If you speak to any British wrestling fan, or even some people of a certain age that aren’t your avid fans, they will more than likely have heard of the names of Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks. The two biggest names from an era when British Wrestling was at an incredible level of popularity collided in MASSIVE (in more ways than one) clash at Wembley Arena in 1981. The headline act of the show helped bring in 7000 fans in attendance which is the biggest draw by a British promotion still today. It was also a key point in a time when wrestling drew giant TV numbers as well. Big Daddy (played by Shirley Crabtree) was the hero of the tale, his foil coming in the form of Giant Haystacks (Martin Ruane) whom he was previously a tag team partner with. This seemed like the definition of your good guy vs bad guy ‘fight’, and it was clear throughout that this crowd were desperate to see their hero triumph. I’m sure you’ve all heard about these two and their almost at this stage mythical match, but what actually happened in the match? Well, and maybe I should be ashamed of it given my level of fandom, but I until today had never seen the match in full. So there I am on the sofa and my Mum shows me her phone, she had been scrolling through Facebook and saw a video of something she recalled from her childhood, and so just randomly like that I then matched the most famous all-British match in wrestling history… and afterwards I had A LOT of thoughts…

Big Daddy defeated Giant Haystacks in a ‘Knockout Match’ 

Haystacks was announced as being from Salford in Lancashire, 6 foot 11 tall and weighing 30 stone (420 pounds) and he looked every bit of it. He also had a man called Anaconda and Tom Walsh in his corner (I have no idea why he needed cornermen). Daddy was a mere 6 foot 3 and 24 stone (336 pounds) and was wearing his signature white wrestling vest with ‘Big Daddy’ and ‘Sock it to em’ written on alternate sides. The commentator made note that there would be no pinfalls or submissions and that ‘the bout will go on til a knockout has occurred’ with no time limit. The match began with your classic collar and elbow tie up with Daddy then coming away from it, Haystacks then got in a neck hold as Daddy responded with a bearhug. Big Daddy then hit a series of running shoulder charges then sent Haystacks onto the ring ropes, the crowd audibly showing their delight as the ref tried to untie Haystacks from the ropes. Big Daddy hit another running charge that sent the ref flying in the process, he followed up with a series of strikes to Haystacks in the corner, only stopping to try and revive the ref and with his back turned Haystacks made his attack with hits, stomps and kicks to the heroic Big Daddy. The 2nd referee who was previously on the outside came in to the ring to try and warn Haystacks off, he then went for a standing elbow drop to his opponent but Daddy rolled out the way to the delight of the crowd. The ref began a 10 count but Haystacks got up, Daddy quickly sent him to the corner again with another running charge, followed by… (yes you guessed it) more running shoulder charges… eventually Haystacks hit back with a forearm smash, Big Daddy hit 2 more… running shoulder charges…, these sent Haystacks again towards the ring ropes… as (the highlight of the match for me) the commentator noted “you wont see many wrestling holds” which maybe the most accurate piece of wrestling commentary I’ve ever heard… The one millionth running shoulder charge by Big Daddy sent Giant Haystacks over the ring ropes and to the outside as the referee eventually counted him out despite his cornermen trying to help the absurdly big Haystacks to his feet. The crowd were absolutely delighted as Big Daddy was declared the winner by ‘knockout’ (that’s what they called it anyway…). It went 2 minutes and 50 seconds.

This was not Omega vs Okada 4… It was not as good as Cole vs Gargano from WrestleMania weekend… It was not as good as Gerald Brisco and Pat Patterson’s evening gown match…

The fact these two guys were very very over with the crowd in their good guy vs bad guy roles (the famous ‘EASY, EASY, EASY” chants helped) is THE only saving grace for this match… very much of the times of course and as I said it was clear the fans their live loved it and people I’ve spoken to from that time were all giant fans. It is quite incredible how the industry has come on over the years. I’m pretty sure most wrestling gets worst with age such is the current level of in-ring competition at all levels.

To put it mildy… this match did not age well…

1/4* (0.25) 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.