BIG JAPAN: THE JEKYLL AND HYDE OF JAPANESE WRESTLING
WRESTLING WILLIAM REGAL DISCUSSES THE NEW WWE UK CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT
WHY CENA SHOULD WIN THE ROYAL RUMBLE
“THE DEADMAN VS THE DEMON” SteelChairMag.com
roadblock: Sasha banks v charlotte
THE DEMON KING SPEAKS
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WELCOME FROM THE EDITOR elcome to the final SteelChair of the year. It’s been a massive year of wrestling already and what an end to 2016 with WWE announcing the UK Championship tournament. We were there at the announcement and had a chance to chat with William Regal and Robbie Brookside about all things British wrestling. As you can see on the cover we also had a chance to to chat with the first ever WWE Universal Champion Finn Balor, who discusses his comeback and who his dream WrestleMania opponent would be.
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Thanks again to everyone for reading and supporting the magazine. Hope you have a Happy New Year! David Garlick @davidgarlick
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BIG JAPAN 06
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"Featuring interactive roundtable discussions on prowrestling, including the Monday Night War Timeline series, the SCG Trials, current events analysis and random topics a melting pot of opinion, wisdom and humour"
PAST MONTH MATCHES OF THE MONTH
WILL OSPREAY V MATT RIDDLE PROGRESS CHAPTER 39
Riddle made his PROGRESS debut and what a way to make a debut against Ospreay. Not only was this match of the month but up there for match of the year.
CHARLOTTE V SASHA WWE RAW 28/11/16
Visit VultureHound.com for regular wrestling updates from SteelChair Magazine
OF THE MONTH PETE DUNNE
s there any other wrestler in the world this month that has made more of an impact than Pete Dunne?
Whenever these to women are put against one another they are going to steal the show. The ring alone could not contain them as they ended up in the crowd at one point.
WOLFGANG V STEVIE BOY ICW FIGHT CLUB 11/12/16
Former NAK brothers tore into each with . Stevie showing he really does belong in the upper echelon of any ICW card pushed the champion to his limits, but for everything Stevie had Wolfgang matches making this a cracker.
RICOCHET V LEWIS GIRVAN ICW FEAR & LOATHING IX
Richochet earned his shot at one of the best wrestlers on the planet by overcoming Kenny Williams, the match didn’t disappoint with the action spilling to the outside of ringside and plenty of highflying. Girvan really did put himself in the limelight with this impressive display against Ricochet, don’t be surprised to see big things from him in 2017.
If that wasn’t enough, he excited fans at wXw Wrestling, challenging for the wXw Shotgun Title in a four way title match. This was on top of making his appearance in WCPW, teaming with Travis Banks and challenging Johnny Moss and Liam Slater for the WCPW Tag Team Titles, concluding this month as one of the sixteen contenders for the WWE UK Championship.
AZTEC WARFARE LUCHA UNDERGROUND
The crazy world of LU brought us an equally as crazy third instalment of Aztec Warfare, LU Champion Matanza Cueto defended against 19 other Luchadores. The elimination style of the match adds a great feel to a battle royal type match.
EVENT OF OF THE MONTH ICW FEAR AND LOATHING
DECEMBER 2016 STEELCHAIR 05
WORDS: LEE HAZEL / PHOTOS: WWE
The demon king speaks FINN BALOR 22 STEELCHAIR DECEMBER 06 JULY 2O15 2O16
DECEMBER 2016 STEELCHAIR 07
inn Balor is the former Universal Champion that never lost the belt. He talks to us about his rehab, his paint and his time in NXT.
Have you been keeping up with the UK indie scene? I don’t get back very often but I try to follow as best as I can on Twitter and Instagram. I’m good friends with a lot of the boys out here so they keep me up to date on a lot of what’s happened. Obviously, I’ve been a huge fan of the scene for a long time. It’s a scene that has not been given the platform that it deserves and this is something that is going to catapult the entire UK
08 STEELCHAIR DECEMBER 2O16
and Ireland scene to the next level.
It’s been speculated that you might return around WrestleMania. What is your dream scenario for your return? First of all, rehab is going well. Obviously, the target was always going to be getting ready for WrestleMania. That’s still the target, hopefully we can make it. But the dream scenario, for me, would be to come back and face The Undertaker. The Deadman vs The Demon. Especially for me, growing up watching The Undertaker for so many years, the idea of that match happening was pretty farfetched
“THE DREAM SCENARIO, FOR ME, WOULD BE TO COME BACK AND FACE THE UNDERTAKER. THE DEADMAN VS THE DEMON”.
as a young boy, and the fact that it is now somehow in the realm of reality and it could actually happen … I’m very aware of the limited amount of time we have to execute the match. That would be the dream scenario for me. The Undertaker.
What is your inspiration behind the unique costumes you bring out to the NXT Takeover shows? I’ve always tried to keep the paint somehow geographically relevant to the building I’m in. In Brooklyn, we did the gargoyles on my back which was an historical reference to Brooklyn. I just wanted to do something a little bit different in London. The Ripper was the first idea that came to my head and the office went with it. I didn’t realise how well the production team were going to shoot it. They put screens behind me making it look like the street. There’s even one shot where the camera pans down and … I can’t even explain it. It’s one of the coolest shots. It’s a silhouette of me, but then, because of the way the camera moves and the lighting changes, you can actually then see the paint. It was mind blowing. So as much as I’d like to take all the credit for how cool that looked it was none of my doing at all. It was the camera men and the production crew and the lightning crew. But that night in London was definitely a special moment, not only for the fact that I defended the title but that my parents were there and some of my old friends were in the crowd, and just being back in London after not knowing when I’d be back. It was like a re-coming together of lot of aspects of my life that I thought would never align again.
DECEMBER 2016 STEELCHAIR 09
How did NXT and, in particular, William Regal and Robbie Brookside help you as a performer?
You recently had a bit of a return to ICW. Can you tell us a bit about how that came about?
Up until that point I’d been wrestling around the world for fourteen years. So you kind of walk into the performance centre with a certain amount of confidence thinking that, “I got this.” What I started realising when I had conversations with Mr Regal and Robbie Brookside and Terry Taylor and Matt Bloom, was not that I didn’t have it, but I had a slightly different view of it. I can honestly say that the year and a half I had at the performance centre, whatever idea I had, it increased tenfold. I became ten times the better performer. My confidence skyrocketed. It just really polished all the loose ends and scruffy bits. Except the beard [laughs]. It really put the finishing touches on who I am as a performer.
I’m not entirely sure how it came about. I do know that Mick Foley was advertised and contracted to be on the show. However, he was also contracted to be at Survivor Series as Raw GM. I guess they needed a substitute, so the linesman’s flag went up, we did the switch and that made sense for us and it was a winwin for everyone. I get to go back to a place I love to perform at, WWE keep face by not destroying the ICW show but by helping it. Obviously, we needed Mick Foley but it was a gesture of goodwill and I think it worked out really well for everyone. I was delighted to go back and see some of my old friends.
10 STEELCHAIR DECEMBER 2016
After being away from WWE
television for so long is there anything you would change on your return? I’m going to be 100% honest. I am telling you that I am going to change a hell of a lot. But what that is, I’m not going to tell you right now. Obviously, with the time away from the ring, the creative gears have been going. A lot of the time you get sucked into the bubble and you keep going and keep going and you think about what you’re doing. As bad timing and as unfortunate as it was to get hurt when I did, I’m trying to make the best of a bad situation. I’ve been thinking about what I can do and what I can change when I get back. I’ve a few tricks up my sleeve which, hopefully I can execute when I’m back.
