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BIG JAPAN: THE JEKYLL AND HYDE OF JAPANESE WRESTLING

WRESTLING WILLIAM REGAL DISCUSSES THE NEW WWE UK CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT

KID FITE

ROBBY BROOKSIDE

WHY CENA SHOULD WIN THE ROYAL RUMBLE

“THE DEADMAN VS THE DEMON” SteelChairMag.com

roadblock: Sasha banks v charlotte

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2016

FINN BALOR

Dec

THE DEMON KING SPEAKS

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WELCOME

Visit VultureHound.com for regular wrestling updates from the SteelChair team

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.

W

EDITORIAL David Garlick Editor / Design david@vulturehound.com

Craig Hermit VulltureHound Wrestling Editor craig.hermit@vulturehound.com

Lee Hazel Copy Editor lee@vulturehound.com

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SOCIAL MEDIA Please join us on the links below, or search for ‘SteelChairMag’

Thanks again to everyone for reading and supporting the magazine. Hope you have a Happy New Year! David Garlick @davidgarlick

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HIGHLIGHTS

BIG JAPAN 06

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Copyright 2017 SteelChair Magazine. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the written consent of SteelChair Magazine. Requests for permission should be directed to: info@steelchairmag.com.


"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

1

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.

2

CHARLOTTE V SASHA WWE RAW 28/11/16

Visit VultureHound.com for regular wrestling updates from SteelChair Magazine

WRESTLER

OF THE MONTH PETE DUNNE

I

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.

3

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.

4

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.

5

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

16/11/16

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


FINN BALOR

WORDS: LEE HAZEL / PHOTOS: WWE

The demon king speaks FINN BALOR 22 STEELCHAIR DECEMBER 06 JULY 2O15 2O16


Interview

> >

DECEMBER 2016 STEELCHAIR 07


FINN BALOR

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.

F

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


FINN BALOR

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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youtube.com/vulturehound

The latest podcast from


BIG JAPAN

WORDS: MAT LINDSAY

BIG JAPAN: THE JEKYLL AND HYDE OF JAPANESE WRESTLING

W

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

“Garbage Promotions”

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

garbage.

chamber.

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

Thatcher.

wholly have been directed at the A so-called ‘Piranha Death-match’

erstwhile reptile.

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

scorpions.

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

exciting matches.

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


WORDS:

UNBOXING

championship for each. Though there are

BRADLEY TIERNAN

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

S

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

Action.

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

Wrestling stickers.

attend. Accompanying this item was a

Joseph Connors,

‘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


Photo: WWE

WWE UK

T

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. We’ll have more details on the roster soon.

DECEMBER 2016 STEELCHAIR 15


REGAL/BROOKSIDE

WORDS: LEE HAZEL / PHOTOS: WWE

Interview

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.

W

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


REGAL/BROOKSIDE

"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


REGAL/BROOKSIDE

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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ROYAL RUMBLE

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.

2

26 STEELCHAIR DECEMBER 2016


DECEMBER 2016 STEELCHAIR 27


WORDS: CRAIG HERMIT / PHOTOS: DAVID WILSON

KID FITE

INTERVIEW:

KID FITE

28 STEELCHAIR DECEMBER 2016


ounded in March 2006,

F

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

saying.

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


KID FITE

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

wrestler.

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


KID FITE

"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

N

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

point.

The blu-ray extras are worth a watch

wrong but they put a lot of effort into

though.

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

reign.

endings for the night because this was the cherry on the cake. The match

DECEMBER 2016 STEELCHAIR 37


ROADBLOCK

V

WORDS: LIZZ WHITEHOUSE / PHOTOS: WWE VIDEO

CHARLOTTE

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

W

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

developmental.

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


V

SASHA

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

investment.

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

importance.

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

ALAN BOON’S

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.

2

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.


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STEELCHAIR Wrestling Magazine #11