Having scored goals in the Premier League for Norwich City, Grant Holt now wants to make a name for himself in professional wrestling.
Holt, 39, made 516 league appearances over two decades, finding the net on 157 occasions – including 15 in Norwich’s 2011/12 Premier League campaign.
After retiring, Holt has found himself swapping the top-flight for the top rope!
Signing a contract with World Association of Wrestling back in May 2018, Holt won his first fight when he was the last man standing in a 40-man Royal Rumble, which earned him the Crusher Mason Memorial Trophy.
Carlisle-born Holt recently sat down with Wrestling Travel in an exclusive interview to discuss his wrestling career to date and how he became a fan.
“When we were younger, Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks were going around all over England, and we would go and watch that which I enjoyed,” Holt told WT’s official podcast.
“Without a doubt, it was the best era when I was growing up, I absolutely loved it.
“When the WWF and later WWE era came, I absolutely loved the art and drama of it, and I loved everything about it.”
Recalling how he got into wrestling following his football retirement, Holt explained “I’m good friends with Rob Butler, who is a commentator on BBC Radio Norfolk, and he rang me up. He actually does a lot of work with wrestling and is a wrestling referee, so he is mad wrestling.
“He reached out to me, I was at Barrow at the time as a player/coach, and the WAW do a lot for charity down here so I got a phone call saying that there was a young lad with cancer of the blood and there’s any opportunity to do a wrestling thing and raise money.
“They gave me the date and I couldn’t make it due to commitments with Barrow, so I said when I finished, I’d do a charity event for them which I did.
“As soon as I knew I was doing it the year after, I’d already arranged to go in and do something with WAW and get where I wanted to be.
“I didn’t want to be the cliché going in and give someone an elbow drop, or a close line, I wanted to do it properly.”
Soon enough, Holt was competing in a Royal Rumble style competition , and his debut could not have ended any better!
Landing himself a spot on the bill for the Crusher Mason Memorial Trophy, Holt’s appearance went viral around the world.
He added: “They said that there’s an opportunity to go in the Rumble and we set some things in motion for the big show that was already arranged.
“I did BT in the afternoon and went to the show as I am, TV in the morning, wrestling at night. I’d just go in as me, get out and do what I needed to do and see where it takes us.
“I honestly thought that no-one would care, I literally came out, it went viral with four and a half million views all over the world, people bought into it and it was mental.
“I think most people were surprised how well I did.”
Holt is always keen to improve his skills in the ring as he aims to make the most of his time in wrestling.
“There’s one or two ways you do it, I do it properly and give it the respect it deserves. I always want to do things better and I want to learn from the guys at WAW,” Holt admitted.
“I always try and make sure I do something to the best of my ability, and I want to do it properly.”
Holt’s presence as a Norwich favourite from his playing days led to the Canaries allowing a WAW competition to be staged at their Carrow Road stadium for charity.
He continued: “I ended up leading the show that I was going to do which was called Fightmare. I spoke to Norwich City, and managed to get the ground which was mental.
“As a group we worked hard on it and to get four-and-a-half thousand fans in Carrow Road watching a wrestling event is great.
“We had partners of the Big C (cancer charity) that got money off it which was fantastic. People had a great day and it raised awareness to what wrestling is.”
Holt is looking forward to what the future holds for him and wrestling but he just wants to enjoy it.
Holt concluded: “The football is my bread and butter, it’s my passion and it’s what I love doing, but obviously with wrestling it gives me a different release.
“If you want to achieve something, you go and give it your best, and the same goes for my wrestling, so we’ll see what happens.”