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The latest podcast from
WORDS: MAT LINDSAY
BIG JAPAN: THE JEKYLL AND HYDE OF JAPANESE WRESTLING
hile there are many
BJW lacked the funds and star power
afterwards be required to defend himself
examples of so-called
that fuelled Atushi Onita’s infamous
against said reptile, as if a loss in a
adventures with electrified barbed wire
weapon-filled brawl beforehand were
to be found around the
and pyrotechnic explosions over in FMW.
simply not enough.
world of professional
And so it turned instead to innovation
wrestling, it has to be said that some
in using commonplace objects to turn
Matsunaga took the loss, and dutifully
of them cannot wholly be described as
a wrestling ring into a modern torture
entered the ring to confront his fate
at the hands of the apex predator supposedly awaiting his arrival beneath
ECW would perhaps be the best example
Scaffolds, fluorescent tubes, baseball
a curiously small Styrofoam box. Lifting
of the phenomenon, a low-budget,
bats, tables, boards, thumbtacks, bags
the box revealed a specimen which could
grungy affair which ran out of what
of salt, cacti, drills, buzz-saws, electric
not have been more than two feet in
could only be described as a dive venue,
space heaters and endless amounts of
length, and looking more afraid of the
pushed violent, hardcore content for an
barbed wire – often wrapped around the
grizzled wrestler than he was of it, made
adult audience. Yet, it also innovated
objects already mentioned – populated
a dash to get out of the ring.
bringing cutting edge North American,
the elaborate and masochistic death-
Mexican and Japanese talents to a US
matches that helped to make BJW stand
Most likely wanting to bring a swift
audience for the first time.
out from the crowd in those early years.
end to the farcical scene, Matsunaga easily caught the crocodile (which some
CZW has followed suit in more recent
But perhaps the most memorable were
sources claim was heavily drugged in
times, contrasting a continuation of the
the matches in which the insanity of
order to keep it from attacking) and
weapon-filled death-match style, and
BJW’s booking ethos reached out beyond
dumped it into a casket in the ring,
with an important role in nurturing such
the realm of the human, and drew other
which for some reason signaled its
mainstays of the indie circuit as Chris
parts of the animal kingdom into the
defeat, adding an insult of a profane
Hero and the technical wizard Timothy
fray as well.
nature as he did so, which may not
wholly have been directed at the A so-called ‘Piranha Death-match’
In Japan, arguably the original home of
introduced a tank of the voracious
what we now consider to be hardcore
Amazonian fish into the middle of the
In the almost two decades since this
wrestling, companies like FMW and IWA
ring, and required one competitor to
incident, the hardcore antics in Big
Japan laid out the blueprint for their
be held in the tank for ten seconds by
Japan have, if anything, become even
western imitators in the late eighties and
his opponent to secure victory; another
more extreme (but thankfully less reliant
early nineties. But while most of those
variation of this match even saw the
on the Japanese equivalent of Pets At
early pioneers have been consigned to
Piranha replaced by a tank full of live
Home). But at the same time, the other
history, one of their contemporaries
side of the promotion, the one which
known as Big Japan Wrestling (BJW) remains active and thriving to this day.
presents straight-up, tradition puro has This inter-species insanity culminated on
also garnered a reputation for solid,
23rd September 1998, when Matsuhiro
Founded in 1995 by former AJPW
Matsunaga and Shadow WX contested
wrestlers Shinya Kojika and Kazuo
the first ever ‘Crocodile Death-match’,
Indeed Big Japan divides its roster
Sakurada (also known as the Japanese
in which the loser of a typically vicious
roughly between ‘Death-match BJ’
incarnation of Kendo Nagasaki),
hardcore encounter would immediately
and ‘Strong BJ’, with a heavyweight
12 STEELCHAIR DECEMBER 2016
championship for each. Though there are
often notable crossover matches involving wrestlers from both rosters, it is perfectly possible for fans of one style to watch a show purely for their chosen side of the roster. But of course the genius of this arrangement truly lies in the ability to cater to both audiences at once whilst neither having to fully compete with larger and wealthier straight strong style companies
lobber Knocker Box is a
for my perusal. Alongside the extreme
monthly subscription service
wrestling documentary was an Impact
where wrestling nerds alike
Wrestling DVD – ‘X Division Extravaganza
can get a uniquely packaged
2014’. Featuring a stacked card of X
box of wrestling themed merchandise
Division matches with the likes of Low
delivered right to their front door.
Ki, Rockstar Spud and Petey Williams to
THE OPENING Waiting for me as I got home from a day in the office – no, not the VultureHound office. My real job where I earn money
like NJPW, nor being able to be dismissed
doing something I hate – was this
purely as a garbage company in the way that
delightful little bundle of joy known as
FMW was in the mid-nineties.
the Slobber Knocker Box. As well as the
name a few, there is also a ladder match between Bad Influence and the Wolves in the EC3 Challenge. The main selling point of this feature is an X Division
branding on top of the box there is a list
Big Japan used this dual identity to its
of ways to connect with the company on
advantage in 1996, when it entered into
all your favourite social media accounts.
an inter-promotional feud with NJPW in
The website is also located on the side of
order to raise its profile, providing workers
the box just in case your forgot where you
capable of competing on a level with the far larger company’s roster. Then again in the late nineties and early 2000’s, the
ordered the goods from. THE GOODS
Championship Match between Austin Aries and Sanada. Considering this was something that took place before I made my return to watching wrestling in my adult years I was none the wiser to much of TNA’s content. I’ll be Looking forward
Death-match roster gelled perfectly with the
to sitting down with the whole family and
style of American promotion CZW, and the
taking in one of NXT’s greatest stars
two companies began a talent-swapping
today during his time in Total Nonstop
relationship that they still maintain today.
Inside the box was a neatly folded pair
of t-shirts that both came with matching
Names of note on the ‘Strong BJ’ roster
items to follow. The first was a stylish
Capping off this months treat are two
include the super tough likes of Daisuke
black t-shirt with the address for the
signed posters, a Jack Gallagher fridge
Sekimoto, Yuji Okabyashi and Daichi
home of ECW across the front. The 2300
magnet and a pack
Hashimoto (son of the legendary Shinya
South Swanson Street tee will be worn
of TNT Extreme
with pride at the next wrestling event I
attend. Accompanying this item was a
‘Forever Hardcore’ documentary dvd.
who recently lost the
The film, which features over 2 hours
WCPW Title to Drew
of content, includes interviews with
Galloway, is centred
Hashimoto). While on the side of ‘Deathmatch BJ’ are colourful, and scarred, characters like Jaki Numazawa, Ryuji Ito and Adbullah Kobayashi (named after his trainer, Abdullah the Butcher).
extreme wrestling legends like Terry Funk,
in the first signed poster for TNT. The
Sandman, Sabu and everyone’s favourite
extreme legend, Shane Douglas, lines up
slasher, New Jack (I’m sorry, please
in the second signed photo from Slobber
don’t kill me). I can’t wait to stay in this
Knocker Box. The fridge magnet will be
see some damn good straight-up matches,
weekend and watch it!
a nice little reminder to watch ‘205 Live’
either strong style or crazy hardcore
The next t-shirt inside this box-full of
on Tuesdays after SmackDown as I hope
encounters, you could do far worse than to
goodies is my favourite. Paired with a
to see Jack Gallagher make his charge for
track down some of the best matches from
special christmas card for that special
the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
the history of Big Japan. But be warned, all
Jerichoholic in your life was a red t-shirt
The pack of stickers (which are the
you purveyors of the more violent end of
with phrases from Chris Jericho’s latest
second instalment from the brand)
professional wrestling, this is not a bunch of
gimmick etched over the front. This little
includes the likes of Chris Ridgeway and
mid-carders fighting over the WWE Hardcore
festive treat captures the gift of Jericho
the Hooligans as well as the TNT World
this Christmas and is a definite item to
Championship and the company logo. It
put on your list.
might be time to start collecting them all
As I continued to delve through the items
and complete a valuable collection.
So if you’re looking to expand your knowledge and experience of puro, or just to
Championship on a trampoline.
