South Yorkshire TV wrestling star dies at 85

Wrestler Jack Land with grandson Jack Land-Noble who penned a stage show about his career.
Wrestler Jack Land with grandson Jack Land-Noble who penned a stage show about his career.

A South Yorkshire wrestler who grappled alongside the likes of Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks has died.

Barnsley fighter Jack Land, who took to the ring as ‘German’ villain Karl Von Kramer in the golden era of wrestling on ITV’s World Of Sport with Dickie Davies, died earlier this week.

Mr Land was the tag team partner of well-known actor, Kes star and former wrestler Brian Glover, who fought under the name Leon Aris when they appeared together as The Toffs.

Five years ago, Jack’s story was told as part of the world’s first wrestling musical, Grappling, at the Lamproom Theatre in Barnsley, written and performed by his grandson, Jack Land Nobel.

Barnsley-born and bred Jack, who wrestled for more than 30 years, was 85. He hung up his lycra bodysuit more than 25 years ago.

But he become famous all over again thanks to the show based on his coalface-to-wrestling ring life story.

The theatre is just yards away from the now demolished Junction Inn gym where in the early 1950s the former Monk Bretton pit man and Army boxing champ, who did national service with the Duke Of Wellington regiment, was introduced to wrestling. It was there he was given the German bad guy make-over by Brian Glover’s dad, Charlie.

In a 2010 interview he said: “I was in the boxing gym upstairs and the wrestlers, who used downstairs, were short of a man. They asked me to help out. Charlie Glover gave me the name Karl Von Kramer and showed me how to become the villain. The boxing gloves never went back on,” said Jack, who also had trials with Sheffield Wednesday.

“I became a professional wrestler and toured the world. A lot of fans didn’t know I was from Barnsley. They thought I really was a German.”

He regularly featured on the show during the 1970s.