This week I got chance to interview Jon Farrer who is the promoter behind the much talked about “Battle of the Champions” event. I managed to get an exclusive first interview with him about the event and his plans for the future. He also had some lets say interesting points to make about the current UK wrestling scene and his opinions on previous failed attempts to put British Wrestling back on the map.
The 2kwrestling site has been up for a while if I’m not mistaken what made you decide to launch the BOTC event off it?
To be honest, there’s no real story behind it. In its heyday in 1999-2000, the site got 25,000 visitors a day and it was a prowrestling news site. But that time has passed, I had a site name and a design doing nothing, so I figured I’d use that instead of needlessly buying a new name, etc.
Has the WWF buying up WCW and buying up some ECW wrestlers helped or hindered you when it came to getting the US talent you have on the show?
It hasn’t made too much of a difference. A lot of the wrestlers I would’ve liked to have on the show are still under AOL contract, working for the WWA, or simply not interested in coming here to work one event. Yeah, there’s also the ones that are charging such ridiculous amounts I never really followed them up. I do have a lot of contacts from working for POW magazine, and some of them may be freed up to work the show nearer the time, so we’ll have to see. Some sceptics may say that in Guido, Nova, Corino and “Tough Enough” Taylor (besides the other names that are yet to be confirmed) that isn’t “star power”. They might have a point when comparing to say.. Eddy Guerrero, but I know they will go out and wrestle themselves to death, which may not be the case if I bring in stars with high profiles and huge reputations. I DON’T mean Eddy when saying that, he rocks!
What makes this event different from other failed attempts in the UK by other promotions like Wrestlexpress?
Erm, the show will go ahead for one matter! Another matter is I am not a buffon like “CoolRy”; I don’t urinate all over myself (don’t ask). WrestleXpress lost its focus and spent money on champagne parties, fancy hotels and things like that. That was just for meetings, too. Most failed attempts like that are because the guys running it are “money marks”, whilst others don’t have the money – it’s a strange contrast. I’ve also got the right people talking to me and directing, it isn’t a one man show. The only reason WrestleXpress didn’t go ahead is because “CoolRy” literally pissed away all of his money from what I am told, which was a shame. I’m on a tight budget that has to be strictly abided by, and if I want to get pissed, I have to drink own label vodka, not champers!
Other promotions in the UK are going big what do you want this event to achieve?
To show what this country has to offer. There is so much talent out there it is unreal. Everyone knows about Alex Shane, Jody Fleisch, Jonny Storm and Doug Williams (who will all be on the show), but who knows much about, say.. The Zebra Kid? He is an immensely talented young wrestler.. I saw a post somewhere from a fan saying I should bring in Juvi Guerrera or someone to take Zebra’s place in the Cruiserweight tournament; I wouldn’t dream of doing that – although you never know if names like that will be added as time goes on. I will not “replace” names from USA for the UK boys. We will have the star power, but we’ll also be putting over British wrestling. Oh yeah, making a few quid would be a bonus, too!
What is your opinion on the current UK wrestling scene?
Hmmmm, have to be careful of what I say here! In seriousness, I think it is moving along and eventually someone will get a shot at the bigtime. It could be Tommy Boyd, FWA, NWA, WAW, whoever. There’s lots of young guys out there who are getting better and better and the older guys are beginning to work with them. The standard of wrestling is as good as I’ve ever seen in the UK, unfortunately where the action is good, most promotions struggle in the production and venue department. I’m not saying it’s their fault, as I know how much the plush venue that is the Preston Guild Hall (cheap plug!) is to rent out, and I wouldn’t fancy paying that sort of price for every show I promote!
What made you choose Preston as the venue for this event?
Living there is obviously the main reason – as I can be involved 100% with local promotion, which is the main focus, getting asses on seats. It’s also in a wrestling starved area, aside the odd tribute show by Orig Williams. The Guild Hall has a long tradition with wrestling, someone reminded me today that Rocco and Dynamite Kid wrestled against each other there, so it has a great history. History is great and all, but now is now and hopefully we can make the Guild Hall a great wrestling venue, and Preston a great wrestling city again.
Is this a one off event or is there a long term plan for Farrer promotions?
Ask me when the first show is done with! If we don’t lose money, and put on a good product that does British wrestling some good, then sure. If we make money and put on a great show, then definitely. If we cause more harm than good and lose a bundle in the process, then I guess not. I can’t see it being the latter, I just hope it’s the second one! We would like to make the Preston Guild Hall a place for regular wrestling shows, it’s not like we’re stepping on anyone’s territory as no-one runs there. Of course, if no punters are coming through the door, we won’t bother. But a funny feeling inside me says we’ll be packing 2050 people into that building on July 6th, at least I hope so!
If I were to interview you in a years time from now what would you have liked to have achieved with Farrer Promotions?
I sound like I’m doing a “bank job” here, but of course to make money. If you aren’t doing that, or have no plans to do that you may as well save your time and go home now. But I assure you that you will get one hell of a show, and even though tickets are expensive by UK standards, you will not be disappointed. As long as we put on the show we promise, and draw a sellout of 2050 people for “BOTC” then I’ll be happy.
Finally give us all the details like card, ticket prices and contact information?
We still have some matches and names to announce, but as of right now it looks like the following:
“BATTLE OF THE CHAMPIONS”
July 6th, Preston Guild Hall, Preston
- Doug Williams vs. TBA
- Steve Corino vs. Robbie Brookside
- Alex Shane vs. Nova
- “Tough Enough” Taylor Matheny vs. TBA
- Cruiserweight tournament including: Little Guido, Jody Fleisch,
- Jonny Storm and The Zebra Kid
Tickets are 24.99 for ringside, with others priced at 19.99, 16.99 and 12.99. You can order them on 07801817502. There will also be a fan fest during the day which costs 7.50 to attend, but includes a free Polaroid with a wrestler of your choice. There will also be a special training seminar with Steve Corino, a press conference and a Q&A session. That ticket line again is 07801817502.
Thanks for your time, I hope to see you all the readers there!
No thankyou Mr. Farrer and I hope the event us a great success and achieves everything it sets out to. You can read Jon’s work in POW magazine or log on to 2kwrestling.com to keep up to date with all the news on the event.