The Times-News – January 9, 1973
By Buddy Chapman
What town in the United States is the home of the biggest wrestlers in the world?
If you answer Hendersonville, N.C., then you are correct and if you guess Benny and Billy McCrary as being those wrestlers then you are again correct.
Hendersonville’s McCrary twins, the biggest in the world at 1300 pounds (Benny 660 and Billy 640) are now the biggest wrestlers in the world and fans throughout the nation have been awed by their size. Even opposing wrestlers themselves gape in awe.
“I felt skinny when I climbed in the ring and saw those two fellows,” said Haystack Calhoun, a fellow who thumps the scales at a modest 620 pounds.
They have wrestled across the country for over a year, amazed fans with their agility despite being so mammouth, and given opposing wrestlers a fit with their “Tupelo Splash,” a name they invented for the treatment they give an opponent which always proves decisive.
“In the Tupelo Splash I run and jump and throw myself onto my opponent with my stomach,” says Benny, the biggest of the brothers who, incidentally, is currently the biggest man in the world at 660 pounds.
“It’s hard for the opponent to get up and normally the referee just counts him out.”
The brothers, who were home the past two weeks for the first time of any length in six years, wrestle as a team and normally are pitted against at least three wrestlers because of their overwhelming size. They are undefeated in over a year of wrestling in which they have been active in the ring every day save one.
“We’re booked solid all the time,” say the twins who are based out of Nashville, Tennessee, the base also of wrestling czar promoter Nick Goulas.
“We got home for Christmas and New Year’s but we’re going back soon to the circuit,” they said. They launched their 1973 campaign by wrestling last night in Columbia, Mississippi.
The McCrary twins, who wrestle under the name of the McGuire twins, got their start in the ring on a trip through El Paso, Texas, after spending three years in Las Vegas, Nevada where they worked an act in the Circus Circus Casino and a few months in Los Angeles where they performed their mini bike routine.
A wrestling promoter in El Paso saw the boys and inquired if they were wrestlers and the twins told the fellow they were mini bike stars.
The promoter got the boys interested in wrestling and thus followed a two month training program in Warez, Mexico, where they worked at building up their wind.
“We lifted weights and ran as much as we could,” said Benny. “The wrestling idea sounded like a good one and we got interested. We’re glad we made the decision to wrestle.”
Their first match was in a bull ring in Warez, a “battle royal” in which the boys were pitted against 12 other wrestlers with the last one in the ring being declared the winner.
The Warez promoter had promoted the match around the twins, billing them bona fidely as the largest in the world. The response was such that there were 3,000 fans in the arena to see the match and another 4,000 outside trying to get entrance.
“We worked as a team in that match and we were the last ones standing after 38 minutes,” said Billy. “We hurled and pitched the other wrestlers as they came at us.”
The boys, who ride mini bikes to and from the wrestling ring, travel an average of 3,000 miles per week and once had to hitchhike a ride on a snowplow to get to the arena in Evansville, Indiana, where 1,000 die hard fans had weathered an 18 inch snow storm to see the twins wrestle.
“We didn’t want to disappoint those fans,” said Benny. “Our car slid off in a ditch and we had no choice but to hitchhike. Then along came the snow plow to take us the last six or seven miles.”
They fly as well as drive all over the country, and their size brings on an added burden financially.
“We have to pay fare and one half when we fly except on one airlines which lets us pay the normal rate,” commented Benny.
Probably the biggest match – poundwise – ever held in the world was conducted about two months ago in Detroit, Michigan, where the twins and their 1300 pounds were pitted against Haystack Calhoun (620 pounds) and Man Mountain Mike (610 pounds).
The match, held in front of 22,000 wrestling fans, lasted but three minutes.
Billy made short order of Man Mountain Mike when the latter challenged Billy in a belly bumping contest.
“Mike went down and Billy just layed on him and it was all over,” said Benny who threw Haystack into the ropes and out of the ring where he finished him off with the Tupelo Splash.
The twins, who have taken a five month course in Judo, occasionally have been subject to tactics not considered conventional in the wrestling ring.
They have had salt and pepper thrown at their eyes, knives, brass knuckles and chains pulled. Once Benny was hit with a chain, an incident which resulted in 18 stitches in his head.
“We have a way of dealing with the ones who want to get dirty,” said Benny. “We do one of two things – chop them up or put them to sleep with the Judo techniques we learned.”
The bloodiest match they’ve ever had was in Nova Scotia where they went against four Germans who wore knee boots and had some sort of foreign object on the heels.
“There was so much blood in the ring after one hour of wrestling that the referee called a halt to the match,” said Benny. “But we kept on fighting. Everybody was literally on their hands and knees. Billy and I stacked the four on top of each other and then jumped on them and that ended the match.”
All six wound up in the hospital. The four opponents suffered broken ribs and had to have stitches and Benny had seven stitches in his hand and Billy four in his eyebrow.
The boys changed their name in Montreal, Canada, a year ago to the “McGuire Twins” but their names remain officially as McCrary.
Frenchmen in Montreal did not relate to the name McCrary, according to Benny, and their name was thus changed to McGuire which is French for McCrary. The twins were in Montreal for a wrestling match when they changed their name.
The twins are managed by Johnny Rogeau of Montreal. It was in Montreal that they met their wives, sisters Maryse and Danielle Juarry.
Benny and Billy have to watch their weight while on the wrestling circuit and they say they have to drink a lot of liquids.
“We drink at least ten glasses of water per day and we also drink quite a bit of grapefruit juice which helps burn up calories,” said Billy.
After wrestling in Columbia, Mississippi, last night, the twins headed for Montgomery, Alabama; and then Florida.
“We enjoy wrestling and use our weight to an advantage,” said Billy. “We love the travel and like the money we’re making. And the fans seem to enjoy seeing us wrestle. There were 32,000 fans in a ball park in Montreal who attended a wrestling event one day in which there were 60 wrestlers on the card with the promoter saving us for last.”
Benny said he and Billy hoped to wrestle in this area sometime before summer, perhaps in Charlotte, Asheville or here.
“We certainly hope that while we’re travelling across the country wrestling that the people of Hendersonville are behind us,” said Benny.
The wrestling they do in the circuit is all for real, say the twins.
“None of the matches are staged,” they said. “We’re the ‘good guys’ in our matches but we’re still wrestling for keeps.”
When, if ever, will they be beaten?
“I don’t know,” said Benny.
“Everybody, though, I guess, has to meet their Waterloo sometime.”