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Jim Breaks Gordy List

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Since Breaks only got 16% of the vote in the WON HOF voting, I thought I'd put together a rough as guts Gordy List for him.


I didn't put a ton of research into this, but I thought we could use it as a starting point for the one or two Jim Breaks fans on this board.


1. Was he ever regarded as the best draw in the world? Was he ever regarded as the best draw in his country or his promotion?


No, he was never regarded as the best draw in the world or in his country. As with most wrestling promotions, lightweight wrestlers were never put in a position to draw.


2. Was he an international draw, national draw and/or regional draw?


It's next to impossible to get attendance figures for British shows and television ratings are also difficult to come by. The figures that we do have are in scraps. What we do know about Breaks is that he was considered one of the greatest post-war lightweights and enjoyed around two decades of success as both a lightweight and welterweight champion. During that time he became a television fixture, appearing on television upwards of ten times a year between 1970 and 1984, which was a lot for any given wrestler and a testament to his enduring popularity. He was featured on Cup Final Day four times and worked on two of the Wembley Arena shows, which were some of the biggest drawing shows in British wrestling history. He also featured prominently on Royal Albert Hall cards, fixtures which were among the biggest shows that Joint Promotions ran each year.


Whether this translates into drawing power is debatable. The Joint Promotions business model meant that the wrestlers worked in crews, usually putting on three to four shows a day in different towns. This meant that the main events tended to differ depending on which workers were working which show. There was continuity between the shows in the same town and the wrestlers often did a circuit of the halls which mirrored what they were doing on TV, but for the most part the main events tended to be random match-ups similar to the majority of the TV tapings. Lightweights generally didn't feature in the main event unless it was a title match, which meant Breaks was rarely top of the bill. He enjoyed a tremendously long career and even in '84 there were no signs that his act had grown stale, but amongst wrestling fans from the 60s and 70s it's fair to say he wasn't regarded as the same level of draw as Mick McManus, Steve Logan, Jackie Pallo, Masambula and Les Kellett, who were the big five bill topping names of the pre-Daddy years, and was probably several notches below other household names as well. Therefore, realistically he probably belongs in the second tier of national draws, but again there's no evidence to prove that one way or another.


3. How many years did he have as a top draw?


If we go by his television popularity, then he was a star from around 1970 until 1984. Television results from the 60s are slightly sketchier than from the 70s onward. He made his television debut around 1960 and was crowned British Lightweight champion for the first time at the end of 1963, so he would have been a known wrestler through the 60s, however the 70s was when the larger than life personalities really began to dominate television. In 1984 he jumped ship to Brian Dixon's All-Star Wrestling, but wasn't used as prominently as he had been for Joint Promotions.


4. Was he ever regarded as the best worker in the world? Was he ever regarded as the best worker in his country or in his promotion?


Jim Breaks wasn't a known entity among overseas wrestling fans until old episodes of World of Sport began airing on The Wrestling Channel in 2004. This was largely because he never worked in Japan or North America. Whether that was because he didn't have a name or wasn't the type of worker promoters were looking for is unknown. Wrestlers his size generally didn't leave Europe, though there were opportunities to work in Germany, South Africa, the Middle East, Pakistan and India. Breaks traveled abroad, but not extensively. He may have been satisfied running his pub or there may have simply not been any interest in him. It's notable that neither of his contemporaries Steve Grey or Johnny Saint were big travelers either, at least not during the television years. The middleweight and heavy-middleweights were much more in demand internationally. Breaks was considered one of the greatest post-war lightweights along with the likes of George Kidd, Johnny Saint and Steve Grey, therefore it's likely that he was considered one of the best wrestlers in the Britain during his peak years, but probably not the best.


5. Was he ever the best worker in his class (sex or weight)? Was he ever one of the top workers in his class?


Johnny Saint was generally considered the best worker in the lightweight class after Kidd retired. This was partially down to booking. Faces were generally presented on television as superior workers to heels with the likes of Saint, Mike Marino, Bert Royal and others receiving superlative after superlative from Kent Walton. Heels like Breaks who could obvious wrestle were often lamented as being superb technicians if they could just stick to wrestling. Despite this, Breaks and Grey were considered along with Johnny Saint to be the top lightweights of their day.


6. How many years did he have as a top worker?


We don't know when he became a top worker per se, but from the footage we have he looks like a top worker from '72 to '84 with the actual period probably being longer than that.


7. Was he a good worker before his prime? Was he a good worker after his prime?


We only have footage of his post prime and he was decent enough.


8. Did he have a large body of excellent matches? Did he have a excellent matches against a variety of opponents?


The answer to both is yes. Along with Steve Grey, he has one of the best resumes of matches from the existing World of Sport footage. In part this is because lightweights were expected to put on excellent matches and were given the latitude to, but also because they were outstanding workers. He had excellent matches against a variety of opponents including catch weight matches against workers from heavier weight classes. He also excelled at carrying the young "boy apprentices" that Joint would try to push.


9. Did he ever anchor his promotion(s)?


Not his promotion. He anchored his weight class on numerous occasions and he was a regular television fixture, but he was never the anchor for the entire promotion.


10. Was he effective when pushed at the top of cards?


Yes, he was extremely effective. He generated a tremendous amount of heat for his matches and was consistently one of the most over performers on the cards they ran, and he did this for more than a decade despite largely using the same schtick. Many workers and television gimmicks came and went during this period so his staying power is worth noting.


