95 years young in July said in a statement that he was devastated to lose his Tina who had been his rock for most of his adult life, yet felt strangely relieved for the end to her suffering.
He had stayed at work part time for Southwark Council teaching art to special needs people and was still doing two days weekly at 93, but has spent all his time devoted to the needs of Tina for the last two years, even missing the last two Reunions.
Joe has left his beautiful immaculately turned out home of many years in Catford, to live with his Daughter and Son in Law
The funeral will be a private Family affair who ask that we respect their privacy during this time of grieving.
For over 20 years Jackie Robinson was one of the most popular wrestlers to grace the professional ring, a great technical wrestler who had an avid following wherever he appeared winning the European Lightweight championship on numerous occasions.
We were therefore saddened this week to learn via Marty Jones that Jack has been admitted to Salford Royal Hospital having lost the use of his legs, arms, fingers and neck due to spinal cord and back issues.
Such was the seriousness of Jacks condition that he underwent an emergency four hour operation to remove discs which had trapped his spinal cord at the top of his neck. Indications are that the operation has been a success although it is very early days and the next few days are still critical for him.
Since retiring from the ring Jack has always remained a keen observer of the sport and is a regular visitor to the various Reunions. We therefore send all of our very best wishes to him at this difficult time and hope that he recovers from this major surgery as quickly as possible and is soon back to good health.
They are one of the most famous families in wrestling today and now the Knight family based in Norwich are to have a film made about their lives with one of the Worlds most famous wrestlers and the biggest film star on the planet at this time, Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson taking an active role in the production of the film.
The Knights rise to fame has been incredible, from humble beginnings dad Ricky, mum Julia, sons Roy and Zak and daughter Saraya have all become huge stars in the business winning championships around the globe with Saraya going onto international stardom as Paige in the WWE.
The Rock and actor, writer and director Stephen Merchant will team up to make a film about the life of English WWE Superstar Paige and her family and will produce Fighting with My Family, a movie inspired by a 2012 Channel 4 documentary of the same name.
The movie will chart the true story of Paige and her wrestling-mad family, including Ricky Knight and mother Julia Hamer-Bevis aka Sweet Saraya, as they compete in venues across the country.
Paige - who is currently recuperating from neck surgery - scooped a contract with WWE in 2011 and has since won the NXT Women's Title once and the WWE Divas Championship twice.
Merchant will write, direct and executive produce the film, with English actress Florence Pugh already cast as Paige, and Shaun of the Dead's Nick Frost and Game of Thrones star Lena Headey to appear as her parents.
The Rock - who will executive produce the film as well as star in an as-yet unknown role stated ‘Back in 2012 I was in my hotel room in London and stumbled across a documentary on a local UK channel, not only was I intrigued by this loving and wild family, but I also felt it's the kind of narrative that would make an amazing movie. The Knights' journey is a universal one that all families are familiar with. I relate to Saraya (Paige) and her wrestling family on such a personal level and it means so much that I can help tell their story."
News of this production has caused a frenzy on social media with everyone eagerly anticipating the release. We here at the Reunion wish everyone involved in the film every success, we are sure it will be a huge hit and will be good not only for the Knight family but also the wrestling business in general.
Late last year i had the honour of being asked to join the committee for the British Wrestlers Reunion. i graciously accepted and took my place at the beginning of the year. I hope to be able to continue the great success the reunion has had in the last 25 years and to be able show respect to all those who have been or are Athletes of the squared ring. Love them or Loathe them Each of them have suffered for their craft to bring entertainment to the masses... Many have passed away over the years and below is a tribute i wrote I hope you like it.....
I've taken falls and taken bumps
I've suffered bruises and the lumps
I've served my time upon the mat
Learning break falls; this and that
The use of ropes, The corner post
And the moves i found i used the most
The locks and Bars, The Holds and kicks
And other little wrestling tricks
I've studied wrestlers far and wide
That have made me warm and glow inside
As they paraded for the crowd
Who clapped and cheered so very loud
To watch these gods as they display
Their ringside talents every day
To see these modern gladiators
Give all they could for the spectators
Now some have gone to another ring
With a poster that says it all
Where legends of this noble sport
Would fill The Albert Hall
The list sadly is endless and growing every year
As more heroes pass away, all of them very dear
No more will they grace an earthly ring
But their praises we will always sing
There will be no top billing
As each one of them that's passed
Was a hero in his own way
So they'll be not first or last
But a name upon the role-call
That's written on the wall
In the dressing room up in the sky
And we miss them one and all
The funeral service will take place on Monday 6th February at Over Dale Crematorium, off Chorley New Road, Bolton Lancs. at 2.30pm.
Any further details may be obtained from Birtwistles Independent Funeral Services,356 Halliwell Road, Bolton BL1 8AP Tel. 01204 491661.
All are welcome to pay their respects to Keith and remember him.
We thank Wendy Mellor for the information and the photograph shown above which is of Keith with their daughter Keira Williamson taken in 2015.
Sad news reached us on Tuesday 17th January when we heard that one of our great supporters, Tommy Stevenson who is known to wrestling fans North of the Border as Scott Thomson has suffered his second heart attack in as many years.
Tommy, who was away from home at the time of the attack, was taken to his daughters house who immediately called the paramedics and Tommy was taken to hospital where he was admitted for further tests.
We are now pleased to confirm that Tommy has been allowed home and told by his doctors to rest and with his daughter casting a watchful eye over her father we know Tommy will do just this.
Tommy has been a great supporters of the Reunion for the last few years, in 2014 he attended with his late wife Margaret having driven from his home in Scotland on the day of the event. Unfortunately, Margaret was taken ill on the day and the couple had to return to Scotland. In 2015 Margaret sadly passed away but Tommy did attend the Reunion where he was awarded with a Services to Wrestling Certificate, (seen below with Reunion organiser Ken Sowden) this is something that to this very day Tommy cherishes, so much so that he has made it his header on his facebook account.
Tommy has informed us that he will once again be joining us all at this years Reunion on the13th August and has already booked his hotel room.....now thats what you call a supporter.
We here at the Reunion of course wish Tommy all the best with his recuperation and we are sure that he will be back to his old self sooner rather than later.
On the 31st December British wrestling made its return to ITV after a 28 years absence, the show filmed in Manchester in November received a mixed review from wrestlers and fans alike and at the time of writing no decision has yet been made by ITV as to whether they will continue with this venue. What is known is that they were somewhat surprised at the reviews for the show although they were pleased with the way the show was produced so time will tell as to whether World of Sport wrestling will once again return to the small screen.
Following on from the World of Sport show the Worlds biggest wrestling promoters, World Wrestling Entertainment, rolled into Blackpool on the 14th and 15th January where they held their very own tournament with some of the very best wrestlers the UK has to offer. This was the first time that the WWE has promoted in the UK using solely UK talent with the winner being crowned the WWE United Kingdom Champion. 16 wrestlers took part in the two night tournament before a huge crowd and the show has been well received by all of those in attendance and those watching exclusively on the WWE Network. Social Media has been buzzing with the success of the show and also the excellent production values which you would only expect from the WWE.
winner after two nights of hard fought bouts was Tyler Bate, a 19 year old
grappler from Dudley who has over the last few years wrestled for many independent
promoters in not only the UK but also Europe.
Bate was presented with the championship belt by WWE Executive Paul
Levesque (HHH) who was joined in the ring by our very own William Regal,
Dave Finlay and Finn Balor. Others UK wrestlers in attendance included Robbie Brookside and Dave Taylor.
The WWE are very pleased with the way the tournament has been received in the UK and plans are in the pipeline to make UK only shows a regular feature within the organisation. This can again only be good news for British wrestling and we hope that there has been enough interest generated with wrestling fans to ensure that the business continues to thrive like it has done over the last few years
As some of you are aware we have been experiencing considerable problems with this website since our provider webs.com upgraded their system at the end of last year.
During the festive season we have received a number of emails from members who have been unable to access the system at all or when they do are unable to view some of the page contents.
We have contacted webs.com on numerous occasions and they will not accept any blame for this error (even though it has happened to a number of websites that they provide) stating that the problem is with our computers. Obviously this is not the case and therefore due to the fact that we have been unable to reach a satisfactory conclusion to this persistent problem this website will shortly close for new updates and will be used for information purposes only.
Over the coming weeks we will look for a new and more reliable website provider and once we have found one we will relaunch the British Wrestlers Reunion website which will continue with all your favourites.
We apologise for any convenience but this is as they say ...beyond our control.
When ITV axed professional wrestling in 1988 many fans thought that it would never return and as the years rolled by that certainly seemed the case until Saturday 31st December 2016 when World of Sport Wrestling returned to our screens some 28 years after professional wrestling was last nationally broadcast on terrestrial television.
For anyone hoping to see a format consisting of rounds with
public warnings and seconds with a softly spoken man at ringside calling the
action this was never going to happen, this was 2016 and since wrestling was
last seen on ITV the product has changed dramatically with many fans saying
that the 2016 product is unrecognisable to that last seen in 1988. However, despite this the flashbacks to the glory days of World of Sport wrestling and legends such as Rollerball Rocco, Johnny Saint, Marty Jones and Klondyke Kate at ringside was a nice touch.
Despite its transformation the show itself has seen many split opinions, many social media platforms have been inundated with comments and it would appear that the general public (by this we mean people who are not passionate wrestling fans) on the whole loved it and would welcome more. Wrestling fans/purists seem to be split, some really enjoyed it, some hated it whilst others enjoyed parts of the show but not other parts, this has sparked some lively but interesting debates.
Viewing figures are reported to be 1.2 million which, for a pilot show, appear to fall in line with what was expected and with catch up, recordings and downloads this figure will increase which is also a bonus especially as it was up against one of the biggest Premiership games of the season on Sky so in all ITV will no doubt rate the show a success.
Where does WOS Wrestling go from here, well we certainly have the talent in the UK to produce more programmes but whatever format ITV choose (if they do) to go down it will not please everyone. There certainly seems a market for a wrestling show on terrestrial television whether it be weekly, which we doubt, or a number of specials broadcast throughout the year and this can only be good for the wrestling industry.
Whatever your views on the show it was nice that ITV produced this programme and now we wait to see what happens next……will there be a round 2, only time will tell !!!!!!
Johnny Saint is one of the most famous names in British wrestling in his or any other generation. Having been a multiple time World Lightweight Champion and having travelled the World defeating all in his path he will certainly go down in history as one of the greatest champions of all time.
These days Johnnys in ring career has sadly for all of us come to an end but despite this he continues to have a very active role in the wrestling business and can often be seen up and down the UK training the next generation of stars as well as making public appearances such as the recently filmed ITV World of Sport Wrestling show where he was interviewed about some of the greats who made British wrestling so popular in the 1960s,70s and 80s.
In 2016 John was invited by William Regal to attend the WWE Performance Centre in Orlando, Florida and for any of our members who are not aware of this, this is a state of the art training facility owned by World Wrestling Entertainment and where stars of the future go to hopefully make them into international wrestling stars. On his initial visit John joined Head Trainer Regal alongside other Brits working at the venue such as Dave Fit Finlay, Robbie Brookside and Norman Smiley as well as Dave Taylor who guests there on a regular basis. Johnnys style of wrestling astounded all who were training there and whilst there Johnny showed the trainees moves that they had never seen before many of which will be taken forward to the next generation.
Despite his age Johnny is still extremely fit and can still mix it with the best the WWE trainees have to offer. So impressed were the powers that be with Johnnys training that this month he has been invited back on a six month contract to become a full time coach at the facility, this can only be good for wrestling as a whole. Johnny is without doubt one of the best trainers in the World today and with his knowledge of wrestling this can only benefit everyone involved.
We wish Johnny all the best with his new venture, we know that he will be a huge success and we look forward to welcoming him back to the UK later this year when he will once again be commencing his training duties with UK students.
As we end one year and start another the entire Committee of the British Wrestlers Reunion would like to wish each and every one of you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year and hope that 2017 is a good year for you all.
2017 will see a new era for the Reunion. After our hugely successful 25th anniversary Reunion we now look forward to the next one which will be held as always at The Bridges on Sunday 13th August. As in previous years we hope that many of you will join us from various destinations around the World to celebrate wrestling both past and present and we can promise you that the new era will certainly be something you will remember. Whilst we will be keeping to the tradition that has made the Reunion so popular we will be introducing some new features which we hope you will enjoy.
Throughout the year we will be updating everyone regarding the Reunion right here on our website and our facebook page British Wrestling, the Glory Years so please check these out so ensure you do not miss any of the exciting news we have to bring to you.
In closing we thank
you all for your continued support during 2016, all the positive
comments we receive are very much appreciated and we hope that you will
continue to support us all in 2017.
They are the most famous couple in professional wrestling, known the World over and after 50 years in the business show no signs of slowing down let alone retiring. These days Adrian Street and his lovely wife Linda reside in Florida in a home designed and built by them, distant memories albeit it very happy ones, are the days spent in Wales and travelling the UK wrestling to packed houses during wrestlings heyday although given their time again would not change a thing.
At this festive time of the year Adrian has sent his best wishes to the Reunion and has asked that we pass them on to his many family and friends around the World who regularly view these pages and we are happy to do so. At the same time we at the Reunion wish Ada and Linda a very happy festive season and hope that 2017 is another happy, peaceful and successful year for them both.
Sports legend Andy Robin, who introduced the world to Hercules the Bear, has been inducted into Scotland’s Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame.
The 81-year-old received the top honour on the steps of Perth’s City Hall, the scene of some of his biggest championship battles.
One of his most famous bouts in the Fair City was against America’s Harold Sakata, better known as Odd Job from the James Bond movie Goldfinger.
Robin, from Auchterarder, is the second to be installed on the hall of fame after Dundee’s George Kidd in 2015.He said: “I really appreciate this honour, its great to get things like this. It means so much.”
Robin said his return to city hall brought back some precious memories. “I used to love being here. I remember the crowd chanting: Andy, Andy, Andy. It was just great.
Wrestling historian Bradley Craig, who founded the hall of fame, said: “Andy makes a fantastic addition to our hall because he was completely different to George Kidd in every way.
Bradley continued, “He was a power-based wrestler who had the most devastating move in wrestling history — the power lock.
“He won countless titles and travelled all over the world. Quite simply, he is one of the few remaining wrestlers of the golden era and its fantastic to be able to give him this award.
As a young man Robin became a familiar face on the Highland Games circuit. He was crowned the World Cumberland Wrestling champ by the age of 20.
He went on an extensive two-and-a-half year tour of the North America and Canada before returning to Scotland where, in 1964, he secured the British Commonwealth Mid-Heavyweight Championship.
His career flourished further thanks to being featuring in
ITV’s massively popular World of Sport during the 1970s and 80s.
A major turning point for Robin was when he took part in a novelty bout with Terrible Ted, an eight foot black bear. Robin won $1,000 for successfully spending 15 minutes in the ring with the animal.
It started an obsession with bears, which led to Robin and his wife Maggie adopting Hercules from the Kincraig Wildlife Park in 1975.
