On Tuesday the 6 of February 2001 I had the opportunity to interview GBH wrestling owner/wrestler Chris Curtis. Chris is a 9year pro of the squared circle, he as wrestled in every major city in the UK, and now he owns his own wrestling promotion GBH. At over 6ft and 240lbs there’s no doubt this guy is one tough son of a gun. Chris had a lot to say in this interview, and some insight in to the UK scene. So without delay lets get to this fantastic interview.
First off Chris I would like to welcome you to Talk Wrestling Online / Wrestling101
Thankyou, it’s a pleasure.
Can you tell the readers about GBH wrestling
GBH Wrestling is the UK’s version of ECW. We are not like a WWF tribute shows because our talent has their own personas and their own gimmicks. Carl Smith of wrestlinginbritain.co.uk recently said “If Hardcore wrestling is your thing, then GBH is the promotion for you. They give you Hardcore wrestling – as in HARDCORE wrestling, and NOT Steve Blackman with a trash can lid. As far as I am concerned, no other UK fed at the moment offers a more extreme product”.
We have our own training center, the infamous Camp of Pain that is often compared to Stu Harts Dungeon because we hold a lot of Shoot Wrestling (Real Submission Wrestling) bouts there.
How did you get started in wrestling
I started out as a Martial Artist and as you may know I hold the grade of Black Belt 1st Dan in two styles of Ju-Jitsu, Ku Ko Ryu Ju-Jitsu and Bushi Kempo Ju-Jitsu. The Ju Ko Ryu style was mainly build around grappling with lots of back to back competitions which came in handy for Shoot style wrestling, whereas the Kempo style had a lot of striking Karate, and Kick Boxing. I also took up Boxing for a while before my jump to Wrestling.
Well I got my first break for Max Crabtree, as in Shirley Big Daddy Crabtree’s brother. Brian Crabtree was the ring announcer, but Max was the boss of the promotion-Dale Martin Wrestling Promotions. Max loved technical wrestling. It was an education, and my first big break and I have never looked back. I know a lot of wrestlers have bad-mouthed max but I will always be grateful to him for my start in the game. I worked full time for max when wrestling was wrestling, as in it was called a sport and not an entertainment like it’s referred to today. Back then it WAS a proper job and I worked full time.
Sundays we worked at Cleethorps, or Blackpool
Tuesdays at Skegness
Wednesdays at Southport
Thursdays at Morcambe, or sometimes at Weymouth
On Fridays and Saturdays Max would some times run shows in towns and cities across the UK and if I had a day off I would go and work for a promoter called Dave Reece, with permission from Max of course.
What other promotions have you wrestled for?
Dave Reece-Combat Promotions
Brian Dixon-All Star Promotions
Singh-Anglo Asian Wrestling Federation
Ricky Knight-World Association of Wrestling
Tell me about your time with All Star Promotions, could you tell us about your stay there?
I don’t think I ever got over with Brian Dixon. I think he saw me as one of Max Crabtree’s boy’s. There was a big rivalry between the two, so things were very political in Brian’s locker room. I must say even though Max had his faults you knew where you stood with him. You never knew where you stood with Brian Dixon!
However I did get to meet Dynamite Kid there and I expected Tom (Dynamite Kid) to have some sort of ego – but Tom was a real nice guy to talk to, he always found the time to have a chat with me. If I can just say one thing about All Star…I know they have their ex WWF (has-beens) wrestlers drawing in the crowd’s and that’s OK if your into the past but I plan to bring to the UK American talent that will be the Future in the WWF, WCW, and ECW! Keep your eyes open on the GBH website things are going to happen!!!
Talking of All Star did you have the pleasure of meeting Shirley “Big Daddy” Crabtree and Martin “Giant Haystacks” Ruane?
I remember seeing Haystacks for the first time. He looked a right miserable, nasty piece of work – but guess what the guy was ok. I think the nasty, mean look was just a part of his gimmick although I only met him a handful of times we had a few conversations, only short ones – little things like hello, how are you? Talk about the weather and so on. In fact he was quite a nice chap to be around.
Here the funny thing Big Daddy’s gimmick was the good guy the perfect gentleman – but he was a miserable man and Haystacks gimmick was the mean nasty giant but Stack’s was a good guy at heart …isn’t that the funniest thing
I heard that Shirley wasn’t a pleasant man out from the camera; can you tell me about him?
Yes…as many people know there was two sides to Shirley, there was Big Daddy-the mom’s n’ dad’s favorite, the kid’s hero and the peoples Champion. Then there’s Shirley…well Shirley loved a good moan and never had a good word for all the kids that came to watch him. Really the Big Daddy gimmick was all a farce! I remember one time when I was working for Dave Reece, the shows that Shirley worked on usually ran like this….
