“Are you not a bit old for Wrestling?”

Love comes when you least expect it. You’ll just be getting on with your life, minding your own business and then TWANG out of the blue that arrow from cupid hits you square in the heart.

This happened to me recently with Wrestling.

I don’t mean Greco, Olympic style wrestling. I mean spandex clad, baby-oiled, hitting people with fold up chairs Professional Wrestling.

If you had told me three years ago I’d be sitting here writing a blog post declaring my love for Wrestling I might have laughed in your face.

My new passion formed when a friend persuaded me to go along to an Indie Wrestling event at the Mandela Hall a couple of months ago.

I’d been aware of Pro Wrestling of course I had. It exploded in the late 80’s & 90’s in the UK when I was just hitting my early teens. Hulkamania swept the nation, I knew the name of almost every wrestler in WWF’s roster despite being unable to regularly watch the actual wrestling. It wasn’t shown on terrestrial TV and only the rich kids in school had satellite back then.

A kickboxing gym I trained at had Sky TV and after training I’d watch as much as I could get into my eyeballs before having to leave – usually around ten minutes which mostly consisted of interviews. The matches would always start as I had to go.

I remember to this day the absolute hatred I had for a kid in my class who had the Hasbro WWF figures. I think maybe if I met him today I still might stab him in the face for the Ultimate Warrior figure if I thought I could get away with it.

My instructor stopped using the gym with the Sky TV, so I stopped being able to see the Wrestling. It disappeared from my life for what I assumed to be forever.

Fast forward to my thirty ninth year and I’m standing in a queue to this Indie Wrestling gig. Whats the worst that could happen I’d thought when my friend asked me to go? It’s a night out. Trust me kids – at 39 any night out out is an event. Christ I’m too old now to go to the cinema if the movie starts after 7pm so going out on a Sunday night is practically unheard of.

I shuffled out of my carpet slippers and went fully having every intention of being bored rigid, complaining non stop and announcing to my friend that she had ruined my life and that I’d never see her again.

I couldn’t have been more wrong . I had possibly the greatest fun of my adult life.

We had VIP tickets for the Over The Top Wrestling  show – My friends’ idea, I’d gone along with the slightly higher price because I thought I might get a seat out of it.

This gained us access the the exclusive balcony area of the Mandela Hall, giving us a birds eye view of the entire ring.

Local Wrestler “Tucker” was being interviewed in the ring about his recent appearance on the brand new WWE UK Tournament when his opponent Charlie Sterling ran from back stage and attacked him mid interview.

And thus my heart was taken.

The seat I’d been willing to pay extra for remained untouched by my arse for the rest of the night. I screamed myself hoarse.

I felt the impact of every single clothesline. I held my breath every single time someone climbed on the top rope. I screamed victorious when my chosen champion pinned their opponent. I felt like crying when someone I’d never heard of twenty minutes ago got beaten.

The Wrestlers at these Indie Events give it their all. Every single night it’s their Wrestlemania. The passion they have is contagious. These so called “amateurs” pull off moves that would have been unheard of from the top stars in The WWF of the 80’s & 90’s and would easily land me in hospital or quite possibly dead if I tried them. The hours of training that must go in to being able to pull them off is frightening.

Their in ring personas have been carefully crafted  – my favourite ” Session Moth Martina” ( who incidentally I’m considering leaving my wife for ) is a beer swigging, fag smoking leopard print pajamma bottom wearing Milly/Ned/Chav who simultaneously made me laugh so hard at her antics I almost snorted beer out my nose and made my jaw drop with the sheer athleticism, strength and flexibility she displayed in the ring.

The tag team event had Kings of The North V The Wards. Some of the aerial moves in this match outside the ring bordered on suicidal – I’d never seen anything like it, not a mat in sight and these guy were throwing themselves through the air without a care in the world. The Kings’ made up of Damien Corvin & the perfectly named Bonesaw ( I might name my first child Bonesaw now ) are genuinely my new heroes.

I almost broke my neck running down the stairs of the venue to buy a Kings Of The North T-shirt.

I’ve been telling anyone who will listen and a few people who won’t that they should go to a live Indie Wrestling event immediately. I’ve had the same two responses from almost everyone I’ve mentioned it to:

” Is it not all fixed?”

“Are you not a bit old for Wrestling?”

To the first question I couldn’t give a fiddlers. Genuinely. The rational minded, adult in me knows it is scripted entertainment. It doesn’t factor in to the enjoyment I get from it – One thing. It isn’t fake. The performers sell it well, even so its hard to fake having some tank built mofo jump on someone off a turnbuckle or watching a head bounce off the floor of the ring. Wrestling must hurt like crazy.

To the second question. I might well be. I might well be too old for Wrestling. The truth is it makes me feel the complete opposite. It makes me feel like I’m nine years old again. I haven’t felt such uncomplicated, unadulterated, sheer joy in anything for as long as I can remember. I’ve been to three other live events since.

Now I trawl twitter, facebook, the internet daily trying to find out when I can go and see my new heroes fly again.

Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you are too old for anything.

 

Information on OTT Wrestling can be found here: OTT WRESTLING or on Twitter @OTT_Wrestling

Session Moth Martina’s Twitter is @Mothfromdaflats

Kings of the North Twitter are   @Corvinni @BonesawAl

 

 

 

“Are you not a bit old for Wrestling?”
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