Wild Angus Campbell

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

Part of the Wrestling Heritage family

The Big Time

 

 

We can only imagine that following his success in front of huge European crowds it must have seemed something of an anti-climax for Angus to return to the British independent shows. Having tasted success he must have now felt that his career was beginning to stagnate. Not for long, though. In May, 1967, the giant Indian wrestler, The Great Bholu, toured Britain with members of his wrestling family. This was one of the significant wrestling events of 1967. The brothers toured the largest halls of the North, Midlands and Scotland defeating all opponents. Wild Angus Campbell was chosen by promoter Orig Williams as one of the wrestlers to face the Indians. Like everyone else on the tour Wild Angus failed to defeat any of the family, but for the second time in a year Angus had made his mark.

 

 

 

 

One of those who had taken note of his success was Martin Conroy, an ex wrestler and referee who had recently joined the  managerial ranks of Wryton Promotions, an affiliate member of the Joint Promotions consortium. Joint Promotions were the exclusive suppliers of televised wrestling. A contract with Joint Promotions was a pre-requisite of national television exposure and the consequent financial rewards. Conroy's brief was to bring new talent to the Joint Promotions fans. He went about his task with a missionary zeal. Johnny Saint, Al Marquette, Johnny South, Pat Curry, Ray Glendenning were all signed up. The biggest new signings of them all, though, were Wild Angus Campbell and brother Jock.

 

In August 1967 Angus said goodbye to his independent colleagues and fans. By the end of August he was facing a new set of opponents, amongst them the top names of the heavyweight division. Johnny Allan, Tibor Szakacs and Geoff Portz were amongst his opponents during that first week working for Joint Promotions.

 

An early September bout at Belle Vue, Manchester, against Cheshire’s John Lees must have ranked as one of the highlights of Angus’ career to date. Belle Vue had been one of the country’s major wrestling venues since the 1930s. In September, 1967, Wild Angus stood to receive the cheers and jeers of the crowd on the same spot as heavyweight wrestling legends like Bert Assirati, Athol Oakeley, Jack Pye, Karl Pojello and Dave Armstrong.     The majority of those early matches did end in defeat, but on the 21st September 1967 he achieved his best victory ever, a two falls to one win over Steve Veidor.  Less than four weeks after joining Joint Promotions Angus was matched against top heavyweight Albert Wall in front of five thousand fans at the Royal Albert Hall, London. If confirmation was needed that Angus had made the big time then his Royal Albert Hall debut would provide it.

 

Television appearances followed and the name Wild Angus was soon known to every British wrestling fan. There were other changes, too.  Angus was now almost exclusively a villain, often doing dastardly deeds that resulted in an inevitable disqualification. His outlandish style resulted in some ferocious and controversial contests against the top British heavyweights. Astonishingly, Joint Promotions failed to capitalise on the wrestling brotherhood of Angus and Jock. The name Campbell was dropped in favour of simply Wild Angus, and Jock Campbell renamed Jock Cameron. One of Britain's most exciting heavyweight tag teams became a rare sighting for British fans, though when they were together they still created as much excitement as ever. There were some tremendous contests with the team of Jim Hussey and Hans Streiger,  but new partners joined Angus and the glory days of the Campbells were reaching a conclusion.    For a short time Angus was teamed with the firmly established Scottish and erstwhile British Heavyweight Champion, Ian Campbell. Their partnership was short-lived, however, and degenerated into a feud with Ian claiming that Wild Angus was not a genuine Scot!

Being the world of wrestling, of course, the animosity never neared even the slightest chance of Angus’ real identity being revealed.

 

In the Autumn of 1968 Wild Angus was invited to take part in his most important overseas tour to date. Angus, along with fellow British wrestlers Roy Bull Davis, Prince Kumali and Ian Campbell travelled to Japan.  Angus was an immediate success, and the promoters hastily booked him for a return visit in the Autumn of 1969.

 

Over the following years Wild Angus established himself as a major force in the heavyweight division. Now an out-and-out villain he met every top name in the country and on occasions he beat them all.  Forty years later it is hard to imagine  the ferocity of the competition at that time. Albert Wall and Gwyn Davies were generally recognised as the top two heavyweights, but they were hotly pursued by a dozen more household names: Al Hayes (in action with Angus, right), Steve Veidor, Ian Campbell, Bruno Elrington, Tibor Szakacs, Roy Bull Davis, Jim Hussey, Dennis Mitchell, Andy Robin, Billy Joyce, Count Bartelli, Wayne Bridges.  Not to mention Kendo Nagasaki, who had been almost undefeated since 1964. 

 

Some of Angus’ most ferocious bouts were with the masked man, Nagasaki. Without doubt Nagasaki came out on top in most of their contests, but there were many that ended with honours even and a few with both exhausted wrestlers counted out by the referee. One of the most sensational contests between the two took place at Wolverhampton in March, 1976. There was confusion and  frenzy as Nagasaki ran from the ring and Angus was declared winner by a  knock-out. Although firmly established as a top competitor it is fair to say that there was an inconsistency to Angus' success. For instance, in a one week period in July, 1970, Wild Angus defeated Tibor Szakacs (11th) and Wayne Bridges (14th), drew with Kendo Nagasaki (17th), unsurprisingly lost to champion Albert Wall (15th), but then very surprisingly dropped a decision to the lower rated Ray Glendenning (18th). Another week  this man who had the ability to beat the top heavyweights in Britain and the world unceremoniously lost within a week to Bob Bell, John Cox, Roy St Clair and Steve Veidor

 

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