? - August 18th, 2008
Tommy Walsh passed away during the early hours of Monday 18th August, 2008. Tommy, known to wrestling fans as Bob, had bravely fought the effects of cancer for some time. He was sixty years old.
He was a graduate of Wigan’s Snakepit and one of the last Mountevans style wrestlers to quite literally rub shoulders with legends such as Bill Joyce, Jack Dempsey and Billy Riley. This trio of old masters were instrumental in training a young Tom Walsh who had turned up at the Whelley gymnasium demanding that they teach him to wrestle. Teach him they did, and Tom was one of the minority who returned time and again to learn more about his chosen sport. Heavyweight champion Billy Joyce took to the youngster and arranged a daily 3.45 pm rendezvous at the gym for his next lesson in wrestling, the Wigan style. Others that had an influence were fellow Wigan masters Jack Fallon, Roy Wood, Jack Cheers and Ernie Riley. In the early days the grand master himself, Billy Riley, would sit in the corner offering advice whenever he thought it necessary, which seemed to be quite often. Joyce prepared Walsh for his professional debut, but so keen was the newcomer that on Sunday mornings he would travel to Ted Beckley’s gym in Warrington for an extra pull-around with the likes of Bernie Wright and Davey Boy Smith. Having turned professional he adopted the name Bob and wrestled for both Joint Promotions and the independents, with opponents including Honey Boy Zimba, Sid Cooper , Bert Royal and John Naylor. It was Naylor in the opposite corner when he made his only television appearance, narrowly losing by the odd fall. A technician at the start Bob soon learned to mix it and a harder-edge found him often the object of fan’s abuse. Although he gained regular bookings throughout his career Bob Walsh came to wrestling late in life at a time when the sport was in decline and there were fewer opportunities for newcomers to the business.
The funeral service took place at St Benedicts Church, Hindley on Tuesday 26th August at 1.00pm. Tommy left a wife, Elaine, and children including John, who has informed the media of his father’s sad passing.