Well, I have officially been wrestling for a year now, probably the most decisive of all my years I hope to have as a wrestler. Passing this year, with all its ups and downs and still coming out with a growing love for the game has proven to me that I think that I can now solidly call myself…
Yup, the basics have been taught, I’ve been fortunate enough to have a few shows and a fair few compliments, but in the ring I find myself wondering what the hell am I going to do next? I guess, at the moment, there is too much thinking involved and too much reliance on “set pieces”, a matter I believe my second year will be set to resolving.
Each experience I have though is building me up solidly, I have had good teachers and, I would like to think, very balanced training. Wrestling isn’t all about moves and in fact one of the best matches I had was against Cypher in a five-minute match, we did about 2 moves and thoroughly entertained the audience. This is heightened even by the jaw-droppingly-great Blondie Barrat, whom I, though I used to watch him as a kid, never got to appreciate how much of a master he is at making the audience detest him. That is until I watched him recently.
What have I discovered about wrestling so far?
I think that wrestling is definitely what you make of it, it is personal to everyone who goes into that gym and trains. This can be a positive thing when you see an overweight underfit person walk in and fight those inner demons and push themselves to exhaustion just to be a wrestler. It can also be a deeply egotistical march of self-serving. There are wrestlers out there who are wrestling to serve their own self image, some who kiss arse to get where they want to be and stab backs once they are there.
Yes, there are some pretty atrocious examples of human beings in wrestling, but on the most wrestlers are real stand up guys, a bit in your face for some but when they know you are a wrestler and they have shaken your hand, usually they are nothing but pleasant.
Despite what anyone says, it IS ok to make mistakes in the ring, it happened at World of Sport level and it’s going to happen in a community centre in Walsall. The point of the matter is, do you learn from your mistakes? I know there are some wrestlers who don’t like mistakes, they are perfectionists, but they also know that not everyone they step into the ring with is going to be a 15 year vet. The worst thing a wrestler can do is dwell on those mistakes, especially in the ring, you lose focus and more mistakes come.
I’ve had people attack me for my opinions and who I associate myself with in the wrestling world. The former is just difference in opinion, the other I still have yet to fathom. Who gave anyone the right to judge me by the friends I keep? Maybe it’s just the human spirit, but I have kept quite quiet about this, I am 29 years of age, I developed my personality long before most were able to wrestle. I am big enough and old enough to make my own decisions. If you want to hold a grudge against someone who did something to you 5 years ago fine, hold that grudge, but do not involve me or anyone else in that grudge.
I think I have heard about almost every grudge match there is in the UK scene and in all of them, I tend to get on better with the guy who makes light of the situation, rather than spending all their time trying to get me to hate the other as much as they do. I also know a lot of wrestlers tend to feel the same.
It is this whole “disagreement” thing that has split wrestling federations apart, one aggrieved party leaves and creates their own federation, thus instead of one single strong unit, you have two exceptionally weakened factions, braying for the blood of the other, take a look, you can see them occur on forums across the country.
Here’s a tip, you don’t know how to run a promotion better if you have been in the business for less than 3 years, have solid experience in business finance, know at least 5 different ring hirers and they know you and most importantly have the respect of your peers in wrestling and not just your clique group of mates you wrestle with all the time.
Someone once asked me if I was happy to work for people 8 years my junior, my answer is yes, they know more about wrestling than I do, age doesn’t really matter when it comes to knowledge. In fact there are 14 year old kids with more knowledge of wrestling than I have, the reason I wrestle and they stay in the gym is that I am fully grown and I am responsible for myself in the ring.
There is no way I would let a 14-year-old kid loose in a wrestling ring, I met one once in a rumble and I threw him out, cruel you would suspect? I think not, knowing that the kid would get trashed by other wrestlers I think it was the kindest thing to do. I really don’t want to burst any bubbles but when it comes to the crunch wrestling is an adult’s game, it’s a bit like sex, you should just practice till your 16 and really you should wait till you are 18. Young kids get hurt in the ring, I’ve seen it happen more times than I would like.
So why not 16 year olds? Because it is very hard to find a 16-year-old who doesn’t think he can rule the world with his uber-moves of death, his high flying ability and his rock eyebrow. A 16-year-old always has an answer, even if he knows he is in the wrong. A 16-year-old is always the first to complain when he gets slapped.
Actually, I consider myself a momentary whinger, it is quite amusing to see the people who know me listen to what I have to moan about, then get on with what they are doing. Simply because they know that I say what’s going in my head and then drop it, my point has been made. I must admit, I am a bit of a mother hen, especially when it comes to protecting the younger wrestlers.
I know I’m not perfect and I know I have a bit of an ego, but one thing I hate is people thinking they know me. Here’s a little tid-bit of info very few know, before I became a wrestler I was and still am a musician and a singer. I spent many a day stroking my ego and I have also performed in front of audiences in the thousands. I have two albums, a 60s Gibson J45 that was a gift from my dad after my grandfather, the one who introduced me to wrestling, died and I could be found on the banks of the river Severn every year playing to packed out pubs.
My ego has been stroked enough that I really don’t have it controlling my actions anymore, been there done that, worn it out.
When one wrestler, who I quite respect by the way, came up to me and said, “I really didn’t know you were that Saracen”. I said nothing, but the real reason is, I don’t do this column for an ego trip, or for fame or power, in fact some weeks it is the last thing I want to do, but I was asked to do a job and I accepted it. He was quite complimentary about my prose though, so thanks for that matey.
I have had wrestlers talk to me in a mature matter about the issues I raise in these articles, but as I explain to them, these articles that I do are more of a learning journal than me telling everyone out there what they need to do in wrestling. In fact there are very few people who need my advice, and when they do it is either “grow up” or “just take it on the chin”!
Another thing people don’t know about me is that I am a degree qualified Graphic designer. I had a lot of people comment to me after I made the claim that I would never dedicate a web site to myself, they asked me if I was worried in reality that it would look bad, as I didn’t have the talent to do so. That did make me laugh, however I have been using my talents elsewhere, I stick to my excuse, I think it’s a bit egotistical to dedicate a web site to myself, I did it with my music and it ended up being a nightmare!
But if anyone else wants to try… hehehe!
All I know is that I have been through a lot as a wrestler, from hoisting ring beams up the side of a venue to fishing trophies!
I am beginning to wonder if this next year will be more about what I have the balls to say than what I have learnt. I will be continuing my Independent career (If you can call it that), as well as doing my bit for KSW. I have recently been booked onto an American company’s show, when they tour over here, next year which is really cool, as it will mean I can truly look at the comparisons between American and British wrestling.
I think I will also try and look at the British women’s scene, though I won’t be doing a spot check for implants… darn!
There are lots of things I would love to explain to you all, some of the rules, some of the way wrestlers do things, some of the people, good and bad, but my tenets are not about gossip. I started the game with no preconceptions, just the will to lose weight, after a year I have become obviously thinner, I have given up smoking and a love for wrestling has grown.
I probably won’t be the best wrestler in the world, but if, for just 5 minutes of your time, I can entertain you, then I know I can do what I set out to do.