British Wrestling Legend Mick McManus Dies

May 24, 2013 2:03 pm

British wrestling legend Mick McManus has passed away at the age of 93.

The wrestling pioneer, whose real name was William George Matthews,  died  on Wednesday morning. He leaves behind his son Tony.

Frank Rimer, of the British Wrestling Reunion, confirmed his death in a statement. “I am deeply saddened to announce the death of the legend that was Mick McManus, who passed away at 1am“, he said.

Mick was without a doubt, and through his own efforts, the greatest wrestling name that the UK has ever seen or will see again, and even 25 years after his retirement, he retained his aura of stardom until the end.”mcmanus_2570081b

Rimer also stated that McManus, who was recently living at the Brishing House, a celebrity house for retired actors in the UK, was having trouble coming to terms with the death of his wife, who passed away in January this year.

Rimer said: “Mick never recovered from the loss of his beloved wife Barbara and lost the will to live, despite the loving care of the nurses at Brishing House, where he lived out his final days. Even the recent arrival of his old friend Lord Richard Attenborough failed to lift his spirits.”

McManus had fallen into a coma on Sunday after refusing all food and liquid.

Dubbed, “The Man You Love To Hate”, McManus was one of the most beloved bad guys in professional wrestling. He was one of the stars of the popular World of Sport wrestling series that was featured predominately on ITV from the mid 60s to mid 80s and captured numerous Championship titles.

Before retiring in 1982, he was also the Matchmaker for many of the shows, determining the line up and who would win and lose. When wrestling was taken off TV, McManus opened a pub in Guilford, Surrey and also spent his free time with his collection of antiques, becoming an authority on porcelain. He was also a technical advisor for ITV for many years following his retirement and was involved in other wrestling shows and training academies throughout the years.

McManus was recognised for his huge contributions to professional wrestling: he was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s Hall of Fame in November 2011, becoming  the first ever UK wrestler to do so.  According to the Daily Mail, a campaign was started to present McManus with an OBE.

UK born wrestling stars, who now are wrestling with the biggest companies in the US, paid tribute and sent condolences via their Twitter accounts.

Current WWE superstar, Sheamus, born in Ireland and wrestler for many years in the UK before moving to the US, wrote: “RIP Mick McManus, a wrestling legend.

Blackpool born, William Regal, also a UK wrestler now working for WWE, tweeted: “Very sorry to hear of the passing of one of my childhood heroes, Mick McManus. I only got to see him wrestle live once. It was on my 9th birthday and I remember him giving me an autograph. Got to know him in the 1980s and he was always nice. A great man.

Nick Aldis, current TNA Impact Wrestling star, said: “Woke up to the sad news of the passing of one of British Wrestling’s true legends: Rest in peace Mick McManus.

Marty Scurll, star of the TNA Wrestling: British Boot Camp reality TV show on Challenge TV, said: “RIP Mick McManus, the greatest British wrestling villain in history. I was fortunate enough to meet Mick a few times. True gent. Sad day.

Other World of Sport stars, including Kendo Nagasaki and Klondyke Kate, also posted pictures of Mick on their Facebook accounts and paid their respects to him.

The first man to ever beat McManus in a televised match, “Superstar” Mal Sanders, also wrote on his Facebook. He said: “I wrestled Mick a hundred times or more when I first came into the business and he looked after me every time. The wrestling game never has nor ever will see his like again. God bless Mick.

Full obituaries can be read at The Sun and The Guardian’s websites.

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