Hercules, who the couple raised like their son, became one of the biggest stars of wrestling. He went on to win praise from US president Ronald Reagan and even fought against Roger Moore in the James Bond film Octopussy.
The kind-natured grizzly famously disappeared while filming an advert for Kleenex on the Hebridean isle of Benbecula.
It is hoped that a plaque, confirming Robin’s place on the hall of fame, will go on permanent display in Perth.
The Reunion send our very best wishes to Andy on this accolade, one that is very well deserved.
The British Wrestlers Reunion would like to wish all of our members around the World a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.
This year has been very special for us and we thank each and every one of you for your continued support. With many great things planned for 2017 we look forward to reliving the glory years of British wrestling for many years to come.
We are very pleased that the Reunions Ring of Friendship continues to grow and the great comments that we receive throughout the whole year from you all are very much appreciated.
Happy Christmas to you all and here is to 2017 and the Reunions new era.
The Internment of wrestling super star Jim Moser who passed away last Wednesday from natural causes aged 82, will be held at the well known Southern Crematorium on Monday the 19th December at 11-00 a.m.
Anyone wishing to attend and pay their respects will be welcomed by the Family.
212 Barlow Moor Road
Manchester M21 7GL
Telephone: 0161 227 3205
Email: [email protected]
We are sad to report news received by us from Marty Jones that Jumping Jim Moser has passed away aged 82 after a short illness.
Jim was a frequent worker for Joint Promotions in the early 1960s and was also a regular name on Paul Lincoln bills alongside other independent promoters. Throughout his career Jim excelled in both solo and tag team wrestling where he was a regular partner to Bobo Matu.
Jims long time friend and Reunion member Johnny Kincaid has paid the following tribute:-
'I first met Jim when i was 17 and lodging in Brixton London, I wasn't even thinking of coming into the wrestling game, I was asked if i new where Camberwell baths was by my landlady who also took in wrestlers, and if i did would i take this wrestler there as it was his first time down south, that was the first time i set eyes on Jim Moser, 54 years a go, I will be there when they lay my old friend to rest. so long Jim R.I.P Buddy'.
Jim has been added to the Dressing Room in the Sky and his obituary will be added to the relevant section shortly.
Our condolences go to Jims family and friends at this sad time and may he now rest in peace.
Funeral details will be posted in due course.
Wednesday 23rd November 2016 saw the final bell ring for legendary South Coast wrestler John Kowalski. Approximately 180 people packed Havant crematorium to pay their respects to this legendary wrestler. The British Wrestlers Reunion were represented by committee members Johnny Kincaid and Martin Gillott and other wrestlers in attendance were Pete Roberts, Mal Sanders and Steve Grey. John will be a great loss to the wrestling business and may he Rest in peace.
Following the sad passing of John 'Killer' Kowalski we can now confirm that his funeral details are as follows:-
Big John who fought a courageous battle against both Alzeimers and bowel cancer, will be interned
on the 23rd November 2016 @ 3.15 p.m. at The Oaks Crematorium, Barton Road,Havant, PO9 5NA followed by a wake at the Brookfield Hotel, Havant Road, PO10 7LF.
Everyone is welcome to attend both events in order to pay their respects to this great legendary wrestler,Champion cyclist and extremely popular and dearly loved man, at the kind invitation of his widow : Mary and Son Rob.
Many of Johns former colleagues and friends have sent their condolences, a selection of which are as follows:-
Thomas Stevenson How sad please pass on my condolences.
John Kowalski passes away
WrestleZone management made a huge appointment on Friday 4th November as Councillor Len Ironside has been appointed to the Management Committee and will be bringing forty years of experience in wrestling to help all areas of WrestleZone’s operations.
The legendary Aberdeen grappler has been a key advisor in the return of wrestling to the Beach Balllroom in Aberdeen as well as assisting with coaching at the WrestleZone Training Academy, and the committee are delighted to announce his appointment and look forward to tapping into Len’s knowledge of the British wrestling scene to further our strategic aims and acting as committee representative at their live events.
For those member not familiar with WrestleZone, they are Scotlands east coast’s premier wrestling promotion.
Based in Aberdeen, Scotland, they host family-friendly wrestling events across Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Moray and Angus with thousands of fans attending live events each year.
Wrestlezone pride themselves on providing value-for-money entertainment aimed at wrestling fans of all ages and their fan interaction is second-to-none with their events offering the chance to MEET THE STARS with autograph signings and photograph opportunities available.
Wrestlezones wrestlers are highly-trained performers and showcase many different styles of pro-wrestling; from the hard-hitting of CRUSHER CRAIB to the fun frolics of LOS CYSTOS, the entertainment of SCOTTY SWIFT and the tag team specialism of MR. P & KADEN GARRICK, WrestleZone really has it all!
Wrestlezones roster brings together the best grapplers in Scotland with the majority of their performers based in Aberdeen and surrounding areas.
WrestleZone has been covered extensively in the media
including features on STV, Evening Express, Original 106FM, Northsound Radio,
The Press & Journal, The Courier and many more.
WrestleZone also believe in giving back to the community and contribute to a number of causes, including Northsound Radio’s Cash 4 Kids charity and supporting local events such as Celebrate Aberdeen, Friends of Duthie Park Open Day, Cove Gala and many more.
We congratulate Len on his new position within the organisation and wish him and Wrestlezone all the very best for the future.
World of Sport Wrestling makes a triumphant return
Latest member of the Hart family from Canada tours the UK
(Matt Hart is on his first tour of the UK)
When anyone in wrestling talks about wrestling families one names instantly comes to mind and that is of course the Hart family from Calgary, Canada.
Starting with Stu Hart the family has always been at the top of the tree where wrestling talent is concerned with many of his sons touring the UK in the 1970s and 80s with Brett and Owen going on to become worldwide stars thanks to the WWE. Our very own Davey Boy Smith of course also became a member of the family when he married Stus daughter Diana and over the years many of the UKs top stars travelled to Stus promotion, Stampede Wrestling, to compete for him.
Sadly Stu has now passed away as has Owen and with Brett, Bruce, Keith and Smith all now retired from the ring it is now down to the next generation to carry on the Hart tradition and this is exactly what is happening with Stus grandson, Matt Hart, who has arrived in the UK for his very first tour of the country.
Matt is currently on a 7 day tour with LDN wrestling and having already appeared at two venues for them has gone down extremely well with the fans, a young 23 years old wrestler who was trained by amongst other Scotlands own Frank 'Chic' Cullen' has a bright future ahead of him in the business and one day hopes to reach the heights that both Brett and Owen did. Matt will also be making a one off appearance for World Association of Wrestling whilst in the UK and we are sure that although this is his first visit to the UK it will certainly not be his last.
The Reunions organiser Ken Sowden met Matt at a recent LDN show and was very impressed with his professionalism and attitude towards the wrestling business and had nothing but praise for the youngster who will hopefully have a long career ahead of him.
(Reunion Organiser Ken Sowden meets Matt Hart at a recent LDN Wrestling show)
Following the sad passing of Gerry Diprose on the 12th October we have now been advised via Gerrys wife Shirley that his funeral will be at 2pm on the 3rd November at Medway Crematorium, Robin Hood Lane, Chatham, Kent, ME5 9QU followed by the wake at the Robin Hood Pub, 364 Common Road, Bluebell Hill Village, Chatham, Kent, ME5 9RJ.
Anyone involved in the wrestling business or any fan of Gerrys are welcome to attend to pay their last respects to him.
Following our report on Monday 17th October that ITV were to film and broadcast a pilot of World of Sport Wrestling, ITV have now issued the following press release:-
(World of Sport Wrestling is returning to ITV)
When the final bell rang on ITV wrestling in December 1988 many thought that the sport that we all love would never return to the channel as, after 33 years, ITV had decided that wrestling no longer had a home in their schedules.
Despite various promoters trying to get wrestling back on terrestrial television it has never happened until now, some 28 years after ITVs final broadcast, a pilot wrestling show is being filmed by ITV which, if successful, could turn into a regular feature on the channel.
Unlike many years ago the show will not be promoted by any one promoter as ITV have acquired the services of many top stars from all that is great in British wrestling today and it is these grapplers who could very well become the next generation of tv all stars should the show prove a hit with viewers.
(ITV will be filing the pilot show on 1st November)
The pilot show is due to be filmed at Media City in Manchester on the 1st November and tickets are free albeit limited and can be obtained by sending an email to [email protected] or by telephoning 0161 952 0811, 0161 952 1309 or 0161 952 6279.
Names already confirmed to follow in the footsteps of Rollerball Rocco, Mick McManus, Johnny Saint and co. include 'Liverpool's No.1' Zack Gibson, the 'Masked Mexican' El Ligero and the 'East End Butcher' Sha Samuels.They will be joined by top grapplers such as 'The Black Country Beast' Dave Mastiff, Leeds powerhouse Rampage Brown, 'The Pound For Pound Best' CJ Banks, Birmingham dynamo Ashton Smith, 'Delicious' Danny Hope and the formidable Scottish siren Viper. Commentary will be provided by the voice of American wrestling for so many years the legendary Jim Ross.
It is not yet known whether any of the legends that graced our screens years ago will be making a special appearance although one of the UKs greatest female wrestlers, Klondyke Kate, has made the following statement:-
'Can I just say before the negativity kicks in about World Of Sport coming back.......they've chosen their pilot show wrestlers and if it takes off I'm hoping every good Brit Wrestler will have an opportunity to be on a regular show.....there are many many many amazing Wrestlers in this country male and female they have made their choice so wish them well fellow wrestlers, referees, MC's and hope it's a hit as I'm sure if it is all the great wrestlers and upcoming wrestlers will get a chance to showcase their abilities so come on......just be pleased for the ones who have got it and wish them luck It could well be the revival of a great UK Saturday afternoon tradition'.
We here at the Reunion can only echo the above statement and wish everyone involved with this pilot show all the best and if it turns out to be a great success wrestling could finally be coming home to ITV.
In addition to the World of Sport pilot ITV have also agreed to film a documentary (very similar to that done by BBC4 a few years ago) looking back at the glory days of British wrestling and this is due to be screened at Christmas.
(Gerry in action against Bernard Murray)
We are saddened to report that former Kent wrestler Gerry Diprose passed away on the 12th October after a long illness aged 76.
Gerry who started at Bill Warners Amateur Wrestling Club in Gillingham before turning professional worked for a number of independent promoters before moving to Dale Martin Promoters in the 1960s and faced many of the greats of the day and was a regular name on bills in the South of England.
Gerry leaves a widow and two children and has been added to the Dressing Room in the Sky. We of course send our condolences to Gerrys family and friends at this very sad time.
We thank Tony Bates for advising us of Gerrys death and funeral details will be posted here shortly.
(Adrian and Linda enjoyed their steamed mussels in wine and garlic sauce)
They are without any shadow of a doubt the first couple of professional wrestling, from humble beginnings to worldwide success Adrian and Linda Street are now known the world over and on the 14th October celebrated 47 wonderful years together. As with any anniversary the couple celebrated with a very enjoyable meal at their favourite restaurant as you can see from the photographs.
(Adrian enjoys a main course of Lobster, Snow crab, Shrimp and Broccoli whilst Linda tucks into Broiled Flounder and roasted Brussel Sprouts)
Although Adrian and Linda now reside in Florida they still keep in regular contact with us here at the Reunion and keep us up todate on all of their goings on. The film of Adrians life based on his seven very successful books is well underway and we hope that news relating to the filming of this will be sent to us soon. The Musical and album are also ongoing and together with their business making wrestling gear for some of the many top stars in the business today the couple remain as busy as ever despite Ada retiring from in ring competition a few years ago.
(The couple enjoy a nice salad)
We are pleased to hear that both Adrian and Linda are in good health and that the recent terrible weather in Florida has not affected them too much. As always the couple send their best wishes to everyone here in the UK whether it be former colleagues or fans and we of course wish them many more happy years and success together.
Giant Haystacks was born Martin Ruane to Irish parents on the 10th October 1946 and went on to become one of the biggest names in the wrestling industry.. Once leaving school, the larger than life lad took some early jobs as a builder and inevitably a bouncer before finding his way in the world of professional wrestling in 1967.
(Giant Haystacks billed as Luke McMasters)
Ruane initially started wrestling for independent promoters using the ring name of Luke McMasters (who many thought was his real name) later changing this to Haystacks Calhoun (after the American wrestler of the same name) finally settling on the name of Giant Haystacks.
(Big Daddy & Giant Haystacks as a tag team)
In 1975 Haystacks joined the well established Joint Promotions where he was immediately put into a tag team with Big Daddy. The team had a two year run but eventually it was decided that they would be disbanded and Giant Haystacks and Big Daddy started what was to become one of the biggest feuds in British wrestling history lasting from 1977 until Big Daddys retirement in 1993. During its time on ITV, wrestling attracted an average of around 10 million viewers weekly and Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks matches (usually in tag team action) always got huge viewing figures making Giant Haystacks a household name across the globe. His sheer girth at 6'11 tall and weighing in at a mammoth 49 stones at his heaviest made him one of the most popular fixtures on television.
(Giant Haystacks on one of his foreign trips)
Throughout the late 1970s and 1980s Haystacks was a frequent visitor abroad and had successful tours of America, Canada and was a regular competitor at the German and Austrian tournaments where, in 1982 he was declared the overall winner of the Graz tournament.
(Giant Haystacks & Paul McCartney)
Such was his impact at the time, fans of 'stacks' as he was affectionately known in the Business, included Beatles legend Sir Paul McCartney and singing star Frank Sinatra who said after meeting Haystacks said that "British Wrestlers are the best entertainers in the world". Giant Haystacks was also offered various television roles from adverts (Skips Crisps), appearing on the childrens television show Tiswas and a television play entitled Send in the Girls (written by former wrestler Leon Arras/Brian Glover).
(Giant Haystacks/Loch Ness in WCW)
In 1995 Haystacks was approached by WCW in the USA where he appeared as "Loch Ness" and where he was scheduled to do battle with the American legend Hulk Hogan, unfortunately the match never took place as shortly after his debut for WCW the Giant was diagnosed with Cancer and had to retire from the ring.
(One of the last taken photographs of Giant Haystacks)
He bravely fought the disease for over two years, at one point sure that he had beaten the scurge, having trimmed his weight to just 26 stone, before sadly dying aged just 52 on Sunday 29th November 1998.
Giant Haystacks will always be fondly remembered by the fans and his fellow workers as a quiet man with a dry sense of humour, a true legend who will never be forgotten. On what would of been his 70th birthday the Reunion fondly remember this gentle giant who was loved by everyone who knew him, it was a pleasure to know him and we thank him for the years of pleasure that he gave to us all.
At this years 25th anniversary Reunion the committee awarded Phil Powers with its Wrestler of the Year award. Unfortunately, Phil was unable to attend in person despite the fact that he did his best but due to traffic congestion and the fact that he was scheduled to wrestle that evening he had to abort his visit.
