Time traveller extraordinaire Ron Historyo invites you into his time machine for the journey of a lifetime, exploring the towns and cities of the country from the perspective of Britain's wrestling heritage.
Way back on 28th February 1938 wrestling was launched in the Music Hall Aberdeen. The press coverage claimed it was the return of wrestling for the first time in many years. That led myself a bit of a dance, as I thought there might have been a few shows between 1931 and 1938. I looked hard and could find nothing in the city, just the odd highland show out in the county. Then I thought I would check another possibility, the Hackenschmidt Boom Era. Sure enough, wrestling had been before, but not to the Music Hall. Some fine examples though to show the combination of county styles of wrestling and the Music Halls being the origin.
So back to 28th February 1938, and we celebrate here on Heritage that it was George DeRelwyskow who took wrestling to the Music Hall.
Here is a piece of history, as there was no bill in the paper just a report, below are the wrestlers.
There were at least a dozen shows in 1938 and more still in 1939 all done by George Rel. No shortage of Scottish Wrestlers either. George Clark Dundee, Jim Anderson Dundee, Alf Lagren of Methil who died in service in the war, Tony Baer Glasgow, Alex Forbes Aberdeen, Ronnie Marshall Glasgow, Norman Stewart Kilcaldy, John Bell Frazerburgh.
October 12 1938 George Clark made his debut at the Music Hall beating Phil Siki and on November 9th 1938 he beat Cocky Knight at the Music Hall before going on his second trip to the USA where he was gathering fame as “The Dazzler”.
And of course wrestling had a little of the usual trouble with it's image and in late September 1938 the council went to the wrestling to pass judgment on it's suitability. The bill that night of 28th was.
Jim Anderson knocked out the Lumberjack of Canada.
Johnny Demchuk beat Harry Brooks
Bob Gardiner of Denny beat Tommy Nelson
Ackra beat Ronnie Marshall of Glasgow.
Finally on October 18th the council voted 18-12 in favour of Wrestling to continue. It would have been a shame to have failed with good crowds of 1200-1800. There were one or two other venues to crop up and some evidence of another promoter doing an odd show with a different looking Roster. A small show at Aberdeen Heath and Strength Club featuring Alex Forbes, light heavyweight champion of North Scotland,and again at the Railway Hall in Inverurie, another show with a strange looking bill.
Alex Forbes v Ben Tarling
Texas Terror v Roughneck Ray of Canada
Jim Craig of Inverurie and Welsh Morgan of Aberdeen
Tiger Campbell and Jim Casey.
And then the odd summer show at Pittodrie, almost certainly a George Rel offering.
There were still shows during the war at the Music Hall but not as many and even wrestling at Pittodrie including the 2nd September 1944 victory of George Clark over Bert Assirati. Another venue was Linksfield Stadium.
In the late 1940's a Wrestling Federation of promoters was formed and the country split into regions to create a monopoly. This affected a promoter called Alex M Bannerman who had been sharing the Music Hall fortnightly for two years with the Relwyskows.
Bannerman was ignored and not invited to join the association so got a petition with 2000 fans signatures and went to the Aberdeen council asking that the other promoter not be allowed to show wrestling either under these conditions. The problem being that wrestlers would not get work if they worked for both. I suspect Bannerman continued to find wrestlers because he was still doing alternate shows in 1952. In the example below showing two promoters in the same week, the Bannerman Promotion displays on the bill that all wrestlers were members of the Federation of Great Britain.The Relwyskows introduced it and after the formation of Joint Promotions in 1952 I am struggling to find out what happened to Bannerman from 1953 onwards.