Thursday, 2 January 2014

BWA: Controversy Creates? Part 3 - Harvey Dale (@TheHarveyDale) Has His Say By Craig Jarrett

Having given my own opinion of the BWA/Gareth Angel vs Harvey Dale war of words and then gotten Gareth's own side of things in a follow up, I thought it was only fair to get Harvey Dales side of the incident. So here is the final part in this BWA discussion as I posed the questions to Mr. Dale for him to answer in as much information as he wants.

Harvey added the following statement before we began "Thank you for taking the time to compile a list of questions, your time and interest in this matter is greatly appreciated as it is still a subject that I feel very strongly about".

Have you had a chance to read Gareth's latest response to what happened last summer?

Yes I have, having read your original article a few weeks ago, I had wondered if Gareth would decide to issue a statement or anything so it came as no surprise to read what was said.

Could you go over again what was said in the original conversation between the two of you?

Yes certainly. I became aware of Bradford Wrestling Alliance whilst it was advertising its original debut show. I had a look at the 'roster' announced and was obviously very concerned from the off set that this was going to be 'just another' of the constant stream of drivel using the same bunch of partially or untrained workers, the vast majority of whom have attended a training school for no more that a month before being thrust onto 'shows' in front of a live audience. You wouldn't train at NGW, Futureshock or House Of Pain for example and then be on a show a month later as there is no way you could possibly be prepared or ready for that kind of environment. That being said, who a 'promotion' wishes to use on their roster is their own business and it is not for me to dictate who should/should not be used. My first contact with Gareth came following that debut show, I arrived home late that night having been on a show somewhere myself to see a lot of uproar on Facebook about a chap called Matt Ward (not to be confused with the British Wrestler "Flex Buffington" who is of the highest caliber and should be getting more bookings than he currently does), who had been entered into a 'Rumble' match on their debut show. As it turned out, Matt had been attending 'Grapple Wrestling' in Leeds but had only been to a small handful of training sessions and was by anyone's way of thinking, not ready to be pushed into such an environment. I remember a comment from, someone whom I believe to be his sister asking 'who I was to be speaking out against a young boy fulfilling his dream of being on a wrestling show' and I just snapped. The sheer indignation of some of the idiots that follow around these shows and their lack of understanding of the fact that what happens on those shows is DANGEROUS is highly surprising at times. As it turned out, Matt Ward had been severely injured when exiting the ring from the Rumble match and if memory serves me correctly spent a number of days in hospital following that incident. On that day Matt was lucky, lucky that the incident wasn't more serious and lucky that he was able to walk away from it a few days later which I think we were all very thankful for. This prompted a message to me from Gareth Thompson, who having read my thoughts on the subject wanted to 'put my mind at ease'. Gareth introduced himself and told me how he had it on good authority that Matthew had been training for several months and that his trainer had indeed contacted Gareth and BWA to 'put him forward' for a spot on the show. Whether this was true or not, I do not know. I then asked Gareth what his insurance costs had been for the show and he responded with 'what do you mean?', so I again asked what he had paid for the insurance to run the show. He replied with, "oh we don't need insurance as the venue has it....." At this point I gave Gareth the benefit of the doubt, believing him just to be a bit on the naive side and offered to help him sort everything out should he want some help. He came back to me a month or so later thanking me for pointing him in the right direction and saying he was now on top of everything and doing things properly, was fully insured and would be looking at taking out a lot of the 'untrained yarders' and replacing them with properly trained and competent workers, all of whom would be being paid to perform on what was being advertised as a 'professional show'. I left it at that and said no more about Gareth until I was alerted to an absolutely ridiculous Youtube video of one of their shows, which I took 2 hours out of my day to actually sit through and all I can say is WOW! This was possibly the most nonsensical piece of booking I had ever come across, I'm not going to say too much about the show until the main event part of it, which at 330pm on a Sunday afternoon, in front of families with small children, Gareth decided to book himself in a 'Hardcore Match' for the 'title'. The entire match was a farce from start to finish and highlighted the sheer ineptitude of Gareth as a booker, as a worker and as a human being. I had my say on the match and needless to say, a PM from Gareth again popped up asking me for help! I asked Gareth about his insurance again and he admitted to me that he did not have any and asked if I could put him in touch with the company that we had used for HOP:E. One day later (I can only assume having heard the actual cost of being insured), Gareth had changed his tune and was claiming he had been fully insured the whole time and had just 'misplaced' his certificate. We exchanged a number of messages with me picking holes in his lies and him backtracking and attempting to cover them up before he eventually blocked me, not, as he claimed, me blocking him, I have no reason to block Gareth, in fact I find his lies very entertaining to read most of the time.

