Hi all and welcome to the bumper 200th edition of the UK Scene, as you will read we have brought everyone together, took all the comments and will look at the current issues with DA, the past with Adam Sibley, 2005 and looking forward to 2006 with me and Mitchell Jones will be giving us his thoughts on the future of British wrestling.
The News Update with Devilish Angel
Hi everybody, I’m Devilish Angel, and welcome to the news roundup for this special 200th edition of the UK Scene, and for this occasion I have been promoted for the week.
I have been an avid reader of the UK Scene column for a couple of years (back when Adam Sibley used to send it out in a e-mail), and never did I think that one day I would be contributing to an edition.
Let’s start with some sad news, Mitchell posted the news that Majik has left MPW in all capacities, due to personal reasons. His official statement can be read at the MPW Forum. Majik had a significant role in building up both MPW and it’s training centre. Like Mitch said in his newsboard post, we at W101 wish him and MPW the best of luck for the future.
Let’s start the show roundup by heading up to the Northeast for information on 3CW’s last show of the year “The Fight After Christmas“. It will be held on Friday December 30th, at the Billingham Synthonia Social Club in Billingham, Cleveland.
Matches announced so far:
- 3CW Young Lions Title: Kid Richie (c) vs. Pac
- FWA Academy Guest Match: Dan Head vs. Ollie Burns
- Conscience, Blake Norton & Darkside vs. Damned Nation (Brother Shame, Brother War & Gabriel Grey)
- Billingham Street Fight: Chris Cannon vs. Gangster Ben Harland
- 3CW Title: Stevie Lynn (c) vs. Chris Whitton’s Chosen Challenger
Ringside tickets are priced at Adults £7, Child/OAP £6, and Family £21. Non Ringside seats are Adults £5, Child/OAP £4, and Family £15. For more information see 3CW’s Website.
Staying up North, the lovely Mitchell (Mitch you can send me the cheque now) posted the jam-packed full cards for 1PW’s January “No Turning Back” weekend, which will be held at the Dome in Doncaster, South Yorkshire on Friday 6th and Saturday 7th.
Matches announced for Friday January 6th
- 1PW Title Qualifier – No DQ Match: Sabu vs. Abyss
- 1PW Title Qualifier: Doug Williams vs. Darren Burridge
- 1PW Title Qualifier: Petey Williams vs. Jerry Lynn
- 1PW Title Qualifier: D-Lo Brown vs. Sterling James Keenan
- Christopher Daniels vs. Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles vs. Charlie Haas
- Jeff Jarrett vs. Bret Hart’s Mystery Wrestler
- Jonny Storm & Jody Fleisch vs. Low-Ki & Homicide
- Southern Comfort vs. Blue Meanie & Al Snow
- Steve Corino vs. Masato Tanaka
- Elix Skipper vs. Spud
- Plus a special appearance by Bret “Hitman” Hart
Matches announced for Saturday January 7th
- 1PW Title Qualifier: Jeff Jarrett vs. AJ Styles
- 1PW Title Qualifier: Samoa Joe vs. Masato Tanaka
- 1PW Title Qualifier: Charlie Haas vs. Steve Corino
- 1PW Title Qualifier: Christopher Daniels vs. Low-Ki
- Abyss vs. D-Lo Brown
- Sabu vs. Iceman
- Jody Fleisch vs. Jonny Storm vs. Jerry Lynn vs. Petey Williams
- Southern Comfort vs. Blue Meanie & Al Snow
- Doug Williams vs. Homicide
- Plus another special appearance by Bret “Hitman” Hart
Tickets are priced from £15 – £80. For more information about the shows including the Fan Slam and Premium Entry matches see 1PW’s Website.
Heading down South, the FWA may be having some problems, but their fans can still get their fix from the FWA Academy shows. Their next show “Final Fight ’05“, will be held on Sunday December 18th at their usual venue the Buckland Community Centre in Portsmouth, Hampshire.
Matches announced so far:
- Dan Head vs. Jonny Storm
- Max Voltage vs. Hade Vansen
- Submission Match: Justin Richards vs. Gallagher
- Mark Sloan vs. Baxter Burridge
- Superfight: Featuring Dan James, Harry Mills, Tom Langford, Ben Gaskin, Liam Brooks, Ollie Burns, Tyrone Johnson, Matt Campbell, Wade Fitzgerald, and Ant Lacayo.
