Back to wrestling, for the best.
When my family first got a satellite dish and TV package in 1991, my attention was immediately drawn to the WWF shows over some of the channels, predominantly Sky One but also elsewhere. With channels like Eurosport and Screensport there was the chance to see some other promotions, which was a bit strange to me at the time, especially when they were obviously made on and for the continent. It’s some of those matches I’m looking at here, which I believe would be courtesy of the Catch Wrestling Association in Germany and the EWF in France. I’ll start with some familiar faces, then stretch out to some weird and wonderful ones.
Colonel Brody vs. Steve Regal
The Colonel comes out to the Colonel Bogey March, better known as Hitler Has Only Got One Ball. Brody, ostensibly a South African mercenary, was actually a big, tall guy from Yorkshire who had previously wrestled as Magnificent Maurice in a gay tag team with Bobby Barnes, which was remarkable for how much taller Maurice was than Barnes, plus how scary he looked with loads of tattoos and a tough look but with blonde hair, makeup and colourful tights. Steve Regal we all know, although it’s scary that he’s been William now longer than he’s been Steve. They’re billing him as of Welsh origin, although even his Blackpool hometown was a work as he’s from about twenty minutes down from the road where I live, a Codsall boy.
In a pre-match promo Brody promises to end Regal’s career, prompting Regal to try and attack him and a “Come on! What’s this s---?” from the Colonel in a funny bit. The match is held in Bremen and El Bandito Orig Williams is on the call for the English language commentary. Brody holds a side headlock with hair pulls where necessary. Regal escapes and gets a dropkick, which Brody bumps awkwardly off. He regains the side headlock, but Regal grabs his big moustache and referee Didier Gapp breaks it, pulling out a few hairs as he does. Full nelson from Brody, which he releases onto the ropes to clothesline Regal. Regal flips out and again gets the dropkick to send him out, although it’s not a very good one and you can see why he retired it after he became a Lord. To date the match, it’s from 1990 as Regal is 22 at the time, although he looks older as he always did.
With Brody back in, Regal goes for a cross body, but the Colonel catches him and clothesline him on the top rope again. He goes for a boot off the rope, but Steve catches the foot and gives him a weird clothesline where he hits it from one angle, but Brody falls in another. He ties Brody in the ropes for a headbutt to the chest but runs into an elbow when Brody escapes them. More choking on the ropes, but Regal bounces him over the top for a yellow card from Gapp. When Brody returns Regal monkey flips out of the corner, but an attempted hip toss gets a punch to the stomach and the Colonel finishes him off with a Kamikaze Crash for the pinfall. Weird to see him using Kendo’s hold, as good as it is. Match was unspectacular, very much an opening match where you try a bit of comedy, a bit of heat, then have one guy go over clean. I would’ve been worked up by it as a kid, but it’s very throwaway.
Flesh Gordon vs. Scrubber Daly
Where to start? Flesh is a French wrestler with a look and outfit not unlike Flash Gordon, but taking the name from the adult movie. Scrubber Daly is like a mini Giant Haystacks and an occasional tag team partner of him, but it seemed to be common knowledge that he was a milkman, reducing some of his menace. Gordon tries to take some holds on Daly but gets powered off. In the nineties, with the WWF rising in popularity, promoters would take American names and nicknames to try and promote UK stars with, so I saw Daly billed as UK Earthquake a few times, with his actual name in much smaller print. Gordon drops him out, which is a decent bump for a guy as big as he is. Gordon’s strategy is to try and get him over the top rope, to no success. Daly goes for a splash that it feels like Gordon was out of the way a minute earlier. Daly charges him again and goes to the outside through the ropes again. He makes it in just before nine, but has injured his knee and he submits to a single leg Boston crab. Don’t know if that was legit but they went home incredibly quickly. Wasn’t much to the match, but they were doing something all the time. I actually would’ve liked to have seen it go over ten minutes to see how good it could’ve gotten.
Gaby Lailee vs. Klondyke Kate
Some ladies action now. Lailee is a French girl doing a Native American character. Kate is basically the Giant Haystacks of British ladies wrestling, a big, tough girl who’s overweight and uses the size to her advantage. She’s actually the mother of the late Doc Dean’s eldest son and quite an ambassador for wrestling as far as appearing on interview shows. Gaby avoids some charges to start, but Kate gets hold of her and splashes the leg. Orig claims she’s 280 pounds, but I think that’s unkind! Kate misses another splash to the leg and Gaby tries it back on her, but as it’s only 126 pounds trying it’s not quite as effective! Kate gets her back and chokes her on the ropes while quite audibly telling someone in the crowd “Up yours!”. Big clothesline, but Gaby avoids another one and jumps on her back, which only succeeds in messing her hair up. Orig ages Kate at 26 and claims she left school “twelve to fifteen years ago”, which sounds too wide and vague for my liking, but apparently she did start wrestling when she was fourteen, dating this match to 1989. Gaby elbows out of a nervehold but is daft enough to go for a sunset flip. Kate just stomps her rather than sitting on her, then dumps her to the outside and follows out. Punishment on the outside, then throws her back in. Gaby slingshots her back in, but can’t keep up the momentum. Kate goes for a tombstone, her finisher, but Gaby smacks her on the side on the lift up, something you don’t see often. Kate persists and gets it, although the angle means there’s not much head-to-canvas contact, so Kate just climbs on top of her to ensure the pinfall victory. A little bit here and there, but Kate knew how to get heat and had the fans throwing cups and wrappers at her throughout, so it wasn’t boring.