First there would be a nice technical wrestling bout between two faces, no cheating, no brawling, just nice clean wrestling. Then it would be time for Shirley’s bout. Well then it was Shirley who usually would team with a lightweight against two 18-20 stone heels. This was when the cheating would all start and the heat would build up and finally the audience would reach an emotional climax.
This one night a wrestler called Kid Sox and myself went out before the daddy tag and we were supposed to do all the technical stuff and the reason for this was that when you do the technical stuff you don’t draw much heat from the punters, so that way when the Daddy tag starts the crowd are fresh (probably bored stiff to be honest) and that way there’s plenty of heat left for Shirley. Well we had other plans. I worked heel and I was as dirty a fighter as I could be, the crowed loved it and there was loads of heat…too much heat! Then when Shirley came out and worked he got nothing, I mean nothing. Shirley went spare and so did Dave Reece and I was lucky that I didn’t get fired. The entire roster saw the funny side and in the end I think Dave Reece did as well.
What are your plans for the future of GBH? And do you see a TV deal in the future?
I have BIG, BIG plans for GBH! At the moment we are training new wrestlers so that we can build up the roster even bigger and although we are only running our live events at Bidd’s in Stoke-on-Trent we are looking at spreading out to other areas over the Midlands at first, then throughout the UK. Several TV companies have been in touch all with different ideas in mind and one of them wants me to fly out to America to wrestle in a Barbed Wire Explosions Bout! Nothing is concrete yet but ill keep you posted.
I heard that Mikey Whiplash jumped ship to All Star any comments on that?
You heard right. Mikey and a few others are working for All Star. They still work for me and they have all said that GBH Wrestling is still their number one priority, but I think Brian Dixon should train his own wrestlers instead of stealing them from other promoters. Mikey and co. say that they are grateful for their start with me and GBH and they will always put GBH Wrestling and me first. So long as Mikey and company keep to their word then I don’t see there being a problem.
Chris can you tell me what’s your most memorable moment in your 9 years as a pro?
It’s just been nice to meet people like Dynamite Kid and Steve Regal and to find out that not all the superstars have big egos.
Tell me about the teaming up with the WWF superstar the Rocks uncle AFA and his promotion WXW?
Great Britain Hardcore are proud to announce our first ever UK week-long pro wrestling training camp. GBH Wrestling has joined forces with Afa, owner of the Wild Samoan Pro-Wrestling Training Centre and World Xtreme Wrestling. Afa will be the special guest instructor at the summer camp along with top stars from his promotion, World Xtreme Wrestling. Afa the Wild Samoan has trained many great stars including: Yokozuna, Junk Yard Dog, Doink the Clown, Bam Bam Bigelow, Paul Orndorff, Michael Hayes, Luna Vachon, Sika the Wild Samoan, Kanyon, Kidman and many more stars! Afa’s Wild Samoan Training Centre is the brother company of World Xtreme Wrestling, which means students have endless opportunities of world touring and entertaining thousands around the world! Afa’s Wild Samoan Training Centre has very close ties to the World Wrestling Federation and is the ONLY Professional Wrestling Centre endorsed by the WWF, Vince McMahon, Rikishi and the Rock; Rocky Maivia. Fans can find more info at gbhwrestling.com.
Chris I look forward to seeing the show on the 16th of February, can you tell the readers of any more shows that you would like them to know about?
The following GBH-UK live events will take place at Bidd’s Live Entertainment Venue, Sutherland Road, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.
CAPITOL PUNISHMENT: Friday the 16th of February 2001
SPRING JAM: Friday the 9th of March 2001
Special Two-day, Week-end camp training sessions on the following dates:
Saturday the 24th and Sunday the 25th of February
Saturday the 21st and Sunday the 22nd of April
Saturday the 2nd and Sunday the 3rd of June
It’s been a pleasure interviewing you Chris, is there anything else you would like to share with TalkWrestlingOnline/Wrestling101 before we close?
If anyone wants to be in a UK promotion that works ECW style then come and train with us, just hit the GBH website for more info.
Chris it’s been a pleasure chatting to you, and I would like to wish yourself and GBH the very best in the future.
Thank you it’s been nice for me to tell TalkWrestlingOnline / Wrestling101 about GBH Wrestling and myself. I’ll see you at the matches.
Chris I wish to thank GBH Wrestling and Chris Curtis for this interview. If anyone would like to check out GBH or wrestling training then go to the GBH website: gbhwrestling.freeserve.co.uk.