Well call it writer’s block, or the old A.D.D. acting up, but the Rocket Kid just ain?t flying this week. So I?ve given Jake the week off and in his place present a piece about the recent wrestling event I attended in Brighton. For any readers unfamiliar with the geography of the United Kingdom, Brighton is a seaside tourist town on the southern coast of England. It isn?t a wrestling mecca like my hometown of Calgary Alberta, but on a beautiful Sunday afternoon I made the journey down for a delicious fish and chips and some old style British wrestling.
In my weekly column ?The Rise and Fall of an Underdog? I often write about Jake’s adventures in local small town wrestling companies. This stems from all the wrestling books I?ve read over the years and from my time as a wrestler in a small promotion in Swindon UK. But the Premier Wrestling event in Brighton was about as local as you can get.
The event took place in what could only be described as a conference room. The ceiling was so low that top rope moves were impossible and suplexes had to be taken with your knees bent! The PA system consisted of two speaks on stands and a man who looked like he had been around since before PA systems were invented running it. Their technological setup even included a video camera to record the action. Not a hi-def, digital camcorder mind you. Nope, this was an old fashioned VHS camera! I hadn?t seen one in years! Amazing!
Another thing I hadn?t seen in years was the old style British wrestling format. Matches are run like boxing matches with six five minute rounds and two falls or a knockout to a finish. The bell rings between matches and the combatants take a quick break, have a drink of water, and even chat to the crowd. My A.D.D. brain couldn?t take it! In this modern world of five minute TV matches and ten minute affairs full of high spots, this style really didn?t gel with me. And neither did the false advertising.
Dead centre in the middle of the poster was a picture of Doug Williams. I found it odd that he would travel all the way from Orlando to the UK for a match in a conference room. And he didn?t! Also advertised on the bill was UK star Joel Redman. But the announcer (who also took tickets, sold merchandise, and helped with the PA system) informed the crowd that Joel’s car had broken down on the way to the venue. Suspect, maybe. Disappointing, definitely!
The whole evening consisted of six matches; with one wrestler making a couple of appearances. The crowd was warned that they were not to take any pictures (?) and re-warned when someone took one! I made my way over to the merchandise during the intermission and purchased a Rey Mysterio mask knock-off and a WWF championship belt for the bargain price of ?9! I could see the money disappearing from Vince’s pocket, but I didn?t mind.
I guess I focussed more on the crowd, and what was going on around me, than on what was happening in the ring. I was just amazed by the old lady in the front row giving double V signs to the wrestlers and telling them to ?Eff off?. Or the group of mothers sat next to me who talked the whole way through the show while their kids punched and kicked each other on the floor. Then there was the woman sitting in front of me with a behind so large that she had to sit on two seats. The posh looking family that stuck out like a sore thumb and the drunken Dad whose heckles made no sense and his son whose face got redder by the minute. They were all there and I loved it.
As a writer I am always watching people and looking for ideas. On buses, in restaurants, doctors offices and training course, it’s all material. And the world of wrestling had given me some of my best stuff. My friends may scoff at my not so secret obsession with the sport and I don?t care. They might think that I would never fit in with the crowd at a wrestling match; me, an overly theatrical Drama teacher and radio DJ. Good heavens no! But I love it. For a few hours I can forget about it all, have a laugh and enjoy some entertainment… be it in the ring or in the crowd!
I guess I ended up being a little creative after all. If you have any comments or questions feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Jake will return next week with more of his adventures in the world of wrestling. Thanks again for reading and don?t forget to help keep your local wrestling companies alive.