I went to the IPW:UK show at Swanley, Kent, last night, and I was thinking about doing a show review.
It was a great bill (I adored the Lion Kid v Mark Haskins match, short though it was – a display of technical brilliance and some absolutely textbook bridging) but I just felt a bit snarky about the whole thing.
Then I realised that my judgement and enjoyment had been entirely coloured by a family sitting next to me.
A dad had brought along his two children and his mate’s two children (all of whom were, I’d say, under 12, with the youngest aged around 7). Initially I smiled, and thought, “Isn’t that adorable? Wrestling’s still a lovely family-friendly night out.” And that was particularly the case with this show – it was scheduled to start at 6.15 and finished at 8.30, meaning it wasn’t too late for the little ones (or slightly older ones that had to get a train back to London).
And then the show started.
We soon discovered that the dad had an ability to whistle, very piercingly, through his fingers. Which he did. Repeatedly.
And we discovered the youngest child’s particularly wide vocabulary of abuse and obscenities. His father made token attempts to stop him, obviously realising everyone in the hall was appalled, but didn’t actually follow through with any kind of discipline, probably because he was too involved with shouting moves before they happened, one of my pet hates.
Soon, the dad got bored – this was during the second match, Danny Garnell’s open challenge to any previous champion – and retired to the bar. When he returned, during the first-half closer between Lion Kid and Mark Haskins, it was very clear how very drunk he was (and presumably had been from the start).
He tried to fight Iestyn Rees, brandishing a chair at one point
; he joined in with RJ Singh’s “RJ!” chant, except he was chanting “Archie!”; and by the end of the night he’d lost the ability to whistle, spitting pitifully through his fingers. Meanwhile, his child continued to shout abuse at everyone in the ring.
Now, I know that there are always idiots who ruin things for everyone else – but in a venue this small, and around 100 people in the crowd altogether, very loud, misbehaving audience members make a big difference.
So I guess what I’m asking is – should the promoters step in to stop this kind of behaviour when it happens?