(Phil Powers thanks the Reunion)
In his absence, The award was presented by Phils good and long time friend, Kevin 'Maddog' Richmond, and was accepted on his behalf by Dave and Jenny from the popular Channel 4 show Shipping Wars UK which both Phil and Kevin appear in.
(Kevin Richmond presents the Wrestler of the Year Award accepted on behalf of Phil Powers by Dave and Jenny from Shipping Wars)
Phil has now sent us a video in which he thanks the Reunion for his award and despite being unable to attend states he will be there for the next 15 or 20, we hope we are as well !!!.
From its inception in 1998 Frank Rimer was a regular fixture at Dropkixx Wrestling Academy alongside his then partner Tony Scarlo where they trained the next generation of wrestling stars such as Nick Aldis (Magnus), Wade Barratt, Paul Burchill, Katie Lea, Sheamus O’Shaunessy and Leroy Kincaide. Because of Franks longevity in the business he was able to get guest trainers such as Wayne Bridges, Bobby Barnes, Steve Grey, Mel Stuart, Vince Randall, Tony White, Doug Williams and Jake ‘the Snake’ Roberts together with many others to assist him. This was one of Franks most enjoyable times in the business especially as he was able to help bullied and physically disabled children to wrestle for confidence.
Due to an injury which Frank sustained whilst training he reluctantly left Dropkixx a number of years ago and handed it over to Jon Ritchie who continues to run it successfully to this day. However, on Sunday 2nd October Frank made a one off welcome return to the Academy alongside 'Superstar' Mal Sanders who was invited as guest trainer for the day. Mal of course is one of wrestlings greatest legends with his most memorable bout being where he defeated the legendary Mick McManus on television for the European Middleweight Championship. Although Mal is now in semi retirement he does on occasions pull on the boots and continues to compete at venues around the UK bringing him a whole new legion of fans. However, Mal is rapidly running out of venues to appear at as he says that he will never, ever ever ever appear there again !!!!!.
Both Frank and Mal were warmly welcomed by all of the trainees at Dropkixx and Mals seminar was enjoyed by all those that participated in it. Dropkixx continues to be one of the premier wrestling academys in the UK and as well as training the next generation of stars they promote their own shows which are always well attended by the fans with their next event being held at Gravesend on Sunday 16th October 2016.
If you require any further details on Dropkixx Wrestling Academy please check out their website at www.dropkixx.com.
(Johnny Kincaid, Sanjay Bagga and Johnny Kidd)
Two of the most popular stars in British wrestling made a guest appearance on Sunday 25th September at Bletchley when Johnny Kincaid and Johnny Kidd attended at sold out show being promoted by LDN Wrestling.
Despite only promoting for just over 10 years LDN Wrestling now boast as being the biggest touring promoter in the UK, by the end of 2016 they will have held 160 events across the entire UK and with a number of new venues being booked for 2017 this will increase to over 200, a great achievement for LDN owner and promoter Sanjay Bagga.
Reunion committee member Johnny Kincaid has stated that he thoroughly enjoyed his time at the show, the atmosphere was really good and it was good family entertainment with a number of great bouts. Johnny Kidd, who up until his recent retirement worked a number of shows for LDN Wrestling was pleased to be back and to meet many of his friends who he shared a ring with over the years.
(The legends with some of the LDN team)
LDN owner Sanjay Bagga has stated that he is very pleased with the direction that the company is going, having recently employed a full time Head of Operations, the future looks very bright as the business intends to bring in many stars from around the World over the next few months to ensure that their shows are of the highest quality possible.
It is evident by the number of people who have attended LDN shows this year that their product is proving very popular with the paying public and we wish them all the very best for the future.
Full details of LDN shows can be found on their website at www.ldnwrestling.com.
As we reported last month Reunion supremo Frank Rimer has decided to retire from organising duties after 20 years in the role although he will remain a committee member and will continue to have an active role within other parts of the Reunion.
It has been agreed by the Committee that the 2017 Reunion will be organised by Wayne Bridges and Ken Sowden alongside two new members who have agreed to join the organising committee.
(Martin Gillott who is joining the Reunion organising committee for 2017)
The Reunion would now like to announce and welcome to our team two former wrestlers who are well known in the industry and who have been great supporters of us for many years. Barry Howard, who for the last three years has been our resident vocalist will be joining us together with Martin Gillott who in 2015 purchased the items donated to us by the son of the great Mick McManus only to give them straight back to us so that many generations of fans can enjoy them for years to come. As both have been in the business for many years they have the experience and knowledge and both have a great passion for it.
(Reunion organiser Ken Sowden welcomes Barry Howard to the Reunion committee)
We have no doubt that Barry and Martin will bring new and fresh ideas to the Reunion which we welcome and will also ensure that it continues to be run in a professional manner as it has been done so under Franks guidance. Both men will now work with Wayne and Ken in ensuring that next years Reunion is another great success for us all.
Barry and Martin are both delighted to be joining the team and are looking forward to the challenges that await them.
This is a new era for the British Wrestlers Reunion and one that we are all very excited about, we are in a very strong position and with the new team now in place we are confident that we will be holding the Reunion for many more years to come.
With immediate effect the British Wrestlers Reunion committee will be as follows:-
President: Joe D’Orazio
Host/Organiser: Wayne Bridges
Treasurer: Sarah Bridges
Reunion Organiser: Ken Sowden
Co Organiser Barry Howard
Co Organiser Martin Gillott
Hall of Fame: Johnny Kincaid
Obituaries: Colin Joynson
Admin: Bobby Stafford
Hon. Committee Frank Rimer
(Tom and Sandra)
We would like to send huge congratulations to popular wrestler Tom Tyrone who married Sandra at a lavish ceremony in Cyprus on the 15th September.
Tom, who was a popular figure around the halls of the UK during a 20 years career, initially started wrestling for independent promoters but soon came to the notice of Dale Martin Promotions and after a short time under their banner was regularly appearing at the Royal Albert Hall as well as making numerous television appearances in both solo bouts and as part of 'The Jets' Tag Team with Alan Kilby, Pat Patton and Steve Logan.
(The happy couple on their big day)
Many of Toms former colleagues as well as his legion of fans have sent their best wishes to the couple via Social Media.
We hope that Tom and Sandra have a long and very happy life together.
(Tom Tyrone during his wrestling days)
(Superfan Amanda Buckley Taylor with Kendo Nagasaki and Lyn Rigby)
Wrestlers and wrestling have always had their fans, many have their favorites who they would travel miles just to see in action or get the opportunity to shake their hand or if they are luckily enough get to have a few words with them.....then there is Amanda Buckley Taylor, without any doubt Kendo Nagasakis biggest fan.
Having met Amanda on a number of occasions we can see how dedicated she is to Kendo and his team, infact very often she can been seen wearing a hoodie emblazoned with the words 'Amanda Stalkersaki', in homage to the man who is her idol not only in wrestling but in life.
Amanda and her husband Andy have become good friends with Kendo and they are often guests at The Retreat, something that Amanda looks forward to immensely every time she is due to visit. Kendo, Loz and the rest of the Kendo Nagasaki Foundation team always make Amanda very welcome, as they do with all their invited guests, and she has become part of their family. Amanda is always the first asked, as she was this year, when Kendo is fundraising for the Lee Rigby Foundation and she can been seen manning the memorabilia stall raising hundreds of pounds for this very worthwhile cause.
(One of Amandas rooms dedicated to Kendo Nagasaki)
Such is Amandas infatuation with Kendo that todate she has 13 tattoos of the masked man of mystery all over her body and also has 4 rooms in her house dedicated to the man himself. As you can see from the photos Amanda has a vast collection of Kendo memorabilia and merchandise and is adding to this all of the time.
(Another one of Amandas rooms full of Kendo items)
At this years 25th Reunion it was only right that Amanda was acknowledged for her dedication to Kendo and as the great man himself was in attendance for the second year in a row it was only fitting that Amanda be awarded the Reunions 'superfan' award and this was presented to her by Kendo, Amanda was obviously very overcome by the occasion but has since told us that she was very honoured to receive the award and to have it presented by Kendo just made it all that more special.
(Amanda received a superfan award from Kendo Nagasaki at the 2016 Reunion)
Amanda Buckley Taylor is indeed a superfan and we know that she will continue to support Kendo for many more years to come. She, alongside Andy, have recently sent up a facebook page called Kendo Nagasaki Past, Present, Future and we would urge all fans of Kendo to join what is rapidly becoming one of the most popular wrestling related pages on facebook.
(Some of Amandas Kendo tattoos)
(Frank Rimer who has bowed out as Reunion organiser after 20 years)
With the success of this years 25th anniversary Reunion still fresh in all of our minds it was a sad day for many of us as the man who built the Reunion to what it is today, Frank Rimer, bowed out as organiser and compere.
When Frank took over the Reunion 20 years ago it was attended by a handful of wrestlers only who would meet up to remember their great days in the ring. Whilst the Reunion has and always will continue to be held to commemorate the glory years of British wrestling it was Frank who introduced the various awards, arranged entertainment on the day and build it into the largest Reunion in Europe. With over 350 wrestlers and fans attending this years event Frank has certainly left the Reunion in a far better state than when he first arrived and has ensured the Reunion will continue for many more years to come.
(Franks last outing as compere at the 2016 Reunion.....thankfully the beard has now gone!!!!)
The Reunion committee were informed of Franks decision to stand down in May of this year and despite all of our best efforts to persuade him to re-consider he now feels that this is the right time to go. It was also Franks wishes that no announcement was made prior to this years event and he also requested that no fuss of any kind was made on the day as being a very private person this would make him feel uncomfortable.
Whilst Frank is standing down as Reunion organiser and compere he is still very committed to the Reunion itself and will remain on the committee in an honorary position as well as continuing to arrange the various private dinners that the Reunion hold throughout the year for wrestlers and invited guests.
Reunion host Wayne Bridges has expressed his sadness at his great friends departure and has thanked Frank for all his hard work and commitment to the Reunion during the last 20 years.
(Wayne Bridges and Ken Sowden who will co-organise the 2017 Reunion)
With Franks departure there now has to be change at the Reunion. Wayne Bridges has announced that the Reunion is in a very strong position and despite speculation that it may end this is far from the case. Wayne has confirmed that he himself is still 100% behind the Reunion continuing and he will now work alongside Franks protege and for the last three years co-organiser Ken Sowden in planning for the 2017 event. Johnny Kincaid will continue to head the Hall of Fame section and Colin Joynson will also continue in his role on Reunion day announcing the obituaries.
Since Franks announcement that he will be leaving the Reunion we have been approached by three people well known in the wrestling industry offering their assistance with the Reunion and once roles have been allocated to these people we will be making the relevant announcement. There will also be a new compere for the 2017 Reunion and Ken Sowden has approached a suitable candidate for this role who is extremely keen albeit somewhat apprehensive in having to follow in Franks footsteps.
The British Wrestlers Reunion now looks forward to its new era, whilst we have no plans to change a winning format there has to be change to the organising team to ensure that the Reunion has a long life and that is what we are now implementing. We thank Frank for all his hard work and look forward to welcoming him as a guest in future years and would also like to thank all the wrestlers and fans who have supported us in the past and hopefully will continue to do so in the future.
(The British Wrestlers Reunion has a very bright future)
In 1988 TV said goodbye to a programme that had been on our screens since the mid 50’s. It was a sad day when the smooth talking, Egyptian born commentator, Kent Walton voiced the following phrase: “Good afternoon grapple fans…” for the final time. World of Sport wrestling had been axed by ITV, or to be more precise, their new controller, Greg Dyke. A lot of people were affected by the decision, not the least of which, those who earned their living scaling the length and breadth of the country every night, entertaining to sold out venues.
But they were not forgotten. In 1991, the British wrestlers decided they would hold a reunion every year. Not only would it give them a chance to see each other, but the people who made them household names as well: a decision they have never regretted.
So when August 14th 2016 dawned, The British Wrestlers Reunion was 25 years old and the ring of friendship had never been stronger. Although no official figure has been announced, the attendance at The Bridges pub in Horton Kirby was believed to be over 350 people, which was enough to bring a lump to the throat of even the hardest hearts.
The stars that made the sport were out in numbers: to name but a few; Wayne Bridges, Johnny Kincaid, Lee Bronson,Colin Joynson, Johnny Saint, Steve Grey, Roy St Clair, Alan Kilby, Johnny Kidd, John Cox, Bob Barratt,Lewis Blain,Romany Riley, Alan Sargeant, Bob Kirkwood, John Elijah, Lois Hyett, Mal Sanders,Lady Blossom (Jeanie Clarke), Keith Hayward, and Brian Maxine to name but a few. Sanjay Bagga of LDN brought with him a number of the younger generation of ringmasters, including James Riley from New York. From Canada, Georgia Smith (daughter of Davey Boy Smith), from Liverpool, Wayne Freeman (the brother of Princess Paula) and Emma Yearsley (daughter of Johnny Yearsley) were also on hand.
The reunion traditionally follows a format, and sadly, one of those is the ten-bell count, an obituary of wrestlers that have passed away during the last twelve months. As always, the job in hand goes to Bulldog Colin Joynson. Between 2015 & 16, the losses were heavy. Axel Dieter, Jack Taylor, Nick Bockwinkle, Peter Gurr, John Murphy, Harry Kendall, Roger Green, Bob Leonard, Dick Lanaghan, Phil Davies, Ed Wensor, Lord James Blears, Kris Travis, and Geoff Portz. A special mention was also made to the legendary boxer, Muhammad Ali.
Acknowledging people who have contributed to the wrestling business with an award ceremony is always a firm favourite with the fans. It’s a job that requires a first class MC, and they don’t come any better than Frank Rimer. Hall of Fame awards went to the ex-world heavyweight champion, Wayne Bridges, ex-world lightweight champion, Johnny Saint: and to Davey Boy Smith (accepted by his daughter, Georgia), Alan Sargeant, Bob Kirkwood, John Cox, and first female inductee Paula Valdez (accepted by her brother, Wayne Freeman). A number of other awards were handed out for different reasons, including Life Achievement awards to Dale Storm and Richard Harrison a.k.a. Dick the Bruiser plus non wrestler awards were given a special mention: and for one of those we must turn our attention to Lyn Rigby.
The 2016 Reunion in line with previous causes supported, this year promoted the Lee Rigby Foundation. In 2013,soldier and keen wrestling fan Lee was off duty in South East London when he was attacked and killed, something that sickened not only our own nation, but no doubt the rest of the world. Lee’s mother, Lynn together with his Father Ian attended the reunion, along with MP Kelly Tolhurst and Lord Mayor and former Dale-Martin second Ted Baker. One of the main supporters of the foundation is none other than the masked legend, Kendo Nagasaki, who through ‘The Nagasaki Foundation’ has very kindly opened the doors of his own home, known as The Retreat, which allows members of the armed forces some needed rest and recuperation. Kendo also made an appearance, treating the audience to a Japanese tea ceremony, offering the bowl as a gift to the reunion: which was one of only ten ever made. He remained on the stage to present a superfan award to a lady who is probably his biggest fan, Amanda Buckley Taylor, before posing for a photo.
