SLAM! Wrestling Canadian Hall of Fame: Makhan Singh
Karachi Vice: From left, Steve Strong, Makhan Singh and Gama Singh. Photos courtesy Stampede Wrestling.
: Mike Shaw
: May 9, 1957 in Marquette, Michigan
6'1", 360 pounds
: Bastion Booger (WWF), Norman The Lunatic (WCW), Makhan Singh (Stampede),
Mike Striker (WWWF), Klondike Mike (Vancouver), Big Ben Sharpe (South
Africa), Aaron Grundy (Mexico), Cousin Mike, Man Mountain Mike (Maritimes), Trucker Norm, The Mad Monk, Friar Ferguson
If having wrestled in all 10 Canadian provinces isn't enough to qualify Mike
Shaw for our Canadian Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame, then being the most hated
heel in the '80s certainly does.
Shaw gained fame in Stampede Wrestling as Makhan Singh, and spent seven
years in territory.
But what most people forget is that he spent two years there as Big Mike
Shaw before being 'converted'
by the brothers Gama
and Akam Singh.
"Karachi Vice was fantastic. It was probably the strongest heel connection I
had since I was in the business," Shaw told SLAM! Wrestling from his
Michigan home in April 1999. "Being a white guy and becoming an East
Indian -- there's always a little bit of racial tension there."
gave Shaw the Makhan Singh monicker. The big man excelled in the
role, especially behind the microphone. When regular announcers like Ed Whelan
or Jim Davies
were away, Makhan Singh would often take over the
In the ring, Shaw was no slouch either. Karachi Vice had epic battles
against the Harts, and their allies like Brian Pillman
and Chris Benoit
Shaw exchanged the North American championship numerous times with Owen Hart
, and considers him to be one of his favourite opponents.
"When we were in Stampede, [Owen] was one of the finest young wrestlers in
the wrestling business. He had the opportunity to learn from some great
wrestlers -- Dynamite Kid, even Gama Singh himself. He worked matches with
me for years. Just growing up in the business, learning from his older
brothers, Bret. I think he had the opportunity to learn a lot of stuff. I
think he's changed now. I think he's more of a WWF-style wrestler now. Back
then, he would try anything, and do anything. He was fantastic."
Bringing up Ed Whalen's name elicits a hearty laugh from Shaw. The two
actually recently chatted while Shaw was in Calgary for a Can-Am Wrestling
"Ed had his good points and his bad points of course. Ed knew what he needed
to do. He was very in tight with the TV station," said Shaw. "He knew what
he could do and couldn't do and always had his run-ins with the Harts with
not going too far."
His time out west was also the roughest of his career. "Wrestling was wilder
in Calgary at the time with Stampede Wrestling, and anyplace. We had
street-fights, 10-and-12 man cage matches. We had everything. I consider the
five, seven years I spent in Calgary all hardcore."
Shaw was an amateur star in Michigan and later a wrestling coach in late
70's. He also played professional softball for a Milwaukee team, and was in
Florida when the league went bankrupt. Shaw stayed in Florida, and met
wrestler Farmer Bill, who encouraged him to get into it.
In 1979, Shaw went to Massachussets and was trained by the legendary Wladek 'Killer' Kowalski
"Kowalski had a great school. He spent a lot of time with us. He took a
liking to me," explained Shaw. "I went in there, I was probably one of his
bigger guys at that time. I was probably about 6'1", 270, 280 (pounds) at
the time. I was training really hard and I had just come out of softball, so
I was in really good shape."
The Killer liked that Shaw was a good talker, and got him booked on a few
TV shows, which Shaw credits to getting him booked quickly.
In fact, his fourth match ever was in the old Boston Garden in front 17,000
people. "That was a big thrill for me. My hometown has 300 people here in
Michigan. I come from a real small farming town. All of a sudden, I'm in
Boston in front of that many people. It was unbelievable to me," he said.
From there, his world-wide wrestling odyssey began.
First stop was Vancouver, for Gene Kiniski
and Al Tomko
Championship Wrestling, where he wrestled as Klondike Mike.
"That was a very interesting character," Shaw said, and repeated throughout
the interview as each of his personas was recounted. "Back then, people
really adapted to it, they really liked it. I had about a year with that
Next, Shaw went overseas for a few years, including South Africa, where he
was known as Big Ben Sharpe because the promotion had two local 'Mikes'
His many years in Calgary got him noticed by WCW's Jim Ross in 1987.
Stampede Wrestling was real hot at the time, and running big shows from B.C.
Shaw, however, had been thinking about getting out of wrestling and was
surprised by the WCW phone call.
