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In his long career he wrestled numerous times on Television and rarely lost on screen, fought many of the greats of the ring, held a number of titles, wrote his own column for a national paper, joined usual solo commentator Kent Walton in the occasional programme, released his own book and even had his own merchandise - a rare thing in British wrestling.
An even more rare thing in British wrestling, he was a television personality in his own right outside of the ring. He enjoyed apparences on chatshows, game shows, quiz shows, appeared at charity event, fetes, at football matches and even hob-nobbed with the Beatles.
Possibly the greatest heel in the history of British Wrestling there was little in his style or composition as a wrestler that didn't raise the ire of the public. Claiming "lucky" victories over bigger and/or seemingly better skilled opponents at all levels in Britain and Europe he sneered in self-confident assurance of his own brilliance and successfully, in any way he could, managed to put himself over as a man with no seemily redeeming qualities whatsoever. There were few who pitied him when his cauliflower ears were grabed by an opponent and he squealed in agony.
In addition to all this McManus seemingly chose to wrestle before the main event every night just so that he could leave the arena early. To die hard fans who were used to seeing the big stars in the main event this was not acceptable. But all this success and, in some quarters, controversy was not without its draw backs and jelousy was natural.
In a 1968 match McManus was involved in one of the most sensational incidents in British Wrestling history when, wrestling for promoter Norman Morrell, he was doublecrossed. In a match he was supposed to win against Peter Preston his opponent refused to take the predetermined beating. Rather than risk that farce continuing McManus disqualified himself as there was no way he could defeat the considerably bigger and stronger Preston in a straight match. This was, in 20 years, his only defeat on Television (to that date) and for the majority of fans it was the only time they had ever seen him beaten.
In truth his success was not all of his own making. Though undoubtedly a very good performer and good wrestler, tireless in his work and reliable to all (something that remained as he got older), he was backed by the powerful Dale Martin Promotions. In his younger years he had shown consistent reliability, dedication and energy enough to get him noticed by that most important promotion and was trusted with the respnsibility of being the top man in that promotion.
Another major thing that contributed to his success was a famous feud with Jackie Pallo. The Pallo/McManus feud is rated by many as the greatest feud ever seen in British Wrestling. Originating from an incident when, during a match, McManus sprung from the ring and kissed Pallo's wife, Trixie, on the cheek this would ignite into a five year long feud, including three Cup Final Day matches, where the two wrestlers exploited their mutual hatred to the utmost in and out of the ring and in the process produced some of the best matches ever seen in a British ring. McManus remained undefeat throughout the 60's in his matches with Pallo and managed to continue the feud into the 70's with Pallo's son, Jackie Jr.
So big a part of the Southern Wrestling scene was McManus that almost no show was complete without his presence. No single significant event in British Wrestling in the South was without him. When there was a command performance at the Royal Albert Hall for the Duke of Edinburgh and the Duke of Kent he headlined with Jackie Pallo in a match for the European Middleweight Title.
Though he risked over-exposure by appearing in so many events and often headlining his success remained. He attracted his critics but none could doubt his lifetime dedication to the business and all that went with it, including the secrecy that was exposed in the 90's. Even today when it is common knowledge of wrestling predetermination he continues to protect the integrity of the business and defned its good name.
Finishing and Signature Moves
- Boston Crab
- Short Rage Forearm Smash
- "Man You Love to Hate"
- "Rugged South London Tough Guy
- John Ruskin Amateur Wrestling Club
Championships and Accomplishments
- British Welterweight Title - defeating Eddie Capelli (1949)
- British Middleweight Title - defeating Clayton Thomas (November 13, 1967)
- (1)European Middleweight Title - defeating Vic Faulkner (? June, 1968)
- (2)European Middleweight Title - defeating Vic Faulkner (April 26, 1971)
- (3)European Middleweight Title - defeating Mal Sanders (April 21, 1978)
- (4)European Middleweight Title - defeating Mal Sanders (November 4, 1978)