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Billy Joyce (1916 - 2000)

Real NameBob Robinson
Lifespan9/26/1916 - 9/?/2000
6’ 198 lbs. - Wigan, Lancashire, England

Athletic BackgroundWrestling

Teacher(s) - Billy Riley [Snakepit]

Professional Background - Britain, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Japan

Aliases - none

Peak Years1960s

Place in HistoryIn the years after World War II, British pro-wrestling enjoyed a resurgence due to organizational changes and rule changes.  When television hit, the sport enjoyed another boost and it became wildly popular across the country.  It was among all of this modernization that a unassuming and wiry heavyweight known as Billy Joyce emerged from Northern England.  A hardened coal miner like many of the men in Wigan, he came up in the famous Snakepit, where he combined his natural strength and fitness with catch wrestling technique to became a highly regarded wrestler.  Joyce has been described as a simple family man who chose to stay close to home and train talent rather than become a prominent world traveler.  His two most famous disciples Billy Robinson and Karl Gotch went on to become legendary shooters and both hold up Joyce as the greatest of their style.  Following Bert Assirati’s supremacy over the heavyweight ranks was Joyce’s as he was the unquestionable top heavyweight from the time he won Joint Promotion’s title in 1958 until his retirement in 1967.  He put over credible talent like Albert Wall, Geoff Portz and Dennis Mitchell and therefore established them as top stars in the country, but their reigns were brief.  Billy Joyce did enjoy several successful tours of mainland Europe and even one of Japan.  His naturally shy personality and no-frills approach to professional wrestling may have limited his legacy, but his technical skill, lengthy run as the top heavyweight and success as a trainer all play in his favor.  Billy Joyce should rightly be remembered as one of the last great catch-as-catch-can wrestlers.