Review: The Life And Times Of Adrian Street, Southbank Centre, March 30th 2012

March 30, 2012

I’ll be honest, I didn’t know what to expect from this show, billed as “a multimedia extravaganza” and helmed by Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller.

Now, mostly this is because visual art makes me very uneasy. This is because I don’t really understand it, admittedly. But regardless, sitting in the Southbank Centre trying to pretend an interest in Art (with a capital A) instilled me with a huge sense of fear.

I needn’t have worried. Jeremy Deller has made what seems to be a fabulous film about Adrian Street, the lavishly dressed, sexually ambiguous star of 60s and 70s British wrestling (we saw the first four minutes of it), and the evening was a celebration of Street’s life and work.

Simon Garfield, author of The Wrestling, narrated much of the event, providing historical context and reading snippets from his (excellent and highly recommended) book.

And musician Luke Haines serenaded us with excerpts from what seems to be one of the maddest but most inspired concept albums in history, 9 ½ Psychedelic Meditations on British Wrestling of the 1970s and Early ’80s.

But most people were there for the second half of the evening, when Deller Skyped through to Street and his wife and valet Linda, speaking to us from their home in Florida. Read the rest of this entry »

Interview: Jenny Sjodin talks MMA, feminism and false eyelashes

March 27, 2012

You come into pro-wrestling from a martial arts background – what made you want to move into sports entertainment?

I actually started off in amateur wrestling because we didn’t have any pro wrestling schools in Sweden at the time but my desired goal has always been to be a professional wrestler. The martial arts is something I picked up in Dublin after a few months into my pro wrestling training. I love the level of physical work required, the pressure to always keep improving technically to stay on top and the close communication to the fans the sport offers.

Do you find any of your opponents loath to face you because of your MMA skills, and perhaps working a bit stiffer than they’re used to?

There are rumours that certain female wrestlers have begged promoters to not be booked against me, I don’t know if it’s true. Funnily, the wrestlers who have thought properly how to protect themselves and not whine as soon as their fake eyelashes fall off never seem to complain, though. They usually show lots of respect for me. Read the rest of this entry »

Facts from Progress Wrestling, Garage Islington, 25th March 2012

March 25, 2012

The Garage is a legendary music venue, and it was a coup for Progress Wrestling to book their first show there. With rows of seating set out close to the ring, and more chairs on the stage, with standing area by the bar, it was organised beautifully with great sightlines all round.

Which is fortunate, because there was so much going on in the ring you really didn’t want to miss it.

The first half of the show were the quartet of match-ups to select the finalists for the four-way to contest the inaugural Progress Wrestling title. The opener was El Ligero v Noam Dar, and this was a compelling bout. I know I’ve said it a million times before but Dar really is destined for the very, very top. The crowd were noisily behind El Ligero, with a “Scotland sucks!” chant starting just as the bell rang, prompting Dar to yell: “Scotland’s only up there! He’s from Mexico! That’s the other side of the world!” And he did have a point. Read the rest of this entry »

Interview: Jimmy Havoc talks about the official launch of FPW’s training school

March 25, 2012

As we reported earlier in the month, FPW’s training school officially launches next weekend. It’s not been a quiet week for the South London promotion – co-founder Steve ‘Heavy D’ Evans broke his ankle and tibia last Sunday and has been in hospital for an operation to repair them (get well soon, dude)…but then Bret the Hitman Hart donated a pair of signed sunglasses to their raffle in aid of Cancer Research UK.

So amidst this whirlwind of activity, I thought we should probably talk to the school’s head trainer, Jimmy Havoc.

“The kind of people I like to teach are people who want it and enjoy it,” he says. Does that mean that sometimes he’s faced with teaching people who are not completely dedicated? “Yes, I don’t like people who turn up and just want to do Stone Cold Stunners or something – people with attitude. I want people there who want to learn. I’m still learning myself; I learn something every time I have a show.” Read the rest of this entry »

Fact: Aiden English is our new favourite

March 22, 2012

Hands up who’s enjoying Rock and Cena back-and-forthing about who’s the most feminine ie weak ie rubbish ie stupid out of the pair of them? (If you put your hand up, I cordially invite you to stop reading this blog now.)

