I could hear the roar of the crowd. I felt butterflies in my stomach. I had been to see TNA in this very arena 4 years before, and they hadn’t sold it out. But it was sold out now. 2,200 fans packed into Ireland’s National Stadium, on the edge of there seats for every match on OTT’s supercard Scrappermania 3. My family were in the crowd. Friends were there, people I trained with were there. Another 3,000 people were watching at home. Everything I had worked and trained for had led up to this moment. But my life wasn’t always like this.
We had gone to the pub straight after college, ‘for one’….’’to get to know each other’…’to bond’…We made up excuses we didn’t need to make. Fifteen of us piled into a booth in the Harbour Bar in Bray at 2 in the afternoon. ‘One’ quickly became many. Conversations flitted easily from topic to topic, mostly about film and TV, as we had just started a 3 year course in TV and Film production. Everything started to feel a bit hazy a few pints in….Until I heard the wrestling reference. To this day I still can’t remember what it was, but my ears perked up immediately and my eyes scanned the table. We were in a pub, had a child snuck in? Adults didn’t still watch wrestling? I mean, I still watched, but I thought of it as a dark secret. My action figures and books had long been relegated to under the bed.
And then I saw Paul, a fellow classmate, give me a DX sign. Oh My God. Was he being ironic? Us film students were usually hipsters so that was entirely possible. Was it an old school sick reference? Did he understand the symbol he was throwing up?
He did know! I threw one back, and after a few rapid fire questions I discovered I had discovered that rarest of unicorn…an adult wrestling fan, in the flesh. Usually I had to go onto to the IMDB boards to try converse with people over the age of 20. We spent the rest of the evening chatting about how we had both grown up on WCW (both being from the Irish country we didn’t have access to WWE) until Channel 4 showed Royal Rumble 2000 in all its glory. We still stayed up late to watch shows and would look up internet dirt sheets for scraps of gossip.
One of our first year projects was to film a documentary about anything we found interesting. How cool would it be to make it about wrestling? Unfortunately, this was 6-7 years ago. There was no big Indie scene and we weren’t sure anything existed outside of WWE that we could actually make our film on.
Then is dawned on me. When I was a kid my Dad used to take me and my brothers to the local wrestling; NWA Ireland. I wondered if it still existed. A quick google search told me it wasn’t, but a school called Fight Factory Pro Wrestling had sprung up in its place.
The next day we excitedly mailed the FFPW Bebo page asking to film their upcoming practices. I got a reply from Phil Boyd saying that the head trainers we currently touring Romania for 3 weeks, but we could come down to film after. I quick scan of his Bebo, I remembered him as Phil the Thrill on the shows. The old crew I had watched was still around. I wondered what had happened to the other people I had watched on those shows; Fergal Devitt, Rebecca Knox, Paul Tracey, Justin Shape… I hoped I’d find out soon.
Then my head started to spin. Wrestling was still in Bray? Wrestling was in Romania? My stomach was in knots – there was a whole wrestling underground we didn’t know about.
We made a filming plan, sorted equipment and packed our bags, and 3 weeks later, Katey and Paul went to wrestling school.