Wild Angus Campbell

A Tribute To One of the Great 20th Century Professional Wrestlers

Part of the Wrestling Heritage family

Early Years

The Early Years

In contrast to the worldwide fame for which he was destined Wild Angus was relatively unknown in 1965. Although he wrestled most nights of the week he worked for independent promoters like Paul Lincoln, Vic Kendrick, Jack Taylor and Lew Philips, which meant his face was unknown to television audiences. Independent promoters at that time presented high quality programmes with some of the best wrestlers in the country.

 

None of the independent promoters were contracted to provide televised tournaments, though, which were the exclusive domain of Joint Promotions. Consequently the distinctive Angus features remained unknown to the majority of wrestling fans. Those facial features, even in 1965 when he was in his thirties, made Angus appear much older than the rest of his body. Craggy lines and sad, deep set eyes gave the appearance of a man who had experienced a hard life, which indeed he had. Add to these features long straggly hair, a height of six feet four and a half inches, a twenty stones frame, a temperament that could at best be described as unpredictable, and you will understand why the description "wild" was just made for this man.

 

 

Fans were unaware that Angus, a fiercely proud Scot throughout his professional career, was born in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland.  Whilst a teenager the family moved to England and by his late teens he was living in Northern England and searching for work.  For five years he worked as a steeplejack. He knew the dangers, but he needed the money.  He and his wife, Celia, had an increasing number of hungry mouths to feed, until the time they concluded that six children was quite enough. The financial pressures meant that Angus had to remain in work, and he was the first to admit that his pay as a steeplejack was good. The dangers were always present, though, and eventually the difficult decision was made to leave his job as a steeplejack, which resulted in Angus' income taking a sharp dive. The pressure was on for Angus to find a new occupation fast. He had always been interested in weightlifting and wrestling, and began working in a fairground booth, taking on all-comers every night at both wrestling and boxing. Angus took to the rough and tumble of the ring like the proverbial duck to water. He learned quickly and acquired the skills of the wrestling ring. Angus enjoyed his wrestling, but fairground money was erratic and the working conditions appalling. Thinking that he could make more money in pleasanter surroundings Angus took the plunge and became a professional wrestler. Competition was hard for newcomers to wrestling in the early 1960s. Although a hundred shows a week meant promoters were always seeking new talent there was no shortage of youngsters wanting to make their living by wrestling. The standard required to wrestle professionally was very high.

 

For the first couple of years bouts were hard to come by. Angus was unknown to fans and promoters. Once seen, though, the paying customers warmed  to the unruly Scot and his subsequent appearances saw him move quickly up the bill.

 

It soon became apparent that Angus had the qualities to make the grade as a professional wrestler, and by 1964 he was regularly topping wrestling bills throughout the country. One man who recognised  Angus’ potential was the London based promoter Paul Lincoln. In the early 1960s Lincoln was promoting shows throughout Britain.

 

He was challenging the supremacy of the Joint Promotions syndicate. Lincoln contracted some Joint Promotion wrestlers, but was keen to seek out and develop new talent, amongst whom was Wild Angus Campbell. Working for Paul Lincoln Management  left Angus free to also work for the many other independent promoters, and they too gradually realised that Angus was building a following

 

Apart from his looks, by which we mean that Angus looked the part of the heavyweight villain, his other main asset was his strength. It was a natural strength, and another source of astonishment for Angus’s friend, Earl Black,  “He had amazing strength, although he never used weights or anything else to increase it!”  Earl was quick to point out, though, that technically Angus was also a very good wrestler indeed.

 

 

 

Amongst his opponents in those days were some of the best men working for the independent promoters, including wrestlers such as Mike Marino, Ray Hunter, Klondyke Bill, Al Hayes and Dai Sullivan.  A regular tag partner veteran Bermondsey heavyweight Docker Don Stedman. Throughout the country the two villains pursued a number of feuds against the popular teams of Al Hayes with Ray Hunter and Mike Marino with Wayne Bridges. A sign of Angus’ growing reputation was the selection of one of his bouts for inclusion in the Graeme Kent book, “A Pictorial History of Wrestling.” The contest had taken place in February, 1965, a Paul Lincoln Promotion at the Granada Theatre, Tooting.  Kent reports that the usually disliked pairing of Chati Yokouchi and Togo Tani were favoured by the fans when they met the unruly team of  Don Stedman and Angus Campbell. The contest was a bloody affair but the crowd showed their approval when Angus was stunned and knocked out by a karate chop to the head.

 

Realising just how much money they could make out of the wild highlander billed from Inverness led the promoters to the logical conclusion that they could make twice as much money from two wild highlanders. Enter Angus' wrestling brother, Jock Campbell, a Lancastrian who had made little impact under his own name.  Angus and Jock quickly established themselves as one of the top tag teams on the independent circuit. Sometimes they would be the perfect gents, the blue eyed heroes against the likes of Dominic and Casey Pye, The Monster and the Ghoul, and the Klondyke Brothers. More often than not, though, Angus and Jock were the villains, and what great villains they made too.

 

Throughout the early sixties Angus continued to learn the trade. He was able to change at will from hero to villain depending on the style of his opponent. In 1966 his career began to take off when he was invited to take part in the German heavyweight tournaments. These were huge competitions lasting for a month and featuring the best wrestlers from Europe and other parts of the world. Angus held his own and returned to Britain in December, where he was still largely unknown.

 

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