Not all tip-top heavyweights needed to hide behind a mask.
Albert “Rocky” Wall was the very essence of a British Heavyweight champion, travelling the country far and wide over an on-off championship reign spanning the late sixties and early seventies.
He had been an active pro since about 1957, and went down dutifully to the big stars of the day all over the
He first won the British Heavyweight title in
It was great to see a Yorkshireman wresting a title from the other side of the
He was often described as “The Doncaster Panther”, and anyone who witnessed his magnificent flying head-butt, a speciality par excellence amongst any other speciality move that can be named, anywhere, will find the description apt.
We remember seeing the great
Here he is in action against two heavyweights who continued their wrestling careers in the U.S.A. On the left, Jean Ferre, a two-time opponent of Wall in the U.K., seems reluctant to co-operate with referee Joe Hill. Meanwhile right, see the tousled blond locks of Southern England Heavyweight Champion Judo Al Hayes held in a face bar. If you never saw Albert Wall in action, think Jon Cortez, but bigger. 17st 2lbs was the weight generally attributed. A no-nonsense dour style, occasional dust-ups to signify he was taking things seriously, but a largely rule-abiding manner. And superb technical expertise.
Albert Wall at the Albert Hall? On wrestling’s night of nights it was Rocky who faced The Outlaw at the peak of that masked man’s fame. Wall suffered a very rare loss, retiring through an injured knee. Later on, Rocky seemed regularly to face a limited but imposing group of contemporaries: Bruno, Viedor, Campbell, Szakacs, Mitchell.
No subsequent Royal Albert Hall spring spectacular was complete without Albert Wall headlining alongside the other household names of the day. As for television wrestling, in 1971 Albert Wall appeared 12 times. As a measure, Mick McManus was on 11 times in the same year. He continued at the same rate with seven 1972 appearances until suddenly stopping in August.
Scandal too, when it was Albert Wall who was bugged secretly by the press when planning the detail of a bout with Mike Marino.
Many a 21st century fan dependent on The Wrestling Channel for their fix of seventies grunt and groan will be frustrated by the absence of this great from the schedules, in spite of this notable status attained. He seemed to slide away from regular appearances in Joint Promotions rings over a slow three year period until 1975 when he had become disaffiliated from their rings and wrestled for a while on the independent circuit, battling
We never noted the end of his career, through a knee injury, hopefully not down to the Outlaw a decade earlier! An unsung ex-heavyweight champ, a career fizzling out without the respect it deserved.
He was also billed as the European Heavyweight Champion, though this may be news to him. There is little evidence as to how he acquired this championship, but his final Royal Albert Hall appearance was a defence of this title against
We see no sign of Albert relinquishing either belt in the ring, and therefore this non-masked man’s great career remains with many gaps to fill and mysteries to unravel.
Extra information came in 2005 from Albert’s son who was able to fill in some biographical detail:
“Dad trained in the gym above a pub in Bentley,
Agility and fleet of foot were never going to be his thing.
As soon as he felt competent enough he launched straight into the professional heavyweight scene.
The best shooter he believes was Georges Gordienko, and best ever opponent was Primo Carnera.
Countries wrestled in include
We hope to be updating this tribute page in time as yet more mysteries are unearthed about the career of this landmark professional.
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