Ken Joyce

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    black tiger

    Can anybody give me some background info on this wrestler? I dont remember seeing him as a nipper on WOS, but managed to catch one of his matches recently and was very impressed. I think he got his second pin using a head stand. Never seen that before! I take it hes in the Les Kellet mould?


    black tiger


    Joyce had a reputation for having an escape to any hold his opponents could muster up. There’s probably more footage of him as a referee than there is of him wrestling due to ITV’s deletion of a lot of earlier World of Sport episodes. If I’m not mistaken Johnny Kidd is a protoger of Ken Joyce.


    black tiger

    Youre right there SaintClair! He seems to have a similar style to Johny Saint. Iwonder, did they train or tag together at any point?



    He died of a heart attack while playing golf on boxing day some years back ,he had some great moves as a wrestler including sitting down when his opponent tried posting him, he took over running Devereux promotions when mr DEVEREUX died ,he ran regularly at many venues



    and many venues around High Wycombe ,Bedford ,Kettering


    his shows normally had 2 pure wrestling matches on them originally John Freemantle Premiere promotions booked many shows from him towards the end of his career he mcd and refereed


    palais fan

    Those of you who have read my posts before will not be surprised to know that Ken Joyce was one of my all time heroes.

    From what I have read over the years, Ken came over from Canada with brother Doug (Billy Joyce is no relation) around 1950 and had a good amateur wrestling background. I understand he settled in Rushden in Northamptonshire, and was involved in a tyre/motortrade business in that neck of the woods.

    He tended to wrestle at welterweight and there are pictures of him on another site wrestling in a tournament at The Wimbledon Palais, for the Empire/Commonwealth welterweight title in the early 1950s.

    Ken was a regular at the Wimbledon Palais during the 1950s and 1960s and I was lucky enough to see him on many occasions. He took part in many ecellent single matches against the top wrestlers of his day from Mick McManus to Jon Cortez, and would team up with brother Doug, or fellow Palais regular Eddie Capelli, in some memorable tag matches against teams including The Black Diamonds, Logan and McManus, Les Blousons Noir, and many others.

    He normally wrestled as a ‘clean’ (blue eye) fast, agile and highly skilled wrestler. Like Johnny Saint, he was influenced by George Kidd’s style and developed quick and unusual, escapes and counter moves. He tended to adopt the same style when tagging with Eddie Capelli and they claimed the European Tag-team title for a period in the 1960s. When wrestling in partnership with brother Doug, Ken would adopt the ‘dirty’ (heel) role similar to that of his rough and tough brother. He developed the more ‘comedic’ Les Kellet style as he got older and whatever approach he took, he did it very well.

    As stated elsewhere on this site he took over as the main man in Devereaux Promotions and the shows he put on were alway entertaining, and always contained at least 1, and often two, matches which emphasied wrestling skills rather than hero versus villain.

    John Freemantle often pays tribute to him as being very helpful in John’s entry into the business and Premier promotions have an annual tournament for the Ken Joyce Trophy. Elsewhere on this site Tony StClair pays tribute to the encouragement Ken gave him when he wrestled at the Wimbledon Palais early on his illustrious career.

    Highly skilled wrestler, great entertainer, tag-team champion, referee, MC and matchmaker, Ken was a wrestling man through and through.


    black tiger

    Thanks Palais Fan. I bow at your knowledge! :wink:


    Old David

    Palais Fan has certainly saved me a lot of typing with his magnificent summary of the career of one of British Wrestling’s all time greats.

    Ken Joyce will never be remembered like the big household names but he knew more about wrestling than any of them and was an absolute credit to the profession as a wrestler, promoter, and all round ‘good guy’ who just loved the business and passed that on to all who saw him at work.

    He was a veteran by the time I first saw him in the 1960’s but even then his talent just stood out. He was one of the most underrated men to ever grace our rings and it was pure pleasure every time you watched him.

    Palais Fan sums him up perfectly:

    Highly skilled wrestler, great entertainer, tag-team champion, referee, MC and matchmaker, Ken was a wrestling man through and through.
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