If you mention the word British wrestling, then you more than likely associate it with the likes of Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks. Today it’s the latter I always
miss the most. Today I give you a special look at what was one of the most recognized names not just in British wrestling but also all over the world. Today I take a special look at Giant
Today Aaron Undercover takes a special look back at the one and only Giant Haystacks, and you are all welcome to join me down the career path of this wrestling
One of the most recognized British wrestlers
of all time, Martin Ruane (his real name) AKA Giant haystacks died on Sunday November 29th, 1998 after a 2-year battle with cancer. Haystacks had Irish parents but he was born
and raised in Manchester. Haystacks stood 6`11” and weighed in between of 40 and 45 stone at his heaviest. Giant Haystacks will always be remembered for his long running
feud with Big daddy. It was this feud that set the audiences alight with cheers and boo’s for their hero’s. Audiences of 10 million a week watched Giant Haystacks on TV. Haystacks
was seen hauling his massive bulk around the ring and making very short work of his opponent.
Haystacks and Daddy didn’t meet that often in the
ring, but when they did meet it had the audiences glued to their seats, two of the biggest men not just in British wrestling but in the world would lock horns
in the ring. Although haystacks and Daddy weren’t the most gifted athletes when it came to wrestling, but it was there pure size that made you want to
watch the match. Haystacks would also take on smaller opponents, which would look like David meeting Goliath all over again. Haystacks would work on his smaller opponent by throwing him
around the ring and putting his opponent in to sleeper holds and nerve holds. Haystacks would kick his opponent while he
was down and the referee would give out a public warning sending the crowd in to fits of joy. Haystacks was the most hated man in British wrestling,
hated where ever he wrestled, which was almost all over the world.
Haystacks wrestled all over the world, to name a few countries Germany, France, New Zealand, Australia, Africa (*He was actually made an honorary
citizen of Zimbabwe), Canada and the USA. He was a spectacle to be seen. Haystacks played the heel to perfection, and would give the crowd the one
finger many years before Steve Austin. Haystacks had you glued to the sets every time you seen him on TV, and if you had the privilege to see him live
you would get scared just seeing him perform in the ring. I had the privilege to watch Haystacks live many times, and each time he would scare me. It was
his huge frame and ring psychology that would not just imitate his opponent but the crowd as well,
Although his parents wanted him to become a musician, with his mighty large hands Haystacks found it hard to play the piano, and after many jobs which
included building, tyre maker and club bouncer haystacks finally found what he was good at, professional wrestling. He started wrestling in 1967 and in the
mid 70`s became a household name and one of the biggest wrestlers in Europe. Time haystacks made his pro TV debut in the UK already knew him
around the world. His first TV appearance in the UK was 1975 where he teamed with Big Daddy to take on and defeat the St Clair brothers. He was a
sensation and from that moment on Giant Haystacks became a symbol of the rough and tumble world of professional wrestling, his super-splash during
which he brought his full weight down on an unfortunate opponent became one of the most feared moves in the game. He is best remembered in the UK
for his "feud" with Big Daddy which filled halls - including the 10000 capacity Wembley Arena - for many years as he targeted the people's champion in both
solo and tag action. In 1980 he embarked on a world tour and returned many months later undefeated after 42 contests. Although he was offered very
large sums to move to America on a permanent basis he resisted, as he did not want to uproot his young family at such a crucial time in their lives.
Such a large man was always going to get the attention of television and film producers, Haystacks performance in Brian Glover's acclaimed TV play about
wrestling "The Wild Bunch" led to him being offered a role opposite Sir Paul McCartney in the former Beatle's big screen extravaganza "Give My Regards
To Broad Street". Haystacks also appeared in the Academy award nominated "Quest For Fire" and in many films and commercials abroad.
Sir Paul McCartney was among Haystacks celebrity friends, and would take his young son to watch the Giant in action when he was top of the bill in Sussex.