The musical interlude was provided by talented Elvis tribute act known as Scott Elvis who wowed everybody with his uncanny singing likeness to the King plus of course our own Baz Jangles and Chris Buckwell who never fail to impress.
The audience were even treated to an impromptu fly past from the fabulous Red Arrows who dipped their wings in salute.
It has to be said that every year the reunion opens its doors, it is a huge success. One very heart-warming sight is the camaraderie between the wrestler’s as they greet each other exuberantly, a constant smile on their faces: they laugh and joke, and swap stories from yesteryear – all feuds locked firmly in the past. And it’s those amusing little tales that entertain the fans. For instance, Scott Thompson once found himself without lodgings or a mode of transport home. Sometime around midnight he and a colleague were left searching the town for a B&B. A kind landlady – despite being full up, allowed them to sleep on her floor. They were kept awake for some time, convinced that the squeaking they could hear were mice. When they could take no more they started banging on the wall in order to frighten the mice. It did the trick. The squeaking stopped. Over breakfast the following morning they tentatively broached the subject with their host, who smiled and replied that it wouldn’t be mice but the honeymooners in the next room. Needless to say, they didn’t show for breakfast.
Finally, something that brought a smile to my face happened on the main road outside the pub when I was walking back from my car. Another vehicle pulled up alongside me and an elderly lady lowered the window and asked: “What’s happening, sweetheart?”I find it most disconcerting that only elderly ladies call me sweetheart these days – well, older than me, anyway. I replied that it was The British Wrestler’s Reunion. “You must remember the days of ITV’s World of Sport when everything in the UK stopped on a Saturday afternoon at four o’ clock.” To which she cleared a lock of hair form her eye, smiled and replied, “Sorry dear, it was before my time.”
Finally, it’s time for a huge thank you to the organisers of the event, who put in a lot of effort in behind the scenes to make it the success that it is: amongst them, Wayne and Sarah Bridges, Ken Sowden, Vince Randell and Roy Smith on the merchandise stall. And not forgetting our old friend, Mr. Frank Rimer who after 20 years continuous reunion service now passes the reigns over to the younger generation, while he concentrates on his other business interests, thus encouraging continued growth and enhancement for this institution over the next 25 glorious years.
Here's to 2017 !
Ray Clark (2016)
Over the years many greats of wrestling have donated various pieces of memorabilia to us including items by such legends as Mick McManus and Kendo Nagasaki and some of these items are on display at each Reunion. These are always very popular and makes a great talking point amongst both wrestlers and fans.
To celebrate this years 25th British Wrestlers Reunion Mark Kent known to wrestling fans around the UK as Hughmungous presented a wrestling belt to us with an inscription to commemorate our anniversary. This was a very kind gesture on behalf of Mark and the belt which instantly went on display was admired by many of those in attendance.
The belt will now be placed into a glass case where it will be placed on display at the 2017 Reunion and for years to come.
( Tom Tyrone, Johnny Kincaid and Tony Costas share a laugh prior to Kincaids fall)
International wrestling Legend and Reunion Committee member Johnny Kincaid took a fall during the Reunion as he left the pub carrying drinks. He tumbled in the doorway face downwards and in trying not to spill the drink, hit his chest on the kerb, breaking two ribs. Ironically,
John mentioned the mishap to several wrestling pals but everyone thought that he was kidding and in usual wrestler fashion, just laughed at his inability to breakfall these days!
Nevertheless, the star carried on with the day regardless, not really feeling the pain until the next morning, when he visited the Doctor.
We are sure that all his legions of friends and fans wish him a speedy recovery.
For over 30 years an ever presence on our television screens was professional wrestling, sadly those great days are just a distant memory for many but on the second Sunday every August we are transported back to those halcyon days when everything stopped at four o?clock on a Saturday afternoon when mums, dads, grannies and grandads and children of all ages clambered around their television screens or filled the smoky halls of literally every town and city in the UK on a regular basis to get their weekly fix of professional wrestling.
On Sunday 14th August the sun shone once again as wrestlers, officials and fans from around the world converged on The Bridges Public House situated in a leafy suburb in Kent. On arriving at 9.30am wrestlers and fans were already converging on the pavement outside (the great Alan Kilby even arrived at 5.30am such was his desire to see his old colleagues once again) and it was hard to believe that in less than two hours there would be a mass of people all their to remember those great days of wrestling during which time there would be some wonderful stories and with this being the wrestling business we all know that everyone of these would be true !!!!.
As 11.00 approached it was obvious that once again the Reunion was going to be another great success, we already knew that there would be many star wrestlers in attendance. After last years record breaking year we knew that it would be hard to beat but nevertheless none of us could have imagined that by the time the Reunion was in full flow there would be some 350+ people in attendance comprising of over 100 wrestlers who had joined us from around the World alongside fans who had travelled from around the UK with a special mention to John Shelvey who came to see us all the way from Australia. Many of the fans came armed with their autographs books, cameras and other memorabilia that they have collected over the years were hoping to grab the opportunity of a chat with their favourite wrestler or a photo opportunity. The wrestlers, as always, are very obliging and are only too happy to chat with everyone as well as reliving memories with their colleagues.
This year an array of stars past and present came to celebrate our 25th anniversary with us, some of those in attendance were names in the business such as hosts Wayne Bridges and Sarah Bridges, Johnny Kincaid, Colin Joynson, Frank Rimer, Barry Howard, Peter Baines, Johnny Saint, Steve Grey, Kendo Nagasaki, Roy St Clair, Jackie Robinson, Basil Riley, Jim Fitzmaurice, Alan Kilby, Tracey Kilby, Karl Heinz, Mel Stuart, James Riley (from America), Johnny Kidd, Mohammad Butt, Gary Wensor, Andrew Bryden (Dale Storm), Martin Gillett (Glitterboy Evans), Tommy Stephenson (Scott Thomson), Steve Barker, Tom Tyrone, Kevin Richmond, Lewis Blain, Michael Wakeley, Barry Cooper, John Cox, Jeanie Clarke, Jackie McCann, Bob Barratt, Alan Sargeant, Bob Kirkwood, Dick the Bruiser, Tony Costas, Lex Mendoza, Al Saxon, Luscious Loretta, Sanjay Bagga, Jon Ritchie, Steve Lee Curtis, Jim Howard, John Elijah, Mal Sanders, Tony Scarlo, Ray Luxford, Johnny Hurley, Lee Bronson, Keith Haward, Lloyd Ryan, Billy La Rue, Bobby England, Hughmungous, Brian Maxine, Bob Anthony, Dave Walker, Alan Lee Travis, Bobby Stafford, Ted Baker plus many others. We were also joined by Georgia Smith (daughter of Davey Boy Smith), Wayne Freeman (the brother of Princess Paula) and Emma Yearsley (daughter of Johnny Yearsley) to name but a few.
Throughout the morning and early afternoon wrestlers and fans alike exchange stories, take photos, meet old and new friends and generally chat about their experiences within the wrestling business whether it be inside the ring or sat outside the ring, all of this happens whilst our resident vocalist Barry Howard (Baz Jangles) entertains those in attendance aided by Chris Buckwell. Alongside our two resident entertainers this year was renowned Elvis impersonator Scott Elvis who had The Bridges rocking for over an hour with a medley of great Elvis songs.
As an international Reunion we were joined this year by film crews from Tokyo in Japan who arrived at the Bridges at 8.00 a.m. making a movie about Tiger Mask Sammy Lee that is to include all the great grapplers like Keith Haward, Pete Roberts and Wayne Bridges that worked out there.
One of the most enjoyable part of any Reunion is the award ceremony and as ever Frank Rimer welcomes everyone to a packed garden, as every year there was standing room only with many people having to stand outside on the pavement to see the presentations. Before the presentations get underway there is always the sad part of the day and that is the reading of the obituaries done each and every year with the upmost professionalism by the legendary Colin Joynson. Prior to reading these out Colin read out a letter received from the present Lord Mountevans from the House of Lords and this will be posted to the website shortly. This year tributes were paid to Axel Dieter, Jack Taylor, Nick Bockwinkle, Peter Gurr, John Murphy, Harry Kendall, Roger Green, Bob Leonard, Dick Lanaghan, Phil Davies, Ed Wensor, Lord James Blears, Kris Travis, Geoff Portz and although a non wrestler but definitely worthy of a mention Muhammad Ali all of whom have passed away within the last 12 months. Colin also mentioned many of the great grapplers who have passed away during the Reunions 25 years as a mark of respect at this landmark Reunion. Following the obituaries the 10 bell salute was excellently observed by all of those in attendance followed by a minutes applause by everyone.
As the years progress you would think that it would become harder and harder to acknowledge those who have contributed to the wrestling business as many have already received awards in previous years but this was not the case and this year awards were presented as follows:-
Hall of Fame Awards:
Wayne Bridges presented by Roy St Clair
Johnny Saint presented by Johnny Kidd
Davey Boy Smith (accepted by Georgia Smith) presented by Jackie Robinson
Alan Sargeant presented by Bob Kirkwood
Bob Kirkwood presented by Alan Sargeant
John Cox presented by Johnny Kincaid
Paula Valdez (accepted by Wayne Freeman) presented by Bob Barratt
Lifetime Achievement Awards:
Dale Storm presented by Martin Gillott
Dick the Bruiser presented by Scott Elvis
Tony Costas presented by Karl Heinz
Mohammad Butt presented by Gary Wensor
Services to Wrestling Awards:
Steve Barker presented by Tom Tyrone
Roger Castle presented by Basil Riley
Non Wrestling Awards
Lyn Rigby presented by Kelly Tolhurst MP
Jeanie Clarke presented by Mal Sanders
Bradley Craig presented by Jeanie Clarke
Helen Joynson presented by Colin Joynson
Current Wrestler Awards:
Phil Powers accepted by Kevin Richmond
James Riley (International) presented by Johnny Saint
Amanda Jayne Buckley Taylor presented by Kendo Nagasaki
As this was our 25th anniversary we of course had to do something very special and just prior to our dignitaries commencing with their presentation a flyby by none other than the Red Arrows went overhead great timing on their behalf and something we knew you would all enjoy !!!!!!!!!!.
As many of you will know, this years Reunion was held in respect of the Lee Rigby Foundation and we were very honoured that Lees mother Lyn Rigby and father Ian Rigby joined us on this very special year for us. Frank Rimer gave a very moving speech relating to the Foundation before introducing Lyn Rigby alongside Kelly Tolhurst, MP and Ted Baker and the legendary Kendo Nagasaki who is one of the main supporters of the Foundation. Mrs Rigby was presented with an award by the Reunion which she later told us was a great privilege to receive. As mentioned Kendo Nagasaki was also in attendance and to commemorate this years Reunion he undertook a very special Japanese Tea Ceremony which many of those in attendance found fascinating. At the conclusion of this ceremony Kendo presented a tea bowl to the Reunion which is only one out of 10 ever made in the World and will be something we cherish for many years to come. Kendo then left the stage where he went on to spend over one and a half hours meeting fans, signing autographs and having photographs before moving to the private garden where he spent over two hours talking to many of his old wrestling colleagues.
With the ceremonies concluded everyone in attendance takes some time out, food and drink is flowing, the sun is beating down and everyone is in a very good mood, many staying on at the Bridges well into the evening. As the afternoon draws to close there are still many people meeting up with old friends, having photos and getting autographs, the one day of the year where the stars of the ring return, the clock is turned back and for that one day we are all transported back to the glory years of british wrestling.
So that was the 2016 British Wrestlers Reunion, a great success for us all ensuring that Britain continues to hold the record of the largest Wrestlers Reunion in Europe, an honour which Britain brightly deserves. We have received many many compliments on the day both in person as wrestlers and fans were leaving the Bridges and via email and social media which is very heart-warming and we are so pleased that everyone who attended enjoyed their time with us, it makes all the hard work worthwhile and we thank you for all of your support both in the past and for the future and look forward to seeing you all again on Sunday 13th August 2017 when we will do it all again.
PLEASE CHECK OUT THE SOUTHERN REUNION GALLERY (FOUND IN THE NAVIGATION BAR AT THE TOP) FOR OVER 640 PHOTOGRAPHS OF THIS YEARS GREAT REUNION
(Kendo Nagasaki conducts the tea ceremony at the 2016 Reunion)
All of us here at the British Wrestlers Reunion were once again very honoured this year to welcome to our event one of the biggest legends in British wrestling history.
As a great supporter of the Lyn Rigby Foundation Kendo Nagasaki was a very welcome guest this year and gave his full support to the charity. Kendo, who allows members of the armed forces to go to his home (or The Retreat as it is known) to recuperate or just to have some quiet time also sold many items of memorabilia with all funds raised going to the Foundation. Many items including Lyn Rigbys book on her life since her sons murder sold out within an hour and both the Reunion and Kendos team were very pleased with the response that the charity received from everyone in attendance.
(Kendo Nagasaki presents a superfan award to Amanda Buckley Taylor)
Whilst at the Reunion, Kendo did us a great honour of presenting a superfan award to arguably his biggest fan. Amanda Buckley Taylor has many of her rooms in her house dedicated to Kendo Nagasaki and even has 13 tattoos of her idol.
(The tea bowl presented to the Reunion at the 2016 event)
As part of Kendos appearance this year he carried out a tea ceremony which was well observed and interested many of the guests. At the conclusion of the ceremony Kendo himself presented the Reunion with a tea bowl, one of only 10 ever produced in the World and this is something that we will cherish for years to come.
(Kendos mask which will be on display at forthcoming Reunions)
As many of our members know, at last years Reunion Kendo presented us with one of his masks and whilst we were offered a considerable amount of money for this we have decided that we will retain this and it was displayed on the 14th August and will continue to be displayed at forthcoming Reunions together with the tea presented to us this year.
Following the tea ceremony and presentations Kendo Nagasaki spent over one and a half hours meeting fans, signing autographs and posing for photographs, a long queue formed by many wanting to the opportunity to meet this legend of British wrestling. Once Kendo had met every single fan that was waiting he then went into the private garden where he spent a further two hours talking to many of the wrestlers who joined us for the day including a one hour meeting with our own Wayne Bridges in which they discussed their many battles for the World title nearly twenty years ago.
As many of us now reflect on this years Reunion we are very pleased that Kendo Nagasakis office have publicly stated how much that they enjoyed the day and everything that went with it and congratulated us on another successful Reunion and we thank them for taking time out of their very busy schedule to join us in 2016.
This years anniversary Reunion is nearly upon us and on Sunday Wayne and Sarah Bridges alongside the rest of the committee will welcome you all to The Bridges, Horton Road, South Darenth, Kent for a celebration of British wrestling and 25 glorious years of the Reunion.
As you will know from previous emails and our website we will have the usual mix of awards and entertainment plus the attendance of many great grapplers and fans from around the UK and beyond. Please note that this years award ceremony will commence at midday and we would ask that you all be in the garden by this time so as not to miss a minute of this great event.
