M: McCoy - McGee
Wrestling Heritage A - Z
Teenage sensation Mark Boothman adopted the name Kid McCoy when he followed his father, King Ben, from the classroom into the wrestling rings of Britain.
Mark came from a farming family with a farm in Silsden, near Keighley, Yorkshire. Father and son faced each other in the finals of the 1988 Golden Grappler tournament, with dad coming out on top.
On other occasions the Kid and the King shared a tag rope as one of Britain's most popular 1980s teams. In 1987 Kid McCoy surprised many pundits when he snatched the British lightweight championship from Steve Grey and held on to it until he retired undefeated three years later.
Kid McCoy also held World lightweight champion Johnny Saint to a draw when he challenged Saint for his World belt (above right).
Not to be confused with the American actor and wrestling coach, our Tim McCoy was born in Dublin from a much earlier age.
Our first recorded bout for Dublin born Irishman Tim McCoy is in 1938 when he would have been in his early twenties.
Most of his contests seemed to be in the north and midlands of England, though we believe Tim did venture over to Germany to wrestle following the end of the Second World War.
He wrestled everyone from middleweights to heavyweights, and in 1948 lost to Jack Beaumont when challenging for the British light heavyweight title.
The photograph on the left shows him holding Jack Beaumont.
Tim continued to wrestle until the mid 1950s.
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One of the huge stars of Canadian wrestling Earl McCready came to Britain in the 1930s. His wish was revive Catch as Catch can style and promoted a Catch show at the Royal Albert Hall in August, 1938. McCready appeared in the main event against 19 stone 6'2” tall Texan by the name Reuben Wright. McCready and his friend, Kevin Staunton, invested £600 in the tournament, of which Daily Express reporter, John McAdam, said the wrestling was so good it had converted him to the wrestling business.
Three thousand fans turned up to witness McCready win by one fall to nil in the sixth round. That just wasn't enough to prevent McCready and Staunton losing most of their investment. For once the press were sympathetic, but McCready left Britain shortly afterwards to regain his losses wrestling in South Africa.
McCready had represented Canada in the Freestyle heavyweight class in the 1928 Olympic Games (finishing 6th), and was a Gold medal winner in the 1930 Empire Games. In 1933 he defeated Canadian Jack Taylor to win the British Empire Heavyweight Championship.. In July the BBC National Programme (radio) broadcast the Empire Catch as Catch Can Heavyweight Championship contest between champion Earl McCready and Tim Estelle. In the 1950s he was one of the biggest stars of Stu Hart's Stampede Wrestling Promotions until he retired in 1958.
He may have acquired the name from a more famous Canadian, but Doncaster's Earl McCready was a stylish and skilful middleweight on the independent circuit in the 1960s. The technical accomplishment was, no doubt, due to him being the son of heavyweight Dai Sullivan. Earl was one of the wrestlers featured in the short lived BBC venture into televising wrestling, meeting Tony Rocca in the televised show from Southend in January, 1965. He was advertised as “TV star” for a long time afterwards.
Earl worked for major independent promoters including Don Robinson, Jack Taylor, Eric Taylor and Cape Promotions. Seen at his best against fellow high flyers such as Johnny Saint and Boy Devlin.
Scotland's Jim McCrombie moved to the North East of England around 1970 from his native Scottish home of Stirling.
He learned to wrestle in the fairground booths of the north and regularly took on challenges in Ron Taylor's wrestling booths.
They were hard days taking on challengers five or six times a day, but the experience gave Jim a robustness and confidence to make his way in wrestling.
Jim worked for independent promoters during the 1960s and 1970s wrestling mainly in the north east, but sometimes travelling further afield..
A genuinely hard man he had a reputation amongst fellow wrestlers as an opponent who was relentless and aggressive. Jim kept himself fit and was attending his local gym until a few months before his death in May, 2010.
The photo shows Jim in action against Dr No (Digger Rowell).
A genuine Scot, born in Stornaway in the Outer Hebrides Bill McDonald achieved national acclaim after he domiciled himself in Manchester.
He turned professional in his early twenties, in 1941, featuring regularly on the bills at the St James Hall, Newcastle, during the war.
During his career Bill met all the top heavyweights, including Bert Assirati and Ernie Baldwin in championship contests. In 1963 Bill was struck by a kidney disease and was in intensive care for many weeks. He seemed to be on the mend towards the end of the year and fans were relieved to see his return to the ring.
Fate struck one of it's cruel blows when a few weeks later Bill's health suddenly deteriorated and he died on 27th July, 1964. It was far too early an age for the loss of such a fine man who was still one of the leading British heavyweights.
Such was his standing The Wrestler magazine said that Bill McDonald was, “A wrestler who will always be remembered as long as wrestling survives.”
Eddie Rose was a friend of Bill's for many years after Eddie knocked on the stranger's front door to introduce himself! Eddie remembers Bill, who he calls "a mentor and friend" in Send In The Clowns: "The jutting bottom lip that indicated patience was exhausted and the flailing arms that signified imminent action, usually of the foul kind.".
Bob's daughter, Jeanette, wrote to Wrestling Heritage: "Thank you for marking my father's anniversary. Good to know that he is still remembered after such a long time. Thanks again."
