WATCH: Gazette man no match for heavyweight star Shak!

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Professional wrestling... that’s all make believe!

Unless you’re a true devotee of the sport (or is it entertainment?) it’s a thought which has probably crossed your mind at one point or another.

Shak gets our man in a headlock

Shak gets our man in a headlock

The costumes, the overblown drama, the ridiculous moves – it can’t be real.

Try telling that to a heavyweight who just happens to be holding you upside down by your feet.

Shak Khan, 45, is a familiar face on the Blackpool wrestling scene and he has big ambitions.

He’s jetting to the States next week, hoping to increase the profile of his career which began at the Pleasure Beach when he was just 15-years-old.

Ready for the slam

Ready for the slam

Before that he had a few moments to put The Gazette’s (not so) macho man through his paces.

The first thing to learn is how to fall.

“Use your hands to take the impact,” says Shak helpfully, casting a critical eye on my abilities as I point out, I’ve nowhere near as far to fall as he has.

Having turned down my request for a box to stand on, Shak’s straight on with the basic technique, showing me how to take a strong grip of an opponent, one hand on the neck, one on the forearm.

The ankle lock hurts... a lot

The ankle lock hurts... a lot

He might be pulling punches but every lock up smarts and it’s not long before there’s a red mark appearing.

“Do you want to try a headlock?” asks Shak – it’s soon clear the invitation is not one to be turned down.

“Everyone thinks they know how to do one of these,” says Shak as he grips my head and turns it to show the onlookers another grimace of pain.

“But this is how it’s really done.”

Revenge is sweet

Revenge is sweet

There no doubt the lock, and the ankle lock which follows hurts, but in Shak’s world the bout is only half the battle.

“You’ve got to show them what you’re doing.

“There’s an audience out there, there could be 10,000 people, politicians, celebs, they want to know it hurts.”

When it’s my turn to try, it’s much harder to make Shak grimace.

“Is that it?” he jokes as I try in vain to turn his ankle even a little.

But it seems the pro has saved the best for last.

All smiles as the session in the ring ends

All smiles as the session in the ring ends

The Grobbit was invented in Wigan and involves Shak putting rather unwelcome pressure across some rather vital airways.

“If you start to feel yourself going, tap me on the leg.”

Handy advice, not for the faint hearted.

As for wrestling, theatre it may be, but it doesn’t half hurt.