Carrick wrestler congratulates club on first anniversary

A wrestling ‘legend’ from Carrickfergus was on hand to congratulate a coach at a Carryduff-based gym following a successful first year in operation.

NXG Wrestling were in the middle of one of their monthly shows when Dave Finlay Senior and his daughter Wendy Finlay entered the building.

Mr Finlay (86) is a second generation wrestler. He first set foot on a wrestling mat in 1952. 70 years on, Dave has just retired after training hundreds of successful wrestlers over the years.

He and his daughter Wendy have been at four Commonwealth Games in the sport of Olympic Wrestling.

Dave Finlay with Keaton Whiteside (wrestling trainee).

Dave’s son, Dave Fit Finlay, became one of the biggest names in world wrestling when he joined World Championship Wrestling and later World Wrestling Entertainment in the USA.

His grandchildren are also now big names in Wrestling in Japan and America.

Mr Finlay wrestled across Ireland and the United Kingdom and was also a very successful promoter and trainer throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

In March 2020 he was presented with an award in recognition of his contribution to Irish wrestling by national organisation The Wrestling Ireland.

At the club’s anniversary show on Saturday, August 27, Mr Finlay began by pretending he was the commissioner from the Wrestling Federation of Ireland to prank the NXG Manager, Nathan Hoy who was moved and humbled by the visit from a local wrestling ‘Royal Family’.

NXG wrestling put on a family friendly wrestling show every month and train young wrestlers at the Lion’s Den Dojo in Carryduff.

The recent event that the Finlays attended, ‘Year One’ was a free show to mark the NXG’s first anniversary for the fans who have supported NXG in their first year of monthly shows.

Regular attenders Joe Rice (a wrestling fan) and Darren Whiteside (whose son is receiving wrestling training at NXG), came up with the idea of giving something back to NXG for the entertainment they have been provided with over the past year.

They contacted Mr Finlay Snr and in the space of one week a plan to surprise NXG was in place. A card, trophy and flowers were presented and the other fans made a little donation to give something back.

All of the wrestlers came out and applauded Mr Finlay after his speech. He took time out to pose with fans for photographs at the interval.

Speaking to the Carrick Times, Darren Whiteside said: “The word ‘legend’ is bandied about far too often, but that night the word legend was uttered by many in its correct context. It was a lovely symbolic moment of passing on the baton.’

"NXG is one of the best wrestling promotions in Northern Ireland. They are modern and forward thinking. They bring young wrestlers through their ranks when they are ready for their big shows. They are creative and most of all great family fun. If you have not attended one of their shows, you haven’t lived.”

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For more information about the club, check out the NXG-Wrestling Facebook page.