The tough Briton soon began showing extraordinary submission skills on the mat and went on to gain the prestigious British Empire Championship in the 1930s against Jack Robinson in South Africa. Riley was known to be a devastating "hooker" and it showed in his wrestling matches as he soon gained notoriety for breaking his opponent's arms. He toured across the Atlantic to the United States, where he gained immense respect as a skilled athlete.
The gym soon became popular for producing some of the toughest catch wrestlers in the world. Men such as Karl Gotch (Istaz), Bert Assirati, Melvin Riss (Harold Winstanley), John Foley, Jack Dempsey (Tommy Moore), Billy Joyce (Bob Robinson), Billy Robinson, and Billy Riley's son Ernie Riley were all attended The Snake Pit.
The Snake Pit became too much of a labor for the new breed of "show wrestlers" by the 1970s, and the rough style of Riley was soon losing its demand. The Snake Pit fell into disrepair and anonymity.
Teaching the children was a new concept for both Roy and Billy. The results though, soon showed that the teaching at the Snake Pit was still world class. By the age of 10, Darren had won the British Championships alongside Tony Leyland and Neil Maxwell who were also Riley's wrestlers. After competitions, the children would go round to see Billy and his wife, and take the medals and trophies which they had won.
Billy Riley died in 1977. Roy Wood kept the Snake Pit running, and his children visited Riley's wife to show her the trophies and achievements made possible by the efforts of her husband.
This led to a Sports Council offer to rebuild the site. At the time there were various problems, and it was decided that it would be best to relocate the gym. Roy, therefore, bought a new building a couple of miles up the road in Aspull. It then became named the Aspull Olympic Wrestling Club (AKA Riley's). Osamu Matsunami, a Japanese wrestler with a very keen interest in the history of wrestling, saw the documentary and then saved up and came to England. He spent 6 month periods at a time wrestling at AOWC. He then went on to coach with Billy Robinson in Japan.
Roy Wood was soon recognized in Japan as one of the premiere trainers of submission wrestling. Roy was invited to train at the Yokohoma Arena. He was asked to prolong his stay in Japan, where he could train some of the finest athletes in the world, but Roy opted to stay in Wigan.
The Aspull Wrestling Club has since then become a hotbed for youngsters and athletes who want to train in submission wrestling catch-as-catch-can style.