Grunt ‘n’ groan men are back as wrestling returns to Leeds

Graphic: Graeme Bandeira
Graphic: Graeme Bandeira
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It has been 15 years since the sounds and sights of muscled men in leotards doing combat in a ring came to Leeds.

However wrestling is finally coming back to the city as international fighters prepare to battle it out at the Town Hall.

The one-off show, on February 26, hopes to evoke memories of wrestling’s glory years when stars such as Big Daddy, Giant Haystacks and Kendo Nagasaki visited the city.

But with entertainment wrestling in America now omnipresent on screens around the world, the event’s organiser appreciates that attitudes towards the sport have changed.

Brad Taylor, owner of Megaslam Wrestling, said: “Leeds was a massive wrestling city, where everyone used to turn up to watch their favourite stars.

“But our show is a million miles from that; it’s the action you now see on your TV but right on your doorstep.”

Due to the huge impact of organisations such as World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) alongside a general decline in interest in live wrestling in the UK, Mr Taylor admitted that staging the event is a risk.

He said: “It’s a very bold move for us, Leeds hasn’t seen wrestling for a number of years - will the interest still be there?”

He remained confident, however, that the combination of first-class, family entertainment and a host of global, exciting stars would be enough to make the evening a success.

As well as regular televised bouts in the Town Hall through the 1960s and 70s, Leeds’ place in wrestling history was secured when in 1981 it was revealed to the city’s High Court that the sport was fixed, when star fighter Masambula sued promoters after suffering an injury in a defective ring.

Despite his exotic name, Masambula hailed from Bradford - but the comeback event will see fighters from the US, Mexico, Australia, Japan and Russia as well as Britain. .

The show will consist of five bouts, including a Royal Rumble where all competing wrestlers are in the ring at the same time. There will also be an International Divas Contest, a High Flying Challenge and much more during the two hours of entertainment.

Tickets are available at www.leedstownhall.co.uk and www.ticketsource.co.uk/megaslamwrestling or by calling 0113 224 3801.

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