Picture Credit: LCW & Grae Davidson
Talk about a hectic week! It genuinely feels like I haven’t stopped this week at all, but when they say ‘hard work pays off,’ they are certainly right!
This week saw the launch of the HOPE Wrestling Academy up in the East Midlands where we added locations in Derby and Sutton In Ashfield (Nottingham) to add to our already incredibly successful academy that operates out of Milton Keynes. The midlands branches of the Academy could honestly not have launched any better with El Ligero taking the first class on Tuesday evening and Paul Malen taking the Wednesday and Sunday classes. 25 new faces across the week and some true potential already being shown. If you’d have offered me 25 different students starting with us in week one then I would have ripped your arm off and it’s a true credit to the product that we have built and to the quality and standard of our two amazingly talented opening trainers that this has gone off with such bang from the get go. There is certainly going to be some in house rivalries going on between the East Midlands students and those from Milton Keynes that’s for sure!
This brings me on nicely to have a talk about Milton Keynes. Now anyone that knows me, knows i’m a pretty straight forward when it comes to my opinions, I don’t shy away when it comes to giving them and I am WAY past caring what people think of me… and if i’m honest, when the proposal of joining forces with a newly formed wrestling academy that was just starting up in Milton Keynes came about… and lending it the name of a brand that I had busted my arse to build for over 2 and a half years, I was slightly sceptical. Paul McSherry was a guy whose name I had heard banded around a bit, but not someone that I was overly familar with when we first spoke, yet I take people as I find them and despite some negative opinions coming from a few sources about Paul, I went down and met up with him and attended one of his training sessions. I was completely blown away by what I saw, the levels of professionalism, the drive, passion and desire of everybody taking part in that class to better themselves and just the general atmosphere inside the Milton Keynes school was second to none that I had ever seen in my life. It was an easy decision to make after having seen that and with the assistance of two phenomenally talented and underated guys in Paddy Townsley (who wrestles as Gene Munny) and Mark Massa, myself and Paul decided to go ahead and join forces, giving HOPE Wrestling it’s first fully functioning academy that has just grown and grown over the past few months. Over the past 7 days, both myself and Paul have purchased wrestling rings to be permanently set up in both academies, which should certainly aid our students in their development. Training at Milton Keynes takes place on a Monday evening, a Tuesday evening and a Saturday morning for anybody interested in training with these guys and beginning their journey with HOPE.
So what else have I been upto this week? Oh yes… that’s right… last night (Saturday) I returned to LCW (Leicester Championship Wrestling) after a near 3 year hiatus. It’s quite a funny story really as I get on with John Shipley, the owner of LCW, like a house on fire, but there had always been voices in his ear I’m sure, telling him not to bring me back in, but fair play to John, he went with it… (probably because there was literally NO ONE else available hahahahahaha) and I am really glad that he did. I ended up on commentary as LCW’s regular commentary guy Brett Hadley, also happens to be uber talented when it comes to taking photo’s and was off doing that at some back yard show somewhere I believe (not sure on source of that information but if Carlsberg made insinuations…) and was paired up with a complete commentary newbie, named Matt Dobson, who is an LCW trainee as well as being their current backstage interviewer. Initially, I was slightly worried that my inability to be able to name any wrestling move that isn’t a clothesline and Matt’s inexperience may lead to some real car crash silences but I have to say, my concerns were blown away instantly as we sat down in the chair and just got on with it. Not only did Matt hold his own, but he did an absolutely fine job and he can now add himself to the list of people that have carried me through to a half decent commentary performance along with Magic Mark, Lawrie Neil, Rob Maltman, Money Benjamin and pretty much everyone else I have ever commentated with with the exception of GMan…
It was especially pleasing for me to be able to return to LCW on the night that one of my favourite people, not only in wrestling, but in the world in general, also had his first singles match in the company in a year, LJ Heron. LJ is one of the most under utilised talents in this country, if you were to ask me to reel of 5 names of guys who have helped put HOPE Wresting firmly on the map over the last 2 and a half years then I would struggle not to have Lee’s name right up there at the top of that list so it was a great honour to be able to share my return with him as well. All in all, an absolutely brilliant show, fantastically attended as always and with a card that included some of their own academies top prospects that deserve special mention. Firstly, Brett Ryans who took on LJ in the opener is definitely one to watch out for, great gimmick, very proficient in the ring and a thoroughly nice chap to boot. The Alpha Brothers are the LCW academy brand’s main tag team prospect and they proved themselves to be no push overs, as they hung with The Hunter Brothers every step of the way and the lad that really stood out for me was a young lad by the name of Antonio Gonzalez, one of the newer guys being bought through by LCW Elevation (which is the LCW Academy shows brand that put on some magnificent little shows) who debuted on the main roster last night answering an Open Challenge made by Barricade. This young man didn’t miss a beat and not only did he have the crowd invested in him from the get go, he was able to tell the story of David vs Goliath almost to a tee, which is also credit to just how good Barricade truly is, to be able to tell this story and make you believe that this young upstart who is almost half his size, could pull of the upset of the century. Mark my words, look out for these guys as they are stars of the future if given the right opportunities.
All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable week again… even if it has been bloody hard work! Onwards and upwards as they say and very much looking forward to the second week of the HOPE Academy in Derby and Sutton! This coming week also sees the arrival of Chuck Taylor in the UK for 3 week tour that I have set up for him, which should be great fun. He has got some top bookings and matches coming up including starting out on Friday (11th) at VII Pro over in Shrewsbury before heading onto Target (Carlisle) and Tidal (Leeds) to see out his first week. We are doing a special training seminar with Chuck at the HOPE Academy on Tuesday 22nd of March as well which is open to all and priced at just £10! Well worth checking out!
Until next week folks… peace out