Wrestling show comes to Grantham

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An American wrestling show promises to recall the ‘golden age of wrestling’ in Grantham next week.

Promoter Ian McGregor recalls the good old days of wrestling in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, when the 
entertainment was a popular spectacle on Saturday 
afternoon TV.

The rise of American wrestling, which is broadcast on Sky, harks back to this golden era, with colourful characters that delight children.

Ian used to wrestle himself on ITV’s World of Sport and remembers promoting shows at the old Grantham Leisure Centre, which featured the big names of the era, such as Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks.

He said: “There hasn’t been a show like it in Grantham for 20 years.”

Now, he is staging an event at The Meres Leisure Centre on Saturday, March 17, at 7.30pm, as part of a nationwide tour.

This time, the shows feature mainly US wrestlers. There’s Tiny Iron, Road Warrior, Mass Destroyer, Mexico’s High Flyer Pyiro and the Boston Brawler.

There is one local - Joe Connors from Nottingham.

Ian recalled: “In the day, it was Big Daddy and he was popular with children. It’s carried on with the children, and they watch the Rock on Sky. This is the first event I have promoted for 25 years.

“Grantham was one of those places where wrestling was very popular. The Meres Centre seems to be very popular for mega events such as Jimmy Carr and Brendan Cole. When these people appear you know you have a good entertainment venue.”

Ian said the show will be just as it was in old days, with goodies and baddies and the audience joing in with their cheers and boos.

“Parents know they can take their children out for a night of entertainment.”

Indeed, Ian remembers how hundreds would turn out to see Big Daddy.

“When you mention Big Daddy. It was like mentioning Father Christmas. Every town in the country would have a wrestling show every week or every month. People would also watch it on the telly. I just know people in Grantham will be very enthusiastic to see American Wrestling live.”

n Big Daddy, who was 6ft 6” and weighed 26st 9lb, was known for his record-breaking 64-inch chest. His fans included Margaret Thatcher and the Queen Mother. Sadly, he died of a stroke in 1997 in his home town of Halifax aged just 67.

To win one of three family tickets (two adults, two children), what was Big Daddy’s real name? Send your answer to ‘Wrestling competition’, Grantham Journal, St Peter’s House, St Peter’s Hill, Grantham, NG31 9AF, to arrive no later than 10am on Wednesday, March 14.