D: The Doc
In the early 1970s we came across a talented young wrestler on the independent circuit. With so much talent around it was difficult to stand out but this boy held a lot of promise. He was known simply as The Doc and could be found most nights of the week working for opposition promoters like Ron Farrar, Cyril Knowles and Don Robinson alongside other wrestling newcomers Al Marshall, Tony Kaye, Milan Prica, and Alan Armstrong. Further afield opponents included the likes of Eddie Rose, Derek Collins and Roger L. Sandilands. Popular and well respected amongst his wrestling colleagues, the late Al Marshall told us the Doc had a great sense of fun and was always enjoyable to work with.
The man who called himself "The Doc" was Michael Stocks, born in wartime Bradford on 21st November, 1940. Wrestling wasn't an immediate choice for Mike. He was a trained draughtsman and when a work mate suggested to that they went along to the Norman Morrell shows at Saint George's Hall, Bradford, Mike was bitten with the wrestling bug and became a regular ringsider watching the likes of Pallo, Nagasaki, Wall and local giant killer Peter Preston. Any thoughts of following these men into the ring were for a long time put to the back of his mind, after all he only weighed eight stones.
Eventually he took the plunge and joined the Hilltop Wrestling Club at Dudley Hill, Bradford, where many famous wrestlers had learnt their trade. Further training came from George DeRelwyskow's gym in Leeds.
At work Michael was known by his nickname, The Doc. When he made his 1970 debut on the holiday camp circuit in Morecambe against Ian Gilmour, he chose his nickname as his wrestling name, saying it was much easier for signing autographs! No longer the eight stone weakling Mike was now a powerful eleven stone welterweight. His ring persona may not have delighted fans, he was a master of backchat, but his appearance on the bill was sure to please.
Mike was committed to charitable work as a regular in the Wrestlers Football Team and as part of SPARKS (Sportsmen Pledged to Aid Research into Crippling).
In the 1970s the bearded Doc seemed to many that he was destined for the top. He was included in the 1971 publication "The Who's Who of Wrestling" and was picked out by The Wrestler magazine in 1972 as one of their most promising newcomers.
Sadly the fame and fortune failed to fully materialise. The Doc was one of those unsung heroes on which pro wrestling depended and continued to work and entertain the fans through the 1970s, mostly for independent promoters. That's something to be proud of, but the big paydays with McManus and Pallo remained a dream.