Kendo Nagasaki returns to Wolves
The wrestling star heads back to his former home town - and the same venue where he lost his mask 30 years ago.
Getting ready for a comeback
Kendo Nagasaki was one of the UK's top draws during British wrestling's heyday in the 1970s and 80s.
Now, at the age of 61, he is gearing up for a comeback match at Wolverhampton's Civic Hall - the same venue where in 1977, 14 million people tuned in to see Nagasaki lose his mask.
Real name Peter Thornley, Nagasaki lived in Wolverhampton for many years during the height of ITV's 'World Of Sport' wrestling programme, on which he was a bona-fide star.
Royal Albert Hall, July 1976
He was notoriously protective of his stage gimmick - that of a mysterious Japanese samurai warrior - never granting interviews and refusing to be seen in public without his mask.
British wrestling collapsed in the 1980s, largely due to the popularity of America's World Wrestling Federation (now WWE) and its larger than life characters, incredible production values and savvy marketing machine.
Many UK stars such as Mick McManus drifted into obscurity while a few such as the late Pat Roach carved out impressive film and television careers.
Kendo vs Big Daddy - Solihull 1975
Kendo Nagasaki retired but was the subject of a number of documentaries such as Granada's "Everything Stopped At 4 O'Clock" which looked back at the glory days of UK grappling.
Now promoter Sanjay Bagga has lured Kendo out of retirement to battle at the Little Civic for the LDN Wrestling promotion.
Sanjay said: "LDN is a throwback to the good old days - it's something totally different to the American stuff you see now. It's back to the 'two falls, two submissions or knockout over a number of rounds' formula that was so popular.
Battling in Sheffield, October 1975
"Kendo is looking great - he moves quicker than some of the twenty year olds. Some people are speculating that he's not the original. I can assure you he is - he still has his index finger missing.
"Kendo will be facing our champion and if he loses he will have to unmask again - 30 years after the first time and in the very same building. Kendo still holds the attendance record for the Civic Hall - about 2,000 I think. We can't wait for him to be back."
Kendo Nagasaki will be wrestling at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall on Wednesday 29th October.
For more information, visit: www.ldnwrestling.com
last updated: 08/10/2008 at 14:22