Death of famous World of Sport wrestling star

He was a regular on World of Sport in the days of Dickie Davies - but Doncaster is this week mourning the loss of a wresting legend.

Wednesday, 18th April 2018, 6:28 pm
Doncaster wrestler Mick McMichael, real name Mick Gale

The former big name star of the ring, Mick McMichael, has died aged 75 after a short illness, after a career which saw him wrestle all across Europe and become a household name in the 70s.

He was said to be in the top five wrestlers in terms of the times they appeared on the television between 1955 and 1988.

Doncaster wrestler Mick McMichael, real name Mick Gale

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Dad of two Mick was known to his family by his real name, Mick Gale, at the family home on Canterbury Road, Wheatley, and was known at Wheatley High School for his rugby skills rather than wrestling.

He also learned the trumpet, but after leaving school aged 15 he started an electrician's apprenticeship at Markham Main Colliery in Armthorpe. But after seeing wresting at Doncaster Corn Exchange, he decided that was what he wanted to do, and started professionally aged 16.

He travelled around 100,000 miles a year driving from from venue to venue in his Volkswagen Beetle, and performed at theatres and halls across Europe, including the Royal Albert Hall, alongside other stars including Giant Haystacks and Big Daddy, with his bouts shown on Saturday afternoon television.

Back in England, he sometimes did work as a water bailiff when he was not wrestling.

Doncaster wrestler Mick McMichael, real name Mick Gale

After giving up wresting in his 50s, he became a referee in the sport, wearing a kilt when he did so.

He also become a regular extra on the television soap Emmerdale in the past 15 years.

His son, Tony, said: "It was great having a local personality as a dad. We had a fantastic upbringing, because during the holiday were travelling with him to places like Blackpool and Skegness, when he was wrestling there. He also took us abroad for the summer holidays to places like Germany and Austria.

"He was one of the goodies in terms of the characters in wrestling - they called him a 'blue eye'. At one stage he was Big Daddy's tag partner.

Doncaster wrestler Mick McMichael, real name Mick Gale

"He appeared on a mural at the bus station a few years ago. It had pictures of famous people from from Doncaster on it and he didn't know that he was going to be on that. He said 'they might have told me ' - but he was very proud.

"But he was very private away from wrestling."

He leaves a wife, Wendy, a son, daughter and four grandchildren.

Doncaster wrestler Mick McMichael, real name Mick Gale