I was pretty tired as I wrote my last column, travelling about the UK can do that and after a wrestling fan read my column he sent me this message,
“Why travel at all? You live in Glasgow, you got loads of wrestling things happening”
He is right, there are an amazing amount of wrestling events around or near Glasgow to see, ICW, SWA, PBW, BCW, PWE, Pride and Fierce Females, I mean that’s just lucky right? Seven amazing promotions in one area and they are amazing promotions this is a fact…but there are other promotions. I mean, wouldn’t it be great to see how your favourite wrestlers are portrayed in other parts of the UK? Of course it is, but that’s not the only reason.
I travel, it isn’t always easy and travelling across the UK in the last month has probably has been the hardest thing I’ve done in a long while but before I get to that, I want to discuss one of the best times I’ve had as a wrestling fan this month.
Preston City Wrestling, late November they had an event called, “Supershow of Honor 2” working in conjunction with Ring of Honor. It was four shows, three days, two afterparties, one stand-up show and the Meet and Greet session combined into a three day weekend. Now I’ve been to PCW before but I’ve never had the full PCW weekend experience. With the arrival of the team from ROH and an amazing list of events I thought let’s go for it.
I had a look at some of the notes I wrote on my phone to describe some of the shows after I saw them:
“Holy shit Air-Galloway just connected with the 4th row, didn’t know there was a fourth”
“Meet n greet is funkin awesome”
“This weekend is amazing!”
Suffice to say I was too busy enjoying myself to write some constructive notes. Maybe I was distracted when GM Joanna Rose was in full vindictive mode, giving the front row a lecture about how amazing her faction is during a match, maybe it was when Adam Cole captured the Cruiserweight Championship or maybe it was Noam Dar looking every bit the equal to ROH World Champion Jay Lethal in an amazing match, maybe it was the full event. It was the full event, it was excellent and to me this is a regular occurrence with PCW, it is fantastic down there, it is fun and there is great wrestling too. But on the trip home the weather would cause chaos but let’s not think about that yet.
Instead, let’s fast forward to the weekend after that, I travelled to Alpha Omega Wrestling based in Morecambe, want to know about that promotion, read my last article…read it? Okay. So getting down to the show was…it was scary at times, overturned cars, same with lorries and roads flooded. I got to the show and it was a testament to the dedication that the wrestlers who made it there have, through the weather, they made it.
It was a great show but afterwards when I helped unpack the last of the equipment, things got difficult as the lights went out in the building and when I walked outside, it wasn’t just the building, it wasn’t just Morecambe or Burrow but it was parts of Lancaster as far as Carlisle too. The weather had made it’s mark.
It’s the next day, I was heading to Manchester to see Progress with no trains, no buses and, even if I decided to go back, home was a no go as well. I sat and I thought, I could be stranded, but the owner of Alpha Omega Wrestling said he was heading to Manchester to drop people off and if I want a lift I can join but it’ll be in the back of the van. Within minutes, couches are loaded into the van, myself, an awesome member of the ring crew as well are in the back of the blacked out van too and we head to Manchester through the floods and basically worst types of weather.
Now, I’ve just read that paragraph back, yes that did happen and it was one of the weirdest but fun trips ever had. My personal thanks goes to him, he didn’t have to put himself out but that’s the type of guy he is, legendary.
Now before I continue, a personal thanks to some of the folks from the Progress Facebook Fan Page, a week before the event I was struck with an allergic reaction, I thought I’ll go to Alpha Omega Wrestling then head back and not making any drama about it, said I had a cold and I couldn’t make the show. I put tickets on sale in the Progress Ticket Twickets Page and I thought that was that. The response I got it wasn’t expected, a barrage of people that I met at Progress and other shows offered to help, bringing me Lemsip and one couple even DM’d me saying I could crash at theirs to ease the travel. With this volume of encouragement I thought I’ll go, stuff the allergic reaction, I’m off. Now this behaviour from the Progress fans isn’t reserved for just for me, this goes for everyone who is a Progress fan, okay maybe not the couple part but the encouragement, yes. A testament to the family unit the fans of Progress have.
Now, we reached Manchester, in time for the first bell at Progress. That night they were debuting in that city. As Progress is regularly in London and has never branched out before, I wondered about the reaction, the crowd and would it be different to the amazing atmosphere of the Electric Ballroom, the usual haunt for the promotion. Easy answer, no difference at all, great crowd, the matches were fantastic with a main event involving Will Ospreay, Flash Morgan and Zack Gibson as well as a phenomenonal match featuring Zack Sabre Jr, it was an excellent experience.
When the show finished and I was on my way back home, the night would take a turn for the worse. As I made my way back from Manchester to Preston, the trains became uncertain of their plans and the information regarding routes to get home became difficult to get hold of. Reaching Preston, the news arrived no trains going to Glasgow, replacement buses? None either. Okay. Where do I go from here? I sat on seat and mentally I was defeated. So, vexed a bit at the news received, a social media status was due and within minutes, I received messages and DMs saying I could crash at houses or I could get picked up, again these were from friends whom I met previously this year at wrestling shows some from friends I recently made at the PCW event.
Then after discussing the situation, Megabus was mentioned and after waiting many hours until a free one was available I finally found my way back home…thirteen hours later after the show.
That night was the only time I’ve probably not had any options or a clear plan of direction, but it was great to know that the friends that I had made because of wrestling were there just incase I was in serious trouble about getting home, thinking about it, just over a year ago, I never travelled to shows and I didn’t know these people whom I call friends.
So when someone says, “Why do I travel to see wrestling shows?” It’s not just for the shows anymore but to see the new friends I’ve made and more often than not make new ones.
Well, that was this months column, hope you enjoyed it, hope you have a great New Year…
Hold on, last month I mentioned that for one night I became a referee and some of you responded with, how?
Well it starts like this, I help behind the scenes on social media for Caithness Pro Wrestling, haven’t seen them before? Let me explain, they are based in Caithness, top of Scotland to you and me. It’s a new Promotion, with some superb young talents who have great passion for the industry and who want to strive forward in the business.
Now, after promoting the event, ‘Fireworks’, on Twitter, the owner of CPW contacts me to let me know their regular referee won’t be there for the show and as I’m making the 400 mile back and forth journey am I able to replace him. Like any wrestling fan my answer was yes, of course. And after discussing it, my mind started to have doubts.
I’m not trained, I’ve never done this before and I don’t want to fuck it up. The length of time to try and get sufficient training would be too late, if I did get a month training and screw up it would be the detriment to the Academy that trained me and myself, perhaps ruining their reputation for them taking a chance on me. So I thought about it some more and after seeking advice, I got told to enjoy it, I mean when would this happen again? Never, so what the hell. I have friends who are referees and I’ve seen them work, but then another thought entered my head, would they take it as an insult that I’m doing this when they have been trained. So more doubts arrived, my main thoughts, I didn’t want to screw anything up, as a referee I’m there to be a conduit between the wrestlers and fans without stealing any of the focus from the wrestlers.
Let’s skip to the end after the event because everything inbetween is abit of a blur. I was mentally tired, refereeing six matches and I even got slapped (don’t mess with Kitty Trouble). Overall, it was an amazing and truly unique experience one that I’m appreciative of. It gave me another aspect of wrestling to look at, in my head I had a checklist, “as a referee you must remember you are impartial, the fans attending are there to see the wrestlers not you, take every piece of advice given and above everything else to the fans you must remain professional, you represent the promotion”, I think I did that and if I did get noticed, I hope I represented CPW in the best light possible because everyone else on that show certainly did.