In 1983 a young 16 year old from Bristol stepped into the professional ring for the first time little knowing that 30 years later he would still be pulling on the boots and entertaining the crowds throughout the UK and Europe and would become one of the most popular wrestlers and most recognised faces that this country has ever seen but this is exactly what happened to Danny Collins.
(A young Danny Collins entering the ring early in his career)
Danny 'Boy' Collins as he was originally known was trained by Roy Harley and made his debut against Adrian Finch in 1983 and right from the start was a fan favourite. A few months after his initial debut Danny was handed his first televised match by Promoter Max Crabtree in November 1983 from Leeds where he faced legendary wrestler Jim Breaks. Although Danny lost this match to the much more experienced Breaks it was evident that he was destined to have a successful career in the professional wrestling ranks.
In 1984 Danny was rewarded for his hard work by receiving a title shot for Jim Breaks Welterweight Championship at the Royal Albert Hall and whilst this was a hard fought match which went back and forth Danny was victorious and left the new champion....much to Jim Breaks disgust.
In 1985 Danny Collins was involved in the showcase match on F A Cup Final Day when he wrestled Baron Van Chenok for the European Welterweight Championship. The macth took place in Watford and Danny (who had the legendary Mick McManus in his coner) came away victorious and left the ring the new Champion. As a result of now being recognised as the official European Champion Danny made various tours to Europe including France, Spain and Germany.
(Danny Collins and Mick McManus)
As Danny was making a name for himself throughout not only the UK but Europe as well he was struck down by a kidney disease which resulted in him having one of his kidneys removed. However, this did not deter Danny one bit and he was soon back in the ring and despite the major operation he had endured it was obvious that he had lost none of his skill and speed and was soon entertaining the masses once more.
As the mid 1980s continued to roll on Danny regularly and successfully defended his titles whenever it was required and at the same time was also competing in tag team competition with his older brother Peter. So successful was Danny he was soon a regular tag team partner to Big Daddy which meant that he was no longer wrestling men his own weight but was also going in with the heavyweights and in some cases the super heavyweights. Whilst this was hard going to wrestle men in excess of 20 stone Danny gave a good performance and this endeared him even more to the fans.
(Danny Collins & Big Daddy)
When ITV wrestling ended in 1988 Danny was not deterred and continued with his successful ways by defeating Dave 'Fit' Finlay for the British Heavy Middleweight Championship. Although he would lose this title to Ritchie Brooks he soon regained it and thereafter successfully defended it on a number of occasions.
In 1991 Danny was wrestled Owen Hart from Canada for the World Middleweight Championship. The match was hard fought but Danny once again was victorious and again defended this title on a number of occasions until 1995. Danny continued to wrestle all of the biggest names in British wrestling during this period and cemented his legacy as one of this countries greats.
(Danny Collins gets to grips with Marty Jones)
In 1995 Danny shocked the wrestling world when, after 12 years as a good guy, turned his back on the fans and was rebranded as Dirty Dan Collins. Danny beat Alan Kilby for the British Light Heavyweight Championship in 1996 but lost it back to Kilby in 1997. During this time Danny continued to wrestle successfully throughout Europe where by this time had become a household name.
As the 1990s finally came to a close Danny reverted back to being a good guy and feuded with his brother Peter. These matches which were well received by the fans took place throughout the UK.
As the 2000s came Dannys career started to slow down due to a number of niggling back injuries. However, retirement was far from Dannys mind and he continued to wrestle periodically throughout this time. In the mid 2000s Danny started to make more appearances once again and wrestled for Ricky Knights WAW Promotion and Matt Jarretts Superstars of Wrestling. Throughout this time Danny had been alternating between being a fan favourite and the bad guy. No matter what character Danny is portraying in the ring he does it with professionalism and guarantees to leave the fans wanting more.
(Danny Collins in the 2000s)
After 30 years as a professional wrestler Danny Collins announced in 2013 that he would be retiring from the ring, his last match in the UK being for Superstars of Wrestling on the 12th October in Gloucester where he was in tag team action partnering Skull Murphy and Drew MacDonald against The UK Hooligans and Spitfire.
Danny Collins will always be remembered for being the consummate professional, what he has achieved in the ring speaks for itself and even after his retirement Danny will continue to help up and coming wrestlers ensuring that generations to come will have the opportunity to see top class wrestling throughout the UK and Europe.