He was the hero of  British wrestling  in an age where man-boobs were a sign of strength and men in ill fitting costumes that make Borat's mankini look positively tasteful, strutted physiques more suited to Darts players of the 1970s. The Queen and Margaret Thatcher were fans of his and his fights were viewed religiously by children and their grannies every Saturday morning up and down the country. He was Big Daddy.

With a name like Shirley Crabtree JR it is no wonder that he used the stage name Big Daddy to beef up his macho image. But even though he had a girl's name he was a fiery man when wrestling who was king of the wrestling ring and dominated British wrestling throughout the 1970s.

You can imagine the Queen and Thatcher sitting down watching the wrestling shouting his famous chant "easy easy" before functions of state interrupted their adoration of this 64 inched chested man.

His Belly-splash was the climax of any fight which would involve him diving onto his opponent with his lager than life stomach impacting on his poor opponent only to be applauded by a nation of children practicing their Belly-Butts against each other in living rooms  all over the country.

Now every hero must have his nemesis and Big Daddy's came in the form of Giant Haystacks, a 48 stone six foot eleven inches Goliath of a man who's showdowns with Big Daddy would have you on the edge of your seat with your grandmother having to take her angina pills to prevent a fatal heart attack in the last 2 minutes of these gladiatorial fights.

Big Daddy's life was changed forever by his adoring fans and he was on the top of his game but a terrible turn of events occurred when he fought Mal "King Kong" Kirk.  Shirley gave Mal his famous Belly-Splash and Mal turned a very strange colour and was rushed to hospital but pronounced dead upon arrival.

Even though an inquest relinquished Big Daddy of responsibility and the revelation that Mal had a serious heart condition that was to blame for his death, Shirley took his death very badly. He made a few more appearances but retired from wrestling and died of a stroke 10 years later.

These days American wrestlers like Rey Mysterio,  Hulk hogan and The Undertaker with their toned physiques and acrobatic skills are watched by our children on a Saturday afternoon. But I miss the days of Big Daddy and his fellow British wrestlers with less than perfect bodies running back and fore whilst struggling to climb the ropes before flattening their foes with that which only a healthy appetite can produce.

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