Wrestling returns to Winter Gardens after 40 year absence

Exterior of Morecambe Winter Gardens
Exterior of Morecambe Winter Gardens
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Professional wrestling is returning to the Winter Gardens in Morecambe after a 40-year absence.

PAID Promotions Wrestling is holding a show at the Grade II listed theatre on Sunday.

Greg Lambert, majority shareholder at PAID Promotions, said: “For as long as I’ve been involved in professional wrestling as a promoter, manager and performer, I’ve wanted to run a wrestling show at the Winter Gardens.

“It is a spectacular building and steeped in the history of wrestling in this country.

“To bring professional wrestling back to the Winter Gardens in Morecambe is something very special indeed.

“It will be a privilege to link the past with the present by bringing the fans an incredible night of athleticism and entertainment from the new generation of British professional wrestlers, in such a beautiful, atmospheric and historic venue.”

To mark the occasion, the company is hosting a one-night ‘Golden Chance Trophy’ tournament.

In the first round, ‘The Juice ‘ CJ Banks, from Southport, will face ‘Shooting Star’ Kris Travis, from Sheffield.

‘Delicious’ Danny Hope takes on Ryan Grayson, from Edinburgh, Scotland, accompanied by his beautiful valet Serenity.

Yorkshire’s Martin Kirby goes up against the 350lb ‘Toxic Terror’ Cyanide, from Manchester.

And Ricky J McKenzie, from Blackpool, will tackle Manchester’s Bubblegum.

Also on the card will be a special singles challenge match pitting the former British Champion, Joey Hayes, from Leigh, against Chris Ridgeway, from Barrow-in-Furness.

The company’s current reigning British Heavyweight Champion ‘The One Man Riot’ Craig Kollins, from Barrow-in-Furness, will also be in attendance.

Greg said: “The eight names in the Golden Chance Trophy tournament have been hand picked to ensure the return of wrestling to the Winter Gardens will be a memorable one.

“These are eight of the very best in this country but in the end, only one will take home the Golden Chance Trophy and earn themselves a guaranteed shot at the PAID Promotions British Heavyweight Championship.”

The Winter Gardens was a hotbed of British pro wrestling in the early to mid-20th Century, particularly during the ‘50s, ‘60s and early ‘70s.

Fans would pack the Lancashire seaside theatre on a daily basis during the height of Morecambe’s summer season to watch some of the biggest names of the time like Jackie Pallo, Jimmy Breaks, Johnny Saint and Jim Hussey, father of the great Marc ‘Rollerball’ Rocco.

The ITV cameras also visited the Winter Gardens regularly during this time, airing two wrestling shows during the week when England won the football World Cup in 1966.

The award-winning designer Wayne Hemingway, from Morecambe, has often said his earliest memory was being paraded in the Winter Gardens wrestling ring by his father, the ‘Native American Chief’, and top wrestler Billy Two Rivers.

The venue closed in 1977 but, thanks to the efforts of a dedicated group of volunteers, is slowly being restored to its former glory.

A new bar, toilets and other facilities have been installed and the theatre is now able to offer a programme of events.

Doors open at 4pm. Bell time is at 4.30pm.

Tickets for the show are available now from www.paidpromotionswrestling.co.uk