2023 marks twenty-five years since the legendary Giant Haystacks passed away. The former World of Sport wrestling star was 52 years old when he passed away in 1998, years after his legendary battles with long-time rival Big Daddy.
His death was a shock to everyone given his relatively young age and evoked memories of watching him battling with his opposite number every Saturday morning in front of millions of screaming British fans.
How Did Giant Haystacks Die?
Giant Haystacks died on 29 November 1998 after suffering a two-year battle with Lymphoma. He succumbed to the cancer in his home in Prestwich, near Manchester and was surrounded by his wife and three children at the time of death. He died in his bed aged 52, his size almost certainly a factor of his death.
His death came not long after he began to make a career for himself in the United States. While he had previously wrestled in smaller promotions in the US and Canada, he was never given a shot in any of the major national promotions. That was, until 1996 when he was signed by World Championship Wrestling (WCW) as a member of the Dungeon of Doom.
The group feuded with Hulk Hogan, the former WWE Champion who starred in movies like Rocky III and Suburban Commando. He was the biggest star in WCW at the time and Giant Haystacks was brought in as one of the “Monsters of the week” to battle with The Hulkster. He was renamed “Loch Ness” in WCW, a name which was unfamiliar to British fans who used to watch him every Saturday on World of Sport.
His Last Match
Giant Haystacks’ last match in wrestling came in his first and last pay per view appearance for WCW. As part of the Dungeon of Doom storyline, Loch Ness (as Haystacks was called) was kicked out of the group and faced off with another one of their monsters in a WCW Championship number one contenders match- The Giant.
Later known as The Big Show in WWE and Paul Wight in AEW, The Giant was a green prospect who had the world in front of him. He had already won the WCW Championship in his first match, beating nonother than Hulk Hogan in his debut match in wrestling. Now he had a man his own size to deal with – the 500lb, 6 foot 11 Englishman in the other corner.
Loch Ness wrestled The Giant in his last match in wrestling at WCW Uncensored 1996. The match was his pay per view debut and put two men of similar stature against each other, reminiscent of the Big Daddy vs Giant Haystacks bouts of the peak of British wrestling. Sadly, this match did not live up to those, lasting only two minutes before The Giant nails Haystacks with a leg drop to seal the win and send him packing from WCW.
This would be his final match in WCW and in wrestling, due to him being diagnosed with cancer. He returned home to England where he remained for the rest of his life, passing away two years later.
Giant Haystacks Almost Wrestled Hulk Hogan
Prior to his death, Giant Haystacks was originally brought into WCW to wrestle against Hulk Hogan. WCW bosses planned to bring in new heels weekly to take on Hogan, trying to recreate his success in the WWF in the 1980s. Being nearly seven feet tall and weighing 500lbs, Haystacks was a sight to behold and somebody could only add to the legendary run of Hulk Hogan.
However, once Hulk Hogan saw Giant Haystacks working, he put a stop to their planned match. He had Haystacks kicked from the Dungeon of Doom, the supernatural group he was feuding with at the time, and kicked him out in the cold. He did manage one pay per view match against The Giant but his run in the United States was ultimately a failure, never getting the Hulk Hogan match he was originally promised.
To read more about the legends of British Wrestling, check out the story of the Unmasking of Kendo Nagasaki