Do you still stand by the things you said to and about Gareth?

To be honest, I cannot remember everything that was said, I will clear up my feelings on Gareth though. For starters, I think Gareth is a fool unto himself. I was contacted by several former or 'current' at the time, BWA wrestlers, all telling me they were not paid or that the things they were asked to do made no sense. It is a shame that being tarred with the association of being with Gareth Angel does seem to hold back some decent guys from every getting a chance to get out there. Matt Slater is a classic example as is JG Nash, both guys have the charisma and ability to move to a better level, but a lot of promoters will take one look at a show like this and just feel they are not worth giving a chance to. I believe Gareth is a rotten human being, a pathological liar and someone who would happily endanger the safety of both his workers and his audience in order to line his own pocket.

Having watched the BWA shows on Youtube, what were your thoughts on what you saw?

I think I touched on this briefly in my answer to a previous question. For me, the booking makes no sense whatsoever, having a hardcore match with no build up or story established behind it, 'just for the sake of it' is ridiculous. On the same show, Gareth had booked Chris Taylor to wrestle Matt Marsay, in a 'submission match' - I spoke to both guys after that show and both told me that they do not ever use submission holds and have never been involved in a submission match before, again it would bring me to ask, WHY? What is the point of booking 2 guys in a match that neither of them have ever worked before, neither are comfortable with and doesn't benefit the the show in any way? It just doesn't make sense. In all honesty, I felt the shows that I watched (which in total I think I have sat through 3) and they way they are run, are nothing more than a platform for Mr Angel to perform in a main event spot and get himself onto local radio claiming to be a 'Professional Wrestler'- Gareth is NOT a professional wrestler, guys like Ligero, Kris Travis, Nathan Cruz, Stixx etc, they are PROFESSIONAL wrestlers, people who travel the country day in and day out, being paid to perform in front of audiences. Putting on a pair of leather trousers and putting some stickers on a WWE Belt to book yourself as a 'Heavyweight Champion' does not a 'Professional Wrestler' make.

Have you attempted to contact Gareth since what was said before?

No I haven't, as I explained in one of my earlier answers, Gareth blocked me from being able to contact him on Facebook and in all honesty I felt there was no point in me wasting any more breath on him. A man who can lie and twist the truth in the manner in which Gareth does is never going to change. Gareth has no desire to do things properly, if he was serious about bettering himself or actually becoming a 'Professional' then he would attend a training school and actually make himself competent inside the ring.

Looking back on what you said and making the conversation public on Facebook, do you regret doing so?