Tickets cost £5.
Speaking of Wrestling Schools in Portsmouth, VPW’s School Of Excellence have announced the details of a tryout weekend starting on Friday January 27th. For £30 you will able to attend two shows and a three hour training session. The Schools head instructor is The UK Kid, who graduated from the Shawn Michaels Wrestling Academy in June 2000. If you are interested then pop on over to the VPW Website.
IPW:UK have revealed the first of their three main events for January 28th’s “No Escape“. It will be held at their usual haunt the Orpington Halls in Orpington, Kent.
Matches announced so far:
- Ashley Reed vs. Paul Robinson
- IPW:UK Tag Title: AK47 (Ashe & Kris Linnell) (c) vs. The Southern Alliance (Ross Jordan & Chris Wyld)
- Main Event 1: IPW:UK Title: Martin Stone (c) vs. Jody Fleisch
Also set to appear are Leroy Kincaide, Andy Boy Simmonz, Jonny Storm, Dave Moralez, Jack Storm, and the returning Battalion. Tickets are Ringside £20, Non Ringside £12, Child £6, and Family £30. For more information see IPW:UK’s Website.
KSW have announce a change to their card for their show on 16th December at the Yew Tree Sports and Social Club, Brackendale Drive, Yew Tree Estate, Walsall.
The card reads:
- Cupid Valentino vs. Carl Mizzery
- Darren Donaghan & King Khan vs. Jimmy Casino & Spiritwalker
- Staxx vs. Rob Long
- Sal Americana vs. Tyler Reyne
- Blondie Barratt vs. Nicky Mace
- KSW Rumble
Tickets are £6 for adults £4 concessions.
Finally a bit of news I have yet to post on the news board, especially for you Scottish wrestling fans (as I don’t want you to feel left out). W3L have announced two shows for March, “Remedy” will take place on Friday 3rd at the The Gunners Club, in Kirkcaldy, Fife, and on the next day (4th) “Payback” will be held at CISWO in Glenrothes. For more info go to W3L’s Website.
Last of all, time for all the results
NPWA “Ringmaster 4” Results 02/12/05
Mr Earls Club, Ince, Wigan, Lancashire, England
- Battle Royal: Won by AC Kage
- Triple Threat: Carnage defeated Danny Chaos and Major Pain
- Paul Havoc defeated Mark Rage
- Paul “Flash” Andrews vs. Enigma went to a no-contest
- NPWA Tag Title: The Governing Body (The Fireball & Slayer) defeated D-Dogg & Brickwall (c) to win titles
- Ringmaster Tournament Finals – Loser Leaves NPWA: Gary Wild defeated Joey Ace
MPW – Sheldon Results 04/12/05
Ivy Leaf Social Club, Sheldon, Birmingham
- Jekkel defeated Imperial Dragon
- Chris Stone defeated Psycho Steve
- No DQ Match: Mad Mike & The UK Pitbulls defeated The Damned Nation (Gabriel Grey, Staxx & John Bull)
- MPW Phoenix City Title: Hatred defeated Stiro (c) to win title
- Klondyke Kate defeated Black Widow
- Chain Match: Ronin defeated Toker
- MPW Central Counties Title: Keith Myatt defeated Conscience (c) to win title
Celtic Wrestling “Christmas Cracker” Results 11/12/05
Cathays Community Centre, Cathays, Cardiff, Wales
- Sweet Sugar defeated Thunderbolt
- Bassey defeated Workman
- Mike Bird defeated Edd Ferris
- Ricky Hype & Chris Recall defeated Tyler Brown and Elpsycho
- Caiman defeated Matt Vaughn
WAR “Christmas Chaos” Results 11/12/05
Lawrence Sheriff School, Rugby , Warwickshire, England
- Fireman Stan, Brandon Flynn, & The Spindoctor defeated B52, Brad Best, & The Spindoctor
- Young Dragon defeated Mikey Furaie
- T-Rex defeated “Showtime” Steve Stryka
- Santa’s Sack Battle Royal: Felony defeated Paparazzi, Louie Zerr, Pyro, Retro, and B52
- Axel Bowen defeated CJ Flame
- WAR Title – Highland Dog Collar Match: Mage (c) defeated Mooga to retain title
Just a quick note to promoters if you want your promotion covered on the newsboard then please contact us with the information, as much as we try to cover every UK promotion, sometimes it’s impossible just because of the number of them. Just think it’s free publicity for your promotion and all it takes is a couple of minutes to send a e-mail.
