Britain’s greatest athlete
I was in London last week visiting my wife’s family and attending a wedding. In addition to several inquiries regarding my journey to the U.K. (i.e., “How was your flight?”) I was also asked for my thoughts about The Wrestler and pro wrestling in general. Never fails: Every conversation about the business eventually drifted to memories of the inexplicably popular British star Big Daddy (26-stone Shirley Crabtree) and his monumental feud with 49-stone Giant Haystacks (Martin Ruane), two bangers-and-mash eating behemoths who couldn’t work a lick back in the ’70s. (I’ll take Jerry Lawler vs. Bill Dundee, or Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat, thank you very much.) A former miner and rugby player for Bradford Northern, Crabtree supposedly modeled his persona after the Big Daddy character from Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. He retired following a 1987 a bout with Mal “King Kong” Kirk, who reportedly “turned blue” and was dead upon arrival after receiving Big Daddy’s infamous “Splash” finisher.
Ironically enough, a couple of years ago, when watching the memorable near-60-minute match between John Cena and HBK during a Monday Night RAW taped in England, my future mum-in-law asked, “Don’t you think Big Daddy could have killed both these blokes?” I don’t know about that, but he’s certainly killing me.