For any wrestlers, officials or their families there will be free meal tickets and these will be available on the day from either Wayne Bridges or Ken Sowden.
We are all gutted embarrassed and disappointed to learn from our singer Barry Howard that having advertised his presence, special guest Eddie Kidd OBE has been struck down with a gastric enteritis bug and cannot make the Reunion after all.
Quite understandably, being paralysed, he can't possibly make the journey from his home in Brighton, although Banger Walsh spoke to him today and he wishes all attending to have a wonderful time and sends his sincerest apologies. Shame, as so many people were looking forward to meeting him. Hopefully next year !!
All other guests are as mentioned previously. Looking forward to making everyone attending very welcome .
Just a few days to go until the 25th Annual British Wrestlers Reunion celebration party.
Come along and join us in the 'Ring of Friendship' at this charming pub and gardens and meet all these special guests plus over 130 World of Sport Legends of the wrestling ring that thrilled you for over 30 years on ITV. Get an autograph or have a photo taken with them. Everybody welcome, FREE event , just buy your own drinks and food from our all day catering wagon. (Wrestlers, Officials and Family receive free ticket for food).
Fantastic music from leading Elvis tribute act : Scott Elvis and our regular crooner Baz Jangles, M.P. Kelly Tolhurst, Lord Mayor Ted Baker, Britains greatest ever stuntman Eddie Kidd OBE, award winning Author Ray Clark, Lee Rigby's immensely brave Mother : Lyn Rigby, Kendo Nagasaki, Johnny Saint, Jeanie Clarke ( Lady Blossom), Johnny Kincaid, Karl Heinz, Steve Grey, Bob Barratt, Dick the Bruiser, Banger Walsh, Wayne Bridges, Johnny Kidd, Steve Veidor, Pete Roberts, Sid Cooper, Tom Tyrone, Sarah Bridges, Mal Sanders, Tommy Stevenson, Jackie Turpin, Skull Murphy, Bob Kirkwood, Alan Sargeant, Basil Riley, Colin Joynson, Roy St.Clair, Dale Storm, plus dozens more.
Raffles, awards ceremony plus obituary tribute to the fallen gladiators, memorabilia stalls, books by attending Authors who will sign their work, all at 'The Bridges', Horton Road, South Darenth, Kent, DA4 9AX. Commences 11.00 a.m. Sunday the 14th August till late.
Don't forget your cameras !!!
(Eddie Kidd in his heyday)
We are pleased to announce that stuntman and daredevil Eddie Kidd will be one of our special guests at this years Reunion thanks to his very good friends and Reunion stalwarts Tony 'Banger' Walsh and Barry Howard who are two of Eddies closest friends.
(Eddie after receiving his OBE in 2012)
Eddie, who was awarded an OBE in 2012 by Her Majesty the Queen started his career at the age of fourteen. He is the holder of many world records for jumping over cars and buses. He has worked as a stunt double in many films, notably for Timothy Dalton in The Living Daylights, Roger Moore and Michael Caine in Bullseye and Pierce Brosnan in Goldeneye. One of his most famous motorcycle stunts was in the 1979 film Hanover Street starring Harrison Ford. Doubling for Ford on a motorbike he jumped a 120 feet railway cutting at 90 miles per hour in Shepton Mallett, Somerset.
In his role as stunt biker Dave Munday in the 1981 film Riding High Kidd performed a motorcycle jump across an 80 feet gap in a disused viaduct across the Blackwater River in Essex. In 1993, he jumped over the Great Wall of China on a motorcycle. Despite performing over 12,000 jumps in his career he did not own a driving licence until 1995.
(Eddie Kidd and Banger Walsh)
On 6 August 1996, Eddie was involved in a serious motorcycle accident while performing at the Bulldog Bash held near Stratford upon Avon. In comparison to some of his previous stunts, the jump Eddie made that day was relatively minor, comprising a jump of approximately 49 ft across a drag strip. The relatively short landing area beyond the drag strip consisted of an uphill incline leading to the edge of a steep embankment. Although Eddie completed the jump and landed the bike upright on two wheels, his chin struck the petrol tank of his motorcycle and he was knocked unconscious. As a result, Eddie was unable to prevent himself and his bike from continuing up and over the 20 ft embankment edge. Eddie sustained serious head and pelvic injuries in the resulting fall.
Despite his injury Eddie Kidd has made the most of his life and has not stopped his disability from achieving the things he wants in life. We are very proud and honoured to welcome him to the Reunion on the 14th August and know that he will be warmly welcomed by everyone there on the day.
(Eddie with Barry Howard)
The final countdown is underway from the wrestling event of the year as next Sunday, the 14th August, Wayne and Sarah Bridges will welcome everyone to The Bridges, Horton Road, South Darenth, Kent for the 25th British Wrestlers Reunion.
(Wayne and Sarah Bridges will welcome you all on the 14th August)
This years Reunion will not only be a time to remember the glory days of British wrestling but it will also be a celebration of the Reunion and early indications show that many of you will be joining us to commemorate this landmark in the Reunions history.
As previously advised, this years event will have all the regular features from the Awards ceremony to the 10 bell salute to remember all those great grapplers who have left us this past year. Memorabilia will be on display and for sale, published authors will be in attendance to sell and sign copies of their latest offerings, a raffle will be held with some great prizes on offer and throughout the day we will have some great entertainment from Scott Elvis, Baz Jangles and Chris Buckwell. This years Reunion is being held in support of the Lee Rigby Foundation and its founder Lyn Rigby will be joining us alongside wrestling legend and fellow supporter of the Foundation Kendo Nagasaki. All this and much more on the day and its all free (with the exception of refreshments and the raffle which we hope you will partake in).
(Kendo Nagasaki will return to the 2016 Reunion to support the Lee Rigby Foundation)
Once again this year we have produced a glossy 12 page Souvenir programme and this will be on sale at the Reunion with some great articles, a look back at 25 years of the Reunion and details of the award winners and obituaries. We also have for sale a limited number of anniversary t-shirts, these are available on our webstore at www.britishwrestlersreunion.com and would be a nice keepsake for any wrestling fan. Once these shirts are sold we will not be getting anymore so if you would like one we would suggest you purchase early to avoid disappointment.
(A souvenir programme and t-shirt have been produced to commemorate this years Reunion)
We invite you all to join us next Sunday for what promises to be a day to remember and one any wrestler or fan will not want to miss. All the fun kicks off at 11.00am with the awards ceremony due to commence at midday. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible and can guarantee that you will receive a warm welcome like no other.
If anyone has any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.
(The film crew behind the Antonio Inoki documentary will be at this years Reunion)
When you talk about Japanese wrestlers one name instantly comes to mind and that is Antonio Inoki, a wrestler who did it all in the ring and is probably the most famous Japanese wrestler of them all.
Inoki is still hugely popular in Japan despite retiring from the ring in 1998 and a documentary is currently being produced in his homeland to honour him. As part of this documentary we were recently contacted by the production team behind this project to ask if they could come to this years Reunion to film the event and carry out a number of interviews with many of the British stars who themselves travelled to Japan over the years, men such as Pete Roberts, Wayne Bridges, Kendo Nagasaki, Colin Joynson, alongside many others who will be attending this year.
We look forward to welcoming the film crew on the day and we are very pleased that the documentary will not only feature a host of British Wrestlers but also bring the Reunion to a worldwide audience.
(Johnny Saint will return to the 2016 Reunion)
He is without doubt one of the greatest lightweight wrestlers in the history of the sport and after being unable to attend last years Reunion due to work commitments the former World Lightweight Champion Johnny Saint has confirmed to us that he will be returning to this years event on the 14th August to celebrate our 25th anniversary.
Johnny Saint was and still is to this day one of the most popular wrestlers ever in the business and is still in high demand from promoters in not only the UK but around the World to visit their promotions and teach the next generation of wrestlers some of the skills that Johnny himself used during his very illustrious career. Only a few months ago Johnny was invited by World Wrestling Entertainment in the USA to visit their Performance Centre to spend a week with their trainees and such was the success of his trip that further ones are being planned for the future.
(Johnny Saint in action against Rollerball Rocco)
Johnnys wrestling career speaks for itself, following on from the legendary George Kidd as World Lightweight Champion, Johnnys professionalism in the ring never faltered and his epic bouts with such stars as Jim Breaks, Steve Grey, Rollerball Rocco and many others are still fondly remembered today.
The Reunion very much look forward to welcoming Johnny on Sunday 14th August where he will join many other wrestlers and fans from around the World to commemorate our 25th anniversary and enjoy the party atmosphere that the day will provide.
Sunday 14th August 2016 will be an historic day for the British Wrestlers Reunion as we celebrate 25 glorious years in which time we have gone from just a handful of wrestlers in attendance to becoming the largest Reunion in Europe and the second biggest in the World.
To commemorate this landmark day we have a limited number of just 20 t-shirts available (10 in large and 10 in x large). Once all 20 are sold we will not be getting anymore printed making them a unique piece of wrestling memorabilia for any wrestler or fan. As you can see from the photo above the t-shirt comes in white and shows the Reunion logo with celebrating 25 years on it and they are made from high quality material and have been professionally printed.
The t-shirts will be available at the Reunion for just £15.00 with all profits going to the Reunion as they have been kindly donated to us by Roy Smith for which we are eternally grateful. Alternatively, if you wish to purchase a shirt now they are available via our webstore for £15.00 (plus £3.50 postage and packing UK or £5.00 postage and packing outside of UK). If you purchase via the webstore the shirts will be posted out to you prior to the Reunion although as we are reliant of Royal Mail we cannot guarantee delivery before the 14th August. Therefore, if you wish to order a shirt via the webstore but wish to collect at the Reunion there will of course be no p&p payable.
As these shirts are solely to commemorate our anniversary they will not be available again so to avoid disappointment place your order early and show the world that you are a proud supporter of the British Wrestlers Reunion.
We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of former referee , wrestling Manager, stunt man and actor JOE SANDS following a short illness.
Joe was a stalwart Reunion supporter and never missed and outing . He was looking forward to this year's celebrations marking our 25th Anniversary and was devastated when taken into Hospital recently for treatment.
The larger than life character commenced his life in wrestling as a referee and then graduated to valet Manager to many of the boys. As a stunt man, he appeared in many movies and acted as a double for Dave Prowse MBE in many Hammer House of Horror films.
The boys stayed pals and can be seen here as both young wannabe actors and more recently at one of our Reunions.
During one bout in Southampton,whereby Wayne Bridges was tackling Bill Bromley ( The Masked Emperor), Wayne had always been known as a blue eye wrestler but on this occasion thanks to Joe's arranged interference, the heat was on Bridges from the crowd and he took to rule bending villainy to end the contest. Such was the furure of the crowd that they turned on local boy Joe who had been relegated to the stage wings during the bout . He was attacked , kicked, punched and generally mauled by the irate audience as a direct result of his \professional interference.
Next day, Bridges phoned Joe's wife to inquire how his referee friend was doing and she said coldly 'That is the last time I let him out to play with you !
Joe was a dearly loved member of the wrestling fraternity in our ring of friendship and his huge presence will be missed.
May he R.I.P.
We are very pleased to hear from Christiane Gregory, the wife of British wrestling legend Tony St Clair, that his replacement hip operation has gone very well and that he is now recovering in hospital although he is very tired at the present time.
Tony was not only a familiar face in the rings of the UK but around the World during his near 40 years within the industry. As well as singles competition Tony formed a very successful tag team partnership with his older brother Roy and in their first year together faced the Black Diamonds on the FA Cup Final Day spectacular.
(Roy and Tony St Clair)
The multiple time World and British Heavyweight Champion had great success wherever he stepped through the ropes. In 1974 Tony made his first overseas appearance in a German ring and went on to win the CWA championship. Such was his love of this country that after meeting and marrying Christiane he moved there permanently and continues to reside there to this day. Although retired from in ring action for some years now Tony is still very active in the wrestling business and can often be seen at German wrestling tournaments where his vast experience is always welcomed by those young wrestlers of today.
We wish Tony all the best with his recovery over the coming months. Sadly, due to his operation he will be unable to join us this year for the Reunion but has sent his apologies and has told us that he is very disappointed to be missing this landmark occasion. However, we all hope that Tony will join us again next year when he is back to full fitness.
(Tony and Christiane)
Canadian star Heavyweight wrestler and former NWA Champion , stunt diver and football quarter back has not sat around during his retirement years, but established himself as a mean harmonica player, specialising in the blues and when most folks are sitting in their chair with pipe and slippers, he is currently touring with his Band and together with some other musical pals has released a super new C.D. of which a promo video is attached underneath demonstrating the big mans skills.
Butts who is deeply religious, has also recently released his autobiography titled 'The Last Chapter' see above, which has become a best seller. The former World of Sport Legend who once boasted the title of being 'World belly flop Champion ' lives in the most beautiful Town on Nainamo on Vancouver Island in Western Canada and fondly recalls his times in the U.K. from the early 70's, where he battled against some real greats of the era, including Steve Veidor, Tibor Szakacs and our own Wayne Bridges for the World Title belt, a bout which we shall shortly upload to the video page. During a recent chat, he asked that he be remembered to all the lads and lasses especially Wayne Bridges and he hopes that the sun will shine on our 25th Reunion on August the 14th.
Interesting factoid. Butts excelled in Business and was once the owner of the biggest Tee shirt Company in Canada.
( Butts with his wife and John Quinn in the background)
Legendary English wrestler , actor, MC, and surfing legend from the the early 1950's ,known as LORD JAMES TALLY HO BLEARS, who emigrated to the States and was one of the first British grapplers to crack the American scene, and as reported earlier this year passed away in in March at his home in Hawaii aged a marvellous 92.
A tribute to his lifelong friend and mentor has been sent from Canada by BUTTS GIRAUD and can be read in the obituary section. Meanwhile he has been added to the dressing room in the sky.
This wrestler, who may not be familiar to younger readers led a phenomenal life that most can only dream of and is really worth following in our obituary section.
With the great success of last years Reunion still fresh in some of our minds it is hard to believe that we are now just 3 short weeks away from the 2016 event.
On Sunday 14th August Wayne and Sarah Bridges will once again welcome us all to The Bridges, Horton Road, South Darenth, Kent for the 25th British Wrestlers Reunion, a day which will not only be a celebration of wrestling but a huge party to commemorate our anniversary.
(The 2016 Reunion is being held in support of the Lee Rigby Foundation)
As previously reported, this years Reunion is being held in support of the Lee Rigby Foundation and we are very honoured that Lees mother and the founder of the Foundation Lyn Rigby will be one of our special guests. Joining Lyn will be Kelly Tolhurst, the MP for Rochester and Medway who will be making a very special presentation alongside former Dale Martin second Ted Baker who has gone on to great things as Alderman and Lord Mayor of Rochester. On the subject of the Lee Rigby Foundation we will also be joined by one of the great legends of British wrestling in the masked man of mystery Kendo Nagasaki. Kendo, who himself works in conjunction with the Foundation, has carried out several charitable events to promote them over the last year and is also heavily involved in setting up the Lee Rigby Lodge where veterans and their families can go to the Nagasaki Retreat to relax and recuperate.