11. Was he valuable to his promotion before his prime? Was he still valuable to his promotion after his prime?


It's unlikely that he had any more worth to his promotion pre-prime than any number of amateurs turned pro. Early on it appears that he was a babyface and in the five years following his first British Lightweight title victory he earned draws with top welterweights like Jack Dempsey and Jackie Pallo and wins over the likes of George Kidd and Mick McManus, so he must have of been of some worth. He was still useful to Joint Promotions in 1984, but when he jumped to All-Star Promotions for whatever reason they didn't use him as much as they might have and he rarely featured on television in the final years of wrestling on ITV. He did feature a few times on satellite television, but the show had a different format to ITV wrestling and Mark Rocco was the lead heel.


12. Did he have an impact on a number of strong promotional runs?


Not directly. He was part and parcel of "the wrestling" It was the bigger stars that had an impact on promotional runs.


13. Was he involved in a number of memorable rivalries, feuds or storylines?


Yes, he had numerous memorable rivalries. Wrestlers he feuded with on tape include Jon Cortez, Vic Faulkner, Dynamite Kid, Bobby Ryan, Alan Dennison, Johnny Saint, Steve Grey, Danny Boy Collins and Young David (Davey Boy Smith), but this is only the tip of the iceberg from what is available.


14. Was he effective working on the mic, working storylines or working angles?


Wrestlers didn't cut promos on television until right near the end. He was effective on the house mic and at taunting Kent Walton and the crowd. He was also effective at working storylines and angles. The storylines usually revolved around title shots, which generally involved a three match format of two non-title matches and a title shot, and working gimmick matches with stipulations such as a hundred pounds for every round a young worker could stay with him. Angles usually involved either injuries or disputed finishes. Breaks was effective at putting them over.


15. Did he play his role(s) effectively during his career?


Yes, he was an excellent heel. His gimmick was that he was a crybaby who would throw a tantrum whenever things didn't go his way. The crowds loved to hate him and would chant things to irritate him or throw dummies (pacifiers) into the ring to rile him. He often jawed with ringsiders and occasionally the odd overzealous fan would threaten him at ringside. He drew a tremendous amount of heat, especially when wrestlers beat him, and of the heels that regularly appeared on TV only Mick McManus and Sid Cooper got the same reactions with the same longevity.


16. What titles and tournaments did he win? What was the importance of the reigns?


Breaks won the British and European Lightweight titles and the British Welterweight title. He never won the World Lightweight title, though he challenged for it numerous times. The importance of the reigns was the sheer number of times he won titles from 1963 through to 1988. He probably won a number of knockout tournaments as well as tournaments for vacant titles, but there wasn't any particularly important tournament for lightweights like there was for heavyweights.


17. Did he win many honors and awards?


It's possible that he won awards from the wrestling magazines like The Wrestler, but I'm not aware of any.


18. Did he get mainstream exposure due to his wrestling fame? Did he get a heavily featured by the wrestling media?


As far as I'm aware, he was featured in wrestling media and wrestling's TV exposure most likely made him a household name. He didn't enjoy the same mainstream exposure as Big Daddy, Giant Haystacks or Kendo Nagasaki, but among wrestling viewers he would have been extremely well known.


19. Was he a top tag team wrestler?


No, he wrestled in tag matches occasionally but was predominantly a singles wrestler.


20. Was he innovative?


Not as much as Grey or Saint. He basically used the same schtick for more than a decade and worked a style of match that many heels followed.


21. Was he influential?


Not really. He was off regular television for four years before wrestling went off the air and had no real influence on the indy wrestling that followed. He didn't have any influence on All-Star promotions and he didn't help to shape international junior heavyweight wrestling like Mark Rocco and Dynamite Kid did. He may have influenced some of the heels that followed him in the 70s but not in any obvious way. There may be wrestlers these days who quote him as an influence, but I haven't heard of any.


22. Did he make the people and workers around him better?


Absolutely. He carried young workers like Dynamite Kid, Davey Boy Smith and Danny Collins to important bouts early in their career and very rarely had bad matches with people.


23. Did he do what was best for the promotion? Did he show a commitment to wrestling?


Yes, he did jobs on numerous occasions. His losses almost always meant something and benefitted his opponent. He showed enough commitment to wrestling that he wrestled for some thirty years, including a huge amount of travel which he didn't particularly enjoy.


24. Is there any reason to believe that he was better or worse than he appeared?


We don't have any footage of him from the 60s and what we do have from the 70s and 80s is limited. With more footage, his standing as a worker would probably be enhanced. More research is required from wrestling magazines in the 60s and early 70s to get a better picture of how important Breaks was prior to appearing more frequently on television.

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A few more details courtesy of Wrestling Heritage.


According to their research, Jim Breaks was most prominent on TV from the years 1973 to 1984. Here are his rankings among the top ten workers to appear on TV during those years. 1973-76, 4= 1977-80, 4 1981-84, 2= The second equal ranking from '81 to '84 probably reflects the amount of talent that Joint Promotions lost to All-Star Wrestling in that period, whereas his success from '73-80 is probably attributable to the phasing out of the older television stars particularly as ratings began to drop.


Wrestling Heritage also notes that Breaks defeating Mel Riss at the Royal Albert Hall to take the British lightweight title was one of the big surprises of 1963 and represented a changing of the guards of sorts as Breaks as "the slow, masterful technicians were being overtaken by the energetic, colourful newcomers who combined showmanship, acrobatics and wrestling skill," so perhaps early Breaks was more influential and innovative than I gave him credit for.

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  • 6 months later...

Sorry to bump an old thread but I've watching some Jim Breaks footage lately and just wanted to thank you for this thread. He feels like an all time great when I watch him, it's unfortunate how few people on the net today have really watched him.

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Yeah, his run from '72-84 after he developed the crybaby persona is one of the all-time great runs. I'm glad you're enjoying it.


Steve Grey is another guy who I think might be a legit top 20 guy ever and perhaps even the greatest babyface worker of all-time. I can't get over the amount of great matches Grey had.

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