"To tell you the honest truth, I didn't know who Jim Ross was," recalled
Shaw. But WCW "kept calling back" and eventually he went down there, and was
given the Norman character.
"I got three years out of that character. That was my best character, by
far, I think," Shaw said, adding that Makhan Singh was a close second.
"To tell you the truth, when Norman started, I couldn't stand it. I thought
it was really silly. I had just left Calgary and South Africa where I
worked, would really go wrestle hard," Shaw said. "When I became Norman, it
was a silly, off-the-wall character. I really didn't like it at first. I
didn't adapt well to it. Then I had some really good guys start helping."
Shaw named Jim Ross, Terry Funk, Kevin Sullivan, Eddie Gilbert and Dick
Murdoch as strong influences on his character before continuing.
"After [Norman] became a character the fans really liked. I was getting 200
teddy bears a week. In arenas, people were just bringing me teddy bears
constantly, and I was donating them to children's hospitals. It really
became a character they liked. It would still be going strong today, kind of
like a George 'The Animal' Steele character, it could have lasted for
But the booking situation changed in WCW, and Ole Anderson took over.
"I have to admit that Ole and I have never hit it off," Shaw confessed. "I
still consider Ole to be an idiot. He just squashed the character. He didn't
squash it for a professional reason. He squashed it because he didn't like
Terry Funk, they didn't get along. He considered me one of Funk's boys.
Terry Funk and him were competiting to be the booker at the time."
Shaw said that the character was so popular that Sting and Lex Luger, who
were two of the top stars at the time, both went to the company president
and said that it was a big mistake to get rid of the character.
Norman The Lunatic.
But the Norman gimmick ended, and Shaw opened a wrestling school in
Michigan, promoted a few shows and worked independents. He even spent a
stint in Mexico as Aaron Grundy, brother of Solomon Grundy.
While he was in between trips, the WWF's J.J. Dillon called him and offered
Shaw a "tryout."
"I chuckled at that. I didn't understand their system," he said. "I'd been
wrestling 15 years, and they made me seem like a was a green kid. 'Maybe
we'll give you a look.' I went down to Augusta, Georgia and Columbus, S.C.
and wrestled for two nights. In between the two nights, Vince McMahon called
me outside, and we went for a walk. We were outside for about 10 minutes.
Vince treated me fantastic. He said, 'Hey, we like you. I think we can do
something with you. We want to sign you.'
"They hired me and I was happy."
Shaw sat at home for about six weeks before they called him back. The WWF
had been trying to come up with a character for him.
The first idea was Friar Ferguson, the wrestling monk. It didn't last.
"I heard they got calls from different religious organizations thinking that
that was terrible to have a monk on TV wrestling," Shaw said.
Up next was Bastion Booger. But the original conception wasn't how it turned
"Originally, it was supposed to be kind of a sewer creature, gargoyle-type
that had a silver outfit, boots, and was supposed to have a big mask with
horns coming out of it," Shaw explained. But McMahon believed that the mask
looked too much like Vader's (who was in WCW at the time) and the gimmick
Shaw has his own ideas about where the character could have gone.
"I think they could have gone to a comical character with it, almost like
the Norman character. Because kids liked screaming Booger, it was almost
like they were swearing and getting away with it."
He still gets 15-20 fan letters now addressed to Bastion Booger, wondering
where he went. "I think they could have gotten a little more mileage out of
it than they did."
These days, Shaw is "semi-retired". He wrestles independent shows on
weekends -- including a recent show in London, Ontario -- and runs his
wrestling school during the week. He also writes a sports column for a
local newspaper, and is on the radio and TV in the area.
His focus now is on his wife Kelly (whom he met in Amherst, Nova Scotia
while wrestling for Emile Dupre
's Grand Prix Wrestling) and their two
athletic children, Joshua, 8, and Amanda, 6.
When asked about regrets, Shaw pauses before continuing.
"I wish I had gotten into the WWF earlier in my career, maybe when I was
Makhan Singh, in my late 20s and in good shape, and really wrestling strong.
I was burnt out when I got there," he said. "I feel like I let Vince
[McMahon] down. I don't feel like I gave him the best that I have."
-- Bio by GREG OLIVER
, SLAM! Sports
I must say my favourite momment of Mike Shaw came from when he was with the WWF under the "Bastion Booger" gimmick. I remember one time one an episode of superstars Booger came down the aisle then he spotted a little kid eatting a WWF ice cream bar. He snatches it from the kid and shoves the whole thing in his mouth. The kid like started crying and stuff. It was the funniest momment in Wrestling history. Definitely Bastion Booger is one of my favorite of all time.
