IT’S Saturday and the clock is ticking. We’d dash around finishing the chores in order to hit the 4pm slot. It’s the calm before the storm as Dickie Davies introduced an hour of swinging fists, head butts and illegal blows. The dominant force of Wrestling was about to begin. Here’s a few quick highlights:
Cheering, booing, chanting, shouting, swearing, fuming – the living room is now brimming with energy as emotions run riot. Inside in ring, the referee attempts to keep order between the good, bad, the pretty and the ugly. The wrestlers entered the ring to a chorus of cheers or boos. The people’s favourite would stride into the ring to a chorus of cheers whilst the ring walk of a villain was greeted with boos and verbal abuse. Wrestling was about crowd interaction, causing a stir, pulling in viewers and filling the halls – skills inside the ring came second.
The female attraction
Wrestling was popular with the women. The wrestling halls were packed with women chanting, cheering and getting wound up. The female wrestler, Klondyke Kate, always got a mouthful of abuse from women in the audience. ‘She needs shooting because she’s dirty!’ was the response of an infuriated lady in the audience when asked about Klondyke Kate. Poor Klondyke Kate was only doing her job by playing the part in the wrestling pantomime.
In its heyday, wrestling would draw in TV audiences of up to 16 million! Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks were crowd pullers and facing each other smashed audience figures. Big Daddy weighed in at 23 Stone (146 kg) whilst Giant Haystacks was a whopping 40 Stone (254 kg)!
10 memorable wrestlers from the golden age
- Kendo Nagasaki
- Jim Brakes
- Mick McManus
- Johnny Saint
- Mark ‘Rollerball’ Rocco
- Pat Roach
- Kung Fu
- The man from Paris
- King Kong Kirk
All good things come to an end
The golden age of wrestling is well and truly over. World of Sport (the programme that included wrestling), eventually disappeared from our screens. Wrestling is still fondly remembered – mention Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks will also come up in conversation; mention World of Sport and Dickie Davies will also come up. Saturdays at 4pm still reminds many of the glory days of Wrestling.
An expanded story on the glory days of when sport ruled on Saturdays is featured in the new hardback book, Section N Underpass. Get the rundown by clicking the image below:
Further recommended retro reading: Spot the Ball – nostalgic gambling