Follow TV Tropes


Wrestling / Billy Robinson

Go To
The Physical Chess Master
"Wrestling is my life. When I was a little boy, all I did was wrestle. When I get to 90 years old, if I live that long, I will be teaching wrestling."
— An impassioned Billy Robinson declared during a taping of a Continental Wrestling Association match in Memphis in 1979.

Billy Robinson (September 18, 1938 – March 3, 2014) was a British Professional Wrestler, known for his role in the development of Mixed Martial Arts in Japan. A former wrestling champion, he trained Catch Wrestling in Billy Riley's Wigan Snakepit. He then went to travel around the world winning more titles and making people cry uncle, and this included North America as part of Verne Gagne's American Wrestling Association, Canada with Lutte Internationale, and Japan under New Japan Pro-Wrestling, All Japan Pro Wrestling and Universal Wrestling Federation. The latter would be his most notorious work, as he worked as a trainer as much as he did as a wrestler, and ended up being a vital part of the development of shoot-style along with his famous rival Karl Gotch. He worked in the UWF Snakepit until his death in 2014.

"The Strongest Tropes in Europe":

  • Always Someone Better: According to Billy and Karl Gotch, their friend and trainer Billy Joyce was this to both of them. He was considered the best of the Snakepit in his prime, and the only reason they ever beat him in matches was because he was getting old. They also considered another Snakepit senior student, George Gregory, as this as well.
  • Badass Boast: Although he was not really modest about himself by any means, he mostly liked to boast about the superiority of Catch Wrestling compared to other styles.
  • Badass Family / Wrestling Family: His dad, Harry Jr. was a pro lightheavyweight boxer, his grandfather, Harry Sr. was a champion bare knuckle boxer, his uncle Alf was a pro boxer turned pro wrestler, and his cousin Jack was also a wrestler. His son, Spencer is a lieutenant colonel in the National Guard in Little Rock.
  • Badass Teacher: Trained guys like Kazushi Sakuraba, Kiyoshi Tamura, Yukoh Miyato, Josh Barnett, Marty Jones, Billy Scott, Gary Albright, etc. He was for a time the head trainer at the UWF Snakepit and trained the American shooters for UWFI. He also was a trainer for Westside MMA in Little Rock, Arkansas.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: "Do it again!", which he got from his trainers at the Snake Pit in Wigan.
  • The Chessmaster: Like many old wrestlers, he describes wrestling as physical chess, which is also the name of his autobiography.
  • Cool Old Guy: Almost everyone who met him in his last years would agree.
  • Cool Teacher: A trainer for Verne Gagne's American Wrestling Association (AWA) and trained many pro wrestlers like El Signo, Johnny Saint, Jack Gallagher, The Iron Sheik, etc.
  • Cool Versus Awesome: His match with Antonio Inoki was billed as "The Match Between the World's Top Two Technicians" by the Japanese press.
  • Force and Finesse: According to UWFI wrestlers like Yoji Anjo and Yuko Miyato, who had experience training under Karl Gotch and Robinson, they compared as such. Gotch was the force as he focused more on conditioning and a more strength based approach to grappling (and according to Hidetaka Aso, focused more on upper body submissions), while Robinson’s teachings were the more technical and all rounded of the two.
  • Fun with Acronyms: His full name is William Alfred Robinson. While that is quite standard, his initials spell out W.A.R.
  • Guest Fighter: Had an exhibition match in UWFI with Nick Bockwinkel.
  • Handicapped Badass: Was blind in his right eye after an accident at 11 years old with some kids spinning and throwing coca-cola bottle caps. While that prevented him from being a boxer, he still became a great wrestler.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Had a pitbull as a pet.
  • Hidden Depths: Apparently most of the UWF merchandise was based on sketches drawn by Billy Himself.
  • I Know Catch Wrestling: Trained at the original Snake Pit in Wigan. He was also a British amateur wrestling champion and had some training in boxing.
  • Insistent Terminology: As an old school catch wrestler he uses wrestling terminology instead of modern submission grappling terminology which is mostly based on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Was in his prime a heavyweight that could move like a lower weight.
  • Old Master: Of Catch Wrestling.
  • Red Baron: "The British Lion", "The Wrestler's Wrestler", "The Connoisseur of The Human Body", "The Man Of A Thousand Holds", "Ningen Fuusha" ("The Human Windmill"), "Europe no Teioh" ("The Emperor of Europe"), "Oshu Saikyo no Otoko" ("The Strongest Man in the West"), "Brit" (when he wrestled for the American Wrestling Association).
  • Sadist Teacher: As a Snake Pit Wigan alumni he was most definitely this, but to a lesser extent than Karl Gotch as he was more verbally abusive than anything.
  • Signature Move: He favoured the double wrist lock as his goto submission, as seen with his trainee Kazushi Sakuraba's use of it in his fights. Billy even has a instructional video focused solely on the double wrist lock. He also favored the double underhook suplex as his goto suplex.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: Was not particularly known for his strength, but he could do backbreakers on guys like Giant Baba and Abdullah the Butcher.
  • Unknown Rival: Billy didn't seem to respect Masahiko Kimura's skills, claiming that Kimura once came to Wigan and got beat easily by another wrestler who was not that great (although if we are talking about a judoka trying no-gi wrestling against a veteran wrestler, being creamed might not be as weird as Robinson makes it to be). He also was not impressed by the story of Mas Oyama killing a bull with one strike, he said even if it was true, he would only be impressed if he did it to a Spanish fighting bull, as those bulls are actually breed to fight, instead of a bull that is raised as a farm animal.
  • Ur-Example: While he didn't invent it, he was one of the first to use the tombstone piledriver in Japan. Same goes for his use of the double underhook suplex, which got earned his "Human Windmill" nickname over there.