Steve Wright vs. Lethal Larry Cameron
Steve Wright, from England but permanently based in Germany, is the father of Alex, so we know he’s got a lot of testicular fortitude. The Lethal One is someone who’s featured in my Stampede reviews and is probably at his most muscular here. He’s accompanied by the Barbarian, who wrestled in the UK not long after as the American Hawkwind, but is best known as the Equaliser, Dave/Evad Sullivan. They sound like they’re coming out to F--- the Millennium by the KLF. Steve looks more like Baron von Raschke but has good size, as his son did, and a solid frame. Cool multi-coloured tights too, which really don’t look like the right look for him, but works. Wright gets a headlock at first, which Larry works out of and gets an armbar on. Steve tries to hip toss out of it, but Larry holds on to it and rolls through while Orig works in a strange metaphor about him being like a pirate. Wright flips out and gets a toe and ankle hold. He transitions that into a single leg Boston, then stomps the leg behind the thigh. Orig reminisces about how Steve’s trainer, Ted Betley, also trained the British Bulldogs, but he prefers Wright to Davey and Dyno. Larry gets a kick to the gut to take over. As I watch Steve’s mannerisms and moves I’m starting to recall that I may have seen him wrestle in person in Cannock as a kid, possibly if he was visiting home.
Cameron gets a yellow card from Didier Gapp for rough tactics, but holds control with a headlock and bowls Wright over with a clothesline. BIG legdrop for two, but he uses an arrogant cover and Wright rolls him into a crucifix pin for two. Wright starts to get his comeback off a tackle and I’m also noticing just how similar his body language is when attacking to his son’s, which I’m more familiar with. Teeth rattled with a European uppercut and a dropkick. He fakes Larry into throwing a kick at him and catches it, taking him down. Slam for two, slow count. He looks ready to finish, but Barbarian distracts him and trips him. Larry gets a flying shoulderblock and steals the win. Really enjoyable match, with Steve in the driving seat and Larry keeping up with him as much as possible. Again, a shame he didn’t make it in WCW or the WWF.
Gentleman Jimmy Ocean vs. Danny Boy Collins
If anyone asked me who the best heel wrestler I ever saw in person was I would never hesitate to say Jimmy Ocean. He was tag team partner to Ricky Knight, Paige’s dad, and is about 5’7″ and 150 pounds MAYBE, covered in tattoos, with bleached blonde hair and a moustache and missing teeth, looking like he’d just got out of prison and was attempting a Jimmy Valiant look, but he was absolutely terrifying as far as coming across as a nasty, mean bastard, because it was known that he was one and there were stories in the papers of him beating people up enough to show it was legit. He and Collins do goofy pre-match promos where they flip into camera shot. Danny’s in really good shape without being overly muscular, promising to send Ocean back to England with a broken back and a broken heart. Why, is he going to arrange to meet him for a date and then not turn up?
Ocean attacks quickly and gets a flying elbow before doing some poses. Pounds away and goes to the hair for a lift. Danny, who for some reason is wearing cowboy boots, slides through Ocean’s legs and gets a dropkick that sends him outside. Ocean slips the turnbuckle covering off and rams Danny’s head into it when he comes back in. He goes upstairs for a double axehandle. Back up for another for two. I loved when guys were smaller so it necessitated going to the top for offense rather than everyone doing it, helped differentiate the high flyers. Danny goes flying outside for a big bump, then Ocean attacks him with a plastic chair, which breaks away from the metal legs, drawing a warning. Back in, Collins gets a Jos LeDuc backbreaker but is still weakened and open for punishment. He does get a nice, stiff kneedrop and spinning heel kick out of the corner. Big pair of atomic drops, which Ocean sells like a lightning bolt has gone up his arse. Macho Man neck snap fells Danny. then Ocean draws off some tape to choke him with, covered incredibly well. Ocean goes through his “What’s the problem?” routine while kneeling on Danny’s throat. Another garrotte over the ropes, but Danny picks him up in the electric chair position and drops him backwards.
Ocean regains the advantage with a thumb to the eyes and a big clothesline. Danny ducks another and gets his own. Ocean gets a boot on a charge and massive flying clothesline, but misses an elbowdrop. Massive gutbuster from a Samoan drop position into a press up and down onto the knees for two for Collins. Ocean goes low but lies about it to the ref. Slam and an incredible splash off the top, on par with anyone, for two. DDT for two, which would be incredibly rare offense for someone in Britain at the time (circa 1990). Danny comes back with a clothesline. He flips over Ocean from the top rope and press slams him into the ropes, loosening them up. They go outside, but Danny gets a missile dropkick coming back in. Up one more time for a cross body block for the win. Fantastic match with two guys who were well ahead of the curve at the time. Great chemistry between the two, who must’ve worked together hundreds of times.
The Bottom Line: A bit of a mix of quality and stars, but I wanted to definitely get that last match reviewed to show off the unheralded greatness of Jimmy Ocean, who I wish had greater fame than he did so he could be talked about in the leagues of the Dynamite Kid and Rollerball Rocco.