Thanks for reading.
The History of the UK Scene Review by Adam Sibley
When I started writing about the UK Scene there were no super shows, the FWA was still in its infancy and the trio of Dixon, Barker and Conway ruled the wrestling world. So have things improved since then I hear you ask. Well in this little section that Saracen has very kindly given to me I’m going to give you my opinion on the current state of the UK wrestling scene compared to when I first started writing.
Well first off we have to pay homage to the promotions that were around when I started that helped us get where we are now starting first with those promotions no longer in business those being:
Scottish Championship Wrestling – who paved the way for the current wrestling scene.
AIWF-GBH – who helped pave the way for the hardcore scene as well as leading the way for promotions to make links with American promotions.
The Wrestling Alliance – Conway was one of the only guys who had the money to compete with Dixon for the number of shows and venues a year.
Rumble Promotions – Barker’s promotion that put on good solid cards of British Wrestling which featured some of the top wrestlers of the time.
Other promotions that helped pave the way but are still in existence in some shape or form today include BRAWL and K-Star (KSW) who were big when I started writing.
That was the picture four years ago and I have to say British wrestling is in a better state now than it was then. When I was writing American wrestling was just on it’s comedown from the hot period in the late 90s and this was affecting UK attendances. Since then British promotions have realised if they wait for another boom period in the US they could be waiting forever so are trying to establish British Wrestling as a brand in its own right.
Unfortunately when the US wrestling boom of the late 90s was happening the UK Scene was filled with promotions who just wanted to make quick money by doing tribute shows, flying in ex WWE then WWF stars and trying to put minimum money in for maximum profit. If the promotions of today were around back then like the FWA and IPW:UK who want to establish themselves as a brand they would still of had a huge following after the US boom. After the US boom nobody felt attached to the promotions who just billed themselves as American Wrestling whose shows had no on going storylines or brand awareness.
The only problem we have right now is that many British promotions seem to spending a lot of their efforts trying to attract the internet fan market instead of trying to get the casual fan or the general public in. So if we keep pushing this market hard the wrestling business will be in the same place in another 5 years time. Internet fans should be the core of the audience base that doesn’t need to be advertised to, the people that will show up regardless we need to encourage more people to come not just be content with what we have now.
For a UK wrestling fan there is a lot more variety out there now which I think is a good thing it’s no longer the trio I mentioned above controlling everything. The Scene isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination but I’m full of hope after a year which has seen 3 super shows which have drawn 1000+. The shift in the market to producing event DVD’s and really advertising them hard I think will also help bring extra cash to the UK Scene promotions to invest in bigger and better events.
I just want to say congrats to Saz and Mitch on 200 and I want to say a big thank you to them for not letting this column die and I am thankful it is still a weekly institution.
2005 Review by Saracen
It seems incredulous to think that, the British promotion that most people know, the FWA is beginning to die away. Is that too bold a statement perhaps? Maybe, but when to look at where the FWA are now, compared to where they were, you have to ask yourself “What’s going on here?”.
It is true that they were the promotion that you wanted to get onto, mostly due to the fact that the Wrestling Channel had their shows on television. However, over the time the TWC has been on, we as Brits have noticed that, once again, the company has leant away from British wrestling and towards foreign versions, as we all know, Irish wrestling is the big thing, and that’s run by an American!
So to be fair to the FWA, their shows did benchmark what a wrestling event should be, they made the mould that was to be broken.
I think right now there is a stark realisation that British wrestling is not a TV commodity, there is also a downturn in interest, as the UK Scene always seems to follow the waves of the WWE, when it performs badly, so do the shows.
The FWA have been sensible in pulling back their resources, they are doing (in their level) low key productions until hopefully more interest comes to shows.
