Wednesday, 24 Apr 2024

AEW star’s tragic death gave Nigel McGuinness ‘final nudge’ to become magician

British wrestling icon Nigel McGuinness has revealed he found "inspiration" in tragedy for the launch of his very own magic show.

Speaking to the Daily Star ahead of AEW's "once in a lifetime" Wembley show in London on August 27, Nigel explained how Jay Briscoe's death in January at the age of 38 triggered something in him.

Following news of the wrestler's tragic car crash in Delaware, US, WWE legend Triple H led tributes, describing Briscoe as “An incredible performer".

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Nigel says the shock death which rattled the sport sparked his part-spoken word, part-magic show which he's performing in his hometown of London.

McGuinness said: "I was always open to the idea, but never really had the inspiration, the motivation. Unfortunately it took the passing of Jay Briscoe in January earlier this year to give me that final nudge to just say, 'right now's the time'.

"I've got a little bit of space, a little bit of leeway, mentally and logistically, to put this together. I used Jay as inspiration to the show, which I am extremely proud of and very excited about as well."

His 90-minute magic show, which is aimed "specifically towards wrestling fans", will take to London's Electric Ballroom on May 28.

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"It's a very exciting time to be around the magic industry and the wrestling industry as well," McGuinness says, and he believes fans will "look back at this time as a golden era of professional wrestling, and perhaps magic too."

His claim to a golden era of wrestling comes as AEW are set to make history at Wembley arena in August this year with their All In spectacle.

The flagship wrestling programme is set to mark the first major Wembley Arena wrestling show since WWE's historic SummerSlam event way back in 1992, an experience McGuinness remembers well.

The former WWE and Ring of Honor wrestler believes the upcoming AEW show will have a similar impact for UK fans desperate for some high octane action as SummerSlam 1992 did for him.

With UK-favourite British Bulldog duking it out with Bret "The Hitman" Hart in the main event over 30 years ago, it is an experience the magician described as a "premonition".

McGuinness said: "It's a once in a lifetime opportunity, and that's the truth. 31 years ago was the last time professional wrestling was at Wembley. I was there a young Nigel McGuinness, before I was Nigel McGuinness.

"I had nothing but dreams, and it was at that moment I decided I was going to pursue my dreams to be a professional wrestler. While that was a pivotal moment in my life, this, AEW All In, in London, is going to be a pivotal moment for so many people in attendance."

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Retiring in 2011, McGuinness has been a firm hand in the industry as both commentator and ruled out a full-time return to in-ring action.

Instead of in-ring performances, McGuinness is turning his attention to his live work, detailing his "budding magic career", a change inspired by an interest in the culture and a tragic loss.

Magician McGuinness added: "I started learning magic after I was wrestling in Japan. The sponsors would take you out to eat, and sometimes you'd be set there for two or three hours.

"I didn't speak much of the language at the time, so I learned a few little tricks with a deck of cards just to entertain them to show I appreciated the time and the money they spent on us."

His desire to entertain as a magician was met with "understanding" from the AEW board and CEO Tony Khan, crediting them as letting him "pursue another avenue of my life."

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