Read our extended tribute: Great Scot
A hard man who gained the respect of world lightweight champion Johnny Saint. Manchester' s Colin worked throughout the north and midlands for independent promoters in the late 1950s and 1960s. He was a bit of a tough nut in the ring and a man who we are told could turn his hand to all sorts of things outside. Colin and Johnny Saint became good friends in the late 1950s when both trained at Grant Foderingham's gymnasium. Colin was already a professional and was Saint's first professional opponent at Tynemouth in June, 1959. One claim to fame for this otherwise largely forgotten welterweight, he was the man who gave his young friends the idea of adopting the name Johnny Saint. Colin McDonald died suddenly at far too early an age.
A modern day hero of British wrestling who was one of a handful of British wrestlers to give hope of a brighter future to fans in the latter stages of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. This wild highlander, a giant of a man with a huge physical presence and larger than life personality, succeeded in the world of professional wrestling during the most difficult of decades.
Acknowledged by twenty-first century fans as one of Britain's best he was part of that rare breed that also had the respect and admiration of older fans, because Drew was one of the last of the modern day stars who had his roots well and truly in the Mountevans tradition we celebrate here at Wrestling Heritage. When Wrestling Heritage was launched in 2007 Drew was a powerful force on the international wrestling scene, traversing the globe with notable success in North America and Germany, where he was particularly popular. In Canada he worked for promoter Stu Hart under the name Ben Doon McDonald.
Drew was trained by middleweight Ian Law and made his debut against that other big highlander, Wild Angus, stepping in as a last minute substitute. In 1984 with a couple of years experience in Scottish rings Drew moved to Leeds, giving him the opportunity of a higher profile in British wrestling. Television exposure followed soon afterwards, including a main event spot in the prestigious Cup Final Day special of 1984, partnering Big Daddy against the team of Giant Haystacks and Dave Finlay. From then onwards Drew was one of the stars of British wrestling, sharing the ring with Ray Steel, Marty Jones, Dave Finlay and Gil Singh. Success in Britain was sustained over three decades with Drew twice holding the British heavyweight championship that can be traced back to Joyce, Robinson and Assirati. For a time Drew adopted the persona of the masked Spoiler, managed by the German Doctor Monika Kaiser, "Possesor of the loudest and scariest screaming-voice in UK wrestling history," remembers David Mantell. In later years Drew passed on his knowledge to youngsters at his training school in Leeds.
Drew was surprisingly agile for a man of his size' and this combined with his wrestling ability leads us to believe he would have made it to the top at any time in modern wrestling history. The wrestling fraternity was shocked when news of his cancer battle was made public and saddened by his death on 9th February, 2015.
We remember the buzz of excitement as the introductory music began to play. We were easily excited in the 1960s and a musical introduction was something of a rarity. We weren't so easily satisfied when it came to wrestling, and in this respect the man entering the ring never disappointed.
That man we knew as Terry McDonald, the kilted gladiator who was occasionally accompanied into the ring by his smiling young son, Tony. Kilted or not we can report that Terry was not the Scot as billed, nor was he the alleged Canadian as advertised when he worked under his real name Malcolm McGrail. Yet another persona for the busy Mancunian was masked man Doctor Death, and son Tony recalls getting upset when the fans booed his usually good guy dad, and an over-enthusiastic elderly lady stabbed him with an umbrella. That night Dr Death drove home in a very strange position due to the discomfort!
Malcolm McGrail was brought up in Manchester, the family home being in Swinton. He was an amateur wrestling coach before becoming interested in the professional side of the business and learning his trade at Manchester YMCA alongside Bill Connors and Pete Stewart who were to remain lifelong friends. Terry turned professional in 1960 and was soon working around the north, midlands and Scotland for the main independent promoters Don Robinson, Jack Taylor and Cape. In the early days he used his birth name, Malcolm McGrail, but within a few years had adopted the identity of Terry McDonald. Opponents were most often the biggest villains on the independent circuit, the likes of Lord Bertie Topham, The Ghoul, Klondyke Bill, and Alf Cadman. When Billy Two Rivers moved across to the independents Terry McDonald was a frequent opponent. When not training at te YMCA Terry would train in his own ring at his Swinton home, and was often joined in training by Peter Stewart, Bill Connors, Tommy Mann, Abe Ginsberg, and Bobo Matu. He mixed his wrestling career with television work and appeared regularly on Coronation Street as an extra in the Rovers and also on Emmerdale, Last of the Summer Wine and Crown Court and had parts in notable dramas such as I Claudius and World at War.
It was a career destined to last the best part of twenty years with Terry finally hanging up his boots in 1978. Sadly Terry McDonald passed away in 1985.
In March 1986 a youngster winged his way across the Atlantic and impressed British fans with his fast and skilful style. Scott McGee had a few years professional experience having turned pro in the early 1980s.
He came with a good pedigree apparently because Gary was short for Garfield, and he was Garfield Portz, the son of British wrestling ambassador, Geoff Portz. He came to Britain having travelled extensively in the United States, winning the Florida heavyweight championship and defeated Tony Charles for the NWA United States Junior Heavyweight Championship.
On television he beat Len Hurst before losing to Marty Jones in a four man knock-out tournament. Following his short visit McGee returned to the USA but not long afterwards ill health (reportedly suffering a stroke) brought his career to a premature end.