Saturday, 26 October 2013

American Wolf in Brigg

So it came to pass that I find myself outside Ancholme Leisure Centre on a Saturday night in October. The last time I was here I was re elected to Brigg Town Council and not elected to North Lincolnshire Council. So I am 1 for 2 in this building over the last few years. Tonight however I was on a sure fire winner. My friend and Deputy of Heartbreak Phil Brown, who is a wrestling newbie I am educating in the ways of the squared circle, made the homage to our new Mecca. Real Deal Wrestling have been gone from Brigg for a while and as promoter Steve Sykes told me they really want to come back on a regular basis. Tonight laid out the scenarios and the matches for this long term promotional investment. 

The opener was the wonderful Robbie X against "American Wolf" Davey Richards. Davey had a night free on his schedule because of a promoters lapse in payment. When opportunities come knocking in wrestling you do not turn them down. RDW took full advantage and happily booked him on their show in Brigg. So you have one of the best workers in the world appearing in our small town, how great is that? Sadly indicative of the world indy wrestlers work in one sense, but I'd rather have him wrestling in Brigg than anywhere else. As one of my friends and an even bigger fan of wrestling than me Mark Dunderdale,who has literally traveled the world to watch wrestling said to me at the interval "It is just surreal". What's more the match delivered. Robbie X is an excellent wrestler I strongly advise you check out because he went toe for toe with Davey in a full on American Strong Style belter. The former Ring of Honor World Champion wasn't actually that popular and it was one of the first things that struck me about the crowd in attendance. They are a very diverse group, ranging from smart mark fan boys like me, to elderly couples who used to go to The Drill Hall in Lincoln (I got talking before the show started), to Mums, Dads and family groups. A lot of my former students, I was proud, and regular drinkers from my home pub The Britannia Inn. So it was nice to see them in a different environment. Wonder If I can get the Landlord to put on the next TNA PPV? Back to my point. Davey came over as a little heelish, because well a lot of the people in this audience will not have heard of him, he would just be another American wrestler, who traditionally have been heels in the UK, except for Rickie Starr, but things smoothed out over the match. He won with a double foot stomp from the top rope which was something else to see in person. I've seen him do it on Ring of Honor TV for years, and watched others do it as well, but the impact is something else as is the "oooooooh" from the crowd. After putting the RDW and Robbie X over in classy style.

This led us into the rest of the card featuring home grown talent and it is a great talent pool. Will Jackson being a stand out, now a GWA graduate, his match with The Hammer had people on the edge of their seats and was an excellent showcase for the wrestling school he represents. The Hammer wasn't half bad either. I was particularly impressed with Benham Ali and Simon Lancaster, what strikes you most though is the pace of the show, which never lagged and made three hours fly by. The main event tag with Ultimo Dragon and Spyda versus Sykes and King Kendo was my mark out moment of the evening. Here was a Japanese legend before my very eyes, and though I have seen it I still can't quite believe it. It is quite frankly incredibly difficult to please and audience this diverse, but there was enough of everything to keep everyone interested. Enough story based angles and yay boo moments to keep the fun fans happy, enough pure wrestling to keep the smart marks happy,and enough star power to give the whole thing a big show feel. 

Its hard not to when you have Ultimo Dragon on the card, and after the show I was able to catch up with him for a short conversation while he greeted fans, so here is my first interview with you know an actual proper wrestler rather than joshing with them on twitter. Of course my first one had to be a guy I have adored for 20 years so I wasn't nervous at all. Much, but thanks once again to Steve Sykes for getting this interview together;

You've been wrestling in the UK for a few weeks now, how do you feel about British wrestling at the moment?

Its been good I've enjoyed it.

What's been you favourite show?

They've all been good everywhere.

Are there any British wrestlers who influenced you when you where younger?

I never got to wrestle him, but I have to say The Dynamite Kid.

Do you think there is any differences in the British style compared to all the other places you go to? Or is it all just wrestling?

Its all just wrestling.

Thank you!

After I got in my quick chat with Dragon I talked to Steve Sykes a little more who informs me there will be more shows to come in Brigg and I am really looking forward to them. They should be doing great business soon, and when you consider how many people go to a TNA house show, they are getting similar sized crowds with no house hold names, and no TV. The mans a booking genius. As he managed to get heat whilst drawing the raffle, I am sure he is.

