There are heavyweights in wrestling, and then there’s the McGuire Twins.
Billy and Benny McCrary amassed 1,598 lbs. In the Guinness Book of World Records, that’s enough to make them the “world’s heaviest twins.” At their peak, Billy came in weighing 784 lbs while Benny was 814.
The two men were born premature. Their weight gain was completely out of their control since it stemmed from a pituitary issue in their glands they contracted as infants.
While many would be mentally fractured by this, sinking them into a deep depression due to uncontrollable weight gain, the McCrary twins used this to their advantage. They became famous for their entertaining performances.
The McCrary brothers soon found themselves training to become professional wrestlers. They worked around the world, most notably in Japan. They were renamed “The McGuire Twins.”
They set a standard for people with immense obesity, proving that just because you have an uncontrollable defect doesn’t mean you can’t make something out of your life. They also became a role model for overweight and aspiring wrestlers worldwide.
The Early Years
Born on July 23, 1946, in Hendersonville, N.C., Billy and Benny McCrary quickly made an impression. Several years after their birth, they had grown in incredible size.
Before they were even 10 years old, they already weighed over 200 pounds. That is more than the average 40-year-old man.
The root of the weight gain came from when they contracted Rubella (German measles) at just 4 years old. The infection affected their pituitary glands. From that moment on, their weight skyrocketed.
It’s not like they didn’t try to lose weight. Their parents even bought a farm where they could run around all day, and they ate very little. Their father eventually had them become truck farmers, going around selling vegetables.
However, the infection in their glands from the disease prevented them from losing weight. They just kept getting bigger.
By the time these brothers were 16, they weighed 600 pounds, more than 450 pounds above the average for a boy that age. Eventually, they dropped out of high school and took on a whole new life.
These boys’ spirits stayed strong and they decided to use their size to their advantage. They developed talents and ended up working in cities like Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
They worked with the circus and then started performing minibike stunts. They took their bike routines to other places that entertained crowds, including New York City.
The fandom for the McCrary brothers grew; they did a Honda promotion where they drove their minibikes cross-country from New York City to Los Angeles.
They later appeared on the Tonight Show. They were soon weighed in to officially break the Guinness Book of World Records for the “world’s heaviest set of twins.”
While riding in El Paso, Texas, they were approached by wrestling coach and promoter, Gory Guerrero. He offered them money to relocate to Mexico to work and train as professional wrestlers.
From there, they would have the opportunity to compete in a wrestling organization. They would make more money and draw much bigger crowds than what they had before. The brothers agreed, and by 1971, they officially began their wrestling careers at a ring in Texas.
“Of course, we didn’t take bumps like the average wrestler,” Benny McCrary said in an interview with Insider Wrestling. “So he (Guerrero) worked out a routine for us. Guys run against us and fall down. They come in and try to give us a body slam, we turn around and give them one.”
By the early 1970s, each of these men had eclipsed 700 pounds, making them a sight unlike anything an audience has ever seen. Because of this, they were an immediate hit and soon found themselves traveling across the US.
Their careers would move to the next level in 1974 when the New-Japan Pro Wrestling organization signed them. Because McCrary was a difficult name for Japanese announcers to say, they used the stage name “McGuire.”
The McGuire Twins had to be careful with their training, however. Because of their weight and some of their moves, they had to be watchful not to hurt or even kill their opponents.
They would do moves such as slams and splashes, but they had to do the move in a way that didn’t put the full force on their opponent. Their signature move, “The Tupelo Splash,” involved one of the twins diving onto their opponent.
If this was done in full force, they could seriously injure the other. The Steamroller was another one of their top moves, where they rolled over their opponent.
From 1974 to 1978, the “McGuire Twins” competed against some of the best wrestlers in Japan and continued to elevate their name. They traveled to other places globally, and their fame continued to rise.
But while they mesmerized fans with how they competed with their incredible weight, the competition took a major toll on their body.
The Late Years
The McGuire Twins were hoping to continue to elevate their careers. But in 1979, Billy McCrary was involved in a fatal motorcycle accident while driving to Ripley’s Believe it Or Not! museum in Niagara Falls. The death destroyed his brother, who struggled for years trying to deal with it.
Benny tried to wrestle. He even teamed up with Andre the Giant, but it didn’t have the same impact as wrestling with his brother. “He tried, but he just couldn’t do it, because he said the magic was gone,” his wife Tammie said. “He was really affected by that.”
Eventually, he gave it up and worked in a pawn shop back home in Hendersonville, doing work as an auctioneer. In 2013, he suffered a heart attack and passed away. He was 54 years old.
Despite the brothers’ death, their legacy continues to live on. If you visit Crab Creek Baptist Church Cemetery in Hendersonville, you will find a 13-foot memorial monument honoring the two brothers. It’s the world’s largest gravestone, and includes the message, “World Record Holders.”
The McCrary brothers are most known for their kind-hearted ways, not letting their weight ruin their lives. They instead wanted to entertain people and put smiles on their faces.
Everyone who knew them talked about their friendly nature, and willingness to go out of their way to help others. Sometimes in the world, bigger is better.
Tapalaga, Andrei. “McGuire Twins: The Forgotten 1500 Pounds Twin Wrestlers.” HistoryofYesterday.com. 15 Jun 2023. https://historyofyesterday.com/mcguire-twins-the-forgotten-1500-pounds-twin-wrestlers/
Ruscin, Terry. “Famous McCrary Twins.” HendersonHeritage.com. Nd. https://hendersonheritage.com/famous-mccrary-twins/#:~:text=Billy%20McCrary%20and%20Benny%20McCrary,record%20as%20the%20heaviest%20twins.
Kelley, Leigh. “Other Half of McGuire Twins Dead, 54.” ClassicWrestlingArticles.com. 9 Jan 2013. https://classicwrestlingarticles.wordpress.com/2013/01/09/other-half-of-the-mcguire-twins-dead-54/.