On Sunday 11th
August the British Wrestlers Reunion will be held once again at the home of the
Reunion, The Bridges, Horton Road, South Darenth, Kent. This year the event is being dedicated to and
held in memory of the First Lady of the Reunion Helen Joynson who sadly passed
away in January and we are delighted that her husband, international legend
Colin Joynson be joining us as always. Wayne and Sarah Bridges will once again be your hosts and they will welcome everyone to the Reunions 28th year.
Over the years we have always been well supported and this remains the case with wrestlers, officials and fans travelling from not only the entire length of the UK but also Europe, the USA and in one case New Zealand to be with us. Many wrestlers have already confirmed to us that they will be attending including a number of World, European and British champions and we are, as ever, honoured that they take the time to come and support us.
During the day itself we will of course have our award ceremony in which a number of deserving wrestlers will be receiving an accolade for their many years of service that they have given the wrestling industry. Preceding the award ceremony itself will be the 10 bell count and Colin Joynson will once again remember all those great grapplers who have passed away since our last Reunion. This is always a poignant part of the day but also a very important one.
This year the Reunion will once again be filmed and a dvd produced and we thank Derek Collins who is travelling from his home in Cornwall to do this for us. Derek has already done some fantastic work to great acclaim at two Northern Reunions in Blackpool and Scotland and we are delighted that he has joined the team for this years event. Throughout the day Tony Ham will be taking photographs of the events as they happen and we are thrilled that Tony has agreed to do this for us again after the great job he did last year. Tony is fast becoming one of the top wrestling photographers in the UK having worked for many of the top promoters around the country.
Our pop up museum will once again be on hand this year thanks to Martin Gillott so please check this out to see lots of memorabilia from wrestlers of the past, this certainly is a trip down memory lane and well worth a look. For those of you who like to own wrestling memorabilia Roy Smith will once again be on hand for all your requirements and he will have numerous items for sale on the day. A raffle will also be held so please support us by buying a ticket as the proceeds from this help us with the costs of putting on the Reunion each and every year.
Entertainment this year will be provided by the UKs number one Elvis tribute act Scott Elvis who is coming back due to popular demand. Scott did a tremendous job when he last joined us for our 25th anniversary Reunion 3 years. Scott has a very busy schedule so we are very grateful that he has agreed to return to the Reunion. Of course, the Reunion would not be complete without Baz Jangles who has royally entertained us all for many years now and he will also be returning this year to entertain us all with his dulcet tones.
Over the coming months more information on this years Reunion will be released so please keep checking back for all of the up to the minute news. The British Wrestlers Reunion is a Reunion for all no matter whether you are a wrestler, official or fan, we turn nobody away, everyone is welcome to attend to reminisce about the glory days of wrestling.
The British Wrestlers Reunion remains Europes oldest and largest Reunion and that is all thanks to the great support that we receive from you all so we look forward to welcoming many of you to the Ring of Friendship on Sunday 11th August, it all kicks off at 11.00m and we look forward to seeing many of you there.
We would like to send our very best wishes to
David Franklin (seen here at the 2015 Reunion with Clive Myers) who is
recovering in intensive care after undergoing an 11 hour operation for
David, who is without doubt one of the UKs biggest wrestling fans has been an avid supporter for over 50 years and his good friend Ian Dowland has sent us the following on Davids condition:-
'David's wife visited him today in intensive care and he was sat up in a chair, although he has a lot of tubes and wires going into him, David was quite chatty today and Micky is saying that he will not be in I C U that long if he heals this quickly'.
We hope that David makes a speedy recovery and returns to good health so that he can once again attend wrestling shows around the country which he enjoys so much.
You might have thought the quaint British tradition of Saturday afternoon TV bouts had been consigned to history and replaced by garish star-spangled interlopers from across the pond fighting in cages with chains and metal tea trays.
But Medway promoter Stephen Barker, 54, of Rumble Wrestling is keeping the craft alive.