I remember Big Mike Shaw and his early days in Stampede. I have to agree that the hardcore outifts today could take a lesson from Stampede, they
pushed the envelope every single time. Mike was fabulous whether he was
working the mike or in the ring. I have never seen any heel in Stampede
take as much heat as Mike Shaw and just seem to love evry single boo he
got. Karachi Vice was one of the strongest heel stables I have ever
witnessed just when you thought they were getting booed as loud as
possible the next week it was louder. The period that Mike was in
Stampede was much like the period the WWF went through where they lost
most of their name talent to the WCW. When Mike was there Stampede had
lost most of their name talent to the WWF and still entertained you
every single time. There is no one specific memory I have about Mike
Shaw just how much I loved to despise the man.
Well, where do I start, Norman was my favorite wrestler, since Clash Of The Champions 10, when he faced Kevin Sullivan. Not
relizing Norman only lived a short distance from me in Michigan.
I went to my first indy show, which I later found out was run by Shaw, I still have my autographed Norman t-shirt,and picture.
Then came Friar Ferguson on RAW...I about lost it..it was Norman...it was great...he was gone, then Bastion Booger...me
personally I know Mike hates it, but I loved.
Then comes the day when I meet Bastion Booger at my hometown's 4th of July parade which only about 15 miles from Shaw's. This is when he first started as Booger and he signed my autograph "to Pete, Bastian Booger" he spelled his own name wrong....then I was hooked...I knew I would be come a pro wrestler....
Fast foward about 2 years another indy show in my area, I talked to Shaw about training, I think he just kinda blew me off.
Well I did get trained, and started wrestling in Indiana a lot, so I decide to run my first show in my hometown of
Escanaba, MI...who do I book for the main event- Peter B. Beautiful (me) vs Bastion Booger (not knowing at the time he still
works as Norman). Well me and Mike talked in the back, about a ton of stuff. like almost everything mentioned here.....match
time comes, I win by DQ, when he hits me with brass knuckles I brought into the ring.. I loved it, I was nervous as hell, and put
on a horrible match. The fans loved and hell I did too...my only regret is not getting Booger dropped...my manager did...so I
would like to thank Mike Shaw for being my true inspiration in my career.
Pete Sischo, Peter B. Beautiful
It's nice to know that Makhan Singh and Gama Singh are still
recognized for their great work.
I never met any human that could eat for millions in one sitting then go
to the bar and drink for the nation and expect to get any for free!!! HA
HA HA..Not kidding.
I have a memory of Mike Shaw.
He had just debuted as Friar Ferguson. About the only thing I can
remember is him defeating his opponent and then giving him something to drink
to revive him. I also remember him getting involved in a squash match Bam Bam
Bigelow was wrestling. I was expecting them to feud and then Ferguson just
disappeared. A few weeks later Bastion Booger was born. I saw him at the
Saginaw Civic Center in Saginaw, Michigan in September 1993. He had some of
that candy snot that was out a long time ago and ate it to disgust the crowd.
I seem to remember a pic on the last page of WWF Magazine in I believe 1994
with him at the Monday Night Raw announce table with food all around him.
That was when Raw was to me, at it's best.
Brett Wolverton, Bearman15@aol.com
I remember the first time I saw Mike Shaw wrestle was at the Agricom in
Edmonton, he was against a wrestler by the name Steve Disalvo. Before the
match my father introduced me to mike and he was a whole different man then
when he was in the ring. From that day on everytime he saw me he called me
his little bud and cause of him I got into the business and I would just
like to say thanks mike you made young kids dream come true and you are a
real legend in this business.
Steven Ewaschuk, Edmonton, AB
One of my all time favorite quotes is from Vince McMahon:
"Bastion Booger is the only person I know who refers to his nose as a snack
The best memory I have of Shaw is a long time ago, when he was first
forming the Karachi Vice with Gama Singh, and the colour commentator to
Ed Whelan at the time was Neil Macrae and his silly fedora hat, who
nicknamed Shaw Toilet Bowl. To those of us in B.C. who have since been
subjugated to Macrae's schtick will appreciate the irony - Shaw was a
supreme heel, (and Macrae is a sad pretender) and as a young teen I
hated his guts. I loved Stampede, as it portrayed the illusion of "we're
paid to make it real". I watch today's wrestling, but Shaw had the heel
bit down to an art. At the time, I believed him. Today, it's about the
latest gimmick. Times do change.
R. A. "Conan" McCartney
I remember a long tome ago, I loved old wrestling from the 1970's through
the mid '90s as I still do. There is one match I will never forget -- when Bastion Booger went up against the Earthquake and lost within a
short amount of time. Or the match when he went up against Danny Davis
in the HWF last year. I really like Bastion Booger.