So on to the main event Stixx versus Havok for the RDW title. I had seen these two go at it before at the Grimsby GWA show a while back in a four way with Will Jackson and Spyda so I knew what to expect. I have to say though As much as Stixx is really cool, I am so impressed with Havok. He reminds me of the first time I saw Shinya Hashimoto on video, and I know some Japanese wrestling fans are gonna say "Sacrilege!", but, the first time I saw Hashimoto I was like, well whats he going to do? He's just a barrel on legs. Of course I then proceeded to see him kick the living daylights out of Scott Norton and that changed my view instantly. Havok did the same thing in one match. That four way in Grimsby. I suddenly had the feeling I was watching a special talent. He is blessed with a physique which is more Kevin Steen than Davey Richards, but as Kevin has proven you don't need the physique if you have the skills and the mouth. Havok has both. 

So thank you Real Deal for an excellent nights entertainment and I will look forward to you coming back. The crews next show is on Friday with Davey Richards taking on Spyda, I would think the more vocal 18-30 guys that frequent the Central Hall in Grimsby will give Davey a full throated welcome which he truly deserves. Tonight was a great opportunity for a great promotion, they didn't disappoint. My only disappointment was that sadly my Dad missed the show, he is sidelined with shoulder issues at the moment and can't really get anywhere. He missed an amazing night, now so when is the DVD due out?     

Friday, 11 October 2013

Puroresu in Brigg

So I was flicking around Facebook the other day, when something caught my eye. It was a message from the Grimsby Wrestling Academy page. I had greatly enjoyed their show at Central Hall I wrote about last time I blogged and then I saw the words that just about blew my Japanese pro wrestling loving  mind. GWA's associate promotion, Real Deal Wrestling (a truly appropriate name by the way) are going on tour. Their headline attraction for this tour will be Último Dragón. Yes that Último Dragón, the most decorated pro wrestler of all time. The man who held ten titles at once. The man who developed Jap-Lucha into an art form, the guy who left Japan at 22 years old because he didn't feel he was getting anywhere and went to live in Mexico because he though he might do better. Turns out he did, but emigrating at 22 years old to another country where they don't even use the same alphabet and wrestle the opposite way round to everyone else? There is a man with guts. Here is the kicker, on the 26th of October he is coming to Brigg. Yes Brigg. My home town, the place they made me Mayor of. It just made me squeal in a way I am not sure I am comfortable with, but hey. So the next stop is calling my Dad. He said "Último Dragón? Really? That Último Dragón? The guy who wrestled Jushin Thunder Liger in front of 64,000 people in the Egg Dome Último Dragón?" Good head for stats my Dad, and great wrestling.

Back in the day Brigg wasn't really a hot bed for wrestling. I attended a few shows in Brigg at the old Corn Exchange before it was pulled down. Bi monthly Wednesday night shows where headlined by some very good wrestlers who where sadly in the place between the tail end of the first TV era and the second coming of British wrestling into the mainstream that we are getting to now. Or as they are known the wilderness years. The highlight for me was a visit by "Bomber" Pat Roach, then still well known as an actor rather than a wrestler from his time in Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and Indiana Jones. The shows where good, any live wrestling show is good, and I will watch any wrestling anywhere, but they did what they said on the tin. Well rounded family entertainment and it was part of a traditional loop that included Doncaster, Lincoln, Scunthorpe and Cleethorpes from the old Joint Promotion days. They shows where well supported and I was glad when they kept going at the Leisure Centre. I was especially glad when some of the countries top talents came down in the early 2000's like Jodie Fleisch and Alex Shane who where really making a splash with the FWA at the time. This one will be my first in a while in Brigg. Because hell or high water wouldn't stop me getting to this show. 

So while The Ancholme Lesuire Centre isn't Korakuen Hall in Tokyo or Arena Mexico in Mexico City we can go and celebrate one of the most varied, talented and just plain gob smackingly good wrestlers that has ever lived. A man who started Dragon Gate wrestling in Japan (so you can thank him for Evan Bourne and Adrian Neville being in the WWE) and Toryumon Wrestling in Mexico. Who is highly respected as a grappler and as a teacher, running dojos in Japan and Mexico. I strongly recommend you catching Dragon on this tour, you may never get another chance to watch someone this good. I also recommend the under card because it features some of the finest young talents Grimsby Wrestling Academy has produced. They are exceptional, as we say at our 'ouse; New Japan good. 

I will also be bringing down the boys and girls of TNA Fan Forum for whom I write the original Sheriff Lonestar's PPV of the Week. There has been discussion about coming up North or moving over a town a two for a night out and it seems this is the one. So I will be glad to be their host, because this show will deliver. 

More information is available here;

Tickets here;

And just so you can see what its like to be world class;

Anyone got any streamers?