Picture Credit: (c) Brett Hadley Photography and HOPE Wrestling
Friday night I was treated to a fantastic evening of entertainment courtesy of the HOPE Wrestling at the Forest Town Arena in Mansfield. I’ll leave the reviewer of the show to go over the matches individually because quite frankly I was enjoying it too much to be able to accurately describe the whole night and give it the credit it deserves.
What I’d like to obviously talk about is ICW’s most (in)famous b*****d, Jack Jester. I was absolutely captivated by Jester all night long. I saw him pre-show strolling through the car park off to get himself something to calm the nerves maybe? I doubt it… this guy doesn’t have nerves!
Over at HOPE being Scottish in the middle of England, Jester is a natural heel. However, Jester is fast becoming far more than that, the guy has genuine heat there now after a repeated incident Friday night that I don’t really want to get dragged into but feel I’m missing out a large part of exactly why Jester is so good at what he does if I don’t mention it. I’ll leave what he did till the end though…
First off, as mentioned I saw Jester strolling through the car park before the show. He had his hood up and didn’t even look over at the queue of people lined up to get into the venue, just casually strolled by. I didn’t see a single HOPE fan approach him! He genuinely intimidates lots of people, even grown men like myself. There are very few wrestlers in the WORLD, let alone the UK that can do this. Three others spring to mind that we have… 2 because they just simply look like big, mean blokes who you wouldn’t want a scuffle with anytime soon, Rampage Brown and Dave Mastiff. The other being Jimmy Havoc because, well… I’m not sure if he would actually stab me if I got on the wrong side of him! I usually make sure I’m wearing his merch so he at least sees a downside to ending me. Jester has that ‘aura’ about him that few match up to.
As we all huddled into Forest Town Area and knocked back a few drinks, Jester came out to cut a promo which would end with him getting himself into the main event with Jigsaw and Jimmy Havoc. He was boo’d and heckled throughout the entire time he emerged from behind the curtain to when he exited to backstage. The crowd caused him to stop on several occasions and have personal back and forth with various sections of audience. He offered a few people into the ring (myself included, lol… another guy took him up on the offer and got in the ring only to be hauled out by ‘security’) and went nose-to-nose with many others. One thing I noticed when he was in my face was the look of intensity in his differently coloured eyes. He’s a mean looking f****r! I stuck to my guns and didn’t take his bait and get in the ring, that’s his world and I’m not daft enough to enter it! I’d have a guess he over-ran the time he was supposed to have for the promo, but the heat he built was enormous and later on it would partially lead to one of the most incredible performances by a wrestler that I’ve seen in person.
Skip forward a few drinks and hours later, we got to the main event! Bleary eyed but still full of life, I awaited Jester’s entrance like a 6 year old, just aching to start booing him. Again, he came out to a chorus of jeers and boos. On his way past a front row member of the audience who had been collecting money for her son’s good cause in a bucket (http://www.gofundme.com/pzbjtc if you’d like to donate to the little lad!), Jester kicked the bucket across the floor… to which he was roundly jeered by everyone in the building, he went on to kick it 2 more times before the end of the night, something that caused a bit of a fallout on the social media channels with fans, wrestlers and other people connected to the incident having their say quite thoroughly. The vast amount of it saying that Jester went too far by doing it 3 times and should have apologised (please note that HOP:E management apologised to the lady in question on the night and made a personal donation to the fund).
Sort of back to the match… after the bucket kicking incident, Jester continued to argue and get in the faces of the audience, which by now he’d worked up into so much of a frenzy that they’d pretty much forgot that a wrestling match was supposed to be happening.
I am very reliably informed that all in all, it took Jester TWENTY THREE minutes to get into the ring which is a staggering amount of time to keep an audience captivated for without actually throwing at least a punch in anger.
He seems to have built some genuine heat at HOPE but all the talk after the show was about him so was he just doing his job? Or did he go too far? I think most people’s answers to this will be split into something similar to politics’ ‘left’ and ‘right’ terminology. The ‘right’ of the wrestling world are going to tell you that if you sit in the front row, you should expect to be part of the show. The left will tell you that ‘once was enough, to do it 3 times is just over the top’.
I think the best comment I saw on the whole situation was a clever analogy by a friend of mine… ‘You wouldn’t go to Sea World, sit in the splash zone and expect to not get wet’. Maybe the lady whose bucket it was didn’t realise this and it’s just a situation that has to be learned from by everyone involved.
Either way, that Jack Jester… managed to scare the s**t out of me! What a b*****d, eh?