(Colin Joynson will lead the tributes to those grapplers who have sadly passed away during the last year)
As well as our special guests there will be between 100 and 150 wrestlers including former World, European and British champions joining us from around the World including the USA and Japan together with wrestling fans from across the UK. We will of course have all of our regular features including Lifetime Achievement and Services to Wrestling Awards, six more wrestlers will be inducted into the Reunion Hall of Fame and there will be three very special awards presented to the deserving recipients. The 10 bell salute will be held prior to Colin Joynson remembering all of those grapplers who have sadly gone to the Dressing Room in the Sky this past year, this is something that is very poignant each and every year.
(The 2016 Souvenir Programme which looks back at 25 years of the Reunion)
As well as the above we will have memorabilia on display from such stars as Mick McManus Kendo Nagasaki and Big Daddy and Roy Smith will have his merchandise stall selling an array of wrestling goodies featuring many of your favourite stars as well as the very special 25th anniversary edition of the Reunion Souvenir Programme. Published authors such as Jeanie Clarke, Dale Storm, Martin Gillott, Johnny Kincaid and Ray Clarke will also be signing copies of their books, this is something that we have done in the past and it has always gone down extremely well.
Entertainment this year will be provided by Scott Elvis, Baz Jangles and Chris Buckwell and no doubt a few others will take to the stage during the day to give us all a rendition of their favourite songs, as this years Reunion is all about a party atmosphere we hope that many of you will join in.
Food and drink will be available throughout the day (wrestlers and officials will be given a ticket to enable them to get free food). A number of great raffle prizes will be available this year and Vince Randall and his team will be selling tickets around the venue.
The indications are that this years Reunion is going to be something rather special and as the Ring of Friendship we invite you all to join us for this very special day. As the final countdown now begins to Europes largest wrestling Reunion, organisers Frank Rimer and Ken Sowden together with the rest of the committee are busily putting the final touches to this landmark Reunion and we hope that you will all be part of it.So finally dont forget the date, Sunday 14th August at The Bridges, its the place to be and it all kicks off at 11.00am...see you there !!!!!!.
With just a few weeks to go until the party of the summer many people from around the UK and beyond have contacted us to advise that they will be joining us to celebrate 25 years of the British Wrestlers Reunion on the 14th August.
(Lyn Rigby and Kendo Nagasaki who will both be joining us on the 14th August)
As previously advised, this year the Reunion are supporting the Lee Rigby Foundation and its founder Lyn Rigby will be attending the Reunion to promote her work within the organisation and its plans for the future. Mrs Rigby will be joined by one of the all time legends of the ring as the masked man of mystery, Kendo Nagasaki, will be making a return to the Reunion after such a successful first appearance last year. Kendo will be joined by Loz and Roz together with his 'keepers of the salt' who will be travelling from far and wide to be with us again in 2016.
(Kelly Tolhurst MP)
Word of this years Reunion is spreading across the country and we are very pleased to announce that the Member of Parliament for Rochester and Medway, Kelly Tolhurst, will also be joining us on the 14th August. Kelly, who is also a councillor for Medway Council, was elected to Parliament at the last General Election with a huge 7000 majority and is one of the brightest MPs in the Houses of Parliament and someone that is tipped for great things in the political world in the coming years.
Joining the above dignitaries will be a former second for Dale Martin Promotions who has himself gone on to great things over the years. Ted Baker has reached the heights of Alderman and is a former Lord Mayor of Rochester. Having been elected to the council in 1961 Ted has served as Mayor on two occasions in 2002 and 2011. In 2002 his aim was to highlight citizenship amongst young people and to achieve this he visited over 70 schools. Ted has also been deputy mayor four times in 1971, 1990, 2000 and 2008.
The Reunion warmly welcome all of the above to be part of our celebrations and thank them for taking time out of their very busy schedules to be with us.
We would like to send our very best wishes to Mac Hardiman otherwise known in the ring as Scrubber Daly who on Monday 18th July underwent knee replacement surgery.
Scrubber Daly was a regular name on bills up and down the country during the 1980s and was more often than not in the opposing corner to Big Daddy in which he fought the big man from Halifax in both tag and solo contests.
Sadly, Scrubbers health has not been good over recent years but we hope that this surgery is a complete success and that it will go a long way to getting him back to full health.
(Scrubber Daly flanked here by Bob Barratt and Keith Myatt in June 2016)
The 2016 Reunion is certain to have a real party atmosphere with wrestlers and fans travelling from not only every part of the UK but from Europe, the USA and Japan to join us for our very special day.
To ensure that we are royally entertained this year we have secured the services of Scott Elvis, Baz Jangles and Chris Buckwell to entertain us throughout the day, all three are masters in the entertainment world so we are guaranteed a great day of music and merriment.
Scott Elvis is one of the leading Elvis Presley tribute acts and is in high demand to entertain the masses at various events around Europe, such is his popularity that Scott Elvis is often booked up months in advance and we are very lucky to be able to secure his services for our anniversary year. Scott will perform many of the Kings most popular songs and is certain to be a real hit with everyone in attendance.
Barry Howard aka Baz Jangles has been our resident vocalist for the last few years and has become a firm favourite with everyone, always happy to share the stage with the odd wrestler or fan who wants to join in with a sing-a-long, Baz, who has performed at the London Palladium and the O2 Arena, will once again be singing a variety of hits from many different genres.
(Chris Buckwell seen here with Mal Sanders at a recent Reunion dinner)
Chris Buckwell will be swapping his day job as a High Court Judge to join us with his ever present saxophone. Chris who has been a regular at the Reunion now for many years is an accomplished saxophonist and is always very popular with us all. A great addition to the entertainment team Chris will be playing various pieces of music which are familiar to us all.
We are pleased to have all of the above joining us this year, with their attendance we know the day with go with a swing so remember to bring your bopping shoes, join in, celebrate wrestling and above all enjoy the party.
The British Wrestlers Reunion Souvenir programme will once again be available this year after the last two years have seen the programme sell out such is its popularity.
This special 25th anniversary edition will consist of 12 glossy pages and will feature several articles as well as details of all the 2016 Award winners, those who have sadly gone to the Dressing Room in the Sky as well as a look back at 25 years of the Reunion in pictures.
This programme will be a great keepsake of what will be a memorable day for us all and will be on sale at the Reunion on Sunday 14th August for just £5.00.
For those of you who are unable to attend the Reunion but would like a copy it will be available on our webstore (see link in the navigation bar at the top of this page) from the 15th August 2016 at a price of £6.00 (this includes p&p).
We hope that you will support the Reunion by purchasing a copy as all funds raised help towards the organisation of the Reunion itself and maintaining our website.
As previously reported our very own Wayne Bridges celebrated his 80th birthday on the 5th July. The following evening some of the greats from British wrestling attended at the home of the Reunion, The Bridges, where a lovely dinner was put on in Waynes honour.
Some of Waynes (or Bills) closest friends attended the evening and those who made the trip to wish the former World champion a happy birthday were Steve Grey, Pete Roberts, Mal Sanders, Chris Buckwell (who is our resident saxophone player at each and every Reunion), Ian Muir, Lee Bronson, Johnny Kincaid, Tom Tyrone, Mel Stuart, Tommy Stewart, Frank Rimer, Barry Howard and Bob Stafford.
Photographs from the evening can now be found in the Ad Hoc gallery right here on the website under Wayne Bridges 80th Birthday.
Just a heads up to anyone coming to this years British Wrestlers Reunion on the 14th August who will require accommodation.
We have been advised tonight (6th July) that all the hotels that the Reunion use are now fully booked. However, there are still rooms available at the Premier Inn (which is approximately 15 minutes from the Reunion venue).
The Premier Inn is located at The Bridge Business Park, Halcrow Avenue, Dartford, Kent DA1 5FX
and their telephone number is 0871 527 9328 so you may wish to book sooner rather than later to avoid having to travel further on the day.
On the 5th July the former 3 times World heavyweight champion and for the last 23 years British Wrestlers Reunion host Wayne Bridges celebrates his 80th birthday.
Wayne has done everything in the wrestling business over the last 50 years and has travelled the globe several times over having great success in both the UK and on foreign soil.
Wayne will be celebrating his birthday with his wife Sarah and a small dinner is planned for him with many of his friends from the wrestling business and we will post photographs of this in due course.
We at the Reunion send our very best wishes to Wayne (or Bill as we know him) and hope that he has a great day, many of his former colleagues and fans have also sent birthday greetings and a selection are as follows:-
Roger Castle: Happy birthday Wayne
We would like to send our very best wishes to the legendary 'Bulldog' Colin Joynson who is recovering at home after a stint in hospital.
Reunion committee member Colin had a big problem with his left foot from doing all the walking when his wife Helen was in hospital ,it broke down again and he has a diabetic ulcer under his foot ,they took him into Manchester Royal hospital and there was talk of him losing his left leg below the knee. Colin was discharged after one week with a stack of pills and he is now on the mend.
Colin and his lovely wife Helen have both vowed to join us at the Reunion on the 14th August where Colin will announce the obituaries as he does with great professionalism each and every year.
Both Colin and Helen are real troopers and we look forward to greeting them both at the Reunion, having been through a terrible year we are pleased that both are now well on the mend.
(Helen and Colin Joynson will both be at the Reunion on the 14th August)
News has reached us that the former World Mid Heavyweight champion Marty Jones has been admitted to hospital for surgery on the knee replacement that he had last year.
Marty, who has had a hectic schedule over the last year with his seminars which has taken him all over the UK, continues to run his own training school and has some very promising youngsters who could very well be the next generation of wrestling stars in not only the UK but around the World.
Over the last few weeks Marty has been experiencing some considerable discomfort in his knee replacement to the extent that it has now become so badly swollen that surgery is the only option open to him in an attempt to rectify the problem.
We wish Marty all the best and hope that the operation is a great success and that he is soon back on his feet and 'back to business'
(Kendo Nagasaki will return to the 2016 Reunion)
We are now only a few short weeks away from the biggest party of not only the summer but of the year as on Sunday 14th August the British Wrestlers Reunion will celebrate 25 glorious years in which we have seen wrestlers and fans from around the World join us to remember the glory days of British wrestling.
Over the years the Reunion have supported many charitable causes and this year is no exception and after consideration it has been decided by the committee that the 2016 anniversary Reunion will be held in support of the Lee Rigby Foundation.
We are very honoured to announce that on the 14th August we will be joined by Lyn Rigby, the mother of Lee who is also the founder of the Lee Rigby Foundation. Mrs Rigby has expressed her delight at being at this years Reunion especially as it is being held in honour of her son and has advised that the idea of the Foundation is to help bereaved families of those who served in the armed forces, we never had much to help when Lee was murdered states Mrs Rigby and it is a way to honour Lee and he would be very proud. Mrs Rigby who has also written a book on her life after the death of her son…Lyn Rigby, a Mothers Story is a full and frank account of her life since her sons murder and copies will be on sale at the reunion. This is a very powerful and compelling read.
(Lyn Rigby who will be at the 2016 Reunion)
In 2015 the Reunion was hailed by many as the best ever held in the UK and the success was down to all the great wrestlers and fans who attended. One wrestler who made his first appearance at last years Reunion and went a long way to making it the success it became was the masked man of mystery Kendo Nagasaki.
We are now very pleased to confirm that the legend himself, Kendo Nagasaki will once again be joining us again for our 25th anniversary. Kendo is without doubt one of the last living legends from the glory years of British wrestling and his attendance this year will only go to enhance the days proceedings. Last year we saw fans of Kendo travel from around the UK to see their hero and we are sure that they will do so again this year. We would like to thank Kendo Nagasaki, Laurence Stevens and Atlantis Goth for their offer to attend which we are only too happy to accept.
As some of our members may know, the Kendo Nagasaki Foundation is heavily involved with the Lee Rigby Foundation and we are privileged that both will be at the 2016 Reunion. Kendo Nagasaki himself has undertaken various charity events in aid of the Lee Rigby Foundation and at present is working with Lyn Rigby and the North Staffs Veterans Organisation, in pursuit of setting-up the Lee Rigby Lodge, a facility aimed at veterans and their families being able to come to the Nagasaki Retreat, and get away from it all, relax, recharge their batteries, and move forward in their lives with a new strength. This is a very worthwhile cause and something that the Reunion supports 100%.
(Baz Jangles and Scott Elvis will provide the entertainment at the 2016 Reunion)The 2016 Reunion will definitely have a party atmosphere, as well as great wrestlers and fans in attendances we will of course have the annual Hall of Fame and Services to Wrestling Awards, the 10 bell salute and the obituaries read out as ever by Colin Joynson who will once again this year be joined by Piper Sgt Stuart McRoberts. Several published authors will be on hand to sell and sign copies of their latest offerings, we will have memorabilia on display and for sale. Our popular Souvenir programme will once again be available and a raffle will be held in which you can win some fabulous prizes. Food and drink will also be available (wrestlers and officials do not pay for food however). We will be royally entertained by our resident vocalist Baz Jangles who this year will be joined by one of Europes greatest Elvis Presley tribute acts in Scott Elvis and Chris Buckwell who will provide additional entertainment on his saxophone and all of that is just for starters, so make a note in your diaries, Sunday 14th August, the British Wrestlers Reunion is the only place to be, this is a free event so come along and enjoy yourself and relive what was without any doubt the greatest era of British wrestling
Legendary World of Sport wrestlers Mal 'Superstar' Sanders and Steve Grey will host a seminar this Sunday the 19th June 2016 at the Angel Centre, Tonbridge Kent from 1.00 p.m.
This is a rare chance for all wrestlers from fully accredited Professionals right down to absolute beginners to learn from two masters of the sport.
Mal Sanders has been in the Business for over 35 years and defeated the Mighty Mick McManus on TV. In his time, he has held British and European titles at Welterweight, and Middleweight and is considered one of the all time great Ring Generals. He has appeared on British TV over 40 times during the heyday of wrestling and is a veteran traveller, having worked in over 20 Countries and outside of the ring is one of the funniest and compelling story tellers in the game. Mal still trains daily, wrestling stars such as James Mason, Johnny Kidd and Doug Williams and his ring psychology is second to none.
Steve Grey meanwhile, is incredibly the former Lightweight Champion of Great Britain, the European Champion and Lightweight Champion of the World , considered to be in the top three Lightweight grapplers to have ever entered the ring. He has also held the welterweight Championship of Britain, fighting up a weight for the Title which he took in front of 6 million viewers. With over 40 years experience, he has appreared on TV more times than any other wrestler in Britain and wrestled everyone from Johnny Saint to Big Daddy and the Legendary Jon Cortez .He has also visited over 20 Countries where his reputation is second to none. Still one of the most supple and fit mat men around,his amazing technical sequences and floor ability has to be witnessed to be fully appreciated.This Legend still occasionally wrestles against top opponents such as Johnny Kidd, Mal Sanders himself, plus many more, and also doubles as referee , an art which comes naturally, being the son of the immortal Freddie Green.
