Stemming from the Nottingham-based training school, it promises to use only British talent – the likes of Doug Williams and Mark Haskins – as well as act as a showcase for the school’s graduates.
Joseph Conners is one of those graduates, having joined the school seven years ago, and since then formed a successful tag-team The Predators with fellow student Paul Malen. With HOP:E, though, he’ll be performing in singles work, and on the first card will be facing CJ Banks – for the first time.
“There’s a lot of new offerings here – it’s such an exciting project to be part of,” he says. “It’s got a big show feel to it already – and it’s only our first event.”
He has nothing but praise for HOP:E promoter Harvey Dale and House of Pain’s head trainer, Stixx.
“You look at Stixx, and even if you know nothing about him, you can see he’s in fantastic shape. You search for Stixx, and you can see he’s wrestled all the top UK talents and more – Mick Foley, Davey Richards, the list goes one. He’s a good trainer, strict but fair. I look back at where I was eight years ago – it’s changed my life, getting into the wrestling business.”
And he’s excited about the opportunities HOP:E offers to new talent.
“Yes, there’s an emphasis on British talent, but it’s also a great chance for the younger guys – this is a huge opportunity for newer guys who have the chance to wrestle big names. This is a big part of the concept, and means that it’ll integrate guys coming up from the school,” he says.
“I think people will be intrigued – they’ll know these big names, and fans will want to see these new guys mix it up with them.”
House of Pain: Evolution is at the Britannia Hotel, Nottingham, on Sunday July 14 at 3pm.