IWW seem to have knocked the FWA off the top slot with TWC support, this might have something to do with TWC’s production house being in Ireland, so we should see lots of Irish coverage and lots of UK Wrestlers travelling over to make their name!
However IWW don’t have it easy, this year also saw the start of Celtic Pro Wrestling (CPW)as a school and a promotion. Some serious wrestling heads from the Stampede gym are teaching there. They join England-based Steve Logan as wrestlers passing on what they were taught of the Stampede school to the UK Scene.
The biggest threat (in my eyes) is that the market is opening for foreign stars to come into Britain and make their money here. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with that, except that the UK Scene is slowly dying as people carry on hero-worshipping people who do make it onto TV.
The problem is any idiot can put on a wrestling show in Britain if they have enough money (Adam’s rants bout the faux supershows was enough to prove that). Any idiot can pay someone to fly over and wrestle. Any idiot can pay their money to rekindle that feeling back in 19-somedate or other, when the simple fact is, it’s over! Let’s look at something new!
British talent are now without a voice, they are now forced to feed off the dregs cast off by the occasional draw of American stars, brought over. Now I have seen what happens though when someone who is a recognised star turns up in the locker room, all the wrestlers suddenly rush to the person and worship them.
Fair enough, the guy deserves respect, but so do the people who have spent 10 years wrestling up and down this country.
I don’t think I’d be so critical of these “Supershows” if they actually made the attempt to promote a British product to wrestle alongside the Americans that pop over, people who have worked damned hard to get where they are (Spud springs straight to mind), he gets one look in at one of these shows and is never seen again.
The Midlands has always been strong in wrestling product, strong in wrestling school tradition and home of FCW, MPW and KSW.
In terms of success this year, it really is a toss-up between FCW and MPW, FCW have come a long way in such a short while, they have pushed the boat out and taken risks on expensive draws and bigger venues, sometimes it has worked for them and sometimes it hasn’t, but it is stating a message to the rest of the country that FCW are there to make an impact.
I do speak to a lot of FCW wrestlers and their belief is that the use of a regular venue at a regular date is the foundation to their continuing success. I can’t argue with that at all, it’s enabled FCW to engage fans with storylines and that can bring people back to find out what’s going to happen in the next episode. FCW have currently been hit hard on the injury side (with some serious injuries), but hopefully that won’t detract from their show quality.
MPW are, I have to say from personal experience, probably the hardest working promotion in the country right now, their date list is phenomenal and all the guys who work there put their time and effort in to train as well as put on shows.
The work that they do with NBW also bumps up the fixture list and it is good to see regular work with them. They too have the advantage of regular venues.
It’s a real shame one of the people who guided MPW, Majik, has left, it’s for personal reasons, also known as non of your business (heh), but all the best to you on that one mate! I’ll probably speak to you soon!
KSW has been struggling to find its form this year, starting off strong but going dry middle of the year. Steve Logan took steps to correct this and now KSW have started putting on shows again, but the stall has cost them in regular fans. 2005 has been a tough year, let’s hope 2006 will be better.
3CW have come in as probably one of the big hitters of 2005, with an understated attitude and quality matches, 3CW have quietly moved up in the list of promotions to watch out for. Original promotion of the Damned Nation, which is slowly becoming the UK Scene’s NWO, it is something to watch out for, and I am told, so are 3CW’s shows!
RPW have had a solid year, also working the summer with camp shows, the main news from the RPW camp is the opening of their training school, it is exciting because you get to learn from World of Sport Wrestler Blondie Barratt.
I remember there was a call for wrestling in Wales, then PPW answered the call, once there was one promotion that can prove they can do the job then you find others will want to get in on the action.
Celtic Wrestling is run by ex-PPW champion, Caiman. They appear to be running shows as a separate promotion to PPW, whether the split is amicable, I could not tell you, however, CW has been more vocal in its advertising.
Friends or not, it is good news for wrestling fans in the valleys!
I do feel sorry for WAW, billed as one of the big hopes for women’s wrestling in 2005 by our very own Adam Sibley, things just seemed to have publicly gone wrong for Ricky Knight and his family and it is heartbreaking to see fellow wrestlers lose out to personal issues.