Steve remains arguably, one of the most approachable and modest men in the Business and any modern wrestler should take this opportunity to learn from these two masters of the wrestling Business
This Seminar, one of many to follow is not to be missed and the boys look forward to making all wrestling enthusiasts welcome this weekend at the Angel Centre, Tonbridge Kent from 1.00 p.m.
We are sad to hear news that former wrestling star Mark Gedge aka Domino has died. The following statement was received by us from Ring Wars:-
Domino was a star of All Star Wrestling and also wrestled all over Europe. He was a former WrestleZone Heavyweight Champion and was renowned for having one of the best physiques in British Wrestling.
Following his wrestling career he was a successful Radio DJ, under the stage name Mark Benson.
(Lee Bamber has paid tribute to Mark Gedge)
Veteran referee and ring announcer, Lee Bamber, has paid tribute to Mark as follows:-
'This is very sad news. I was fortunate enough to have been with him again just the other week at his own show in Hereford. A lovely talented man, rest in peace Mark, I'm glad to have known you'
Marks brother, Darren Escombe Gedge has released the following statement on behalf of the family:-
'It is with much sadness that I have to announce that My Brother Mark was sadly found dead yesterday.(13/06/16) For some time he has been battling his inner demons and over the weekend he has finally has lost the war. He was much loved by all those that came across him and will be very sadly missed by many, He was always a fun character who loved to entertain people either in person,via his radio career or as his true passion wrestling. We as a family, are all still stunned and shocked with the news and still trying to process it. Once we know more and about funeral arrangements I will advise. RIP Mark sleep well little brother, I will always love you and hope you are finally at peace xxxxxx'
The Reunion would like to send our condolences to Marks family, friends, colleagues and fans at this sad time.
On Sunday 12th June many people in the UK will be holding street parties and other events to celebrate the official birthday of Queen Elizabeth. However, many wrestlers, officials and their families will be heading to Manchester as Marty Jones hosts the third wrestling Reunion to be held in the North of England in four months.
The event is being held at the Shaw Comrades Club, Manchester Road, Shaw, Lancashire, OL2 8SB with doors opening at noon. The Reunion itself will commence at 2.00pm.
Due to the size of the venue this Reunion is only open to wrestlers and their families and on this occasion wrestling fans are unable to attend.
Last years event was hailed a great success by all of those who attended with wrestlers travelling from across the UK to be part of this Reunion which also saw legendary comedian Bobby Ball, himself a good amateur wrestler, making an appearance.
Everyone here at the British Wrestlers Reunion wish Marty every success with his day and we are sure that everyone who makes the journey will have an enjoyable afternoon.
(Marty Jones receives an award at the British Wrestlers Reunion in 2014)
(Ken Sowden and Jeanie Clarke who were guests of LDN Wrestling at Clacton on Sea)
British wrestling continues to become more and more popular with each passing week with many promoters seeing record crowds attending live shows up and down the UK.
On Thursday 2nd June LDN Wrestling (who now promote over 170 shows a year around the UK) held a huge show at Clacton on Sea which was well attended by local wrestling fans and saw wrestlers from around Europe and the USA flying into the UK for this epic night of professional wrestling which consisted of five top class bouts.
(Jeanie Clarke alongside her daughter Cassidy addresses the fans)
LDN Wrestling had invited three special guests to attend the show and recently published author (and former wife of Stone Cold Steve Austin) Jeanie Clarke alongside her daughter Cassidy attended the evening together with the Reunions own Ken Sowden. Jeanie, who herself hails from Essex, received a very warm welcome from her hometown fans and she was visibly taken aback with the heartwarming applause that she received as she entered the ring to acknowledge the fans and to promote her recently published book 'Through the Shattered Glass'. Ken Sowden was also introduced to the fans and many of the older generation of fans who were on hand gave a rousing cheer when many of the names from the glory years of British wrestling were mentioned.
(Meeting the LDN wrestlers after the show)
After the show both Jeanie and Ken met the wrestlers who had participated on the show and had the opportunity to discuss the nights events with them and LDN owner Sanjay Bagga.
The show, which finally ended at 10.30pm, such was the excitement in the venue, was hailed a great success by all those in attendance with many of the fans saying how excited they are for the return of LDN wrestling in August.
LDN Wrestling owner, Sanjay Bagga has stated that the evening went better than he could have expected with the atmosphere being electric from the first bell until the last and the fans were the loudest he has ever heard them in all the years he has promoted at the venue and he thanked both Jeanie Clarke and Ken Sowden for attending and for making the night so special.
(A rose between two thorns...Jeanie Clarke with Sanjay Bagga and Ken Sowden)
With the Reunion only a few short months away now, as previously advised Jeanie Clarke will be attending to sell and sign copies of her book and we look forward to seeing many of you there on what will be a very enjoyable day for us all.
(Adrians new album is on its way)
Adrian Street, what can we say about this man, a great success in everything that he has set out to do in his illustrious career. Adrian has not only had a glittering and successful wrestling career that has taken him around the world but he is an accomplished author having written seven books which has resulted in a musical and a film being made of his life and now another string to his bow as an album entitled Shake, Wrestle N Roll has been re-issued.
The album features many of the Adrians most famous songs including such hits as Breakin' Bones, A Sweet Transvestite With A Broken Nose, Imagine What I Could Do To You, I'm In Love With Me, The Krippler, Mighty Big Girl Something Very Strange About A Cowboy, Sadist In Sequins, Shake Wrestle 'N' Roll, Violence Is Golden,Street Rap and Merchant Of Menace. The official press release for the album has been sent to us and reads as follows:-
'A Welsh coal miner who lifted weights with Sean Connery in the ‘50s, who was later refashioned into a “transvestite with a broken nose,” the Exotic Adrian Street was the first glitter kid rallying cry in the bone-crushing world of professional wrestling. “I needed the spotlight, not the darkness,” says Street, who left the coal mine’s and became a wrestler in 1957. He began by boxing throughout England, but by the time Marc Bolan was Top of the Pops in 1971, Street was frolicking around international wrestling rings in his Crayola-bright wrestling trunks, silver lipstick, glittery cheeks, bleached blonde hair, and unmanly vanity — which made him wrestling’s most hated “heel,” and the punkest man in the business.
“Marc Bolan told a reporter he got the idea for his costumes from watching me,” says Street, who began his transformation into glam-metal grappler by singing in legendary British rock and roll coffeehouses like The 2i’s in Soho, to designing wardrobes for Chelsea fashion hive Granny Takes a Trip, where Elton John would walk in and ask if there was any of Street’s suits he could buy; it’s also where David Bowie would look for glamorous looks. “Ziggy Stardust is a carbon copy of what I was doing,” says Street, who’s bombast came to life when he wrote the lyrics to his own entrance theme, titled “Imagine What I Could Do To You,” produced and orchestrated by musician Don Woods, who took Street’s megalomaniacal charm and turned it into hummable glam-rock that blends the sinful stiletto-sweetness of Rocky Horror with Marc Bolan’s gift for catchy melodies.
The process began in 1974, with Street’s entrance song, and eventually led to 12 bizarrely pop recordings with music videos attached to each and released in 1986 as Exotic Adrian Street and the Pile Drivers' Shake Wrestle ’N’ Roll. Street, who sings such dazzling lyrics as “tough as Marciano and as sexy as Mae West,” has since written seven books, some named after his music, which include such delicious titles a “Sweet Transvestite with a Broken Nose” and “Sadist in Sequins” along with a music video for “I’m in Love With Me” that was, according to Street, produced by Michael Jackson’s videographer and later borrowed by “The King of Pop” — never to be returned! “So I began using a loaded rhinestone glove to flatten my opponents,” say Street, who claims, quite seriously, that he hated Joan Collins, but loved her clothes. He also cut off Dusty Rhodes’ hair and feuded with the legendary “Macho Man” Randy Savage, so his vain superficiality is never to be questioned.
For it's 30th anniversary, Burger Records is now reissuing the cult classic Shake Wrestle ’N’ Roll on July 18th with all the original artwork depicting Street with his sensational valet and wife, the Lovely Linda. The repressing will be flattened, much as Street would do to his opponents’ noses, on CD, vinyl, and cassette'.
Details will be posted shortly on how members in the UK will be able to purchase a copy of this album once it is released in July, its is sure to be another success for Ada and Miss Linda who as always have asked the Reunion to pass on their best wishes to all their family, friends and fans in the UK, something that we are only too happy to oblige with.
(Mohammad Ali with wrestling legend Antonio Inoki)
We here at the Reunion were saddened to learn that the man known simply as 'the greatest', the three-time world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali passed away at age 74 on Friday 3rd June.
The Louisville native won six Kentucky Golden Glove Championships and the gold medal for the United States as a light heavyweight in Rome’s 1960 Summer Olympics before beginning his professional career.
Ali also made history for his historic boxer versus wrestler match against Antonio Inoki in Tokyo on the 26th June 1976. The fight is regarded as a precursor to modern mixed martial arts and a photo of the two men can be seen above.
Although Ali has been suffering from Parkinsons Disease for 30 years it is still a very sad day for sports fans around the world and tributes have poured in via social media and other media outlets from around the globe.
Our condolences go to Alis family and friends at this sad time.
'Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, rest in peace Muhammad Ali'
(Mohammad Ali in his prime)
Jeanie Clarke is one of the nicest women in the wrestling business and although she has had her ups and downs during her career she is now at one of the happiest times of her life. Her recent auto biography, Through the Shattered Glass, has only been published a few weeks yet the first shipment has already sold out and further copies are winging their way to the UK from the States. The book however can still be purchased via Amazon and copies will be on sale at the Reunion in August when Jeanie herself will be in attendance to personally autograph these for anyone wishing to buy a copy.
The book has been described by many as the best wrestling auto biography this year and we can testify to that, you will be gripped from the very first page until the end, no stone is left un-turned and Jeanie has poured her heart and soul into writing it going into very personal details of her life in and out of the wrestling business in the UK and the USA. Some of the great reviews, including our own, are published below:-
Over the years we have seen many greats of British wrestling retire from the ring and with it being nearly 30 years since ITV wrestling came to an end there are only a handful of wrestlers from those great days still active in the ring today. Sadly, another such wrestler has announced that he is hanging up his boots as the evergreen Johnny Kidd laces up the boots for a final time bringing to a close a wrestling career that has spanned nearly 40 years.
Johnny Kidd was born on the 20th September 1955 in Balham, London and from an early age took a keen interest in the wrestling business. Like many before him, Johnny entered the amateur ranks at the Ampthill Amateur Wrestling Club. John was then taken under the wing of former British and European Welterweight Champion Ken Joyce who trained Johnny for a career in the professional ring.
In 1978 at Salisbury City Hall, Salisbury Johnny made his professional debut against Tony Scarlo and has not looked back since wrestling many of the biggest names of the day including Jim Breaks, Johnny Saint, Mick McManus, Steve Grey to name but a few. Johnny was also selected to wrestle his mentor and trainer Ken Joyce in Joyces' last televised match in 1982.
(Johnny Kidd in action against Bob 'Blondie' Barratt)
Johnnys biggest break in the wrestling business came on the 7th April 1981 when he was chosen by the promoters to appear on a televised presentation from Guildford. This was to be one of Johnnys many televised appearances on itv and although Johnnys appearance on the small screen against Jim Breaks was to end in a loss Johnny was not to be deterred. Johnny continued with his hard work and determination and on the 11th May 1982 Johnny had his first win in front of the television cameras in a match at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon against Bob 'Blondie' Barratt. Unfortunately for Johnny, this match was never broadcast due to time restrictions in the schedules.
(Johnny Kidd and Big Daddy)
Johnny continued wrestling around the country and due to his television exposure was soon a fan favourite especially with the younger female fans and he soon earnt the nickname of Mr Smooth. Johnny was a very skillful technical wrestler learning more skills from the veterans of the ring with every outing. In the mid 1980s Johnny was one of the many lighter partners to be chosen by the promoters as a regular partner for Big Daddy. This catapulted Johnny into the main event although it meant that Johnny was now forced to step into the ring with such wrestlers as Giant Haystacks, King Kong Kirk, Bully Boy Muir and Banger Walsh, men who (with the exception of Walsh) were much heavier than Johnny but the experience that Johnny got from these matches were invaluable to him. Johnny would remain as a regular tag team partner to Daddy teaming with him in Daddys last ever television appearances for Grampian TV in 1990 up until Daddys retirement in 1993.
(A young Johnny Kidd in action)
With the end of ITV wrestling in 1988 the wrestling business in Great Britain went into decline and whilst there were still bouts taking place up and down the country these were getting limited over the years. Johnny continued to ply his trade but the wrestling business was changing, the Mountevans style which Johnny was trained for was slowly dying out to be replaced by the 'all in' wrestling rules.
(Johnny Kidd against Claudio Castagnoli in Europe)
Johnny was invited to wrestle all over Europe and met some of the biggest names on the European circuit but by this time Johnny was wrestling more and more on a part time basis and so long European tours was something that unfortunately Johnny could not commit to.
British wrestling started to have a revival in the early 2000s and Johnny, alongside the likes of Johnny Saint, Mal Sanders, Steve Grey, Drew MacDonald, Danny Collins and Skull Murphy were the only stars from the glory days of British wrestling still competing. The days of Joint Promotions had gone, Britains premier promoter Max Crabtree had long retired and had been replaced by independent promoters up and down the country. The wrestling at this time was different, the lack of television coverage meant promoters could not 'sell' the wrestlers and so the likes of Johnny Kidd were in demand as top of the bill wrestlers. Being associated to one promoter had also long gone and therefore Johnny was able to wrestle for whichever promoter he chose which he did to great success but despite the image of wrestling changing, Johnny stuck to the style that had served him so well throughout his career.
(Johnny Kidd in action against Johnny Saint)
Although Johnny never tasted championship glory in his early career this was about to change and he can now boast winning championships in Premier Wrestling Federation, Revolution British Wrestling, Dutch Extreme Wrestling and LDN Wrestling.
Johnny Kidd is one of the last 'old school' wrestlers still active in the ring today and although his career is now at an end Johnny will for one last time give his fans a taste of the old school, something that is always enjoyed by not only the older fans but also the new generation of fans.
In November 2013 Johnny was invited to main event the comeback World of Sport show at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon where he faced former WWE star Matt Striker. This was the first show filmed by ITV in over 25 years and for Johnny to headline this event goes to show the wrestling talent that he has and was the only choice for this match.
(Johnny Kidd and Mick McManus at the British Wrestlers Reunion)
Throughout the last few years Johnny has continued to travel around the UK wrestling for various promoters, his style of wrestling, which has never changed, is as welcome today as it has always been and he still wows crowds each and every time he steps through the ropes.
