My first memory of wrestling was my dad taking to to watch wrestling at Whitehaven Civic Hall when I was eight years old; I can remember Fit Finlay and Big Daddy being on the show but nothing else really.
My interest really picked up though when I first watched WWF on Sky Sports back in 1990 and I was hooked from then on. I would collect every magazine possible and was fascinated by all the different promotions and wrestlers from all over the world. I quickly found a tape trader and would get tapes from virtually every promotion possible – I was hooked!
I finally decided to take the plunge after seeing an advert in Power Slam magazine for the Hammerlock School of Wrestling and attended my first training camp in 1997. This was a bit of a trek for me as Hammerlock was based in Kent and I lived in Cumbria; I also wasn’t driving at the time so I would take a nine-hour National Express coach overnight to London then get the train to Sittingbourne. I did this on a regular basis and it could be quite brutal as I would finish work on Friday, travel overnight, train Saturday and Sunday then travel home Sunday night, but I didn’t care, I loved it! Some people these days think they’re going out their way if they have to drive an hour – they’re the ones that should just probably pack it in.
Where were you working at the time?
I was working as a mechanical engineer at a nuclear power station, where I still work now. I split my time between that and wrestling, as well as spending time with my fiancee and two kids, with another on the way, and trying to train every day, sometimes twice a day! So to answer your question, yeah, I was knackered going to work on the Monday as the training was brutal, but not as knackered as I am now!
Who do you most admire in UK wrestling?
I admire anyone who works hard yet doesn’t go on about it on Facebook and Twitter and doesn’t kiss arse! Simple as.
Who are your favourite opponents to work with, and is there anyone you’d like to work with in the UK that you haven’t yet?
I have a number of favourite opponents. Jon Ryan is one of my favourites; we both started out together and have wrestled each other all over the world – it’s funny in this business how the more you like someone the harder you hit them! Doug Williams too, as well as Martin Stone, all tremendous well-rounded solid wrestlers.
I’d like to have a singles match with Zack Sabre Jr: I wrestled him once when he tagged with Dan Severn but he was only a couple of years into the business then and now he’s one of the best we’ve got over here. Same goes for his partner too, Marty Scurll, I’ve put ‘Party’ Marty to bed a couple of times in the bar, let’s see what happens in the ring, though!
You’ve featured on various wrestling-themed TV shows, such as Transatlantic Wrestling Challenge. Do you think British wrestling really needs a push towards the television exposure that Andre Baker of NWA Hammerlock was working towards? Or have WWE and TNA got that side of things sewn up and UK promotions need to do something different?
I really don’t think British wrestling will be on national TV in this country again. The WWE is the pinnacle and is the standard bearer, there’s no way anyone can compete with those production values and even more importantly the name value and brand recognition they already have. TNA can’t do it and they are backed by multi-millionaires and have Hulk Hogan! So getting on any of the major Sky channels is out the equation.
So really the only option we have is for Ricky Hype to give the ultimate sales pitch and convince Alan Sugar to invest millions in a new wrestling venture – if he could do that I’d also like him to pick my lottery numbers!