I noticed there was more visual stimulants
DECEMBER DECEMBER 2016 2016 STEELCHAIR STEELCHAIR 41 13
riple H, William Regal, Finn Balor and Robby Brookside were at London’s O2 to announce WWE’s inaugural WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament at Blackpool’s Empress Ballroom on Saturday, January 14 and Sunday, January 15. The winner will be crowned WWE’s First UK Champion. You can get tickets to the event now from LiveNation.co.uk.
The event will be hosted by WWE’s most experienced full-time commentator, Michael Cole, and legend of British wrestling, Nigel McGuinness. It will be an exclusive to the WWE Network. The event will be a 16 man singles
14 STEELCHAIR DECEMBER 2016
elimination tournament, much like the Cruiserweight Classic that was a clear influence on this programme and for several more to come on the WWE Network. Competitors include Progress Wrestling Champion, Pete Dunne, as well as talents like Trent Seven, Tyler Bate, Wolfgang and Joseph Conners. Weâ€™ll have more details on the roster soon.
DECEMBER 2016 STEELCHAIR 15
WORDS: LEE HAZEL / PHOTOS: WWE
WILLIAM REGAL + ROBBIE BROOKSIDE 16 STEELCHAIR DECEMBER 2016
INTERVIEW: WILLIAM REGAL + ROBBIE BROOKSIDE illiam Regal and Robbie Brookside have presided over the blossoming development of the IWC’s favourite American brand, NXT (sorry ROH), for the last few years of its roaring success. They’re here in London for a face to face interview where we got to talk about the WWE Network’s latest tournament, The WWE UK Championship, which will crown WWE’s first ever UK Champion.
What is the significance of Blackpool to the United Kingdom Tournament? W: It’s significant for us just because that’s where we started to wrestle, but after doing NXT last year in the Empress Ballroom, it was the best wrestling venue I’ve ever been in. My favourite venue was The Blackpool Tower Circus, and after being in Madison Square gardens and all these big places, I’ve never been in a venue that’s had that kind of reaction. It’s also because it’s all gold leaf and it’s > going to look so grand. Plus I get to go home.
> DECEMBER 2016 STEELCHAIR 17
REGAL/BROOKSIDE How long have you been scouting for this tournament and is it safe to say that the likes of Will Ospreay, Marty Scurll and such came up in the discussion? W: Of course they did. For the cruiserweight show as well. But a lot of them are doing other things. That’s just the nature of the industry. Some people you can get, some people you can’t. People like those guys are doing incredibly well. Jack Gallagher though, nobody had heard of him. But I knew about him and then because of the match he had with Pete Dunne [qualifying for the cruiserweights], one of those guys lost the match and look where it got him on this programme? And that’s the guy that everyone’s talking about. No doubt they’ll come to work for WWE one day when they finish up doing whatever they’re doing. It gives a lot of people great opportunity. You look on that stage there, I don’t know what people think of the standard of British wrestlers are, but here we’ve a team of proper hard-looking fellas, which is one of our things. Triple H’s biggest thing, whenever I mention somebody to him, he says, “Do they look like they could they could actually beat somebody up?” Because that’s part of our job. Wrestlers should look like fighters. Because at the end of the day that’s what we are. We’re trained, professional fighters. Some people can get away with anything, they don’t have to have the look. But that’s the exception to the rule. Most people who want to look at wrestling, unless you’re a die-hard fan, want to look at it like a fight scene in a movie. If you put it on
18 STEELCHAIR DECEMBER 2O16
and it’s two people who look like they live next door to you, you don’t really want to watch it. Some people just have an incredible skill set. But as it’s a tournament you don’t have to look at it like that, you can look at it like it’s the cruiserweight show, which came off like a sporting event. A lot of thought on my part went into thinking about who’s the best we can get for this. Not just the people who can do a lot of moves, but people who can actually fight and look like they hurt people. Nobody’s going to go say that no one here don’t know what they’re doing. That’s what we’re trying to do going forward.
Was this in response to ITV bringing back World of Sport? W: I can tell you that I heard about that product at the same time as you. It wasn’t hard to look up while I was here in the summer scouting people. I’ll leave it at that. This [the UK Championship] isn’t something that’s just come up right? We know what we’re doing. I maybe knew about World of Sport about a week before anybody else knew because I knew somebody involved in it. But knowing people is why I’ve been able to put this together and get this team. Not just me, all of us. Robbie’s part of this as well. We’ve scouted these fellas, we’ve put them through try outs. I’m happy to give you our try out list. You can even look at it from November when we were in Glasgow, you’ll see most of these fellas were on it, or they were on the one in April, or they were on one before or they were
on shows we saw in July. So it was very well thought out. You can’t just throw things like this together, you have to plan them out and put it all together. I hope this works as well because that’s another group of fellas or ladies that will get a chance. We’ll go from there. That’s more people we can keep an eye on and we hope the best of them will come up working for us anyway. That’s the whole point of this. You want the best of the best.
The Cruiserweight Classic had a massive impact on WWE. Do you expect the UK Championship to do the same
these don’t quite look right,” because they just wouldn’t be in the tournament. There’s some great wrestling going on. This country’s on fire with wrestling. But a lot of these fellas are working for the companies that are doing really well. So [as far as impacting WWE] we can only say we hope so. Me and Robbie were the last of the classically trained British wrestlers from that British wrestling style. We’re the last two around. There’s nobody else left. There’s nobody that came after us that stayed in this job. There was an influx of guys in the 90’s but …
"When we started the older people, our peers, used to warn us and threaten us, telling us that we had to fight. If a fan got in the ring, then we had to take care of it". in the coming months? W: Certainly hope so. You can’t tell. We didn’t know what we were going to have with the Cruiserweight show. We were all a big part of that and from the first night you just went, “This is something special.” Knowing the production team that we have, which are the best of the best, you know that this is going to be as good as it can possibly be, especially with the talent. Every one of them is a hard hitting competitor. So there’s not going to be anyone going, “Oof,
R: They weren’t wrestlers.
W: That’s when wrestling schools came along. It’s a weird thing for us. There was no such thing as a wrestling school until ten years after we was already wrestling. Me and him wanted to go down and batter everybody there, because we thought how dare they be able to pay to know wrestling when we’ve had to get our heads caved in to get into this business. People talk about passion for wrestling, we earned our passion. To stay in this job was a hard thing to do in those days. But in the last few years, the wrestlers have started wrestling again. They’ve really took a lot of that old style and added it to the Japanese style and to the highflying style. Everything’s come together, so we just want it to get
going. That’s what we love. We love wrestling. R: I think also when we started the older people, our peers, used to warn us and threaten us, telling us that we had to fight. If a fan got in the ring, then we had to take care of it. So coming form that kind of background, it’s refreshing and exciting to see this lot who’ve got the look, who can tango, who’ve evolved a little bit. This lot here look like they can have a scrap. If you can’t scrap, you might as well forget it. This is fighting, not tiddlywinks. What we’re trying to do in NXT is bring technique, but also the hard hitting styles of the different genres around the world. So it’s extremely exciting to see this bunch here.
Where do you see tournaments like this leading in terms of regular programming? W: The Cruiserweight Classic started off as a tournament. Now it’s a weekly show. We can only hope for the same. It would be ideal to have a show that was based here just to cultivate. If this does well, it’s going to encourage a new group of people to start doing this. There’s a lot of people who want to be wrestlers, and anybody can go to a wrestling school. But once you start seeing the quality, and it’s happening already in this country, the high quality of British wrestling has put itself back on the map. So if we could be a part of that and make people want to be one of those fellas… Or ladies. Especially the ladies now. It’s incredible that they get the chance to show what
DECEMBER 2016 STEELCHAIR 19
"Good wrestling’s good wrestling. Doesn’t matter what style it is".
they can really do, which is a big part of what we’ve tried to do at NXT. That you can have some young lady who can sit there and watch her and think she can be proud to be a professional wrestler. It’s just something we hope takes off and encourages more people to get on board. But you’re also setting a standard. If you see a bunch of people who don’t look like they can fight anybody … but if you see a group of fellas like that look like that, you think, “Wow, I actually have to get good before I try out.” Because some of the delusional people we have across the world who think they could be a part
20 STEELCHAIR DECEMBER 2O16
of WWE. That’s changed since NXT. We don’t have those kinds of people coming up anymore. They all know now that they have to be pretty good before they even start thinking about it. That’s just going to benefit everybody because all the local wrestling groups here are always trying to push each other to get better. At the end of the day, we’re all wrestling fans. We watch wrestling, that’s what we do. We all want to watch good quality wrestling. We don’t want to watch bad quality wrestling. R: I’ve been in the States now for three years. I was still here when the tribute show were happening.