Johnny Kidd will have his final solo bout in Manchester on Saturday 29th May when, wrestling for Chikara Promotions, he will face Mike Quackenbush in what will no doubt be a very emotional time for him. Johhnys final ever bout will be a tag team contest for IPW on the 5th June.
Despite retiring from in ring competition Johnny will continue to be heavily involved in the wrestling industry, over the last few years he has undertaken various training sessions, something that he enjoys immensely, and we are sure that he will continue to train the next generation of wrestling stars.
(Johnny is a great supporter of the Reunion and can be seen here with Reunion committee members Johnny Kincaid and Ken Sowden)
Johnny has also been a great supporter of the Reunion and every year joins us for our special day, this year will be no different and he will join the many others who will celebrate our anniversary with us. Over the years Johnny has presented many awards on our behalf as well as receiving his very own Services to Wrestling certificate.
We wish Johnny all the best with his retirement which is well deserved, he is a true legend of British wrestling and has certainly left his own legacy in the sport. Below are some of the comments made from wrestlers and fans in respect of Johnnys retirement:-
Steve Knight Pendle One of the best. Sometimes gets left out of the conversation due to being the 3rd man behind Saint and Grey but was just as great to wrestle. I had the pleasure of wrestling him several times and you always knew you were in the best safest hands.
IMPURITY IS HERE !!
Reunion stalwart and award winning Author : RAY CLARK has finally published his latest blockbuster crime novel aptly called 'Impurity' which promises to keep up with tradition of great reading that this exciting writer is known for.
The book has launched to rave reviews from the critics AND there is talk of a movie which would propel Ray into the superstar bracket.
For those fans who can't wait until August, the book is available through the usual outlets including Amazon, Ebay etc., and for the first time is being published in 'E' form for Kindle and other similar electronic readers.
This year, as with previous Reunions, the Author will be on hand to sign copies of his latest book, which will be on sale, donating part of the proceeds to the Reunion's worthwhile charity fundraising efforts.
The British Wrestlers Reunion is proud to have lifelong wrestling supporter Ray Clark as a friend and is extremely grateful for the past donations that we have received thanks to his efforts and generosity.
Many folks will not know that there is another side to Ray's talent which is that of singer and away from writing prolifically every day, he often travels with his Band to local gigs in the Yorkshire Dales from his home in Goole, where he can be spotted belting out his favourite style of music .
For many years she was one of the most recognisable women in British wrestling whether it was in active competition herself or as wife and manager to the former World Mid Heavyweight Champion Dave ‘Fit’ Finlay, sadly no longer with us Paula Valdez aka Princess Paula is still fondly remembered and loved by her fellow professionals and fans alike.
With the Reunion fast approaching Paula Valdez will be one of the 2016 inductees into the Hall of Fame, the first female wrestler to be given this honour, where she will join many other great wrestlers who have received this accolade over the last few years.
(Paula & Mitzi Mueller)
Long before turning to hand to management Paula was a very accomplished wrestler and faced many of the top stars of the era including Mitzi Mueller, Klondyke Kate, Leather Lena, Nicky Monroe to name but a few. Paula could more than hold her own in these bouts and is remembered for her professionalism and wrestling skill every time she climbed through the ropes.
After spending many years wrestling for independent promoters around the UK, Paula joined Joint Promotions where she worked for legendary promoter Max Crabtree. Whilst her own wrestling career was not as active as it once was, Crabtree ensured that Paula became one of the most well known women in wrestling as he teamed her up with her real life husband, Dave Finlay. Paula Valdez was now being introduced to the wrestling public as Princess Paula, the no nonsense manager who made sure that her ‘superman’ was kept in check as well as intimidating opponents in her own unique style.
(Paula and Dave 'Fit' Finlay)
Finlay and Paula travelled the UK and Europe headlining bills as they carved out a very successful career. As well as her managing duties Paula did continue to participate in occasional bouts to great acclaim.
With the demise of ITV wrestling, Finlay, as many others did, sought work outside of the UK and Paula returned to her home city of Manchester where, upon retiring from the ring, she lived out her days sadly passing away in December 2013.
(Paula and Lena in action)
On the 14th August Paulas brother, Wayne Freeman,and her very close friend Karen Marie Stuart will be in attendance to accept her posthumous Hall of Fame Award, the first female to receive this honour. Wayne has told the Reunion that he is ‘very touched that we have thought of Paula and to give her this award’ and he is very much looking forward to being at the Reunion to receive this.
We look forward to welcoming Wayne and Karen for what promises to be a day that many of us will remember for years to come.
The Reunion are very fortunate to have two sponsors in the UKBFF and Health and Strength Magazine whose help ensure that we can operate to the high standards that we have become known for over the last 25 years.
On Sunday 28th August the UKBFF will stage the Kent Klassic Championship which will be held at the Orchard Theatre, Home Gardens, Dartford, Kent, DA1 1ED commencing at 11.00am.
The event is being organised by our very own Reunion hosts Wayne and Sarah Bridges who will also be on hand to judge some of the competitors, the winners will progress to further UKBFF competitions in other parts of the UK and Europe.
This event is expected to be well attended by bodybuilders from around the UK and beyond and should be en enjoyable day out for all those who attend.
Further information can be obtained from Sarah Bridges at [email protected]
(Leather Lena and Sarah Bridges with another winner (and Wayne Bridges in the background) at a show in Liverpool)
It may seem strange to think the outrageous clothes, hairstyles and makeup of 1970s glam rockers could have their roots among coal miners in the South Wales valleys.
Or that the man credited by some as their inspiration spent his childhood searching the hills for "Cowboys and Indians" and wishing Hitler would drop a bomb on his house.
But then again, there is little normal about the story of Adrian Street, the "pit pony who won the Grand National" - the boy from Brynmawr who ran away and became a wrestling star.
If it sounds like a movie script, it soon will be, with a final draft nearing completion and filming to start in August 2017.
"You look at pop culture, the styles of Boy George, David Bowie and glam rock.
"But Adrian came long before. His costumes might have inspired people like Elton John and Marc Bolan," said the film's producer and director Joann Randles.
"He could have started something and has almost been forgotten. Not enough has been done on a true British icon."
Mr Street's childhood was spent hunting for "Cowboys and Indians" in the Gwent valleys and collecting shrapnel from World War Two bombs to "blow up wagons".
There was also his gas mask, which he would later paint pink and use for one of his stage costumes.
He said: "I wore it around everywhere when I was three.
"But my mother wouldn't let me play with it, saying 'if you break it, you won't be able to breathe'. I wanted Hitler to drop the bomb so I could put it on."
At the time, two heroes who loomed large - his dad Emrys, a World War Two Japanese prisoner of war who he did not meet until he was five.
And his great grandfather, Big Jim Arnold, an Abertillery greengrocer and "mountain fighter", who had one "anything-goes" contest which went on for more than a day
"I don't know who won. It lasted all day and when it got too dark, they came back in the morning.
"From him, it is in my blood, the attitude that you won't beat me. You can try but you won't beat me," said Mr Street, now 75.
He was also mesmerised by the "larger-than-life characters" he saw in American magazines and was determined to become a wrestler.
But at home, Mr Street said he struggled with his relationship with his father: "For whatever reason he didn't like me, we didn't get on.
"He took me out of school and to work at Beynon's Colliery, Blaina, when I was 15.
"I told them (the other miners) I wanted to be a wrestler, but they laughed and said, 'you're too small'."
At 16, Mr Street ran away to London, with his colleagues calling: "They'll frighten you to death", and his dad saying, "he'll be back, he likes his mother's cooking too much".
Before he got there, he worked as a fairground boxer, getting paid £1 for each of his seven daily fights.
"I remember sitting in a cafe and every time I bit into a roll, my nose would bleed over it. But I couldn't afford to waste food".
After arriving in London, he trained for four years before his break came in 1961 when televised wrestling took off, increasing the number of contests from 700 to 4,500 a year.
"They needed bodies, people to just throw in the ring," he said.
As the wrestlers travelled to events, most would eat in greasy spoons, but Mr Street ate only healthy food.
"That's when I became known as The Nature Boy.
"Ric Flair later took that name, but I was using it 10 years before his first professional fight."
Mr Street started cultivating this image, buying glamorous gowns and dying his hair blonde.
"I thought I would have a good reception, but people started saying things like 'isn't she cute' and whistling.
"At first I was horrified, but I have always been a sucker for attention and wanted more so I began strutting around, playing up to it and pushing it farther and farther."
(Jo Ann Randall who is producing Adrian, the Movie)
He described British fighters as the toughest and best, with Turkish mud wrestlers, Asian Kung Fu experts and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialists among those brought to compete.
"Wrestling had a reputation for being fixed - if a promoter paid a lot of money to get someone over, they'd want a return.
"If someone said to me 'let the Brazilian win', he may get that but nothing else, I would fight him as hard as I could.
"That's how you promoted yourself. One of my phrases was: 'I have so many ways to hurt you'."
But Mr Street became disillusioned: "They were trying to make superstars of Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks.
"I decided to leave for America, the land of giants, where I was once again told I was too small."
But the makeup-wearing Exotic Adrian Street, whose moves included kissing opponents to escape being pinned, won audiences over.
"I proved everyone wrong. I had my first wrestling fight in 1957 and last in 2014, when I beat a guy a third my age, at 74.
"I was a champion in every weight division and won four world titles. I don't know any other wrestler who has done that."
(Adrian has been
It was a similar determination to succeed and become "the pit pony that won the Grand National" he recognised in Miss Randles, 27, from Tenby.
After finding her efforts to be involved in the industry blocked, she decided to find a character on which to base her own film.
"I was working as a freelancer in Manchester when I saw a video at an art gallery about this flamboyant and colourful life," she said.
"His story shows you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it. He was against the odds every time."
She contacted Mr Street - who now runs a wrestling clothing business in Florida - in June 2015 and started working on what she called "a true Billy Elliot story".
"People are constantly trying to find characters that can inspire them.
"This guy is still alive and his history is just so incredible yet so little known."
We at the Reunion wish all concerned with Adrian, the Movie, all the very best leading up to its production and we are certain that when released it will be just as successful as the 7 books that Adrian has published and his own wrestling career which reached legendary status many years ago.
We will keep you all updated on the progress of the movie as and when it happens.
The above article is courtesy of BBC News and images are copyright to Adrian Street who has granted permission for both to be published here on our website.
(Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks have been immortalised in street art in Morecambe)
For nearly twenty years two of the biggest names in British wrestling were that of Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks. The two men sold our halls across the UK and had the biggest rivalry in the ring since that of Mick McManus and Jackie Pallo. Even to this day, Daddy and Stax and the first names mentioned when the glory years of British wrestling are mentioned and now, in 2016, the two big men have been immortalised in street art.
This piece of street art is nearing completion in Morecambe town centre and pays tribute to the seaside town's sporting and entertainment history and professional wrestling is included.
The piece of artwork 'A Morecambe Sporting Life' includes sketches of UK wrestling legends Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks, and mentions other superstars who have grappled by the sea including Billy Two Rivers, 'The British Bulldog' Davey Boy Smith and Rollerball Rocco.
(Daddy and Stax in their heyday)
Local wrestling promoters, Alpha Omega Wrestling UK, sent one of their stars, Johnny Phere to see the artwork and he was delighted to see the legends of British wrestling, and himself, immortalised in print.
The art wall is on the corner of Victoria Street in Morecambe town centre on the side of Colin Brown's hairdresser's. It is part of the Victoria Street Press street art project funded by the Government's Mary Portas fund, co-ordinated by Deco Publique with artwork by Shane Johnstone, typography by Kate Sundae, wording by Jamie Jackson from the Guardian newspaper, mural illustration by Ben Tallon and wrestling history information supplied by Greg Lambert.
This is a great tribute to the stars of British wrestling and shows how much in high esteem they were held not only during their time in the ring but far beyond it. We congratulate everyone connected with this project.
After the success of recent years we have again decided this year to invite published authors to attend the Reunion whereby you will be able to meet them, purchase a copy of their book (which also helps the Reunion funds), have a chat and a photo opportunity as well as getting a personal signature and dedication just to you in the book. The authors who have already agreed to attend are as follows:-
Jeanie Clarke/Williams will be there with her new book 'Through the Shattered Glass'. The former partner of the late Chris Adams and ex wife Stone Cold Steve Austin is very much looking forward to her second visit to the Reunion and once again meeting all the fans.
Andrew Bryden aka Dale Storm will be making a visit to the Reunion all the way from his home in Scotland. Andrew who has had 3 versions of his book 'Ask Him Again Ref' printed (including a special 50th World of Sport Anniversary Edition featuring the Reunion) is looking forward to meeting many people who he has not seen for years.
Martin Gillott will be attending with his book 'Confessions of a Wrestler' which has been a great hit and has sold many copies around the World. A great supporter of the Reunion (many will remember Martin purchased a number of items from Auction belonging to the late Mick McManus and donated them to the Reunion) Martin says this is his favourite day of the year and he would not miss the occasion for the world.
Ray Clark is an award winning author having written numerous best sellers over many years. A great supporter of British Wrestling Ray attends the Reunion each and every year travelling from the North of England and we very much look forward to welcoming him again this year with his latest offering.
More names will be advertised in the coming weeks.
The wait is almost over, yes Jeanie Clarkes book is due for release and will be available via Amazon and the Reunion webstore on the 4th May.
Jeanie will also be making a return to this years Reunion on the 14th August where you will be able to meet her, purchase a copy of her book and get it personally signed if you so wish (if you can wait that long).
Alternatively, if you would like a signed copy now the price of the book is £16.99 plus £3.50 p&p tracked and signed for so please send an email to Jeanie at: [email protected] and one will get one posted to you asap.
(Jeanie at the 2015 Reunion receiving an award for her late partner Chris Adams from Tony 'Banger' Walsh)
(Helen and Colin Joynson enjoying themselves at the Reunion)
We are very pleased to report that Helen Joynson, the wife of wrestling legend and Reunion committee member Bulldog Colin Joynson is now well on the mend following major surgery last year.
As previously reported, Helen was admitted to hospital at the end of last year for a heart bypass, unfortunately, due to complications following the surgery and an earlier fall she had sustained in Germany we were deeply saddened to learn that surgeons had to amputate her leg from above the knee.
The surgery was obviously a great strain on both Helen and Colin and for the first time they were apart at Christmas which we know caused distress to both of them. However, over a period of time Helens health continued to improve and her and Colin were, for the first time in months, able to look ahead to the future.
(Helen is well on the road to recovery following her surgery)
As you can see from the photo, Helen is now taking her first steps since her surgery and Colin tells us that she is doing really well in her recuperation. Obviously, the couple have a long road ahead of them before life for this lovely couple gets back to normal but with their loving family and friends around them we know that they will eventually get there.
Everyone here at the Reunion send our love to two of our very own, we will keep you all updated on Helens progress over the coming months and we hope that she will be well enough to join us at the Reunion this coming August.
After a very successful first series last year Cha