Billy Riley's 'Snake Pit'..England

i was just wondering if anyone has tried to open a NEW 'Snake Pit' type of catch wrestling gym in England?
Like the one Billy Riley had...and if there are any old-timers left from that era?

Does anyone know of anyone living that actually trained there or learned some of the subs from that era?

Can anyone give some REAL historical info on the old 'Snake Pit' gym?

Would be interesting to know...since the recent popularity of submission wrestling and mma in the British Isles has been growing at an incredible just seems like this would be of particular interest at this time...!?

here's what i found...

Visit to The Snakepit - by Carl Fisher 30 July 2003

i guess they did sort of re-open it...

"The original Snake Pit in Whelley in Wigan is now long and gone, yet the spirit of the club and it's members still burns bright at Apsull Wrestling Club, thanks to the efforts of Roy Wood and his daughter Andrea; the club has a thriving junior amateur wrestling section, who regularly compete both in the UK and abroad (the club are preparing for a tour of South Africa in 2004) and if one is lucky enough to catch Roy in the mood, a helping of painful Lancashire wrestling submissions are available."

taken from:

go to the HISTORY section

I just happened to find their site recently. Very nice stuff.

awesome stuff!


"Does anyone know of anyone living that actually trained there or learned some of the subs from that era?"

Probably the most recognizable person (still living) that had trained at the Snake Pit is Karl Gotch. IIRC, he currently resides in Florida.

Billy Robinson also trained at the Snake Pit for quite a while. He (as well as Gotch) has been a major influence on many of the Japanese Submission fighters that are active today. Robinson was living in Arkansas the last I heard.

Tom Billington aka "Dynamite Kid" of Pro Wrestling fame also trained at the Snake Pit several times. While not a regular student at Wigan, he did have the opportunity to train under Billy Riley and Billy Joyce during his time there. Tom has had a lot of health problems over the years. I also believe that he lives in Florida as well.

The Wigan style of CACC has branched out worldwide since its humble beginnings. Most notably, it had a huge impact on the fighters and wrestlers of Japan who came under the tutelage of Gotch and Robinson. Fighters like Sakuraba, Suzuki, Funaki, Sayama, and others all owe thier CACC training to Wigan influences.

Hope this helps. God bless.


There are several still living, in addition to the one's Steve mentioned.

Look for my interview with Riley Gym legend Tommy Moore to be posted soon.

There is a verison of the Snake Pit open in Japan. Bill Robinson is running it. I found the link for there site:

Great info guys!

mahalo nui loa

braddah shano

Anybody know where in Arkansas Billy Robinson is living?

I see a listing for Fort Smith, AR and I'm not far from there.

I'd like to meet the guy.

Billy Robinson, is not in the USA right now. He is over in Japan training at the UWF Snake Pit right now. He said he would be back sometime in either fall or in the new year.

As someone who lives in Lancashire, it's a shame that there's so little wrestling in Lancashire these days. It used to be very big locally, especially round Wigan way, but there are only a handful of clubs to my knowledge in the area, and certainly none in my neck of the woods (Blackburn).

Chaos432, do you have a way of contacting Mr. Robinson.

I'd love to meet the man and I've got a training partner who is very interested in catch style training.

I live in Eastern Oklahoma and would be willing to drive pretty much anywhere in Arkansas to meet a man who trained at the Snake Pit.

My email is, I'm working crazy hours right now so it may take me a day or so to get back with you if you get time to email me and can help me out.

If you email me put Billy Robinson in the subject line so it doesn't get lost in the spam in my inbox.

I remember reading about the Snake Pit about 6 or 7 years ago when I was doing some online research on Steve Regal, real hardcore stuff.

Oh and is there an english site for the Japanese Snakepit?

Does anyone know what year Billy Riley was born? Thanks!

with all the mma activity going on in England (as much as in the U.S. midwest), i can see your fighters coming on very strong soon!

with Lee Murray and others already bursting on the's only a matter of time before we here from more tough English fighters.

good job blokes!