Maybe social media is not the best platform to express opinions on as reading something can often be taken out of context but I don't think I regret any of it necessarily no. What people seem to so often ignore is that their actions directly effect the entire scene in the UK as a whole. If a family sees a poster for 'British Wrestling' and goes along to watch- let's use Bradford as an example as NGW have now run a couple of shows there as well, they go to an NGW show, they are treated to the cream of the crop in British Wrestling, El Ligero, Mark Haskins, Robbie X, Stixx, Nathan Cruz, Rampage Brown etc, they are given a show, that from start to finish is booked to make sense to the audience, there are no random 'Hardcore Matches', no one appearing on the shows who hasn't worked damn hard at a training academy (usually their own which I am so pleased to say now includes Matt Slater) to make sure that they are ready to perform in front of an audience, it is just a well structured and enjoyable experience for that family. That family then comes away with a lasting first impression of British Wrestling and 99 times out of 100 it will have been a good one. Now say that they see a poster and it is one of Gareth's, they go along to a working mens club on a Sunday afternoon and see the kinds of things I have mentioned already, they then come away with a completely different first impression and can anyone honestly then say that they would not tar the wonderful product offered by NGW and the product offered by BWA with the same brush purely because to the casual audience they are both advertised as 'British Wrestling'. In that instance we may well lose that family forever and never get them to another show. I would also make no apologies or have any regrets about calling out Gareth for the lack of insurance. Take Matt Ward's injury as an example, had his injury been more severe and he ended up, heaven forbid, in a wheel chair for the rest of his life, what would have been on the national news that week? I'll tell you what, it would have said how British Wrestling was full of untrained and unsafe practices that caused a young lad to lose the ability to walk. Where would Matt be today if that was the case? Gareth's lack of insurance would have left him with no where to turn. In the same instance, all insurance companies who would actually insure a wrestling product in this country would be sat rubbing their hands together and bumping up their prices, making it nearly impossible for any other promotion to be able to afford to have insurance. The entire product suffers.

Do you think British wrestling is full of bullying and backstabbing?

Backstabbing yes. British Wrestling will always be full of people trying to undercut each other or slag each other off in order to steal their spot on a show. It is one of the things that holds back the guys at the top from being able to charge what they deserve to be paid as there will always be someone willing to fill your spot for a lot less money, of course, the product then suffers but a lot of 'promoters' would rather use it as a tool to make money than to actually invest in the quality of the product. Bullying, it may go on, in the locker rooms and promotions that I have been fortunate enough to be a part of, I have certainly never seen it.

Do you think Gareth should still be involved in wrestling?

Is Gareth still 'involved' in wrestling? Nothing that Gareth has ever done, in my mind, is 'wrestling' so I can't really comment on that side of things. If Gareth put the effort into attending a training school, and it isn't as though there are a shortage of them around, reached a suitable level and went the right way about getting bookings then I would have no problem at all with Gareth being involved. As long as what he is doing is safe, insured and not dragging the reputation of British Wrestling through the mud, then why not, everyone is entitled to follow their passion. I would just question what Gareth's passion actually is.

Do you think the two of you will ever make amends?

I'm not too sure on this one, whether Gareth feels my comments were personal or not, my sole intention was only ever to protect the thing that I love from being dragged through the mud. Whenever I talk to any of the American lads that come over, one of the first things I ask them is "What do you guys think of British Wrestling?"- more often than not they will tell me that its reputation is terrible and will then go on to highlight such things as shoddy production values, shoddy shows and shoddy booking that is plastered all over the World Wide Web. What people like Gareth need to understand is that by putting this rubbish up for all to see, he is getting the UK Scene judged all over the world and we all know that the product we have in the UK at the moment as a whole is better than it has been in a very long time.

If a promotion that was run similar to BWA came up what you act the same way towards that promotion and its promoter?

My involvement with Gareth came about because of the lies he was telling me after initially asking for help. If someone else acted in the same way then yes, my reaction would be the same. There are already a number of similar 'promotions' operating in the UK every day of the week, I am not on a crusade to rant about them all but will always give my opinion when asked. Our scene will never truly reach its potential until everyone abides by the book and does things properly, THAT is all I would ever ask of anyone. If you are a wrestler, TRAIN with somebody qualified and capable of training you. If you are a promoter or someone looking to run a show, GET INSURANCE and make damn sure that when you are booking a show, what you are doing makes sense, remember that you are representing the scene as a whole and anything you do reflects on everybody else.

Harvey then finished with this statement "I would like to take this opportunity to thank anyone who has taken the time to show and interest in this story and to Wrestling's Last Hope and Craig Jarrett for their time. Should you have any questions please feel free to get me on my twitter @TheHarveyDale or find me on Facebook".

I would like to thank Stu for giving me the chance to do this and I would like to thank Harvey and Gareth for their time, I hope nobody has been offended by what has been said by either person, I just felt this needed bringing to light.

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