There’s a lot of negativity around wrestling. By the general public, by fans and even by some of the wrestlers themselves. Now I’ll be the first to admit I have been rather vocal on pointing out the negatives in this job, but the past week made me really reflect on that and how my true emotions are polar opposite. This past Sunday I was part of the PROGRESS wrestling event in Camden. This was my 11th appearance for progress in there two year history and I was extremely excited about the new venue and set up. Now although the night before I’d been wrestling in Knowsly in front of 556 ecstatic fans; nothing can compare to the atmosphere that PROGRESS and it’s fans bring. It’s no secret that they are my favourite promotion to work for, I tell everyone just how well they treat us, how great the shows are and just how their effort to go the extra mile makes every worker in the back do the same. The reason I mention PROGRESS is because the moments I have there, with those fans or with Glen, (one of the promoters of progress who is an amazingly talented performer in his own right but also someone I’m proud to call my friend) Jim, who is just a fantastic person and a true delight to work for.
Jon, the third promoter of PROGRESS, who I’d say is the more official of the three but is genuinely one of the kindest most understanding wrestling promoters I’ve ever come across. Now you may be thinking ‘Why is any of the relevant?’ It’s these things that you just cannot put a value on. Wrestling can be both financially struggling and rewarding, but the moments that you have within that career are just phenomenal. The people you meet, the friendships that become like brotherhood, the long journeys (singing along to blurred lines in pretty much every car journey with Tony Spitfire), the opportunities that get put your way, the sights you’ll see, the experiences you’ll have, all by doing something that you love. I remember in 2011 when I lost the NGW title to Matt Myers in Hull. Now most people know that Matty is my best friend and has been since I was seven years old. We’re closer than most brothers and both grew up chasing this dream. When we performed that main event at NGW Eternal Glory III; the emotion I felt was unlike anything iv ever experienced. We started off at each other in the ring before the bell and Matty said “can you believe we used to play this in a back garden…”(I do not condone backyard wrestling however and we both took to a proper wrestling school) The match speaks for it’s self as far as audience emotion goes. I remember as I was crawling on my hands and knees to the back looking back at the audience (now in the ring) holding Matty above there heads yelling “he’s our champion” it was unforgettable and a moment that I helped create happen; with my best friend none the less. But just as I stepped out of one priceless moment I walked into another. As soon as I step through the curtain the first person I saw was my close friend and idol; Rampage Brown, giving me a solo applause. He shook my hand and said “I’m very proud of you. That was impressive mate.” I filled up and ran to the sports hall where I burst into tears of joy. I remember laying on the cold wooden floor thinking “pay is pay. But this feeling is just incredible.” Fast forward two years and I’m flown out to France for the 8th time, taken to Disney land for two days free of charge all expenses paid, promoted the local event in a clothes shop which I received an elegant tie and cuff links as a token of respect, then performed in front of 2,304 people. After my victory it was impossible to get to the back, I was swarmed by fans who would not let me go. The security had to escort me to the ramp way where hundreds of kids was reaching to tag my hand. I just laid on the ramp as they all piled on me in joy yelling at the top of my voice “I fucking love my life!” I get paid well in France, but that moment had no price tag. I love this business. I love being able to have so many different life experiences, I love having the opportunity to take an audience on an emotional journey, I love the friendships and in short; no matter how tough it can be.
I love being a professional wrestler.