Wrestling By The Numbers: William ‘Billy’ Robinson

Mar 16, 2014 - by staff

The professional wrestling and mixed martial arts communities have been morning the death of legendary in-ring performer and renowned Catch Wrestling style trainer William ‘Billy’ Robinson. The 74-year-old Manchester England native who was still training fighters including current UFC fighter Rolando Delgado, passed away in his sleep back on March 3rd in Little Rock Arkansas. William Robinson who was better known as Billy, was one of the biggest draws in the history of professional wrestling having had success in multiple continents including North America, Europe, Asian and the Oceania. He started wrestling as an amateur in 1955 and was the British National Wrestling Champion by 1957, he became the European Open Wrestling Champion the following year. After having success in the amateur ranks Robinson made his professional debut in 1963 after having been trained at Billy Riley’s legendary Snake Pit, which at the time was the most respected Catch Wrestling training school in the world. Robinson’s 8-years attending the school known for it’s brutal training routines provided him with a legit reputation entering the professional ranks as a Catch Wrestling submission expert.

Billy Robinson signed with the American Wrestling Association in 1970 and became a major national star as Verne Gagne pushed him using his legitimate wrestling ability. Over the next 5-years he was a top draw for the company becoming a former 3-Time AWA British Empire Champion and 2-Time AWA Tag-Team Champion with both Verne Gagne and Crusher Lisowski. In 1974 his popularity peaked as he was voted the most popular wrestler of the year by Pro Wrestling Illustrated and also appeared in the film The Wrestler alongside Verne Gagne and Ed Asner. In 1975 Robinson traveled to Japan and first competed with New Japan Pro Wrestling before becoming a regular member of the All Japan Pro Wrestling roster. While competing in the orient Robinson’s legitimate wrestling skills earned him immediate respect with fans and his feud and matches with Antonio Inoki during the mid-1970’s were considered the best happening in the industry. Robinson’s hooking and shooting style is credited for helping to popularize the style in Japanese wrestling and was instrumental in the formation of the Universal Wrestling Federation.

In addition to working with AJPW, Robinson continued working in North American in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. He became a top star for the Continental Wrestling Association becoming a former 3-Time CWA Champion and was the top draw in Montreal’s Lutte International from 1982-1983. He also worked regularly with promotions including NWA: St. Louis, Maple Leaf Wrestling, Championship Wrestling From Florida, Australia’s World Championship Wrestling and NWA: Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling. After briefly returning to the AWA in 1985 Robinson ended his 22-year in-ring career and became a trainer working out of the UWF Snake Pit in Japan. In addition to training numerous professional wrestlers he has also gained success training mixed martial arts fighters with his most famous trainee’s being Kazushi Sakuraba and Josh Barnett. His career was celebrated in 2003 with an induction into the International Wrestling Hall Of Fame and was also inducted into the Wrestling Observer Hall Of Fame back in 1996.

Below we look at the televised professional wrestling career of William ‘Billy’ Robinson by the numbers…

American Wrestling Association:

* 1 Match on AWA Television.

* 1 Match on AWA Davenport Television.

* 1 Match on AWA Wrestling For Cure.

NWA: Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling:

* 2 Matches on NWA: Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling Television.

* 1 Match on NWA: MACW On Nippon Tv.

New Japan Pro Wrestling:

* 1 Match on NJPW Toukon Series.

* 1 Main Event Match on NJPW Toukon Series.

All Japan Pro Wrestling:

* 3 Matches on AJPW Summer Action Series.

* 2 Main Event Matches on AJPW Summer Action Series.

* 2 Matches on AJPW Excite Series.

* 2 Main Event Matches on AJPW Excite Series.

* 5 Matches on AJPW Open Tag League.

* 1 Main Event Match on AJPW Open Tag League.

* 1 Match on AJPW Super Power Series.

* 9 Matches on AJPW Real World Tag League.

* 3 Main Event Matches on AJPW Real World Tag League.

* 1 Match on AJPW World Champion Carnival.

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