I have always thought that a wrestler will continue to learn about the business throughout his career. People underestimate just how big the UK scene is, how it functions and how it brings the people who work in it closer together. I am constantly learning and I put my thoughts down about my learning for you to read so I can hopefully help a few people understand the UK scene a bit better.
Along this journey I have met many a kinsman, who see me as their equal, see a man who weighs 350lbs work and pay me compliments. I work hard for their respect and every person I meet in this business I value and respect, I hope that I can gain their respect back.
However, there is another side, which I learnt recently, this was why wrestlers are so close-knit when it comes to their career and I am hoping to explain this to you in my first ever-wrestling story.
This bank holiday I had a fairly busy wrestling weekend, there was KSW’s Pandemonium on the Saturday, which went well, I ended up putting the Spinning Blade on Wolf for the pin and got to see two students shine when they had to fill in for a serious gap. I also found out that a friend found that he didn’t have the passion for wrestling that he thought he had and decided to take a break from the scene for a while, which upset me, but I have never been someone to tell another wrestler what to do with their career.
So up came Sunday, I and three other compatriots set off on the long journey to Great Yarmouth, the plan was that we would find a hotel there, spend the night in the pubs of Yarmouth, sing a bit of Karaoke, go to bed and drive over to the festival we were wrestling at.
Unfortunately, due to the bank holiday, there was no room at the inn and we had to drive over to Lowestoft to try there, on which it began to bucket down with rain, making our search nigh on impossible, but we managed to find there was no room at the inn there, so we stopped for something to eat and discussed our options.
We decided to go to the village where the festival was being held and stopped at a pub for directions, they pointed us to what must have been Britain’s version of Bate’s Motel, so we were quite glad that there was no Vacancies. We went back to the pub and tried to find more places, but in the end it was a sleep in the car job, when we discovered that the rear window of my car would not shut.
One plastic bag and tape later we eventually entered the pub and found that the locals were very friendly. The Landlord of the pub asked us to play a prank on one of the regulars, he found out we were wrestlers and told us publicly that this guy had thought we were gay, so we all stood up and trash talked the guy. It was a funny moment for everyone involved but it also got us invited to a private barbecue (which unfortunately we couldn’t attend because the event organisers wouldn’t allow us back out of the venue during our break).
We bedded down for the night in the car, then did our best to wash ourselves with the wet wipes we’d taken from the KFC the night before and then tried to find the venue. As it always goes, we passed it about 15 times before finding it but eventually found it and had to face about 5 different people telling us where we could or couldn’t park my car. Eventually we settled by a Bird of prey sanctuary display and the wonderful Terry said he would keep an eye on my car (due to the window) so if in the unlikely event he is reading this, thank you very much for your kindness.
Eventually we met up with Gerry Norton, who had provided the ring; I knew what it was like as I had wrestled in it before and we left his team to put the ring up and went to look around the event. I was a bit cautious about the whole event though, as I had used my only singlet on Saturday and had to wrestle without a top in open air and it was a touch breezy, but I felt that as soon as I got into the action I would warm up a bit, the elements however had a different plan.
So I come to my match and the heavens open up and the wind increased to the point where it was sucking the breath out of my lungs and my nipples could have cut glass, my entrance music was a piece of light jazz, even though I was the bad guy in this match, things were not looking good.
We were just about the start, in the driving wind and rain, when the microphone squeaked and someone said “Can I just stop you there lads, I want to hand out the fishing trophies!”.
Here’s me with just a pair of bottoms to keep me from freezing and some guy decided that we should stand there in a downpour and gale force winds because “They have been waiting till six O’clock”. As I was the bad guy, I decided that I would have a few select words to say to him, nothing bad mind, there were kids present, but I think my comment of catching hypothermia whilst he gallantly sticks up for people wearing thermals won the decision in our favour. We didn’t care anyway, we just started wrestling.
Now if you think wrestling is a hard thing to do, try doing it when water is pounding your face, the ring is slippery and every time you land on he ground you had that awful feeling of wetness spreading across your body. Needless to say we did the job, albeit in less time than normal, but we were in there together putting on a performance to some pretty die hard wrestling fans who were getting just as wet watching us, I think I appreciated that more than anything.
Oddly, once I had returned to Gerry’s van I found I was soaked through, but strangely I had still managed to enjoy working with my opponent. It was just the two of us up there and despite the elements we were going to entertain people, no matter how few they were, they were standing there to watch us and we were damn well going to give them what they wanted.
So a little dejected, we returned to my car to discover that we weren’t allowed out to said barbecue, so I just went to sleep for a couple of hours till the next show. Gerry in the mean time did his best to dry the ring out and did an excellent job of it, as when we returned it was bone dry, the wind had died down and the sun was shining.
We had a tag team match which went the way it was supposed to, the crowd were into it and when I say a crowd it was a big crowd, we worked well together and it was a pretty successful ending. Those final 20 minutes made the whole trip worth it in the end.
So what did I conclude about my experiences?
That through adversity shared is a friend for life, this is the reason why wrestlers are so close and will defend each other to the end. My opponent and myself worked through difficult odds to perform for people together and it does make you closer to that person, because only he knows what you are going through.
That if you come out of what in summed was a pretty disastrous trip and say that you enjoyed the wrestling, or the wrestling makes it all worth while, then you know that you love wrestling.
That wrestling is a pretty grimy business all in all, but you have to get on with it, a lot of wrestlers are quite pampered nowadays and I hope that they never have to sink as low as I did just to entertain people, but then again I do, because I have a keener understanding of what wrestling is all about, things that some wrestlers have said that didn’t make sense at the time is now very clear to me and I hope it is very clear to you.
There are few things that compare in this world to the honour of performing in front of an audience and entertaining them.