Sweet Saraya is a damn good wrestler, I have seen her perform a few times for John Coppin Promotions down in Bristol, so it seems a crying shame that she decided to leave wrestling behind her and go missing. The worst thing is, I never found out how the story ended, but I have noticed a lot of shows are missing the WAW family still.
I’m not too sure what the future is with WAW, nor would I like to guess, I just send my heart out to them and hope things sort themselves out!
It does seem that pushing female wrestling brings bad events with UWL folding at the start of the year, promoter Honey Ryder was keen on women’s wrestling being formed there as well. I think it would be refreshing if we were able to offer a women’s division, I have great respect for all the female wrestlers I have met on my travels!
RBW were one of the “big players” when I first walked into a wrestling gym and it would have been hard to see them crumble into nothing. Somehow it happened, on the inside I know exactly what happened, but best not get into that nonsense. Effectively it was split down the centre with the London based RBW and the Nottingham based RBWA, RBWA soon became NBW, working with MPW as I mentioned and it seems that RBW was unable to keep up with the competition. Adam tipped them at the start of the year to be one of the big players next to FWA, wrestling is such a strange game!
It also seems like we have no more SCW (Sovereign Championship Wrestling), their forum is strangely quiet and the last show announcement was for the end of September. I did attend one of their shows and I can honestly say they are shows you will remember. It was great entertainment for me!
WZW have been far too quiet for my liking, there was advertisement after advertisement for their shows, either in head show or trainee capacity. I would say that they were the most hardworking of 2004. Once again, someone stepped down and that has left a big gap in the way WZW has done business. Such a shame!
WAR have also been too quiet this year! I was getting worried that they would only be producing videos for all the other promotions, but with a Christmas show planned and the wrestlers on their being relatively new names to me, I am wondering if they have had to go back to the gym to train up new stars.
Is that such a bad thing? Certainly not, new blood keeps competition for places going and people will put on better performances knowing that they are working for their place on the roster. Sometimes people retire, people decide wrestling is not for them anymore (Woefully too often), people argue, people go independent. These things happen and I am looking forward to hearing about what the new breed of WAR warriors will get up to!
So, to sum up:
FWA have lost its tv crown to IWW, however, unless IWW start doing mainland tours, it will have little impact as a company. FWA are being sensible and grinding shows out while the downturn in wrestling has hit.
3CW, FCW and MPW have pushed their way to the top of the regular promotions, WAW having slipped away due to the organisers’ personal reasons, KSW, WAR and WZW have been on the quiet side for whatever reason and RBW have folded amongst others.
IWW and CPW are fighting it out for dominance in Ireland and PPW and CW are working to bring wrestling to Wales
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Help us help promote you.
Now, onto my personal opinion (Those who disagree look away now!):
Single Names to look out for 2006 (In no particular order):
- Johnny Kidd – Superlative wrestler, technical genius, he will show anyone what wrestling is really about.
- Robbie Brookside – Robbie is a tough wrestler, however, I have seen him a few times now and his intensity is something else, he can get you excited about wrestling.
- Spud – Seen Spud perform loads of times and I disagree with the general view that he is a flip monkey. He epitomises guts and dedication in my eyes, he will face anyone and fears no-one.
- Rob Hunter – I have heard so many people speak about Rob Hunter and none of it is bad, I’m naming him by proxy here, as I have never seen the guy wrestle. I’ve been told he is undersold as a wrestler and that I should include him, so I have.
- Marcus Kool – I have faced Marcus in the ring many a time, beaten him each time as well… seriously, I rate Marcus a lot, he’s also grown into a powerful looking athlete, one to woo the hearts as well as the minds.
- Sal Americana – Pretty obvious choice for me, but he is hard working and a perfectionist, a lot of people will have Sal working for them in a second as he has proved himself time and again to be great at what he does.
- Shabazz – 2005 has really begun to kick off for Shabazz, he didn’t do a bad job at 1PW’s “A Cruel twist of fate” and it has done him no harm at all. The one thing I do know about him is that he has suffered a confidence problem in the past, the 1PW show I think has shown him he can do it and I think he’ll walk into 2006 a better wrestler.
