Fact: Hammerlock, aka ‘it’s real in Tonbridge’, November 10, 2012

Spoiler alert: if you’re under the age of ten, read no further.

Because, in the interests of quality investigative journalism, I have to reveal here today – professional wrestling is theatre.

Yes, that’s right. The competitors in the ring…well, they’re not really fighting, and they’re not really competitors, because they already know before they go out who’s going to win, and who’s going to lose, because it’s storylined.

I feel I ought to point this out because of a terrifying section of the audience at Tonbridge’s Angel Centre on Saturday night, who genuinely believed that everything they were seeing was real in every possible way.

When Majik endeavoured to conceal a weapon (ahem) with which to attack Jimmy Havoc, I honestly thought they were going to rip him limb from limb as they stood up and tried to rush the ring – only some expert and swift diplomacy from Tony McMillan and then some swift vengeance (through Havoc’s challenge for a hardcore rematch) managed to settle them down.

Unsurprisingly these people were also gleefully starting up homophobic abuse within 30 seconds of the audience being told to keep their chanting family-friendly, right at the start of the evening.

Sigh.

Even so, it was a fun, if bizarre, evening. I very much enjoyed Darrell Allen versus Will Ospreay, all the more so because the ropes broke as Allen was warming up during Ospreay’s entrance. For two high-fliers, that had to be a huge worry, and it’s to their credit that they put on a terrific match once the ring was once more intact.

I was also impressed with Rob Cage, taking advantage of his reality TV notoriety and bellowing, “CELEBRITY!” to generate some heel heat. (Also, I was impressed that he imitated Genesis’s walk in the ‘I Can’t Dance’ video, despite him being at least a decade too young to remember that single.)

I’m beginning to warm a little bit to the London Riots – opposite the experience of the Malibu Knights (the legend that is Tank alongside Mean Tommy Dean) they rose to the occasion. I would still like to see them actually have a reason to keep rushing the ring at the end of a show and battering whichever face happens to be wandering about, but as Graham of CWA pointed out to me, “They’re RIOTS. They’re not librarians.”

In the main event, Danny Garnell lost his title to Phil Boyd after a short but well-fought bout in which Boyd’s boots steadfastly refused to remain laced – which kind of summed up the endearing if slightly shambolic feel to the whole evening.

Keep an eye on the NWA-UK Hammerlock website for details of upcoming events.

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