They were awful shows. Do you remember them?
Like with the tribute Undertaker? W: Yeah, they were just guys trying to make a living. I was lucky to have gone by then. Robbie had gone out to Germany and Japan and tried different things. I’d have had to pack this job in if I’d have had to be around that. I wanted to be an old style British wrestler. I didn’t want to be a knock off character of someone else. I wanted people to know me for being me. We both did.
R: When [World of Sport] announced they were going off, it broke my heart. I was just grasping the job then. I only just could go in the ring with anyone and then they pulled it away. It was always my dream and ambition to try and get it back on. I’d talk to anyone about getting it back on television. And then in 1990 Rocco had to retire and Brian just gave up trying to get it back on TV. So having this opportunity now I’m this side of the ring is like a dream come true to put British Wrestling back on the map. Sitting in America, I do watch shows like Progress, Rev Pro and ICW. You’ve got to do it. It’s part of the homework. So when you come over here, done two weeks going back to grass roots wrestling schools, and preached about WWE and told them what WWE’s about because it’s mind blowing, this company. I’ve been here three years and I’m still like a little boy lost, with the attention to detail and the way they go about things. For the company to produce and give them a stage … I was at that Blackpool show and in thrity-five years I’ve never seen anything like it. W: Anything like it. R: It was just mind-blowing. W: It’s well worth YouTubing it. Just some clips to see what it was about. It was unbelievable. And that venue itself. This tournament is going to be special.
give you ten different answers. We all like it for the good stuff. Well, some people don’t, they like it for the bad stuff, but they’re the minority, right? The style doesn’t really matter as long as it’s good.
Do you feel this tournament is one of your biggest achievements?
What’s it been like being an ambassador of the British style?
W: I went to America in ’93 and I stood out because I was just a normal person, but I did that style. Now it’s come back in fashion over the last few years because of Daniel Bryan, probably. He brought it back. Most people don’t remember me but they’ll remember him. A lot of the younger wrestlers saw him doing these things. Nigel McGuiness got trained at America, so I said to him, “You’re a British wrestler, learn how to be a British wrestler.” So I sent both him and Daniel over here to go train with Robbie. He doesn’t get the credit for their success which he probably should do. He did as much, if not more than me with Bryan and definitely more with Nigel. So there influence had little groups of people doing it and so to see that happening, am I proud of that? Yes. But the thing I feel proudest of is in the last five years to be a part of NXT. Just because of how it changed the view of what we do. We had it knocked into us when we were young, keep quiet, don’t say anything and don’t put yourself over. But to see young people bringing wrestling forward is a great thing.
W: Good wrestling’s good wrestling. Doesn’t matter what style it is. Everybody likes a different thing. Ask ten different wresting fans why they like about wrestling and they’ll
R: I can remember going to America by this stage and wrestling schools had come in and people wanted to wrestle like Americans and I used to say, “You’re from England.
There’s 2,000 American wrestlers out there, what’s going to make you stick out?” I told them to go back and watch the greats. Go back and watch Billy Robinson, go back and watch Johnny Saint go back and watch Mark Rocco, Marty Jones who were light years ahead of the times. I think that’s why Jack Gallagher sticks out so much because he sticks to a predominantly British style. I mean, you can’t just stick with that because wrestling is wrestling, you’ve got to be able to adapt on a nightly basis. But I’ve always firmly believed in what was taught to me. It was drilled into me and drilled into him [Regal] and once it’s drilled into you can’t get it out. We used to have referees that used to disqualify you for punching someone as they take it as a knock to them. You get sent to the back thinking, “Hang on, we got six rounds to go here.” So they come out and they go to the promoter and you’d get a rollicking in the end of it because you’ve disrespected the referee. So punching always seems a bit strange to me, but it’s a big part in a match over here. But for me to see this, it’s an incredible watershed moment in my career. W: The thing is with British wrestlers is that if you go back and trace their history and the history of British wrestling, you find British wrestlers were the ones who went around the world. Because when you can wrestle British, you can wrestle in any country and wrestle anybody. If you can only do a certain style you’re stuck where you’re from. If you go back and look at the pioneers of all the different countries, with the exception of Mexico because they have their own style, they were all British wrestlers.
DECEMBER 2016 STEELCHAIR 21
That’s a fact. Go back and talk to Bret Hart about what made Calgary so different. If you watch him, he was doing British wrestling. He was putting proper wristlocks on where a lot of Americans and Canadians didn’t. Dory Funk Jr., one of the most famous American wrestlers, go and watch him and he’ll tell you himself, he was trained by the British wrestlers. He understood that you can go all over the world, that’s why you’re wanted in Japan, Africa, Germany, because when you can wrestle British you can wrestle anybody in any style. But when you can only do punches and kicks or high-flying moves that did you no
22 STEELCHAIR DECEMBER 2O16
good if you couldn’t talk to them. Nine times out of ten if you were in a different country you never even saw your opponent, you just had to go out there and improvise an eight five minute round match or an hour match without ever talking to them. Wrestling is wrestling. That was what was great about the Mexican wrestlers. Even though they had a different style, when they went to WCW, I was one of the few guys, me and Dean Malenko, who could wrestle them even though we’d never been to Mexico because we could just wrestle. We never had to speak to them because we were all trained incredibly well in the art form of wrestling. When you can
do that, which all these fellas can do now, you can go anywhere in the world. You just adapt. Most of my WWE career, I’m supposed to be a wrestler, I did strikes and kicks and pull faces because that’s what they needed me to do. Very rarely I had to wrestle. I did a lot more wrestling in WCW, but I didn’t do much British wrestling in WWE because it wasn’t needed and it wasn’t what they wanted me to do. That was my character. But if you can wrestle British style, you’ll always have a job.
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MUSIC | FILM | TV | ART | WRESTLING
WORDS: JAY SICHLER / PHOTOS: WWE VIDEOS
WHY JOHN CENA SHOULD WIN THE ROYAL RUMBLE 017 marks the 30th Anniversary of the Royal Rumble. WWE is celebrating it in a big way having the event at the Alamo Dome in San Antonio Texas. The arena held the massive event 20 years ago in 1997. With the Royal Rumble around the corner fans now are starting to wonder who will win the big match. With so many intriguing factors around his victory, the winner should simply be John Cena. John Cena winning the match could lead for WWE going down many avenues heading into WrestleMania. The first is that him winning could set up a date for him to potentially tie Ric Flair for the most championships all time at 16. The win could also set up the third and final clash between John Cena and AJ Styles. Cena and Styles had arguably the best feud of 2016 against each-other having what well could have been the match of the year at Summerslam. What better way to try claim your 16th title than beating the man you have yet to claim a victory over? The another potential scenario could be Cena facing The Undertaker. Taker is currently rumored to be facing Styles for the title at the > Royal Rumble. If Taker wins the match and Cena wins the Rumble, the two could finally have their long awaited battle at WrestleMania. Any way you look at John Cena winning his record tying third Royal Rumble is the best option for WWE.
