UK Wrestling Scene Interviews

Adam Sibley Interview

This week, I interviewed Adam Sibley (Dag81) the leader of TWO’s UKScene. We discussed the past year in UK wrestling in great depth and reflected on the 1st Anniversary of TWO’s UKScene section…

Pabster: This week, I interviewed Adam Sibley (Dag81) the leader of TWO’s UKScene. We discussed the past year in UK wrestling in great depth and reflected on the 1st Anniversary of TWO’s UKScene section…

You have attended many UK events this year, in your opinion which was the best?

Toughie, I can’t just pick one but here are a few of my favourites, ok here you expect me to say Revival or Uprising but two of my favourite events have been FWA “No Surprises 4.” This was one of the first events I have taken friends to and we drove up to Portsmouth and enjoyed a brilliant event with Storm vs. Justin Richards being my favourite from that card. Then the other card that sticks out is a show put on by the TWA in Plymouth at the Guildhall in November, the show featured Doug Williams and Juventud Guererra with an awesome match between Fleisch and Storm to top it off with for the welterweight title (yes title changes do happen in Plymouth).

Yeah, so many people rave about Revival and Uprising but there has been so much to offer by the UK federation’s this year. Which has been the best performer on the UK circuit this year?

Doug Williams, Jonny Storm and Jody Fleish came out of Revival smelling of roses but the likes of James Mason, Robbie Brookside, Carl Mizzery lack the recognition they deserve.

For the amount of matches and events they worked over the year you have the say the likes of Storm, Fleisch and Williams but the most underrated wrestler is Carl Mizzery who currently plys his trade for K-Star, he has wrestled for many other UK promotions but has failed to make the so called big time but if you can catch a K-Star show you will see how talented he is. The thing that sets him apart from many others is as well as wrestle he is good on the mic which is a skill very much lacking I feel in the UK scene over the years.

I do like Mason for his wrestling style put him in against Williams or Stevie Knight and that would be a match to see. It is also good to see Robbie Brookside be pushed back in to the limelight.

So, Mizzery is your pick?

Most definitely, he is a class act inside and outside the ring ok he may have not chosen the best path on his way to becoming a professional wrestler but he is very talented and a promoter should put him in a three way with Storm and Flesich as he is up to their very high standard in my opinion.

It’s a shame K-Star don’t have the funds to tour outside the Midlands area. If they did, Mizzery would get the exposure.

Yeah that is the problem in the UK Scene at the moment, only a few feds have the resources to tour properly those being All Star and TWA. It is good in a way, that those local to K-Star can see live wrestling on a regular basis and follow the storylines. You never know though if federations follow footsteps made by FWA they could have a chance of touring more as the FWA started off just promoting shows in Portsmouth when they were called the Farenham Wrestling Alliance and look at them now so it is not impossible for smaller feds to become bigger.

Yes, and Alex Shane stated in an interview recently that the FWA are having a “relaunch” of sorts early in the New Year. Maybe that could lead to a Tour by the FWA?

The relaunch does intrigue me as not much detail has been released about it. I thought they had already had a relaunch when they promoted “Uprising” and then again with “Seasons Beatings” as these were new style longer shows with more US talent and ticketing changes but I guess we will have to wait and see what they have planned. I am not sure FWA themselves are 100% sure on every aspect of the relaunch. I would love them to come to Plymouth.

The relaunch is in February, the 4th anniversary of the FWA. Maybe another King of England tournament? It would be a good way to elevate talent and a nice tradition every year to have.

It would be and I remember earlier this year on TalkSport Alex Shane hinted at the FWA holding a UK version of King of the Indies but that could of been Alex talking about the tournament they held at “Seasons Beatings.” It would be good from a marketing and promotional stand point to have a yearly tournament.

OK, back to 2002. We witnessed All Star putting on one of their best ever tours by bringing over talent like David Flair and Shark Boy, FWA put on two of the best shows of the year in Revival and Uprising and had success with London Calling, No Surprises 4 and Season’s Beatings, TWA had another successful tour even branching up North too. WAW and NWA:UK had another solid year and these are becoming bigger and bigger as time goes by. Overall, it has been a tremendous year for the UK promotions, but which one in your opinion has been the greatest?

Toughie, I would have to say FWA as last year with the whole WrestleXpress debacle it was hard to see a federation selling out a 2000 capacity arena but FWA managed to do it with Revival. WAW haven’t improved their gates much but had got a lot more notoriety on the net now as they have pushed their web promotion. I think a very honourable mention has to go to IWW for getting a 1000 odd people in to their show in October all though 2003 is looking a little hazy for them right now.

We have all heard about the NWA:UK news that they are in talks with a major broadcaster for a TV deal. What are your thoughts on this and if it happens, how successful can it be for UK wrestling?

If it does happen and it is a national TV deal then it could revolutionise the UK Scene. The UK scene would gain widespread media attention due to type of programming pro wrestling is remember all the controversy WWF/E on Channel 4 caused. If it was to happen a lot of guys may jump ship to NWA:UK leaving other feds with less talent but on the flipside more people will be encouraged to take in UK wrestling no matter which federation it was. I would just hate to see the TV companies start to control the NWA:UK as that would take away from the product I feel.

