The name sounds Teutonic, and he certainly looked the part, but once he begins to talk it is abundantly obvious that Karl Heinz’s roots are closer to Kent than Kiel. Karl Heinz is indeed a Kentish lad, born in Northfleet in 1940. The name Karl Heinz is a wrestling creation, as was sibling relationship with his wrestling brother, Kurt.
Judo was Karl’s first sporting interest, but enthusiasm alone was not enough to buy the required clothing. Times were hard in the early 1950s and so Karl turned his attention to amateur wrestling which didn’t require any expensive equipment or clothing. He spent six years as an amateur at the AEI Sports Club in Gravesend. Karl was at the time working for AEI Cables as a high pressure tyre fitter. At the time Karl had no interest whatsoever in professional wrestling. Whilst at AEI he did meet an army instructor known as Smiley Evans, and it was to be Smiley that suggested dropping his family name of Clarke and assuming the identity of Karl Heinz.
Karl Heinz turned professional in 1964, weighing around 11 stones at the time, and working initially for independent promoters such as Verdun-Leslie, predictably billed as German. With his move across to Joint Promotions in the early 1970s his abode was changed to the more credible Gravesend, Kent. His first opponent for Joint Promotions was Alan Serjeant, a man for whom he still has great respect and from whom he has learned a great deal. Working for Dale Martin Karl began tagging with his “wrestling brother,” Kurt. The pair faced Greg Valentine and Pat Patton on television in June 1987, losing by two falls to one.
For twenty years Karl was a regular worker, mainly in the south, though he does name Belle Vue, Manchester, as his favourite place to wrestle. The wrestling business took him around the world, through Europe, the Middle East and India. In the 1980s he returned to the independent promoters where he continued to work regularly until the mid 1990s.
Karl Heinz was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday 8th August 2021.
(text courtesy of Wrestling Heritage)