British wrestling history 
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M: McCoy - McDonald

Wrestling Heritage A - Z

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Kid McCoy
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. 

Tim McCoy
Not to be confused with the American actor and wrestling coach, our Tim McCoy was born in Dublin and comes from a much earlier age. Our first recorded bout for  Irishman Tim 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 he did venture over to Germany following 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 (above)  shows him holding Jack Beaumont.

Tim continued to wrestle until the mid 1950s.

Earl McCready (Canada)
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

Earl McCready (Doncaster)
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 some 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.

Jim McCrombie (Rob Roy McGregor)

Scotland's Jim McCrombie moved to the North East of England from his native Scottish home of Stirling. Settled in Newcastle he worbked for a bakery and later moved to Gateshead where he worked at Thornes Electricals. In Newcastle Jim trained at the gymnasium of Walter McCrae and Ted Gutteridge the body builder.

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 villain in his early days Jim McCrombie later turned blue eye. Whatever the style he was always colourful, the kilted Scot accompanied to the ring by two or more pipers, marching round the hall to the cheering and clapping accompaniment of the fans.

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 he died in May, 2010.

Bob (Bill) McDonald (Stornaway)
Read our extended tribute: Great Scot

Colin McDonald
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 friend the idea of adopting the name Johnny Saint. Colin McDonald died suddenly at far too early an age.

Drew McDonald
The wild highlander has succeeded in the world of professional wrestling during the most difficult of decades.  One of a handful of the modern day stars who has his roots well and truly in the Mountevans tradition we celebrate here Drew has found success throughout Europe and the United States. He has continued to work, and still does, throughout the latter part of the twentieth century and into the second decade of the twenty-first. 

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 Drew joined Joint Promotions and in the years that followed had the dubious distinction of tagging with both Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks.Coming into British wrestling at a time when it was in decline Drew travelled the world with notable success in North America and Germany, where he is particularly popular. 

Success in Britain was sustained over three decades with Drew twice holding the British heavyweight title , a lineage can be traced back to Joyce, Robinson and Assirati. Drew continues to work regularly to this day, and now passes on his knowledge to youngsters at his training school in Leeds. Surprisingly agile for a man of his size Drew would no doubt have made it to the top at any time in modern wrestling history. 

Terry McDonald
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.