Steve set up a ring at Kemsley Village Hall to find Britain's champion grunt and groaner and itt turned out to be fresh-faced Syd Manelli, 22, from Maidstone.
By day, Syd is a school caretaker but by night he dons a sparkling jacket and blue tights to take on whatever is thrown at him.
At Kemsley it was two masked monsters in the shape of the Skull, who he dismissed in the quarter-finals, and the cheating Mr USA who was sent by President Trump to "take care" of the British.
Syd is no stranger to the ring and is following in the footsteps of his dad Steve Manelli, a favourite with Kent audiences especially on the holiday camps, and his late grandad Brian Manelli who for years was the mystery man behind mask of The Phantom and introduced Sheppey to wrestling at Leysdown's Rose and Crown in 1964.
Mr Barker, who ran the popular Zarbez under-18s discos at Sittingbourne's Swallows Leisure Centre and has stepped into the ring himself as a ref, said: "Wrestling is having a big boom. It’s good family entertainment.”
The former milkman who now works for Bestways cash and carry in Rochester, still remembers being taken to watch his first wrestling bout for his 10th birthday by his dad at Chatham’s Central Hall Theatre He said: “After that, I would go every month to see stars like Mick McManus and Les Kellett. "One day the promoters Dale Martin were short and asked for a volunteer to act as one of the wrestler’s seconds. My hand went up like a shot and they picked me. “I made friends with the wrestlers and would arrive early to help put the ring up and take it down. At the end of the 1980s I was a second at the All Star Wrestling TV shows and even ended up refereeing bouts between Giant Haystacks, Big Daddy and Kendo Nagasaki.” Recently, he has returned to wrestling and has staged shows at Sittingbourne, Lordswood and Whitstable.
New champ Syd will be back to defend his title along with Lewis Howley, who appeared on on the TV show First Dates, at the Appleyard Hall, formerly UKP Leisure, Sittingbourne, on Sunday, February 10 at 4pm. There will also be a blindfold match.
(Article courtesy of Rumble Promotions and Kent Online News)
As many of you know we lost the legendary Peter Baines on the 28th
November. His funeral was held in Essex on the 21st December and his
niece Jean has written to us to expressing her thanks for the support
the wrestling fraternity has shown since Peters death.
I just thought you'd like to know that Uncle Peter's service went off beautifully and I think he would have been very proud of his send off. He was extremely smart, as he would have wished, in his full red coated toastmaster suit. Unfortunately there were not as many people there as we would have wished, due to ill health and because of the time of year, but it was a great comfort to know that those unable to attend would be raising a glass and having a wee dram. My very best wishes to you and your members.
The full Order of Service for Peter can be found in the obituary section (hover on Dressing Room in the Sky and obituaries will appear).
We once again send our condolences to Peters family and friends and may he now be at peace with his wife Margaret
*** UPDATE *** received from Mac:- ·
Would like to thank everyone for there messages I am home now I have Two broken ribs and they have rubbed my lung making my breathing difficulties
We are saddened to hear that European catch wrestling has lost one of its most outstanding personalities.
The "Wrestling Pope" Peter William passed away on Tuesday 11th December 2018 in his home country lienz (Austria).
Peter William was responsible for the success of catch wrestling in the German-speaking area as a kamp ladder, and was also a hugely successful Promoter, director and television announcer for decades.
Peter was a legend in every sense of the word, he was a true gentleman and will be missed by everyone who knew and respected him for his decades in the wrestling industry.
We send our condolences to Peters family and friends at this sad time and may he now RIP.
Giant Haystacks was born Martin Ruane in London to Irish parents. Once leaving school, the larger than life lad took some early jobs as a builder and inevitably a bouncer before finding his true calling of Professional Wrestling in 1967.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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 the 20th anniversary of his untimely passing the British Wrestlers Reunion remember this giant of the wrestling ring in more ways than one.