Grant Holt unleashed his inner ‘Holt Hogan’ to beat his way through a 40-man Royal Rumble and win on his wrestling debut.
Former Premier League ace Holt rushed back from his role as a pundit on BT Sports’ coverage of Eastleigh vs Dagenham and Redbridge to stun fans at the WAW British Wrestling event in Norwich as he arrived in the ring as the surprise 40th entrant.
Holt hadn’t even had time to change his clothes before he started his wrestling career – as he fought off his rivals in jeans, polo shirt and smart jumper – as he was a late addition to the match.
Holt hadn’t been due to appear in the WAW roster until 2019, when he was set to fight at Fightmare 3.
But he managed to be the last man standing, after dropkicking his last opponent out the ring.
He tweeted after his victory: “Really pleased to win this tonight. Now off to bed first wrestling match done of many.”
Holt hung up his playing boots this summer after a glittering career playing for Sheffield Wednesday, Rochdale, Nottingham Forest, Shrewsbury, Norwich, Aston Villa, Huddersfield, Wolves and Wigan.
The 37-year-old is best known for his time at the Canaries, having helped them to promotion from League One and the Championship, and is now a coach in the club’s academy.
Zak Knight, who is WWE superstar Paige’s brother, has been helping Holt transform from the pitch to the ring.
Knight, who co-owns WAW British Wrestling said: “He managed to get back to Norwich and I said we are a spot short in the rumble do you fancy it?
“He has made it clear wrestling is something he is interested in and last night he went in at number 40 and actually won it.
“This isn’t just a trophy that is a throwaway cup. We have had it going for 15 years, every year we have a Crusher Mason annual trophy with a 30 or 40 man Royal Rumble where people come from all over the world to compete.
“To have Holt in such a high calibre match was close to my heart as Crusher Mason helped my father start the company and was influential at the start of his career,
“The roof went off at Epic Studios, it was amazing.”
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