British Wrestlers Reunion
Strengthening the Ring of Friendship

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Roy St Clair 

From the day he turned professional  Roy St Clair seemed destined for the very top. That was in April, 1960, and soon Roy was travelling throughout the north and midlands facing the biggest names in British wrestling. When we started taking an interest in wrestling a few years later Roy was well and truly established as one of the regular favourites who kept popping up against other youngsters like Al Nicol and Colin Joynson as well as more experienced men such as Jack Dempsey and Tommy Mann. In those days Roy weighed in around the 12 stones mark and we were to wait a few years before he filled out into a more mature, solidly built heavyweight.

That ascendency through the weight divisions enabled Roy to build up a catalogue of opponents that was exceptionally impressive, from lightweight to heavyweight champions, and from aerial specialists such as Vic Faulkner  to the solid power of Mal Kirk, the towering Gargantua and the immovable object of Giant Haystacks. Those latter day opponents are far removed from lightweight champion Jim Breaks.

As he progressed through the ranks Roy retained much of his agility whilst adding robustness, skill and experience. It was these characteristics, supplemented with an irrepressible charisma that made him stand out as a cut above the rest amongst the overcrowded challengers to the mid heavyweight and heavyweight divisions. One more quality that was apparent during Roy's twenty odd years in the ring  was a capacity for hard worker. Roy St Clair was a grafter, both in the ring where he went out of his way to give fans value for money, and also outside of the ring as he travelled up and down the country night after night. Whilst many wrestlers limited themselves geographically Roy, and brother Tony, were as likely to be seen in Arbroath as they were in Penzance, travelling hundreds of miles each week for the best part of thirty years.

Hard work and dedication led to success, but the family pedigree did no harm. Roy was brought up in a sporting environment, his father being Francis St Clair Gregory. Francis St Clair Gregory dominated the Cornish style of wrestling in the 1930s and represented Cornwall as heavyweight champion against Brittany at the first seven Cornu-Breton international tournament, winning every time.  In the 1930s he moved to Lancashire to pursue another sport in which he excelled. Francis Gregory played professional rugby league for both Wigan and Warrington in the 1930s and was capped for England. He went on to become  one of the most prolific and successful wrestlers in the Mountevans era. 

Immersed in sport from such an early age it is hardly surprising that Roy himself took an interest in wrestling. Undeniably having a huge influence on his son Roy was dispatched to Riley's gymnasium in Wigan to learn the professional aspects of the business. Roy's professional début came in the far from opulent surroundings of the Russell Social Club in Hulme, Manchester. Roy's opponent was the experienced Jim Mellor, and surprisingly the youngster emerged the victor. Having impressed the promoter's Roy was booked for more contests in the weeks that followed, even making it down to the family home of Redruth before the year was out. Joe Critchley, Tony Zale, Alf Cadman, all added to the youngsters knowledge, and he enthusiastically absorbed everything they had to teach him. 

Less than a years after turning professional Roy made his television debut (against Abe Ginsberg). It was to be the first of more than eighty televised contests, that's more than Johnny Kwango, Johnny Saint, Giant Haystacks, even more than Jackie Mr TV Pallo! Roy was featured in the TV Times supplement of the Top 50 TV Wrestlers, whilst in terms of appearances he sits firmly in the top 20.

For twenty years Roy travelled up and down the country, admired as much at the Royal Albert Hall (where he wrestled a dozen times) as his local Belle Vue. Occasionally he would venture across to the Continent where he was equally popular. There were few of the biggest names that he did not wrestle at least once on his career

A second, highly successful episode in his career came when Roy began guiding younger brother Tony, with the two of them forming a hugely successful tag team