Fact: some stereotypes of British wrestling linger for a reason

March 5, 2015

If you indulge in social media at all, or if you read newspapers, you’ll have probably caught some of the kerfuffle around a certain article in the Guardian this week.

Tying in with Simon Cowell’s musings about bringing British wrestling back to television, TV writer Stuart Heritage brought some of his ‘World of Sport’ memories to the fore when sketching out what this new series might look like.

If you have even the vaguest interest in British wrestling history you’ll know exactly the kind of thing it included – middle-aged men with beer bellies, angry grannies in the front row berating the heels, shows staged in local leisure centres, all a plodding, working-class contrast to the glamour and polish of WWE.

Wrestlers and fans alike have been outraged. Read the rest of this entry »

Facts from IPW, Zack v Hero, Angel Centre Tonbridge, January 19th 2014

January 19, 2014

20140119_194756Well, I told you I was going to drag myself to Tonbridge, (very expensive) rail replacement services notwithstanding.

And frankly I think it was probably the best decision I’m going to make all year.

From the opening triple threat between Party Marty Scurll (resplendent in fur), Mark Haskins and Jonny Storm to the spectacular main event between Zack Sabre Jr and Chris Hero, every match was a gem for its own reasons. Read the rest of this entry »

Fact: Fergal Devitt is making his IPW debut this weekend

January 17, 2014

1493187_635050056532787_2064297271_nI’m always a bit loath to go out on a Sunday night, especially when it involves travel.

But when I saw the card for this weekend’s IPW:UK show in Tonbridge, featuring Chris Hero vs Zack Sabre Jr, I decided I’d go, and damn the railway engineering work and its stupid replacement buses.

And now, Prince Fergal Devitt’s been added to the line-up, facing Dave Mastiff. This is going to be good.

“Obviously I’m looking forward to debuting for IPW but I think I’m more looking forward to the fact I’ll be returning to Kent and seeing some of my oldest friends, especially Danny Garnell and Zack Sabre Jr,” says Devitt, “not to mention Jimmy Havoc who I hope does a run-in of some sort and puts someone through a flaming table covered in thumb tacks and pops the crowd!” Read the rest of this entry »

Facts from 4FW, Chipping Sodbury Town Hall, March 8th 2013

March 9, 2013

1874_10152654594240374_750499510_nI’ve done a fair bit of travelling to see wrestling shows, but the village of Chipping Sodbury on a rainy, foggy Friday night? Well, I have to be honest and say that the attraction was the main event, pure and simple – Kenny Omega v friend of TOWIS Zack Sabre Jr.

I know there’s a school of thought which criticises the use of imports on UK shows, but the fact of the matter is that if you’re a British wrestling fan attending shows regularly, you’ve seen pretty much all the best talent multiple times, and the chance to see them wrestle each other for the nth time isn’t necessarily going to get people to pay for a ticket. The use of imports – booked and used correctly, without over-expenditure – can be a draw, and there’s no denying that – I heard a couple of casual fans after the show enthusing, “I enjoyed the Canadian guy [Omega], he was something a bit different!”

And sure, some other matches on the bill looked interesting – the card also featured Sha Samuels v The Saint, and Dave Mastiff v Eddie Ryan, as well as Pete Dunne v Fujita ‘Jr’ Hayato – but it was the lure of seeing a couple of the world’s best that convinced me that being crushed into a car with six wrestlers and driving for three hours was a good idea.

I’m glad I went, too. Read the rest of this entry »

Fact: a fabulous bank holiday weekend of UK wrestling approaches

August 24, 2012

Everyone’s favourite king of the arm-bar, Zack Sabre Jr, makes his final three UK appearances of the summer this weekend before he disappears off to Japan for another three months.

Triple X Wrestling are hosting a show at the Coventry Sq Club (adults-only, of course) which features Prince Devitt; IPW:UK have their summer show in Sittingbourne, where ZSJ faces Johnny Gargano and Marty Scurll takes on Sha Samuels; and Comic Wrestling Alliance have their debut show in Maidstone – set to be one of the most exciting cards of the year.

Promoter Graham Beadle admits to a few nerves prior to CWA’s first-ever show (not surprising – he’s also the afternoon’s MC), but he’s very sure about the quality of his talent. Read the rest of this entry »

Interview: Zack Sabre Jr talks about Japan, NOAH and his future plans

August 17, 2012

Zack Sabre Jr announced earlier this week on Twitter:

I talked to him a fortnight ago, just after his return from his second trip to Japan and NOAH, and found out a little bit about his time out there. Frankly, he seems to have had such a great time and they seem to have loved him so much that the news of this third excursion doesn’t really come as a surprise.

“There wasn’t a moment when I wasn’t over the moon to be there,” he said. “I made an effort to try everything and explore every town that we were in. I’ve been there for three months – you get so settled. It might be a different experience if you’re just there touring. You get so relaxed into everything. It felt like I had been there for months, a month into my second trip. It might be because I’ve always wanted to be there so much, so it feels natural for me to be there.” Read the rest of this entry »

Interview: Johnny Moss talks coach trips, TNA and The Apprentice

April 25, 2012

When and how did you first become interested in wrestling?

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. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: BritWresFest (Wrestling With Ethics), Coronet, London, April 1st 2012

April 1, 2012

Right, let’s get this bit out of the way first. This Wrestling With Ethics show was for charity, raising money for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, and that has to be the primary thing to take away from the afternoon. They could have put the worst card ever on, and it would still have been a commendable enterprise.

However, it was by no means the worst card ever. Some of the top UK promotions put together showcase matches, with titles on the line all round, and it was great to see some of the best British talent on the same bill. Read the rest of this entry »

Facts from Progress Wrestling, Garage Islington, 25th March 2012

March 25, 2012

The Garage is a legendary music venue, and it was a coup for Progress Wrestling to book their first show there. With rows of seating set out close to the ring, and more chairs on the stage, with standing area by the bar, it was organised beautifully with great sightlines all round.

Which is fortunate, because there was so much going on in the ring you really didn’t want to miss it.

The first half of the show were the quartet of match-ups to select the finalists for the four-way to contest the inaugural Progress Wrestling title. The opener was El Ligero v Noam Dar, and this was a compelling bout. I know I’ve said it a million times before but Dar really is destined for the very, very top. The crowd were noisily behind El Ligero, with a “Scotland sucks!” chant starting just as the bell rang, prompting Dar to yell: “Scotland’s only up there! He’s from Mexico! That’s the other side of the world!” And he did have a point. Read the rest of this entry »

Interview: Zack Sabre Jr talks wXw, LDRS, Progress and being kicked by KENTA

March 7, 2012

If you follow any of the British wrestlers on Twitter, you may well have your suspicions at how well behaved they were at wXw in Oberhausen this weekend just gone.

“It was lots of fun,” says Zack Sabre Jr, incredibly diplomatically. “It’s always eventful. There are always some antics.”

What a great word. “Yes. Well, there are more Brits there now, plus some Americans like Sami [Callahan] – it’s kind of at the point when you’ve basically got a group of mates in a foreign country, climbing into guinea pigs’ cages…I’m trying to think of something embarrassing that Marty [Scurll] did, but I can only think of things I did…” Read the rest of this entry »