This, of course, follows the slut-shaming of Eve (the only clever thing about Rock’s concert was the verse about Cena’s wife), the humiliation of Natalya, and the ignoring of Beth Phoenix, the Divas champion, who’s being thrown into a pointless tag match at Wrestlemania involving some bint I’ve never heard of (seriously, she’s less famous than Snooki over here).

Thank goodness, then, for Aiden English, new to FCW – and the ladysmark’s new Superstar of choice. Read the rest of this entry »

Fact: FPW are fundraising for Cancer Research UK

March 16, 2012

It’s not unusual to find a raffle going on at an indy promotion. FPW’s forthcoming first anniversary show, though, will be doing something rather different.

They’ll be raffling off a variety of comic book art to raise money for Cancer Research UK prior to their May 5th event, giving worldwide fans the opportunity to win.

“Our big motivation has been our big community feel,” says co-founder Matt Burden. “We like seeing the same faces at our shows and interacting with them, so we wanted to do something special and get people involved.”

There will also be an auction of one of the most valuable pieces of work – and there’ll still be the same opportunity to win the usual raffle bundle on the night if you’re there in person.

For more details, check out the FPW website.

Image is of work by Dean Stahl.

Interview: Matt Morgan on Samoa Joe, Magnus, WWE and Victory Road

March 14, 2012

It’s common knowledge that the current pairings at the top of the TNA tag team division weren’t formed by friendship.

Samoa Joe and Magnus reckon they were thrown together to keep the most difficult talent away from everyone else; and Matt Morgan thinks he and Crimson were paired together for another reason.

“We were put together for a reason – to get and hold those tag titles,” he says. “We have a lot of differences. That is our Achilles heel, perhaps – not miscommunication, but we try to outshine one another.” Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: IPW:UK’s show featuring Chris Masters, Kevin Nash, Carlito and top UK talent!

March 13, 2012

If you went to TNA’s TV taping at Wembley in January, chances are you’ll have picked up a flyer about IPW:UK’s April show at the Troxy, East London.

They’re working with NWE (Nu-Wrestling Evolution) for the first time ever, and have put together a line-up with imports such as Chris Masters, Kevin Nash, Davey Richards and Carlito, and the best of UK talent including Friends of TOWIS Noam Dar, Lion Kid, Mark Haskins and Marty Scurll.

“We’ve been working on it for a very long time,” says head booker Andy Quildan. “We’ve been needing to confirm the US talent, and work it around our talent and showcase the UK guys – that’s what it’s about. We’ve got the guys who are there to enhance the show quality in-ring, and some there to attract the casual fans. It’s a varied card but we’ve got some world-class talent.” Read the rest of this entry »

Fact: John Morrison is COMING TO THE UK!

March 10, 2012

Marking out right now. PCW have announced that the Prince of Parkour, the Shaman of Sexy, John Morrison will be gracing their bill – reportedly in their December show.

He was future-endeavoured by the WWE recently and since then has been doing a few US shows as well as appearing in some comedy improv events (no, really).

I am too excited about this. I’m also excited about how he’s going to use the layout of Lava Ignite for his free-running style. Will he be climbing on the chandelier thing? We can only hope so.

I’ll be talking to PCW’s Steven Fludder about this very soon!


Interview: Steve ‘Heavy D’ Evans talks about FPW’s new training school

March 9, 2012

If you’re in South London, are over 16, and have ever fancied giving wrestling a try, you can sign up to FPW’s training schools, which begin in Wallington at the end of the month.

You don’t need any previous experience – just a willingness to learn – and you’ll be under the tutelage of some of FPW’s top talent, including Jimmy Havoc, who’s the school’s head trainer.

“We do have a nice roster to pull trainers from,” says FPW co-founder Steve ‘Heavy D’ Evans. “Marty Scurll and Zack Sabre Jr will be running one of their LDRS training sessions, focusing on the importance of the chain-style wrestling they’re known for; and we hope to have some classes with RJ Singh and Greg Burridge too.” Read the rest of this entry »