TONY WOOD – THE VIKING
Ladies and Gentlemen.
We are here today on behalf of the British Wrestlers Reunion, together with fellow former wrestlers and Reunion colleagues : MEL STUART, ALAN KITTO, TONY TITCH WHITE, , and BILLY LA RUE , to pay tribute to a great athlete from yesteryear known to the world as the THE VIKING. The name being taken as a result of his life -long love of the Norse culture that influenced Britain many years ago.
TONY WOOD loved Professional wrestling from boyhood, and was just 15 years young when he auditioned for DALE-MARTIN PROMOTIONS in Brixton during the late 40’s, where he was immediately accepted into the ranks. The legal minimum age was 16 in those days, but we think that he must have told a fib to convince the Bosses to give him a chance. For the next 2 years, he travelled the length and breadth of Britain, entertaining the crowds, working with greats like George Kidd, Mick McManus, Jackie Pallo plus the grapplers that are here today.
At 17, he left the Business to enter the armed Forces following his call up, where he served his Country until rejoining the wrestling ranks at 20.
Tony continued in the Business, but spread his workload by joining many local Promoters such as Independent Joint Promotions, and Kent based Danny Lynch Promotions etc.,earning the respect and liking of all his opponents and colleagues alike.
He was an agile and technically adept wrestler, but preferred to infuriate the crowds with his rule bending antics, earning him a reputation as a bully and general bad boy, which could not be further from the truth in real life.
By now, he was married and took his beloved eldest Son : Kevin to the shows, who would act as his second and corner-man. Meanwhile, younger Son : Lee entered the armed Forces as a Professional, whilst Daughter Sharon was busy with her studies.
Tony continued to barnstorm the rings through the 70’s but his interest in stock cars was becoming increasingly evident and together with Kevin, he eventually retired from the Business to concentrate on this new venture which the boys built into a Nationally recognised and respected trade. Even the former Liberal leader:David Steel a.k.a. Baron Steel of Aikwood would go to them for work to be done His interest in wrestling did continue however and he was an avid supporter of the British Wrestlers Reunion, attending the Annual get togethers most years, where his former opponents and many friends were always pleased to welcome him into our fraternity known as the ‘ring of friendship’.
Such was his modest manner that this August, he phoned to apologise for missing the event, saying simply that he was unwell and had a touch of lung cancer which may require a little chemo. Little did we know that he would succumb to this terrible disease within a month, the same disease that had taken his precious Son :Kevin not so long before him.
TONY WOOD was the consummate Professional and perfectionist in everything that he did, a great athlete, but remained a devoted Family man, immensely proud of his children Lee and Sharon and their own achievements, plus being devoted to his long suffering wife whom he adored.His many talents included model making and was also considered a highly skilled artist with many watercolour landscapes to his credit.
He was a quiet, modest, interesting, unassuming gentleman of the old traditions, a pleasure to be in his company, and as he enters the great ‘dressing room in the sky’, the world will be a sadder place without him, although he has left a wonderful legacy in the form of his remaining children. Thank you for allowing us to pay tribute to this great man known in the wrestling world as THE VIKING.