A young Billy Robinson.

Billy Robinson Edit

Billy Robinson

Birth name

Billy Robinson


September 18, 1938[1]

Manchester, Lancashire,England, United Kingdom[2]


February 27, 2014 (aged 75)

Little Rock, Arkansas, United States[2]

Professional wrestling career

Ring name(s)

Billy Robinson[2]

Billed height

5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)[2]

Billed weight

240 lb (110 kg)[2]

Trained by

Billy Riley[2]





Billy Robinson (September 18, 1938 – February 27, 2014) was a British professional wrestler, author and catch wrestling instructor. Robinson was well known in Japan where he trained mixed martial arts fighters in catch wrestling. Robinson was one of the few wrestlers who was successful in several continents (Europe, North America, Asia and Oceania), winning titles in promotions nearly everywhere he wrestled.

Career Edit

Early days in Europe Edit

Robinson began his amateur wrestling career in Britain. He was the British National Wrestling Champion in 1957, and in 1958 he was the European Open Wrestling Champion in the light heavyweight class, beating an Olympic bronze medal winner in the finals.

Billy Robinson also attended the fabled "Snake Pit" started by legendary trainer Billy Riley. The Snake Pit was one of the most respected catch wrestling training schools in all of the world. Legends such as Karl Gotch had trained in catch wrestling in the Snake Pit with Riley.

Robinson had to survive bare minimum amenities (luxuries such as a toilet were not provided at the Snake Pit), a very rough training environment (Riley was very impatient with those who showed even the slightest bit of weakness on the mat) and rigorous conditioning. Robinson stayed at the Snake Pit for eight years.

In North America Edit

Robinson traveled to North America in 1970 and began wrestling for Verne Gagne's American Wrestling Association. He was one of the successful wrestlers of the American promotion known for hiring the "Real Deals" in wrestling. Billy Robinson was also the AWA British Empire Heavyweight Champion; he defended the title in both the United States and Canada,winning in on 3 separate occasions. 12 October 1974 Robinson's image as a legitimate wrestler landed him a role in the film The Wrestler alongside Verne Gagne and Ed Asner.

He wrestled in Montreal in 1982 and 1983 becoming the International Champion beating Dino Bravo and was also International Tag Team champions with Pierre Mad Dog Lefebvre. He had a 60-minutes broadway with then WWWF Champion Bob Backlund in 1982 as well in Montreal.

Japan Edit

Robinson travelled to Japan where he became immensely popular as a legitimate wrestler versed in submission holds. He participated in a professional wrestling match against legendary Antonio Inoki in 1975. The match was billed as "The Match Between the World's Top Two Technicians" by the Japanese press.

Robinson continued an active professional wrestling career, travelling throughout the world to participate in various events.

Japanese professional wrestlers learned the art of "hooking" and "shooting" from another of catch wrestling's greatest icons, Karl Gotch. The new movement led to the formation of the Universal Wrestling Federation.

The UWF had wrestlers like Yoshiaki Fujiwara who had also been to the Snake Pit in Wigan. Robinson became a part of the shoot style movement when he wrestled in an exhibition match for the UWFi against fellow AWA legend Nick Bockwinkel on May 8, 1992.

After wrestling Edit

As well as being one of the key influences on the shoot style movement, Robinson began training youngsters in catch wrestling at the UWF Snake Pit in Japan. Robinson has contributed immensely in training several mixed martial arts legends including Kazushi Sakuraba and Josh Barnett.

Throughout his career, Robinson also trained at least twelve pro wrestlers, including Marty Jones, Johnny Saint, James Maritato and El Signo.[3]

Robinson was inducted into the International Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2003.

Robinson died on February 27, 2014 at the age of 75.[4]

Books Edit

Physical Chess: My Life in Catch-as-Catch-Can Wrestling ECW Press

In wrestling Edit

  • Finishing moves
    • Bridging double underhook suplex[2]
  • Signature moves
    • Abdominal stretch[2]
    • Backbreaker[2]
    • Back suplex backbreaker
    • Bear hug / Hammerlock combination
    • European uppercut
    • Piledriver[2]
    • Single arm DDT
    • Kneeling belly to belly piledriver

Championships and accomplishments Edit

Amateur wrestling Edit

  • British National Wrestling Championship (1 time)[2]
  • European Open Light Heavyweight Wrestling Championship (1 time)[2]

Professional wrestling Edit

  • All Japan Pro Wrestling
    • NWA United National Championship (1 time)[2]
    • PWF World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[2]
    • January 2 Korakuen Hall Heavyweight Battle Royal (1980)[5]
  • American Wrestling Association
    • AWA British Empire Heavyweight Championship (3 times)[2]
    • AWA World Tag Team Championship (2 times) - with Verne Gagne (1) and Crusher Lisowski (1)[2]
  • Cauliflower Alley Club
    • Other honoree (1994)
  • Championship Wrestling from Florida
    • NWA Southern Heavyweight Championship (Florida version) (1 time)
  • Continental Wrestling Association
    • CWA World Heavyweight Championship (3 times)[2]
  • International Pro Wrestling
    • IWA World Heavyweight Championship (2 times)[2]
  • Joint Promotions
    • British Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[2]
  • Lutte Internationale (Montreal)
    • Canadian International Heavyweight Championship (2 times)[2]
    • Canadian International Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Pierre Lefebvre[2]
  • Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum
    • (Class of 2011)[6]
  • Pro Wrestling Illustrated
    • PWI Most Popular Wrestler of the Year (1974)[7]
  • Stampede Wrestling
    • Stampede Wrestling Hall of Fame[8]
  • Tokyo Sports
    • Best Bout Award (1975) vs. Antonio Inoki on December 11
  • World Championship Wrestling (Australia)
    • IWA World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[2]
  • Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
    • Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (Class of 1996)[9]

References Edit

  1. Jump up^ "Professional and Catch As Catch Can Wrestler Billy Robinson, 75, passes away". Retrieved 2014-03-03.
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v "Online World of Wrestling". Retrieved 2008-11-09.
  3. Jump up^ Billy Robinson's profile, from
  4. Jump up^
  5. Jump up^
  6. Jump up^ "Lawler, McMahon, Road Warriors among PWHF Class of 2011". Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum. 2010-11-26. Retrieved 2010-11-28.
  7. Jump up^ "PWI Most Popular Wrestler of the Year". Retrieved 2008-11-09.
  8. Jump up^ "Stampede Wrestling Hall of Fame (1948-1990)". Puroresu Dojo. 2003.
  9. Jump up^ "Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame". Retrieved 2008-11-09.

External links Edit

  • Billy Robinson at the Internet Movie Database
  • Scientific Wrestling's Certification Camp where Billy has coached since 2007
  • Robinson's Catch Instructional Trailer on YouTube
  • International Wrestling Hall of Fame
  • Website of the film 'Catch - the hold not taken', a documentary on the history of Riley's gym where Robinson trained