If talent does jump ship, it would be very controversial indeed

A lot of talent out their at the moment started in NWA:UK but decided to leave for various reasons like conflicts and money so it would be a case of what comes around goes around if people were to go back to the NWA:UK I feel. It would be a case of how bad they wanted to be on TV would they be able to swallow their pride and go back.

A lot of people keep forwarding the idea of a massive merger of the promotions to make one, top quality federation. That would be great, but it just a dream. There are too many reputations in the business to join up with others. If talent do jump ship to the NWA:UK we could see the smaller federations go out of business, what do you think?

Well the first merger idea in a long time was the formation of the universal championship. Which failed to get off the ground as like you said reputations and ego got in the way, and in reality you could see it wasn’t going to work from the start. As if your a promoter and one of your wrestlers had the belt you wouldn’t want him going on another show and dropping it likewise the promoter of the other show would want his guy to win add to this the fact that it didn’t fit with storylines currently taking place in the UK it was a recipe for disaster. If one UK organisation got a national TV deal I feel it wouldn’t put people out of business as it would have knock on effects to other promotions as fans being more willing to see a UK show after seeing some on the TV.

The talk SPORT radio show was cancelled recently. What are you thoughts on it and how will it affect the FWA?

Well, personally I think TalkSport were wrong to ditch the show in the way that they did and to be replaced by easy listening music is a kick in the back teeth to be honest. TalkSport failed to take in to account all the under 16s that listened to the show which I think is quite ridiculous. I think in the short term it will effect the FWA as they have lost the UK Scene’s national platform due to no fault of their own but I think the brains at FWA will come up with ways to get around this problem and to get information out to the masses. I think the time to tell will be when the FWA promote their next show in February as then is only when we can judge what effects it has had.

This year we have seen Doug Williams, Jody Fleish, Jonny Storm and the Zebra Kid work to a very high standard in the US. Do you reckon they will stick around the UK Scene or work more within the US? Surely if they want to get picked up by the WWE on NWA:TNA they have to work more in the Indies?

Well that depends on each of those wrestlers personal goals. I think they all recognise that without the time they spent in the UK scene they wouldn’t be able to do half the stuff they are doing plus most have work and family ties here in the UK. I think at the moment they are all taking what experiences and chances they are given and seeing where it leads them. Doug Williams was the pioneer really, it was his performance at King of the Indies which has invoked a lot of the interest. I think each one is very capable of wrestling in the WWE but all they can do is keep plugging away and seeing what happens but to be recognised on the US Indy circuit is an accomplishment in itself.

We have to mention Robbie Brookside who had an excellent year. He defeated Doug in Liverpool in September to lift the British Title and he worked in Japan with Kendo Ka Shin in tag matches. What are you thoughts on Robbie’s year?

Like I said earlier, it is good to see him back in the limelight which he richly deserves. He looks younger than ever at the moment and seems to still have a really big hunger for professional wrestling. It is a shame we don’t hear more about his work he does in Europe which goes very unnoticed in the UK as he works the European scene a lot to great success. Brookside is well suited to the Japanese style as he is a good mat worker and is very methodical which is what the Japanese like. His work for FWA has made people sit up and take notice again even though he never went anywhere and never changed.

What do you think about the GWF? Run by Jon Farrer, they had a great show with Battle of the Champions and their next show is scheduled in February for Aftermath

GWF, well a brilliant idea is the first thing I must say. Farrer has put a lot of money and effort in to the show and I enjoyed interviewing him earlier this year about it. I do feel though that you can’t knock the US stars he is bringing over as they are all good for different reasons but they are finding it hard to fill the hall in Blackburn they promote from which is a big shame. The couple of no shows at the first event hurt them but good on Farrer for going ahead with the event and persevering with the project.

Overall, your view on 2002 in the UK Scene?

My view on 2002? What a year! We have seen the first nationally televised British wrestling event since world of sport. Ireland had a wrestling promotion they could now be proud of and have live British wrestling on their doorstep making it feel more like a UK scene rather than just an English one. In the same boat Scotland had the same with SCW. Although the talkSPORT cancellation has tainted the year a little, but it has been brilliant to have the pleasure of reporting on.

Finally, are you pleased the way the TWO UK Scene section has evolved and would you like to say anything to the loyal members that have stuck with the section over the past 12 months?

Well, on the TWO side of things first off a big thanks to Kam for employing me as their were many applicants for the position and I was lucky enough to get picked. Next the readers of the column they have made the UK scene column one of the top 5 most viewed pages on the site so many many thanks (Kam may keep on another year because of it). Thanks also to my campaign members thanks for the loyalty and thanks to all of those who support mine and Kam’s brainchild of the UK Scene chats. I hope you have all enjoyed reading my work and I hope you continue to enjoy my work in the year 2003. Last but not least I must thank Pabster for taking the time to do this interview with me and for being one of the best contributors to the UK Scene forum as well as being a fountain on knowledge on the UK Scene to converse with at great length. Sorry if I missed anyone out.

Well thanks for your time Adam, and let’s hope 2003 is just as successful as 2002. Cheers.

Cheers Pab.