26 STEELCHAIR DECEMBER 2016
DECEMBER 2016 STEELCHAIR 27
WORDS: CRAIG HERMIT / PHOTOS: DAVID WILSON
28 STEELCHAIR DECEMBER 2016
ounded in March 2006,
Premier British Wrestling is one of the top wrestling companies in Europe today. Promoting sell-out
shows all across Scotland and fans who already follow PBW will know that their shows contain some of the best wrestling talent to be found across Scotland/ Europe. Since 2008, Premier British Wrestling has also brought many top international stars to Scotland including WWE star Finn Bálor, ROH stars El Generico, Jimmy Jacobs and Matt Cross. The development and creation of PBW is spearheaded by man, whether you know him as multiple Promotional Champion Kid Fite or PBW owner Ross Watson, all fans know him as a man who has been influental in the wrestling industry. I recently caught up with him in between a PBW double family show.
What would you say is the difference between the family orientated shows that PBW host against the more adult ICW style shows? I always like to try to explain the difference as if I’m explaining to my Uncle who perhaps doesn’t understand the difference. I don’t mean to patronise people as I say this, I sometimes see ICW fans say “Oh that’s that family stuff that’s crap”. They are entitled to their opinions, but it’s very much different genres. ICW is adult wrestling and we are family entertainment that’s your
difference. Your know the wrestling camps, they are your super pantomime stuff. But PBW, BCW and many more
are a serious product but are aware they need to entertain adults and children as
> DECEMBER 2016 STEELCHAIR 29
KID FITE well. Fans that go to both types of shows do tend to understand this though. Think about it this way, you have Robert Di Niro he acts in Meet the Fockers, then in a Disney movie and he was in Taxi Driver, same great actor just different styles of acting but same level of acting. At Maximum Impact there, you had BT Gunn versus Davey Blaze in a great match that wouldn’t have looked out-of-place in an ICW show, only difference was no swearing, no blood and pins and stuff like that but it was on par with any fight you’d see anywhere. It’s all about genres.
Do you think that some wrestlers may find it hard to adapt to both genres?
Unlike other Wrestling Academies, PBW allows their trainees to start at age 12, cases of Noam Dar who started at 12 and Kay Lee Ray at 13. Why did you decide to start your trainees at that age? I wish when I was 14 someone told me there was wrestling training in Scotland. You have schools for Boxing, Football and Dancing which you start at an early age and obviously with wrestling being an art form it’s complex and physical, people can get hurt. If you have young children start too early they will either get hurt or they’ll just play and it’ll turn into some sort
One thing I preach at the Academy, even though a lot of schools
of nursery. But 12 I felt was the right age, I mean with Noam,
will teach their way, but in my mind everyone should be taught
Stevie and Kay arriving, Stevie and Kay started with SWA, Kay
every way. A good coach should find out what everyone is
started with them but she hadn’t done a lot, she was green we
good at then push them towards their strong points and then
could say she’s PBW. Although Stevie gives us the tip of the
encourage them. Know your crowd and know your foe is my
hat, SWA had done a lot with him. Nowadays, we have a girl
called Angel Hayes she started with us at 13, now 15 she’s on the trainee shows and she’s one to watch out for. Most of our
Sometimes you’ll have those guys who do well at an adult show
trainees start young. I find that the younger ones absorb the
will then make their debut at the family show. They’ll see the
knowledge quicker. Admittedly the younger ones can be a little
crowd getting hyped, they’ll shout their slogan but the kids will
indie-rific and want to do all the moves they see on YouTube.
just stare anthem blankly because they are kids who’ve never
But sometimes wrestling can give someone focus growing up to
seen them before and that kills the hype dead.
I have had some trainees say that their friends are doing drugs but they want to make a go at this, we can help. If they aren’t
What made you decide to start PBW only a few years after your debut?
very academic at school or if they’re having rough time we can
I started training in 2001 & yeah my debut was in 2003, but
Many of your students are celebrating their one year anniversary with PBW Academy, names like Prince Ali. What do you attribute to your success? For example guys like Lou King Sharp, Lucha DS and Aaron Echo have all been on big shows throughout the year?
before that I always wanted to promote. I always wanted to run a show, back then you had either SWA or BCW and nowadays everyone gets on but back then it really was a rivalry. Looking back at their rosters, I truly believe those companies had some great guys but they also had some guys that weren’t, even back then I thought that but hey I wasn’t great myself. I thought we could do something different. So I’m sitting there thinking who
also try and give our trainees some direction through wrestling and it does help.
do I want to run the show with, I thought I want Darkside, I want Wolfgang, I brought Bubblegum in and gave him his debut up
Here’s a wee story, David Wilson, fantastic Photographer, he
here as well. When I done my first show it was well received. On
once came up to me, now I have a lot of respect for David a lot
that show I started with a tournament to crown our Champion.
of people forget he sees a lot more wrestling than any of us so
At this point everyone knew Drew Galloway was going to WWE
I really value his opinion and if he trusts you he’s honest with
so everyone started to put their titles on him, I love Drew I do,
you. I’d like him to tell me if something was shit, “Ross that
but I was thinking what happens after he leaves so I had Drew
was shit” and I like that, alright cool. (laughs)
versus Wolfgang in the final and had Wolfgang win. Drew put him over before he goes and that way we don’t look like we’re panicking because he’s gone. Wolfgang was a fantastic first champion, it’s because of guys like him and Darkside that made PBW get noticed.
30 STEELCHAIR DECEMBER 2016
David is an excellent guy, he has turned round to me once after I published a report, he said you were tired doing that weren’t you? Yeah. It’s wasn’t your best.
charisma about him you can’t teach that. (Laughs) Exactly he’s not being a dick, he’s looking at you saying your better than that. My job as a trainer if a trainee comes back high fiveing their pals after an okay match, I’ll ask what you high fiveing for? Because that’s a problem, you aren’t going to get any better. Back to David, he was asking why you opening all these schools? I could tell he wasn’t being negative but he wasn’t positive either and I said “If I was in the mining business I’d have more of a chance of finding a big diamond”, with that in mind we have three schools and even with the other schools
This year a bit of a debate occurred regarding old school wrestling and new style for example: flips and dives whats your take on it? Goes back to saying encouraging people to their strong points, for example Lucha DS, overall impression nice guy, he wants it, he’s a bit older maybe so there’s a bit more urgency about
around we are doing well.
it. But he listens and it’s worked out now. Before he was a very
I’m not going to take the credit for the guys who make it, the
the problem you may have if you have a trainee who is athletic
much fly or die but before he wasn’t as in shape now he is. Now but they think they’re will Ospreay. The hard
reputation of the school speaks for itself. If someone is training with me, they do the work, they do the graft, they show up and they are good I’ll get them booked in places. Previously I mean Mark Dallas will say to me who have you got, I said Kenny Williams, it was me that pushed for Kenny, if I truly say I’ve got one, he doesn’t want five guys that are doing alright he want’s the best. Look at Dylan Angel, he could fit right into that Zero-G Division no problem. He’s just that guy that is likeable and gets it. When they do well, yeah I’m proud of them but my job is when they get off n running so that no ego’s come into play. Yeah sure your good and you’re doing well, sometimes even a trainee level people can get bitter
"A good coach should find out what everyone is good at then push them towards their strong points and then encourage them"
if they aren’t putting in the work. they will try to justify it to themselves that they are Ross’s pal. I’m like that’s no true, I have trainees that
part is saying to them look you can’t do this style and the ones that can do it you have to explain it’s not about how many cool moves you can do in a match it’s about doing it at the right time and getting the right reaction. If you do all your best moves in your debut match at ICW and your back in the Garage a few weeks later what else do you do? You may get away with it second time but see the third time, you’ll get the Same old shit chants. Sometimes you need to focus on the selling and ring psychology of why we do things. I mean there are ways to do certain things, Strong Style for instance, the guys that do that are brilliant but it takes years to get to that level. Say in a trainee match and someone done a super-plex off the top rope and you should really sell that big move yourself
but if I saw two trainees do that at my show and then not sell
are my friends that aren’t good enough and vice versa.
it, the kids witnessing that will think that isn’t sore. Definitely
One of your stand out trainees in my mind has to be Lou King sharp, his debut match when he lost he started laying into a guard rail and the fans loved it, I remember thinking he gets it.
