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Sydney Mervin "Merv" Batt (September 3, 1929 – April 6, 2015), best known by his ring name Steve Rickard, was a retired New Zealand professional wrestler, trainer and promoter. As a wrestler, he travelled throughout the world during the 1960s and '70s, often visiting countries where professional wrestling was unknown such as southeast Asia, and was one of the top competitors to come from New Zealand during that era. Rickard was a frequent opponent for many foreign wrestlers travelling overseas including NWA World Heavyweight Champions such as Jack Brisco, Dory Funk, Jr., Harley Race and "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair. He also had high-profile matches with Karl Gotch, Killer Kowalski, The Destroyer, André the Giant, Abe Jacobs and King Kong as well.

He was a former NWA Australasian Heavyweight Champion, a 3-time NWA New Zealand Heavyweight Champion, and a record 8-time NWA British Empire/Commonwealth Champion. He and Mark Lewin were also the first NWA Australasian Tag Team Champions in the early 1980s.

Rickard is considered one of the most influential figures in New Zealand professional wrestling in the latter half of the 20th century. He took over the Dominion Wrestling Union after the death of founder Walter Miller in 1959 and ran it for two years. In 1962, he established All Star Pro Wrestling, also known as NWA New Zealand internationally, which eventually succeeded the DWU and remained the country's single major promotion for the next 30 years. He and Australian promoter Jim Barnett were responsible for bringing foreign wrestlers, especially from Canada and the United States, back to the Pacific region by the late 1960s. He was also the creator of On the Mat, one of the country's longest running sports programmes from 1975 to 1984, and its short-lived spin-off The Main Event in 1990.

Rickard was also a successful hotelier and businessman before and after his wrestling career, most notably, establishing one of the first gyms in Wellington and running the Hutt Park Hotel for 15 years. After his in-ring retirement in 1989, he remained involved in the wrestling industry. He served as President of the NWA during the early to mid-1990s first shared between himself, Howard Brody, Dennis Coralluzzo and Jim Crockett, Jr. from 1993 to 1995, and alone from 1995 to 1996. He was also a one-time a director of the Cauliflower Alley Club and honoured by the organisation in 1997.


In wrestling

Championships and accomplishments

  • Other inductee (1997)

External links

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