King of Trios; or how I learnt to stop worrying and love CHIKARA

September 3, 2017

When I first started watching CHIKARA, a friend of mine offered to lend me his collection of DVDs so I could catch up. He began going through the storylines, filling in the history, trying to make sure I knew as much as possible about all of it before I got any further into it.

Now, usually I’m a completist. Let’s be real here. Words and phrases that have been used to describe me, with varying degrees of accuracy from people with varying degrees of affection for me, include “obsessive”, “nerdy”, “control freak” – ploughing through dozens of DVDs to watch something I love seems right in my wheelhouse.

I never felt like that about CHIKARA, though. I didn’t need to instantly begin to fill the gaps, to make myself as knowledgeable as possible as quickly as possible, to make myself a “better” or “more real” fan, to make myself worthy of being part of the Chikarmy.

And that interested me from an objective point of view. In my academic life, my thesis was on female soccer fans in England; and one of my arguments there was that in such a macho environment, women find themselves asked to prove their fandom again and again and again, in a way that men aren’t. There are trivia quizzes, there are interrogations of attendance, there are comments about appearance and “which player do you fancy, then?”. Fighting one’s corner is stupid, and exhausting; but so often necessary.

But it wasn’t that way with CHIKARA. I fell in love head over heels and that was it. CHIKARA asks for nothing more from me. The fact that I love it is enough. And it loves me too. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fact: Randy Orton winning the Royal Rumble is annoying – but maybe not for the reasons you think

January 30, 2017

The bookies were right. Randy Orton won the 30th annual Royal Rumble to secure his place at WrestleMania.

Except…Randy Orton was always going to be at WrestleMania. He’s Randy Orton. The Viper. The Legend-Killer. The Evolution of the Legacy. His place on the big stage is assured.

But he’s a safe choice – and when it came down to the final two, with Roman Reigns the other man still standing, an Orton win was the only way to assure cheers rather than boos as the show went off the air.

Something else that would have assured cheers would have been a more exciting, more interesting choice for the winner – somebody who’s not already guaranteed a shot at the year’s biggest show. Read the rest of this entry »


Fact: The WWE UK Championship Tournament was amazing – and it’s just the start

January 16, 2017

In recent months, I’ve not been overly impressed with WWE’s programming. I tend to get up on a Tuesday and Wednesday morning, glance over the results from RAW and Smackdown, and decide whether to bother watching the episode. (I remain loyal to NXT, though, which always has something worth seeing.)

And when you’re having a busy time of it at work, it’s easy to slip away from getting to too many live wrestling shows; it has to be something really special to get me through the door at the moment.

So it’s easy for me to forget how much I love wrestling.

And then there’s a weekend like this, and I remember it all over again.

Read the rest of this entry »


Facts from WWE NXT’s UK Tour and Takeover: London, December 2015

December 19, 2015

Last weekend I went up to Blackpool for the NXT tour show at the Empress Ballroom – I thought that would be a special evening simply for the return of William Regal. (I was right.)

And on Wednesday evening I was at Wembley Arena (in the very back row) for Takeover: London.

Here follow my thoughts, for what they’re worth… Read the rest of this entry »


Fact: The “Divas’ Revolution” needs to be bigger than WWE thinks

July 24, 2015

four horsewomen

“That’s a good-looking belt…that’s a women’s WRESTLING belt!” declared Alundra Blayze on the occasion of her Hall of Fame induction, holding her once-discarded women’s championship aloft.

Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch, three-quarters of NXT’s four horsewomen, have now joined Paige on the main WWE roster, leading some to announce that a “Divas’ Revolution” is now under way.

Enough has been written about the way NXT treats women’s wrestling – the women are characters in their own right, with motivations beyond “jealousy” and “boyfriends”, and the belt itself is for women, rather than “Divas”. (Can you imagine the men having a “Superstars’ Championship”?)

But a true revolution will never be successful until there’s a change from top to bottom. Read the rest of this entry »


Facts from Monday Night RAW, O2 Arena, April 13th 2015

April 13, 2015

Well, if I type quickly, I might get this published before the show airs…spoilers, if so…

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Fact: Alundra Blayze’s WWE Hall of Fame induction speech was amazing

March 29, 2015

CBOl4oiWAAAvqskThe 2015 Hall of Fame headliner may be ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage; Connor ‘the Crusher’ Michalak’s posthumous prize of the “Warrior Award” may commandeer the most column inches.

But Alundra Blayze’s acceptance speech was one that will live with me for a long time. Read the rest of this entry »