- Andy “Fanboy” Krae – Andy is a funny one, perhaps overconfident and not afraid to say so, he does it in a way that you never take offence from him. This cheeky aspect of this wrestler’s style does translate onto the fans, he will be the first to admit he has a lot to learn, but I think 2006 will be his year. Though I still owe him for the chair shot!
- Carl Mizzery – Despite the teasing about him being Adam’s favorite (he is you know), Carl has experience on his side and is still able to pull off the moves that made him so popular in the early part of the 2000s. Carl’s match against Blondie Barratt was so good, I had to hit him with the ring bell!
- Keith Myatt – I have to admit that I really like Keith, not only is he one of the friendliest guys in wrestling, he knows his stuff. I hope that 2006 will see him injury free as a lot of wrestlers who face him in the ring can learn a great deal.
- Jekkel – I really can’t give too many reasons why, but Jekkel works his socks off for shows. I like his passion for wrestling, this young man has a great future ahead of him.
- Maddog Maxx Blassie – PPW’s champion, Maddog has always been underrated in my eyes, to some he will be my strangest choice, but he does entertain crowds and is very much free to concentrate on his career, I think he’ll do well in 2006.
Organisations for 2006:
- Damned Nation – Whoever thought of this is a genius, beginning in 3CW, Damned Nation is a group that is beginning to spread as a franchise bad guy group. Run by Gabriel Grey, his money and ideals mean that the Damned Nation is a group known in several promotions.
Clever thing is that when you put their name down, people will think of their “Damned Nation” and automatically think their wrestlers are there!
- PL4Y – FCW’s longstanding bad guy group, was hitting hard before Celt Kennedy’s departure and now is beginning to play more of a focus with his return. Very popular with the fans I am reliably told and I will look forward to seeing them work in the future.
Tag teams for 2006:
- The UK Pitbulls – I have to admit, I was pretty nervous when I was told I was facing the UKP, but they are professional through and through and I think they deserve a shot at the big time, they are something else.
- The Coalminers – Haven’t spoken to the Coalminers for a while, but I have always enjoyed wrestling with them and seeing them wrestle, they are great fun!
We really do need some more dedicated tag teams though!
And what about the UK Scene Column?
Well I have been told Sibbers is returning and hungry to return to writing articles, we are going to have a match and if he wins he can come back! Seriously, it’s good to see Sibbers back and his writing experience (and tact) can only be an advantage at wrestling 101!
The future of the UK Wrestling Scene by Mitchell Jones
It’s too easy to look back at the history of British wrestling, apply the common wrestling argument of cycles and think positive of the chances for a resurgence. Some of us don’t actually subscribe to the cycle theory though. The WWE may go through cycles, but WCW didn’t. Nor did ECW, even if you consider the supposed resurrection of the brand. Some things just don’t get the opportunity to pick itself back up after the great fall, and eventually fall off the face of the earth. It’s a sad thought, but our very own wrestling scene could be one more case of the cycle theory being flawed if it doesn’t change its ways soon.
Right now, wrestling fans in our great nation are resting their hopes on supershows. Why? Because they’re an opportunity to showcase talent from all around the world on British soil, with a big budget set-up and big plans for the future.
Stop right there.
Whilst I may not be Mystic Meg by any means (more like Septic Peg, for those who remember the old Brian Conley character, or Brian Conley full stop), I’m going to predict that 1PW starts experiencing big problems by the end of 2006, give or take a few months. I’m not talking about FWA-style problems – I’m talking ECW-esque here. Why? Because it’s a “money mark” promotion, ran by a guy who books what he feels will entertain him rather than what will work financially and business-wise. Right now, he’s bringing over American guys by the droves, such as Samoa Joe, Jeff Jarrett, and Charlie Haas to name but three. The use of home-grown talent from this side of the pond is almost non-existent. In other words, it’s not a British promotion. It’s an American promotion on British soil, and here lies where change needs to happen, in my opinion.
