Friday 14 September 2012

How UK Indy Wrestling Has Brought The Out Passion in Us By Robert Shade

(Above: SouthSide Wrestling Heavyweight Champion STIXX)

Usually in life when you look at the biggest sports clubs, the biggest companies, the biggest countries even usually the cream rises to the top and when you look at for example the top football clubs such as Manchester United or Chelsea or Manchester City etc you see undeniably the top players appearing for those clubs and those clubs doing their utmost to bring out the best in those players.

However Wrestling is different in my opinion, it is difficult to make a sound argument that if you wish to see top quality wrestling or thrilling original well done storylines that the modern day WWE or TNA are the places to go, they may be the best on TV but that is because they are all that there is on TV.

I have watched WWE on a regular basis hardly ever missing a show (including Superstars) for many years and like many of us I sense whilst remaining loyal to the televised product (out of blind loyalty or habit not sure!) the quality has without doubt declined, many blame this on the PG brand but that does not prevent decent storylines and then following them through consistently, we have had bits and bobs such as the initial Nexus invasion, the first bit of the summer of Punk but they were both ruined by atrocious and lazy writing, I currently am eagerly awaiting to see how Punk and Heyman is going to pan out but note I am not saying I am excited, reason being I just feel it may be good for a while then they will just totally cock it up by doing something incredibly stupid aka Hornswoggle as the anonymous general manager.

In terms of the actual in ring product on offer it is encouraging that they are showing a trend to taking on smaller guys and of the bigger guys such as Cesaro and Ohno we know that those guys can wrestle but the big question is once they hit the main shows how much proper wrestling do we get from them before something happens like AJ skipping in or Kane being added to matches, Vince will respond by saying its sports entertainment guys but in my humble opinion I just think that he has got lazy, his appetite for the fight has diminished with his priorities elsewhere such as Linda’s campaign and along with him being at retirement age and rich beyond our wildest dreams in his mind why should he really bother any longer?

So is it all despair and crying into our rose tinted from the past glasses or is there hope anywhere?

Well TNA to an extent provides some if certain people actually opened their eyes, cast their bias against the company out of the window and watch the product from new, however they make some mistakes such as the silly Claire Lynch storyline, I mean how can you say as AJ Styles had to that dependent upon the outcome of a wrestling match he was either definitely the unborn baby’s father or he would take a paternity test!!!! Their product has improved and their in ring stuff most of the time in the past 3 years has been superior to WWE’s but again you are just left feeling that something is not there that used to be back when WWF and WCW were engaging in the Monday Night Wars and ECW were also bashing at our senses in terms of wow are we really seeing this on our TV’s!

But what is that missing ingredient and where can we find it?

Well excitement is what we are missing and we do not need to look particularly far, in fact if you live in the UK in almost any of our towns and cities there is a fair bet that lurking inside a sports hall or a night club or some other local establishment will be an indy wrestling company and there is a fair bet that the quality of the wrestling is way in excess of what you will see live on TV or pay through the nose for if you attend a WWE or TNA house show.

How do I find such a show? Well you can look on the excellent UKFF website which lists most of the local shows including where and when they take place and usually lists the card of matches also.

I have had wrestling fans say to me and by this I mean people I know who watch it on TV but who have never been to a live indy event that it must be rubbish because there is hardly anybody there and you have never heard of any of the wrestlers and in any case they must be rubbish if they are wrestling in small halls in front of supposedly small groups of people.

All that I can say is the following, I have now attended a number of Indy Shows, namely NSW which is in Birmingham, SWE which I have watched in Nottingham and PCW which is a large UK indy company based in Preston.

At each and every one of those shows without exception I left feeling at worst incredibly well entertained from the style, speed, technical skill and close contact with the wrestlers to at best leaving feeling like I was about 12 years old again on a massive high having seen something incredible which I thought had gone from wrestling for ever and then discovered that actually I just needed to travel a few miles down the road, pay around a tenner and there it was a 3 hour plus show for that money with each and every match of a far higher quality than what you get on RAW etc.

I have witnessed a complete loon called Mad Man Manson screaming in the middle of the ring all kinds of the funniest things I’ve ever heard in my life, to the point whereby when the match was over myself and everyone else in the crowd had tears rolling down our cheeks so hard had we laughed (imagine Santino or Eric Young but with original and genuine real humour).

I have seen matches which have lasted 25 - 30 minutes of such a high technical quality that the likes of Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler would have been proud to have put on such a show, to the point whereby people spend most of the final few minutes of the match on their feet such is the quality of the product in front of them and a roaring standing ovation at the end, when did you last see that at one of the big boys?

I have been there when a vicious death match took place with a moment when even a hardened wrestling fan like myself had to look away briefly such was the extreme hardcore nature of the match taking place, then we had a 20 minute interlude before the next match whilst the broken glass and blood etc had to be cleared from the ring.

I have been ringside when a wrestler in my case the WWE bound PAC ended up on my seat which I’d just left and then had him holding onto me for support in the middle of the match and I ended up as part of the event myself, do you get that at the big boys?

I have watched an incredible street fight which was just like an old fashioned ECW match where the crowd were following the wrestlers around the arena whilst they were fighting and even the ropes were removed during the match by one of the wrestlers and the crowd were passing chairs and other weapons to the wrestlers.

The most recent event I attended was a feud between Southside Wrestling and House Of Pain in Nottingham, this was spectacular, it culminated with about 300 people quite literally stood up for about 15 minutes all chanting their heads off with either SWE or House Of Pain, it was like being at a football match in the 80s atmosphere wise but without the crowd trouble! We had everything from run in’s to referee’s brawling, to a manager being super kicked, to the wrestlers fighting in the crowd to SWE fans fighting the House Of Pain manager over the use of a chair, the atmosphere and the emotions which were elicited was quite amazing to be part of, the noise was as such that I could not speak to my son next to me without shouting.

I have only ever been to SIX indy shows and all of the above and more have happened just in those shows, the main company I follow is Southside (SWE) in Nottingham and the consistency of storyline is massively impressive.

What is better is that the experience does not end there, you can go onto the social media and play a character and feud on there with people from the rival (in storyline) promotion, just this week I have become embroiled online with a feud between the M.O.B who I sided with and The Predators (a tag team from House Of Pain) who in character threatened me with a trophy kill down my throat!

As a result of all of this which is of course all online panto banter I am finding that I am getting to know an increasing number of similar minded people which includes other fans, wrestlers and promoters and as a consequence you can really immerse yourself into this hitherto wonderful undiscovered world of UK indy wrestling.

So you do not have to choose between the televised product and what is on our own doorsteps but I hope that as wrestling fans if you have currently never attended a UK indy show, try it out, I guarantee you that you will have a thoroughly good time and it will not break the bank either so please get yourself out there and prepare to be thrilled!

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