IT was wrestling, but not as I knew it. Watching TV with my nephews a few years ago, I was transfixed, and irked, by the WWE Superstars.

“Er, he’s hitting him with a chair. Surely that can’t be allowed!” I cried. “It is allowed. It’s TLC - Tables, Ladders and Chairs,” they informed me.

This jumble of blinged-up beefy blokes with elaborate tattoos yelling in each other’s faces, armed with chairs, wasn’t how I remembered wrestling on the telly. I lost patience when someone randomly ran out of the audience, climbed a set of stepladders and jumped into the ring.

“Big Daddy wouldn’t have tolerated that,” I tutted. “Who’s Big Daddy?” asked the boys. They lost interest when I explained he was a fat bloke from Halifax who wore a leotard that looked a bit homemade and ‘belly-butted’ his opponents...

But back in the day Big Daddy, with his “record-breaking 64-inch chest”, was kind of cool. My brother and I loved watching him on World Of Sport flattening his opponents, and we’d pore over the ‘Big Daddy Vs Giant Haystacks’ rundowns of their mammoth food consumption as they squared up for a match. For breakfast they’d scoff “half a dozen eggs, 10 rashers of bacon and five pints of milk” and for tea it was invariably “a whole chicken and a sack of spuds”.

We were impressed that our dad actually knew Big Daddy, having grown up in the same Halifax neighbourhood in the days when he was Shirley Crabtree. Dad recalled him glugging whole pints of milk even as a boy. I once stood next to the man himself, at WH Smith in Bradford. He was wearing a massive tracksuit and leafing through a magazine. I was too starstruck to say anything.

There was great showmanship in wrestling when Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks ruled the ring, but the slick WWE guys take it to another level.

Next month wrestling is returning to the region. On March 29 something called Broken Ring Wrestling, which I guess is pretty self-explanatory, will hit the soon-to-re-open St George’s Hall, a historic concert venue in Bradford. I do hope there will be old ladies - traditionally the most vocal fans of a wrestling crowd - in the front row.

A quick online search of Broken Ring Wrestling brought up images of angry blokes, and women, flattening and throwing each other around the ring. One is swirling a lasso, another wielding a complicated-looking chain contraption and two beardy guys are spread-eagled on what looks like a table split in two under their weight.

The aim seems to be to get the ring to buckle, leading to the coveted ‘broken ring moment’. Apparently the first WWE ring collapse was in 2003 when Brock Lesnar (surely born to be a wrestler with that name) ‘superplexed’ Big Show. The fans went crazy, and the rest is WWE history.

Wrestling dates back to the ancient Egyptians. Now the sport has evolved, and women are big name stars of the ring too. New film Fighting with My Family is about British professional wrestler Saraya “Paige” Bevis, from growing up in a house of wrestlers to winning the WWE Divas Championship in 2014. The cast includes Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, one of several pro wrestlers carving out starry careers in entertainment.

It’s a glossy world, far from Big Daddy and co, but the return of wrestling to the region could open a new chapter in our sport heritage.