me off from trainees to the top-level guys, they see a move from
Beautiful thing he’s got about him, he will do a show and some
Back, front, fishtail and bump.
kids will look at him and think, “I can take him” you send out Jester, they will back off, send out Lou, those 8-year-old are thinking how they can beat him, you have comedy gold. He’s different, I mean this as a compliment, he’s a Glasgow Chavy Rockstar Spud, and Rockstar Spud is aware of him and Lou looks up to him. Well Spud has been there hasn’t he, he’s been the wee guy and he’s like fuck you guys that think I can’t do this and look at him now. Lou King Sharp just has that natural
something I explain to my trainees. One thing that still pisses a YouTube clip, I want to try this in a match, have you done it before? No, then bollocks before you do a move, you need to be able to do that move at least 10 times ob a crash mat, then you do it in a trainee match, do it several times then do it in a match. Remember it always goes back to your four basic bumps:
This year PBW unveiled PBW on Demand too much success, what is the plan for it going forward? Natural progression you know, ICW is doing it but a lot of family shows are progressing in doing On:Demand as well. Now someone across in America hears about Joe Coffey vs Kurt
DECEMBER 2016 STEELCHAIR 31
Angle, they go on the net searching Joe Coffey and via social
eventually if it brings in an extra few hundred pounds then we
media everyone wants something now, they don’t want to order
can get more footage up of the guys.
a DVD and have to wait weeks for it to arrive. They’re sitting bored on a Thursday night and they want to see it now. So we put something up, now I’m well aware don’t have enough content yet, I mean ICW on demand service is amazing, they have a back catalogue and wee side shows tied into it with a team that deals with it so it brings in more revenue. Where PBW has Lucy, our one women army who’s doing fantastic at that, so our first show went up and few sales you curiosity killed the cat type thing, now I know you can subscribe to ICW for the same amount that we charge for one show, but the catch is I don’t want to take £10 off people if nothing new goes up. Imagine your gym
"If you really want it be prepared to sacrifice relationships, jobs, money, friendships"
This year PBW finally crowned BT Gunn as your World Champion, how did that come about? It could be easily misunderstood that all the promoters get together and go “Oh who’s the next guy”, It’s not that, the fact that is that guy is promoting all the shows and those companies are doing well. You’ve got PBW, PWE, BCW, ICW, Discovery and even Rock n Wrestle, the reason they are doing well is because they know what they are doing. It’s not copying or anything like that. People go that’s the
being shut for two months when you have
guy. He is just that good. With BT it is all
paid for three you know. We have actually
him. His work rate, his professionalism,
discovered that our Academy shows are
his image, his look, how he conducts
selling more I think it’s down to fans being curious about to see
himself online. It’s not just me, it’s the guys in the back have
who’s coming next and where did people train. Moving forward,
said he’s the guy we want to get behind. Personally, BT Gunn
32 STEELCHAIR DECEMBER 2016
ring. For a while he didn’t treat himself
relationships, jobs, money, friendships.
like a business, but now he’s just joined Twitter…
and it crashed in a day.
Because this is your full-time job isn’t it. Yeah, this is my job for life. It’s not
(laughs) Aye I know, he’s started to
that I don’t aspire to go to America
advertise himself more, with Facebook
anymore, I mean maybe if there was
he’s clever about what he puts up and
a trade via ICW, but now at an age in
when you look a British Wrestling talent,
my life I can look at things I can make
you know the guys going to PWG, NJPW
time for things I may have neglected
and various other places, I’ve seen
because of wrestling before but as long
him in the ring with Marty Scrull, Pete
as your chasing I mean obviously I want
Dunne, Zack Sabre Jr, Will Ospreay, Mark
to expand PBW, develop more trainees
Andrews you line them up and put BT
and I still like to do more countries as a
Gunn in the there and ask fans for the
odd one out you couldn’t. I think, say if ROH did a deal with ICW and said I want five guys for you to bring over, he’s definitely be on that list. The best is yet to come from him.
is the personification, the poster boy for the perfect wrestler. He can go do an over 18’s shows show with a gothic rock style look and the goth girls go “OH I like that!” and the guys go “Damn he’s cool!” and then he can come to the kids shows and he’s still into his rock n roll look but he’s got that look where they go he’s cool. Every audience he ticks all the boxes. He’s naturally talented at what he does and he’s a great worker.
Going off with what you’ve said there, do you think companies like WWE and ROh should be looking at him then?
We touched on the subject of wrestling camps, during the holidays yourself and many trainees do, All star wrestling, how did you find it this year? 5 shows a week for 10 weeks, but the way it worked out in the last ten days it was every day and I was in bits. I was managing the books and the finances as well so I was getting home after 14 hours, the guys all went to bed and I’m trying to work out who stole a foam finger from Bryan Dixon (Laughs).
It almost seems like a marathon of wrestling how do get your team into that different mindset from weekend shows?
Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s going to start to happen for him now, for a long
I would say, if you truly want it in this
time and he will say this himself, he was
game, everybody says they want it,
lazy about chasing it which is so the
from trainee to main guy level, if you
polar opposite of what he is like in that
really want it be prepared to sacrifice
You were at Germany a few months ago yeah? That’s right, I still enjoy it but I no longer go there thinking I hope so-so is here for that promotion and I may get that chance, I now go there to have a good time and I want the German fans to like me or hate me, as long as they had a good time, the promoter is happy and I can go home seeing a good part of Germany thats it. Sometimes when you talk to trainees you go to ask them if they can help set up the ring or with a show they go Nah I got school then you realise it was a bank holiday, or hit you with some other excuses you know. I understand if there 13 to 16, but older than that & you’ve not got a job and if you’re not willing to make time for that what are you going to do when you look at your diary one day and you realise I’m wrestling the next 14 days. I know the flip side of that but if you really want it, it’s not just a job, not just a hobby, it’s a lifestyle.
Focusing on yourself now, training since 2001, debut 2003, multiple Champion, BCW Champion for over three years, how do you feel looking DECEMBER 2016 STEELCHAIR 33
"I’m back wrestling taking bumps but I was in agony and people are going you okay and I’m like I’m fine but when I get home I couldn’t move". back at your career? When I got into wrestling obviously WWE was the dream, but I got into wrestling to make a full-time living within the industry, I mentioned earlier I was keen at promoting early on and to travel so I got to do both maybe if we expand the wings a bit further we a flight with a lay over would be nice. (laughs) I’ve done that, you’ve always got to believe you can always do better otherwise you become complacent. I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved so far, also because I’ve never been that indie sensation guy, wither I was tagging with Liam Thomson in Fight Club fighting for the BCW and PCW Tag Team titles, or with Sha Samuels, I think I’ve got that reputation that I pride myself in not not showing for shows. But hey I had a wee phase where I was battling some issues and I showed up to some shows with a drink in me. I’ll put my hands in the air and when you have been in wrestling your whole adult life since you were 18 and it’s every weekend, during summer, throughout the summer, you know most people would be at their jobs during the week I was in the ring at BCW you can’t not have the odd moment. During that time my life was changing, I was going through personal
34 STEELCHAIR DECEMBER 2016
issues at home and I was drinking and that was something I regret. But that is something I always say to trainees always leave your personal dramas at home. I did have that one year where people would say how is he going to be and yeah it got on top of me but one thing that was never effected was PBW. I think that was life preservation mode because this pays my bills. I’m in a much better place now. As of this interview I’ve not had a drink in 7 weeks and when I did it was a carry on, you know as it should be. My main passion now is helping my trainees, if people trust me with their dream then I will do
In the last few years, you have had some really nasty injuries, one to your neck and then a year later to your shoulder, how has that effected you? This isn’t me being a poor me routine, during that time my marriage failed, the marriage may have been 2 years but it was a 10 year relationship so you know I’m moving out the house and I’m living by myself for the first time. You don’t time a marriage failing, I was stressed
the best I can with that.
out, hell I didn’t even have wi-fi for week
You mentioned there how things got on top of you, what advice would you give to others who may be going through something similar?
