When Andrew arrives at the pearly gates and they evaluate what he did with his life, watching wrestling matches will rack up more hours than any other single task. The guy’s done a lot of DVD miles. Every week he picks one of his favourite matches to share with you. Here’s number two…
There’s been a lot written about Mick McManus following his death earlier this week, but it seemed only right that I should pay my respects in this week’s ICYMI.
McManus was one of, if not the, preeminent villains (not heels, villains) during the World of Sport era. As a child I found Kendo Nagasaki sinister, Giant Haystacks imposing and Catweazle creepy as hell. But McManus scared me. He was, despite his 5’6″ stature, someone who looked like he would genuinely hurt you if he felt it was necessary. Yet despite this he was, by every account, a true gentleman; in fact after retiring from the ring he became a noted expert in the field of porcelain. Not something you might expect from the likes of Randy Orton perhaps.
For younger (and overseas) readers it might be hard to grasp just how big a deal wrestling was in the UK once upon a time. Televised twice weekly and drawing larger audiences than the FA Cup final it often preceded, British wrestling was immense. The National Union of Shopkeepers unsuccessfully lobbied the TV channel to ask them to move the broadcast slot from Saturday afternoon as housewives weren’t leaving the house to buy groceries. The Royal Family were known to be fans, and McManus was photographed with the likes of Prince Philip and then Prime Minister Harold Wilson.
McManus died at the age of 93 after refusing to eat following the death of his wife in January. Despite pleas and visits from friends including Sir Richard Attenborough, he slipped into a coma and passed away.