CROYDON HONOURS LEGENDS OF WRESTLING.
Report by David Gentle.
On 17th November 2013 on a sunny Sunday afternoon, the fabulous venue Fairfield Halls in Croydon included in its usual afternoon of good old British wrestling, a special occasion of recognising Johnny Saint, ten times World Champion and a man regarded by those who know as “the greatest ever technical wrestler of all time”, plus a fitting tribute to the Legends of British Wrestling upon whom today’s heroes and villains shoulders today’s’ mat men stand.
Filmed and photographed by Ralph Cardell Production Company under the auspices of wrestling Promoters and entrepreneurs : LDN Wrestling Ltd., and World of Sport Impressario: John Chapman. in the Concert Hall for ITV . Shortly after some classic bouts by the current “lads” entertaining a capacity crowd (I think the hall holds around 850 seats) the wrestlers from “back in the days”- when wrestling drew bigger audiences than the cup final, with fans from ordinary housewives to royalty no less, were led into the ring and introduced by the best M.C. in the business: Frank Rimer, a legendary wrestler and teacher of the fine arts of the most ancient of sport crafts in his own right.
Without notes or prompts, Frank whose knowledge and experience of wrestling and wrestlers is second to none, introduced the warriors of old to wonderful response from the fans. A special award in recognition of his efforts on behalf of the Wrestlers Reunion, went to Ken Sowden Reunion committee member and website administrator, given by the former “world heavyweight wrestling champion” Wayne Bridges, who is Ken's favourite wrestling star, and at whose public house Annual reunions are held for British Wrestlers and their supporters, the highlight of the day being a very special award to, as we mentioned above “the most skilful wrestler of all time” the one and only Johnny Saint. Now in his youthful 70s, the ringmaster, once enthralled audiences with his knowledge of pure wrestling holds, throws and ring craft for over 45 years. He is truly the definition of a “legend” and anyone who watched the master in action saw a lesson in true wrestling supreme skill, never forgotten. We were truly blessed.
Even at the end of an exciting afternoon of grappling, Johnny proved he had lost none of his showmanship “working” the crowd right to the end during the bout with the equally master of his sport Johnny Kidd.
Just some of the names representing the “Legends” were.
Johnny Kincaid, Bob Anthony, Bob Kirkwood, Banger Walsh, Mel Stuart, Karl Heinz, Wayne Bridges, Frank Rimer, Johnny Kidd, Johnny Saint, Marty Jones, Bob Stafford, Billy La Rue, Bill Beaney and Rik Sands.
David Gentle. for Health and Strength magazine, published continuously since 1895, and no I didn’t work for them at that date !!