my neck and took a bit of time off then
It’s hard to say, I mean I know myself I don’t always want to go to people in case
(laughs) and during this time I done in tried to wrestle through it and it hurt more than a few times. I said to various promoters I can’t do much, and more than a few promoters half jokingly said “Is your Neck sore” as if I was phoning it in. If I was in WWE, I’d have off for about a year you know. So that added to the anxiety because I’m getting into trouble
you seem weak so you start to kid on, so you but on this brave act like “Fuck everyone and everything” but it comes across as I’m pished and I don’t give a fuck, but deep down it’s I’m pished so I don’t brake down crying. There was once a wrestler on one the tours who was steaming drunk before the shows and some of the guys were bitching and moaning saying bury him. So I said to Mark Dallas, who was annoyed and I get that. But I said that everyone is bitching and moaning but that guy does a lot of shows and he’s never done that before,
"WWE is actively endorsing ICW it’s so much more iconic than what people realise".
you know maybe we should talk to him. Which we did and turned out something was wrong. I got that because I’d been through it before. I mean if someones being a wee dick and taking the piss you give them into trouble and say to them but if someone actually has a problem and has dramatically changed you ask them if they are okay.
for having an injury and just as my neck is getting better my shoulder got dislocated. In between that happening I was dropping size, and with personal things it was just…
It was just shit really?
Aye, it was just shit. I mean I’m back wrestling taking bumps but I was in agony and people are going you okay and I’m like I’m fine but when I get home I couldn’t move.
Looking ahead to ICW Hydro this year, certainly much bigger than last year, what are your thoughts on ICW’s progression to reach this level so far? I always say, see if somebody had told
"There has been the odd clash but we made it work because we get on so great. We are in strong place to move forward as one".
Adrian, Dallas and me we used to say “why don’t we all try to run the Hydro we’ll get in an import or two. We’ll just run it just as a Scottish Wresting night” and even then we are like oh I don’t know then Boom! and its like honest to god its like you could almost make it into a movie the story. I think it’s fantastic. It’s one of those things I’m deeply proud of. Dallas tweeted after the 10th anniversary and named the guys that were on the first show and that one, there were like four of us and I was one of them. You can’t get any more of an ICW guy than that. We spoke earlier that there was brief period when I brought personal issues to work but overall it’s been a really good journey. I think now, the feud with Sha I felt for a while we were kinda like an after thought if that makes sense, the Polo’s thing worked & we got the belts but we wrestled each other about 12 times then all of a sudden it was like you’re gonna win it tonight and I’m like there’s no thought going into this when you look at all the angles before, the things we done with Kennedy and to their credit they let us get on with it. For a while
wrestling then maybe a year or two ago the overall opinion was it’s Scottish Wrestling doing well. But you know what, these days it IS British Wrestling. I mean WhatCulture has popped up almost out of nowhere and they are doing amazing. They had a huge following, a different following and they are put eyes on British Wrestling. You got the ITV thing, but the one thing we have in Scotland, but our one big advantage has been me,
gonna happen, I’d have laughed at them. promoters that were kinda pal’y Graham,
Everybody is talking about British
and England is starting to get there now
me even four years ago of what was I remember even a few years ago all the
do you feel ICW has helped promote Scottish wrestling as a whole?
Adrian, Graham and Dallas we are all there I felt like I don’t know where I’m
pals, aye we are all mates. Yeah sure
going but the way it’s worked out it’s
sometimes mates bicker and fall out. I
been timed perfectly.
remember the one day I ran the Glasgow Pavillion Theatre in the afternoon and
The match is for control of the company,
that night Dallas ran the Glasgow Garage
a massive match and the biggest
I had like a thousand people obviously
personal feud in that match other than
that was my big show, he does bigger
Drew and Dallas is me and Sha, and it’s
and he had seven hundred in the Garage
almost like two matches rolled into one.
that night maybe there was a wee
Just when you look at everything they’ve
crossover but that was living proof that
done with On:Demand, when you hear
family shows and ICW’s aren’t rivals,
about Devitt who’s under contract with
people come to my shows, children
WWE, and WWE is like alright we’ll give
bring their parents and the parents like
you Devitt, fans were all like “Oh wow
it more than they thought they then go
it’s Devitt!”, I’m thinking WWE is actively
to ICW without the children, people go
endorsing ICW it’s so much more iconic
to ICW and find out about these shows
than what people realise, most people
and they think I’ll bring the wee man
are excited that Devitt is coming back,
to the family shows. Now we all plan
the business is changing and companies
our shows scheduling the dates going
like ICW and Progress in fairness WWE
forward to include each others shows to
is almost embracing them. Remember
let the wrestlers know as well. There has
OVW, it’s almost like that again but
been the odd clash but we made it work
instead of WWE sending guys farming guys out to them,
because we get on so great. We are in strong place to move forward as one.
they are like, we like what you have got. And it makes me proud.
JOIN US @STEELCHAIRMAG
Multiple Scottish promotions are unified with ICW, how DECEMBER 2016 STEELCHAIR 35
CLASH OF CHAMPIONS
WORDS: JAMES TOAL
CLASH OF THE CHAMPIONS DVD + BLURAY REVIEW
ot the Night of Champions, not a Clash of the
the show gave us some more heat between these two, which
Champions. This is Clash of Champions, where
doesn’t hurt really.
we’ll see The US Title, the Women’s Title, the Cruiserweight Title, the Tag Team Titles, and the
Next up was the final match between Cesaro and Sheamus in
Universal Title on the line.
a best of 7 fight. These guys in the ring together just work, and it shows considering their recent tag team run. They put
The first match of the night was The New Day vs Gallows &
everything into what they did that night just to make this
Anderson (The Club) for the Tag Team Titles, A very entertaining
final battle seem really important and they achieved that
start to the pay-per-view with a lot of back and forth between
perfectly. A downside to this was the controversial ending, It’s
the two teams. However, a questionable ending left a bittersweet
understandable to see what the booking team was going for in
taste with a weapon being used and wondering what the heck
order to make the two seem evenly matched. On the other hand,
are The Club mean to do now? A few downsides but otherwise a
it seemed to the audience that this was just a feud where they
decent way to kick off the show.
didn’t want to commit to a winner and just left it.
TJ Perkins vs Brian Kendrick for the Cruiserweight Title follows
Sami Zayn vs Chris Jericho was a weird build up, It almost
on from this to also be very entertaining as well. The match
seemed like they wanted to build the match as who was a
highlighted how different the cruiserweights can be from the
better friend to Kevin Owens. Which is an unorthodox way to get
main roster and performed really well. Even the aftermath of
people in the ring together, even though it’s probably one of the
36 STEELCHAIR DECEMBER 2016
MATCHES: WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens vs Seth Rollins Match 7 of Best of 7 Series with Cesaro vs Sheamus WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte vs Sasha Banks vs Bayley WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day vs Gallows & Anderson Sami Zayn vs Chris Jericho WWE United States Champion Rusev vs Roman Reigns WWE Cruiserweight Champion TJ Perkins vs Brian Kendrick
BLU-RAY EXTRAS: Nia Jax vs Alicia Fox (Clash of Champions Kick-off show) Kevin Owens Universal Title Celebration on Monday Night Raw 5th September 2016 Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel with Sami Zayn on Monday Night Raw 12th September 2016 Tag match of Sasha Banks & Bayley vs Charlotte & Dana Brooke on Monday Night Raw 19th September 2016 Match 6 of Best of 7 series with Cesaro vs Sheamus
lamest reason for their to be a fight. The
Now we come to the US Title match
progressed so well and was sadly ruined
match was pretty good anyways despite
with Roman Reigns VS Rusev. The crowd
by a decision to make the champion look
this setback and the crowd was fully
could not care less about this match
like he can’t fight his own battles. Which
onboard for it.
as the familiar “CM Punk” chants start
doesn’t help when the new belt has just
circling the ring. Given that the heat
so far been won by dirty tactics instead
One of the highlights of the show was
between these two revolved around Lana
of being won clean.
the triple threat match for the Women’s
covered in cake and penis jokes, is it
Championship with Sasha Banks vs
really a surprise that people weren’t
This was certainly a mixed bag of a PPV.
