We have sadly been informed that Tony Bishop passed away on Thursday 18th February 2021. Tony was diagnosed with cancer last year, bravely fighting to overcome his illness with the support of the entire WAW community behind him. Although very few of us have been able to visit him in that time, we are comforted to know that he was surrounded by a loving family.
Fans may only have known Tony as a referee but his role extended much further than that. Tony was considered a reliable and trustworthy hand, often making himself available as a holiday camps team driver – a gruelling and sometimes stressful time with many hours spent travelling hundreds of miles in just a short period of time. But Tony never complained about this, in fact, he was often the fire keeping spirits lifted along the way. He was also often the first person to offer a helping hand when emergencies struck, never wanting anyone to be caught out by inconvenience.
Many WAW wrestlers and staff, both past and present, expressed their thoughts on Tony via social media. It is clear that Tony was well-loved, in part due to his ability to bring humour and joy into the world. He was also known for welcoming and supporting everyone who entered the WAW locker room, making it a more comforting environment for new trainees and touring international wrestlers alike. Below you can find a selection of comments made by WAW wrestlers and staff, reminiscing on their experiences with Tony, and just a few examples of their time with a true friend:
Jason Cross: “RIP Tony Bishop, you fought one hell of a battle. Only 2 days ago, we spoke on a video call and, true to form, we ripped into each other for about 15 minutes. Even with the pain you were in, you managed to laugh for that 15 minutes and I’m so glad you did.”
Mr. Hayward: “Tony was one of the first to come over and make me feel welcome when I first started training, which massively helped me feel like part of the group. Rest in peace, my friend.”
Keegan: “Tony was always so nice and helpful to me. I’ll never forget the first camp I ran, the first day didn’t go well but Tony pulled me aside and said ‘you need to get a meeting and get your team in order. Make sure you have a go at me too, so they know you’ve not got any favourites and will respect you more.’ Everyone fell in line after that and the rest of the trip was fantastic. Thank you for always being there, Tony, I’m going to miss you.”
PJ Knight: “RIP Tony. So sad to hear but thank you for all the times we had on road trips. All the arguments we used to have, then 5 minutes later, we would be hugging! Thank you for the advice and memories we shared, they will last forever.”
Ricky Knight: “I’m devastated to lose a friend of over 50 years. Love you, pal, you will be sorely missed.”
Saraya Knight: “In life, you meet people that make an impact on your life. Tony Bishop, you were a real friend to me. The laughs, the rows, the travels, doing the hokey cokey while you were trying to referee me. My kitchen is on a slant, my back room leaks, but that was you, my Eeyore! You would try your hand at anything, whether you could do it or not. You were my confidante and my friend, and I’ll miss you. I’ll love you forever, RIP my friend, I knew you had to go I just didn’t want you to.”
Mitchell Starr: “I have no words for the sadness I’m feeling right now. I have spent countless hours and miles on the road with Tony, he had such a big heart and was such an incredible character; they don’t make people like Tony anymore!”
Mark Whitworth: “RIP Tony, my old mucker. So glad I got to speak to you yesterday. Your humour and kindness will be sadly missed.”
We will miss you, Tony.