Courtesy of Bradley Craig of The Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame for Scotland:
A civic ceremony was held at the offices of Perth and Kinross Council to induct the late Drew McDonald into The Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame for Scotland on Monday 17th June. The plaque was presented by Hall founder/historian Bradley Craig and the city Provost Dennis Melloy and was accepted by his daughter Debbie and his partner Monika Markwart, who was his manager during a stint in the 1980s. Media crews from various national outlets were on hand to cover the ceremony.
Drew McDonald is now the fifth entrant into the Hall, amongst George Kidd (2015), Andy Robin (2016), Frank ‘Chic’ Cullen (2017) and Bill Ross (2018).
The youngest of five children, Charles Edward Wylie Shaw was born on 17th June 1955 and grew up in Pomarium Street, Perth. In early adulthood, he enlisted as a member of the Scots Guards, but after his service ended, Shaw had an opportunity to pursue a different venture which could fully capitalise on his physical gifts.
In 1980, one of his friends was working with veteran wrestler Ian Law to promote a professional wrestling show that would raise money for a school in Perth. In the weeks leading to the event, one of the scheduled performers suffered an injury and a replacement was required to fill the void. Agreeing to help, Charles received a two-week crash course before making his debut on the show in a bout against the feared Wild Angus. Although he failed to win the contest, Charles impressed the crowd with his large, imposing frame and natural strength. Shaw also adopted a different name, and the legend of Drew McDonald was born.
For the next four years, Drew McDonald would continue to wrestle sporadically on the local circuit, before signing with Joint Promotions. It was this organisation which would quickly thrust him into the spotlight, as he became a key featured performer on their televised wrestling coverage.
His first televised battle, against Irish grappler Jack ‘Flash’ Shirlow, was featured on the 28th April 1984 edition of World of Sport, a variety programme broadcast each Saturday afternoon on ITV. In his second appearance a few weeks later, he teamed with Big Daddy against Giant Haystacks and Dave ‘Fit’ Finlay in a tag team contest shown on 19th May. The match, broadcast on the same day as the FA Cup Final in soccer, secured the standing of Drew McDonald as a headlining act. He had excelled alongside other heavyweights on the annual date which traditionally attracted the largest television audience to professional wrestling.
Due to his growing reputation, McDonald became a performer in demand and started to wrestle on an international stage. On 22nd September 1984, whilst on a tour of Germany, he met Monika Markwart. The pair developed a romance, and Markwart was eventually introduced as his manager, the villainous Dr Monika Kaiser. Drew would later compete in India, South Africa and for Stampede Wrestling in Canada, working for the legendary Hart family under the name Ben Doon McDonald. A master of reinvention, McDonald would later perform as ‘The Ultimate Chippendale’ before unleashing his most famous persona, ‘The Highlander from Hell’.
Despite a decline in the popularity of British professional wrestling in the 1990s, Drew McDonald was one of the key figures who created the foundations for an eventual domestic resurgence of the industry. Alongside Jeff Kaye, he established a gym to scout talent and train the next generation of wrestling stars. Meanwhile, his own in-ring career had started to lead to championship success.
Amongst several regional accolades, Drew McDonald would become the Scottish Heavyweight Champion. He also secured two versions of the British Heavyweight Championship between 2001 and 2006, and teamed with Ulf Herman to win the FWA Tag Team Championship in 2002. In 2005, he won two major European tournaments, capturing the Pat Roach Memorial Trophy for All-Star Wrestling in England and the EPW Iron Man championship in Germany.
Drew McDonald quietly retired from active competition in 2012, but remained involved in the mentoring of young talent. He passed away on 9th February 2015, yet his many contributions to the professional wrestling industry have left an enduring legacy.
On 17th June 2019, Drew McDonald was inducted as the fifth member of The Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame for Scotland. A plaque which now commemorates his induction was presented at a Civic Ceremony hosted by Dennis Melloy, Provost of Perth and Kinross.