Giant Haystacks

Martin Austin Ruane (10 October 1946 – 29 November 1998)[4] was an English professional wrestler. Best known by the ring name Giant Haystacks he was one of the best-known wrestlers on the British wrestling scene in the 1970s and 1980s. He also worked in both Canada and the United States under the name "Loch Ness Monster" or simply "Loch Ness".

Giant Haystacks
Birth nameMartin Austin Ruane
Born(1946-10-10)10 October 1946
Camberwell, London, England
Died29 November 1998(1998-11-29) (aged 52)
Prestwich, Greater Manchester, England
Cause of deathLymphoma
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Giant Haystacks
Loch Ness
Loch Ness Monster
Luke McMasters
Billed height6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)[1][2]
Billed weight685 lb (311 kg)[1]
Billed fromScottish Highlands (as Loch Ness)[3]

Ruane was known for his massive physical size, billed as standing 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) tall[5] and weighing from 31 stone (434 lb; 196 kg)[6] at the beginning of his career to 48 stone (672 lb; 304 kg)[7] by the end of it; at his heaviest, he weighed 49 stone 13 lb (699 lb; 317 kg)[8]. In the 1970s he formed a heel (those that portray the villains) team with Big Daddy and later had a long-running, high drawing feud with Big Daddy as the team broke up. During his career, he held the European Heavyweight Championship and British Heavyweight Championship in the UK, and won the Stampede International Tag Team Championship twice in Canada, with the Dynamite Kid and Bret Hart.

Early life

Ruane was born in Camberwell, London,[9][10] His parents were from County Mayo, Ireland.[5] In 1949, when he was three years old, Ruane and his family moved from London to Broughton in Salford, Lancashire, which remained his home.[5] He worked as a labourer and a nightclub bouncer before a friend suggested he take up professional wrestling as a career.

Professional wrestling career

Ruane began wrestling in 1967, initially for the independent WFGB as Luke McMasters (later incorrectly reported as being his legal name).[11] In the early 1970s, Ruane worked for Wrestling Enterprises (of Birkenhead), where he was billed as Haystacks Calhoun, after the American wrestling star William Calhoun who had wrestled under that name in NWA: All-Star Wrestling and the World Wide Wrestling Federation.[12] Ruane's name was subsequently modified to Giant Haystacks.

In 1975, he moved to Joint Promotions, where he formed a heel tag team with Big Daddy (also a heel at this point). Haystacks' TV debut came in July that year, when he and Daddy teamed up against the brothers Roy and Tony St Clair, losing by disqualification. Although mainly known as brutal superheavyweight heels who crushed blue-eye opponents, they also had a major feud with masked fellow heel Kendo Nagasaki. Daddy in particular heard cheers during this feud and eventually completed a turn to blue eye. This was cemented when Haystacks and Daddy broke up their tag team in 1977 and feuded with each other, with Haystacks remaining as the heel, resulting in high ratings on Britain's ITV any time they battled one another and establishing Haystacks as a household name during the 1970s and 1980s. The feud would continue on and off until Daddy's retirement in 1993. Throughout Haystacks' homeland success he also wrestled all over the world. Ruane wrestled in Calgary, Alberta, Canada for Stu Hart's Stampede Wrestling promotion as the Loch Ness Monster, managed by J.R. Foley from Wigan, England (alias John Foley, alumnus of Billy Riley's Wigan Snakepit wrestling school). He also regularly worked for the CWA in Germany and Austria, winning several trophy tournaments there.

In January 1996, Ruane debuted in the United States for World Championship Wrestling, under the ring name Loch Ness.[2][3][13] He served as a member of The Dungeon of Doom and feuded with Hulk Hogan. However, the feud was short-lived, ending abruptly when Ruane was diagnosed with cancer and returned to Britain.


On 29 November 1998, Ruane died of lymphoma in Prestwich near Manchester. He was 52.[13]

Other media

Ruane appeared in the films Quest for Fire (1981) and Give My Regards to Broad Street (1984). The latter was written by Paul McCartney, who was a fan of Ruane.[4][13]

The European version of the multi-format game Legends of Wrestling II featured Giant Haystacks as an exclusive extra Legendary Wrestler.

A play by Brian Mitchell and Joseph Nixon, Big Daddy vs Giant Haystacks, was performed at the Brighton Festival Fringe between 26 and 28 May 2011.[14]

Manic Street Preachers mention Giant Haystacks in their song "Me and Stephen Hawking" from their ninth studio album Journal for Plague Lovers (2009).

Championships and accomplishments


  1. "Giant Haystacks". Online World of Wrestling.
  2. "Inside the Dungeon of Doom". WWE. 30 October 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  3. "The ring's forgotten big men". WWE. 8 October 2013. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  4. Szreter, Adam (3 December 1998). "Obituary: Giant Haystacks". The Independent. Retrieved 2 February 2009.
  5. Holt, Richard (2004). "Ruane, Martin Austin (1946–1998)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press.
  6. World of Sport 24 April 1976: Big Daddy & Giant Haystacks vs. Tibor Szakacs & Steve Veidor
  7. World of Sport: Giant Haystacks & Scrubber Daly vs. Pat Roach & Alan Kilby
  8. WCW Uncensored 1996: The Giant vs. Loch Ness
  9. Matthew, Henry Colin Gray; Brian Howard Harrison (2004). "Ruane, Martin Austin (1946–1998)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. p. 63. ISBN 0-19-861398-9.
  10. Ayto, John; Ian Crofton; Paul Cavill (2005). Brewer's Britain & Ireland: The History, Culture, Folklore and Etymology of 7500 Places in these Islands. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. p. 191. ISBN 0-304-35385-X.
  11. Garfield, Simon (1996). The Wrestling. Faber & Faber.
  12. The Wrestling, Simon Garfield, Faber & Faber 1996 edition, page 138
  13. Cappetta, Gary Michael (2006). Bodyslams!: Memoirs of a Wrestling Pitchman. ECW Press. p. 182. ISBN 1550227092.
  14. "Big Daddy vs Giant Haystacks". Fringe Guru. 15 April 2011. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
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