I don’t doubt for a moment that 1PW made a loss at A Cruel Twist Of Fate on October 1st, and I have every reason to expect that the upcoming No Turning Back weekend in January will pile up the debts even more. Considering how expensive the ring was, and what the production must have cost (not to mention flying guys like Raven in for up to £5000 each), with everything else on top, it’s going to be hard to fly in more guys each and every time. Eventually, 1PW are going to either have to bring in cheaper Americans or start using British guys – except, they’ve built none of them up to mean anything, except for Doug Williams, Jodie Fleisch and Jonny Storm. They’ve made it clear that our own talent is useless (don’t think that Spud being destroyed by Abyss wasn’t for a reason other than to make the monster look strong), and when they finally have to rely on them, who is going to care? Nobody, because 1PW has thrown it into the face of every paying fan that this is a promotion for American guys. Unless the company can then bring in bigger and better guys (equalling bigger and better pay checks), the whole venture will face stagnation (a word you’ll see a few times as this piece progresses) and become the tale of folklore that it is destined to become.
Those who fail to learn from the FWA are doomed to repeat it ten times worse.
At least Universal Uproar doesn’t present itself as a promotion, but rather as a one-off supershow. The scene cannot thrive off of this kind of deal though, and things need to be changed in order for the smaller fish such as IPW:UK, FCW, WAW and SWA to evolve wrestling over here into something that can become as big as the juggernaut it used to be – or at least bigger than it is right now.
So what can be done, and how will it compare to what will be done?
A huge problem in Britain is the consistent battle between tradition and America. By this, I mean that promoters either think that the traditional British style is the way to go, or that they need to become carbon copies of American companies such as the WWE or RoH. The problem with both is stagnation (remember what I said earlier?). Traditional British wrestling certainly has a nostalgic place in our hearts, and we can argue that it is indeed our own niche, our own style, our own piece of the wrestling puzzle. Unfortunately, tradition has little place as a full package anymore. Wrestling isn’t the only thing that has changed in the past 20 years – the whole world has. Football, music, fashion, it has all changed (for the better or worse is open to opinion), and wrestling should not have to chain itself to 1976 to appease those who refuse to evolve and adapt. As Vince McMahon proved, those who refuse to change will be left behind.
On the flipside, there are certain individuals who believe that copying Mr. McMahon is the way forward. To a degree, they’re right. What they fail to realise is that McMahon developed the WWF/E by taking wrestling and throwing in certain traits of a fast-moving culture. Our pencil geeks make one fatal mistake with this: they throw in traits of McMahons fast-moving culture, not our own. I’m not sure why, but it’s about time that it changed.
Simply put, the UK scene needs an identity, and it needs to be an updated version of our own. Wrestling isn’t accepted over here like Football or Rugby are, so why not eliminate certain elements that seem over the top and unrealistic, and add those aspects that actually appeal to people. Firstly, whoever tells you that looks aren’t important is a liar with their pants on fire. Older British fans grew up on the large middle-aged giant like Big Daddy and Giant haystacks. Young fans have been brought up to accept the muscle-bound steroid monsters as the norm. The problem therefore lies in the fact that we now see promotions full of five-foot-four munchkins with the bodyweight of a crisp packet. Sure, they can jump around the ring and somersault seventy times into tables every night, but who are they going to intimidate? Maybe a midget, if they’re lucky. It’s not like they even make an effort elsewhere either. Their hair is unwashed, their stubble could light a match, and their armpits smell of old ladies. Now, let’s look at football. David Beckham is the biggest celebrity name in the sport right now, not just because he is a good player but because he has a hot wife and wears the coolest gear. Why do wrestlers over here never do this? As a pure example, I like Majik a lot, as a wrestler and as a mind on forums. But I would take him even more seriously if I saw him arrive in a smart suit and with neat hair and a freshly cleaned face (not to suggest he doesn’t do this already). Good looking people attract followers, and that is a fact. Jeff Hardy, John Cena, David Beckham, Justin Timberlake, the list goes on. Often, talent is irrelevant, and superficiality takes control, but wrestling should adapt to it.