Among his fans was the Queen Mother who admitted to watching British wrestling every Saturday afternoon, and announced Haystacks was here
favorite wrestler. After a concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London, Frank Sinatra claimed that he had seen the Giant on television that afternoon and
stated that he thought that British wrestlers were the best in the world.
Everyone I have spoken to
that knew Haystacks have told me what a wonderful human being he was. Mad Eli was a good friend of Haystacks and has nothing but great words, Eli went on to tell me that haystack was a
gentle giant, and that what a great man he truly was. Haystacks was portrayed as a heel from his immense size, but deep down it
was Haystacks who was the true gentleman and Daddy who was in many peoples minds that knew him was the “Bastard”. Haystacks was a very shy
and quite man, but once in that ring he came out as the nastiest human being walking the planet. Among Giant haystacks catch phrases were “ Don’t Bring
Me Midgets To Wrestle” and “ No More Mr. Nice Guy”. in actual fact Haystacks did have a spell a few times as a face, and will be remembered
mostly by old time wrestling fans as facing kendo Nagasaki and unmasking Kendo Nagasaki which I remember as a feud that wasn’t to be missed.
Biggest memory I have of Giant haystacks was the last time I ever saw him perform, I was a 17year old kid in 1993, I was at the royal Concert Hall in
Nottingham where All-Star wrestling put on a show. There must have been 450 fans in the hall, and the main event was Pat roach and Danny Boy Collins
to face kendo Nagasaki and my hero Giant Haystacks. The fans were going crazy for this match, and on the balcony above where I was sitting with my
sister and my nephew was a group of Kendo and Giant haystacks supporters and the crowd was booing haystacks and Kendo while a few of us on the lower
decks and the bunch up on the balcony cheered the heels. Boy that night was electric, you could feel the electricity, a few fights broke out in the crowd as
they didn’t seem to appreciate us cheering for haystacks, and even so my childhood hero the man I had seen so many times live before lost, it was the
best night I had ever had at any one wrestling show.
Highlights of Giant Haystacks' career included battling Andre The Giant in New Zealand and Canada, winning several prestigious German tournaments,
defeating Kendo Nagasaki to become the CWA World Heavyweight Champion and finally signing a three year deal with WCW to tag as Loch Ness with Hulk
Hogan. It was in 1996, on a routine trip home from America the big man fell ill and collapsed at his Manchester home, he was taken to hospital and that is
where surgeons found inoperable stomach cancer. It was initially thought that chemotherapy had kept the demon disease at bay, but sadly he lost his
greatest battle on 29th November 1998 aged just 52.
Outside of the ring Giant Haystacks was a gentle and quietly spoken man, greatly respected by the wrestling business and a much-loved husband to wife
Rita and their three sons. His mighty presence is still missed by wrestling fans globally.
Mad Eli is a man that as been in the wrestling business for over 40 years, and now at the age of 70 he is still involved in wrestling. Eli raises money for
charity and through wrestling he has raised over 3 million pounds. Mad Eli as he is known to everyone in the profession was a good friend of haystacks and
when he learned Haystacks was poorly with cancer he contacted the Giant and asked him if he would mind him releasing a tape of all his greatest matches,
and haystacks was thrilled and gave Eli the permission to do so and any money raised from the sale goes to Mad Eli’s charity fund, now the tape would
cost you £20 but all the money goes to charity, and I have been lucky enough to have brought one of these tapes and anyone wishing to purchase this tape
or any British wrestling videos, should contact the M.E.G.A Charity Fund Wrestling Hotline on 01225 339770 wait till the end of the messages and
leave your details, should Eli be at home he will pick the phone up and chat to you.
Eli as over 3000 British wrestling tapes, all proceeds from the sale of tapes go to the M.E.G.A Charity Fund. A regular tape is £10 and a life story like
Haystacks is £20 and not only will you be buying a quality tape that you cant buy in any shop, but you will be doing your bit for charity.
For more info you can check out Eli’s web page by going to http://members.fortunecity.com/furnacehot/video/mega.htm
Till next week, I am Aaron Spencer wishing you all a good safe week.