Granddad's name was William Matthews, known as Bill, and he was probably the biggest influence in my life. In his younger days he was a bit of a rogue, well known for fighting and drinking. He'd do a bit of wrestling, a bit of boxing, a bit of running -- anything to make a few quid. He'd tell me stories about how he used to wrestle at a place called the Pear Tree pub. Back in the 1920s and 1930s they had a ring up in the beer garden where he used to do his stuff. He packed it in back in 1933, aged just thirty-two, because he came down with pleurisy and pneumonia. He also worked in Blackpool for a while. He was a navvy and there had been a lot of work going there when he was younger, on the sea walls and the like.
When I turned fifteen I started taking the bus into Wolverhampton on my own to go to the wrestling. By this time I had new heroes: Dave "Fit" Finlay and Mark "Rollerball" Rocco. But what I liked most were the villains. It was the way they could control people. It was only natural that I'd end up playing a villain myself. In life as well as wrestling, I've always admired the rogues.
Throughout this book I will write honestly about my life and the business I am in. I will be explaining certain aspects of what goes on behind the scenes. So I will start by telling you this -- yes, a professional wrestling match is "fixed". But it is not fake. It's fixed because the participants know what the outcome of the match is going to be when they start. It is not fake because the action you see is genuine -- it really does hurt. We are skilful but we are not magicians. No matter what you do, when a man weighing 300 pounds lands on you from a great height, it is going to hurt. 2b1af7f3a8