M: McKenzie - McLaren
Wrestling Heritage A - Z
In days when wild haired Peruvians, Stetson wearing Americans, and east Europeans with unpronounceable names were familiar features on our wrestling bills it seems ironic that such great interest could be aroused amongst fans by British wrestlers working outside their customary region. Such was the case when Scottish lightweight Jim McKenzie ventured south. McKenzie was an accomplished wrestler, a regular worker and popular performer who never quite made it to the dizzy poster inch heights of Saint, Breaks or Kidd.
Don't let that take anything away. Jim McKenzie was a class act, a meticulous technician, a human chess machine. After nine years as an amateur, and winner of the Scottish championship, he turned professional and made his debut against George Kidd in Glasgow. In his third year working professionally he took the Scottish Lightweight title in 1964, holding it for many years apart from short lived losses to Jim Elder and Bill Ross.
In the 1960s Jim became a familiar face to television fans with matches against Adrian Street, Brian Maxine, Jim Breaks Jon Cortez and more than a dozen more of the big names between 1965 and 1972. In tag team action he could often be seen in partnership with Bill Ross or Chic Purvey.
Outside of the ring Jim and his wife ran a cafe in Glasgow for many years, and later a small hotel in the Borders area of Scotland.
Long before lightweight Jim McKenzie won the hearts of 1960s and 1970s wrestling fans there was another Jim McMckenzie. “Iron Man” Jim McKenzie was at the opposite end of the weight scale to our 1960s lightweight champion.
Iron Man Jim, commonly known as Red McKenzie, was a fiery Scottish heavyweight, a big man indeed who tipped the scales at seventeen stones.. McKenzie, from Methil, worked British rings in the 1940s and 1950s. We have many recorded contests for McKenzie between 1947 and 1960, mostly south of the border against top class opposition that included Alan Garfield, Mike Marino and Martin Bucht.
Soccer and boxing were Red Mckenzie's first sporting interests, until he volunteered for the army in 1939, serving overseas in the First Cavalry Division, serving in the Egypt, Palestine, Libya and Italy.
Spinner McKenzie is another of those wrestlers who just scrapes into the Heritage years. He was a teenager when he turned professional in 1984,but his youth and the twilight years of the Mountevans era did not prevent him from finding success as Big Daddy's tag partner for a couple of years. Opponents ranged from speedy, skilled lightweight Danny Collins to the hardest of them all, Mark Rocco and Dave Finlay, to the biggest of them all, Giant Haystacks.
Scotland's Sandy McLaren came from Coupar Angus and began wrestling around 1940, our first report of him being a draw against Bob Silcock in January, 1940. Sandy was said to be a skilful wrestler who remained cool and collected. Standing sround 6 feet tall he fillled out into a fully blown heavyweight.
He worked regularly in northern England and Scotland throughout the 1940s and was said to be a worthy opponent of top class men such as George Gregory, Francis St Clair Gregory and Dave Armstrong. With most of his matches in the north of England we suspect he may well have moved south and lived in northern England. Sandy seems to have disappeared from our rings in 1949.