Another big problem for me is the use of interviews, angles and storylines. In a way, I’m ok for storylines to be a part of the shows as long as they aren’t too complex. What I do hate, however, is the use of over-the-top interviews or backstage segments. Let me clue you in on something: I watched the FWA on The Wrestling Channel once, and saw a backstage segment air featuring Jonny Storm as well as a few others. It was the most awful thing I have watched in wrestling for years, because it looked unrealistic and it made everything look cheap, second rate, and over-dramatised. It is not the strength of the UK talent and even Doug Williams agreed with me when I asked him during a chat session. Shockingly, no other sport uses the art of acting angry or setting up a feud. At least, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of David Beckham talking to himself in the mirror about what he’s going to do to Thierry Henry before having coffee thrown on him by Roy Keane. Maybe I missed that one. Either way, it takes away the authenticity of the whole spectacle, and that is something that wrestling does not need right now, in this country. In America, they can do what they like. But storylines and feuds can be progressed without the need of throwing someone off the roof. What if a Des Lynam wannabe were to stand next to Spud with a microphone and ask about the upcoming match with Jack Storm? Spud doesn’t have to say much – he doesn’t even have to act mean or aggressive. He doesn’t even have to show any ill-feelings. All it takes is a quick description of the kind of guy Mr. Storm is, the end result that he is hoping for, and where he hopes to go from there (example: to challenge for a title). That’s all that is needed. We heard Spud talk, now we see him walk. It isn’t rocket science. Furthermore, if Jack wants to get heat on Spud, he can be a heel without having to do anything extravagant. He can taunt Spud, he can taunt the fans, and he can be a little more aggressive in his speaking. It’s simple, but it gets the job done.
Of course, this isn’t to take away from the in-ring ability. I think a back to basics style is needed, but without going too far into the “boring” realm. A modern-paced match without too many high spots is definitely the way to go. Sure, Spud can jump off a balcony every once in a while if he wishes, but its to be done sporadically if at all. A match full of rest-holds just won’t suffice though. A line must be drawn between daredevil stunt show and snooze fest. If comedy is the way forward, use it. The Judge is an effective big man who is also one of the funniest men on the scene right now. It’s something different, and it’s light-entertainment. I, however, would never advise a promotion to build themselves around it, because then you will run into problems concerning the seriousness of your product.
Let’s not forget respect, as well. These days, if Earl Hebner is knocked to the floor, the fans groan and couldn’t care less. That doesn’t happen in football. In fact, if a referee was knocked down during a game, it would probably cause a national uproar. Why not, let’s say… turn our officials into figures of authority? I know, it’s a shocking and unheard of concept, but it brings a much-needed element of respect and sportsmanship into the frame. Furthermore, if a feud was so big that it needed that tiniest boost just to hammer home its seriousness, a quick shove of the referee would do it, because “HOW DARE HE LAY HIS HAND ON A REFEREE? Damn, he must be serious about getting his hands on that guy across the ring. I must buy a ticket.” A small, one off price for a fulfilling reward.
There are far more items I could get into, and maybe one day I will draw up a plan for what I would consider to be the company needed to bring wrestling back into power like it once was. As it is, there isn’t much more I can write at this present moment in time. It would be nice to say that one day UK wrestling may adapt some of these ideas. Maybe they will start trying to bring in a number of rugby players with physiques that don’t resemble beanpoles. Maybe promotions will take advantage of local drama students who can talk or manage for a small fee (if not for free, presuming they score big time and find a wrestling fan). Maybe more production companies will look at wrestling as a hot commodity and invest some time and effort (not to mention the all important money) into a promotion somewhere. Maybe Wrestling101 will start up a wrestling newsletter in 2006 that is sent to as many fans in the UK and around the world as possible until it is viable to release it as a fully-fledged magazine to sell at shows all across the UK, with additional DVDs and other promotional goods for the site and scene to benefit from. It’s hard to tell at this stage, although it’s a nice pipedream.
Unfortunately, I see no change in the foreseeable future. After all, wrestling isn’t exactly the most honest of professions, and wrestlers and promoters aren’t setting any examples worthy of sainthood. Whilst ego reigns and the battle for superiority continues, the argument will still rage – tradition or America?
Well if you didn’t read the whole column, I’ll sum it up for you. Be neither… be British.
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And there we have it, several sections of opinion from the UK Scene, a little pessimistic? Perhaps, a little idealistic? More than likely.
However, our intention is to make the UK Scene a discussable topic, so if you want to talk about the UK Scene, then please do on the TWO forums, you are sure to get a response from us.
Hope you enjoyed the 200th edition of the UK Scene and have a Merry Xmas!
Devilish Angel, Adam Sibley, Saracen and Mitchell Jones