Bayley vs Charlotte. Much like before
going to care that much? The crowd did
The good parts are sadly tainted by the
with Cesaro & Sheamus these people
liven up as the match went on but it’s
negative aspects which weren’t a good
give it their all, and yes there may have
a shame it took so long to get to that
start to the newly formed brand split.
been a few co-ordinated moments gone
The blu-ray extras are worth a watch
wrong but they put a lot of effort into
making this match feel big and they
Last up is Seth Rollins vs Kevin Owens
succeeded so well, another noteworthy
for the Universal Championship. Add this
highlight of Charlotte’s championship
match on top of the pile of controversial
endings for the night because this was the cherry on the cake. The match
DECEMBER 2016 STEELCHAIR 37
WORDS: LIZZ WHITEHOUSE / PHOTOS: WWE VIDEO
CHARLOTTE VS SASHA: THE BIGGEST FEUD GOING INTO ROADBLOCK hen ‘The Boss’ Sasha
importantly how this still draws in any
The feud between Charlotte and Sasha
Banks and Charlotte
gender in any generation.
goes right back to their NXT days.
End of the Line for their
This rivalry has encapsulated pro
Believe or not, Banks and Charlotte were
30-minute Iron (wo)Man
wrestling since January; leaving fans
once close allies. Working as teammates,
match, the two will end one of the most
anticipating bouts between the two,
alongside Summer Rae, the trio wreaked
intense and personal rivalries of 2016.
questioning what will happen next;
havoc against popular babyfaces such as
arguably a rarity among modern day
Paige and Bayley. Unfortunately – true
And while this may be slightly
wrestling and something some may say
to heel form – ego led to their demise
controversial (considering the love for
hasn’t been seen since the likes of Trish
especially when Charlotte became NXT
Chris Jericho and his list), their feud is
Stratus and Lita.
Champion leading Banks to split herself
collide at Roadblock:
the biggest going into Roadblock.
from the second-generation star and But what has made this rivalry so
firmly setting her sites on the top prize in
A competitive feud for a top prize that
engrossing? And how can it move forward
helps remind of the old-school approach
without becoming just another storyline
that blends compelling storytelling,
that has outrun its course?
entrancing in-ring action and more
38 STEELCHAIR DECEMBER 2O16
Charlotte’s 258-day reign came to a halt when she was defeated by Sasha in a
Fatal 4-Way match. The capturing of the
the strength of this program and the fans
title allowed The Boss to reach greater
While shoving Banks to the background
heights than had previously been seen; it
after ‘The Showcase of the Immortals’ for
made a star out of her.
some was rather perplexing, in hindsight,
Charlotte will look to take vengeance for
it was very clever booking. This way she
her most recent title defeat as she battles
She somehow managed to do what
was never overexposed and as a result led
Banks in an 30-Minute Iron Woman
Charlotte never quite achieved; and that
to greater anticipation for the eventual
match at Roadblock. The contest should
was to create a big-fight feel for each of
showdown and act of revenge.
tie up the program between the two;
her bouts. Because while Charlotte can
redirecting fans attention elsewhere and
walk-the-walk, Sasha can most definitely
By putting the focus on both Banks
allowing – if need be – to rebuild off this
do this and talk-the-talk. At this time,
and Charlotte’s burning desire for
feud due to the solid foundation that has
Charlotte’s character on the mic was – for
championship gold rather than soap-
been laid first time around.
some – sub-par to Sasha.
opera drama that often overshadows WWE programming; the title has been
If the feud continues into 2017, it risks
It is the longevity of this storyline that
elevated with its importance. Believe or
turning stale. No plethora of gimmick
has become one of the interesting
not, the hot potato switching of the title
matches could change this.
elements of the rivalry. Both the Creative
from August to November has helped this
team and the girls, themselves, have
done everything possible to enhance the story.
The last thing that WWE can afford is to waste either Sasha or Charlotte, both
Fans – especially those who are invested
pioneers in the Women’s Revolution,
in both or one female – are drawn into
because of its failure to prepare other
The interference of Ric Flair at
watch every championship bout in fear
female talent waiting in the wings. Plus,
Wrestlemania helped propel the story
that they may miss some enthralling
when you consider the epic rise of
forward; it gave Sasha a reason to
championship exchange. The fact that the
Bayley; it would be crying shame to see
continue chasing Charlotte, at the same
30th November episode of Raw drew the
her underdog storyline go to waste.
time helping to strength Charlotte’s
biggest audience since the start of the
dastardly heel character further.
American football season helps solidify
DECEMBER 2016 STEELCHAIR 39
GO-HOME SHOW 016 has been a tumultuous year. In the real world it’s largely been horrible, all questionable political decisions, the emergence of posttruth as an accepted narrative, and far too many beloved celebrities dying. Conversely, professional wrestling has had an incredible year, with surprise after surprise being sprung on graps fans by every organisation from WWE to New Japan to the lowliest indy doing brilliant things with limited resources. The biggest news stories have seen AJ Styles not only join WWE but become its World champion, Shinsuke Nakamura leave the comfort of Japan for the US, and a resurgent Chris Hero have such a good year that even carrying timber like Dusty Rhodes hasn’t held him back from Greatest Of All-Time status.
But if you’d told me at the beginning of the year that Matt Hardy - perennially picking up a cheque for doing the same old, same old, on a forever-stumbling TNA – would come up with 2016’s most innovative, and most watchable, character then I’d have told you to stop the crazy talk. It’s true, though, and
40 STEELCHAIR DECEMBER 2O16
even those of us who long ago gave up on TNA, despite relaunch after relaunch, have found ourselves watching his bits at least, eager to see where BROKEN Matt Hardy goes next. The climax of all this – at least for now - aired this week in the US, with a showlong Total Nonstop Deletion coming from the Hardy Compound in Cameron, NC. The show was built around a gauntlet match for the TNA Tag-Team titles – held by the Hardyz – but also featured a TNA World Heavyweight title match between Bobby Lashley and Eddie Edwards (which, as far as I can tell, is still going on), a number one contenders’ match for the Women’s title (which revealed that the North Carolina Athletic Commission frowns on drones fighting women), and the in-ring debuts of both Hardy’s infant son, who pinned Rockstar Spud with the aid of Senor Benjamin and his trusty taser, and Jeff Hardy’s headfuck Itchweeed. If all this sounds like the ravings of a madman then, well, that’s exactly what it is – the beautiful insanity created by Matt and Jeff Hardy, and their partnerin-crime (enabler?) Jeremy Borash.
The tag-team tournament – entitled Apocalypto, because if the Hardyz relinquished their grip on the belts a nascent volcano in the grounds of their compound would erupt and destroy the entire town – featured regular TNA teams like the Decay and the Helms Dynasty, as well as invited guests such as the Rock ‘N’ Roll Express, the Bravado Brothers, and a cast of dozens. Quite simply, it shouldn’t work. But it does. It really, really does. The freedom afforded to Hardy to create the BROKEN series of vignettes and features is symbolic of a year in wrestling when people are trying new things more than ever. The audience for the sport is dwindling, but those who are on board are with it for life, and will tolerate – encourage, delight in – the different, as well as a decent dose of their usual fare. I sincerely hope that 2017 is a very different year for the real world, but I’d be more than happy to see wrestling continue along the same lines. It’s been different, it’s been weird, it’s been surprising. It’s been great.
The wrestling magazine vulturehound PODCAST NOW AVAILABLE ONfrom ITUNES AND YOUTUBE
Published on Dec 18, 2016
This issue features interviews with: -Finn Balor -William Regal -Robbie Brookside -Kid Fite + Features, reviews and our wrestlers and even...