Thursday, 1 May 2014

Tidal Wrestling

This is the story of how I got involved with Tidal Championship Wrestling. There might be the odd occasion where I ‘break kayfabe’, if that matters to you, don’t read on. I’ve also purposefully not included any results for the matches, as I’m sure you’ll be wanting to go and buy the DVDs after you’ve read this. (You can buy them here, at Tidals Bigcartel)...

My first taste of Tidal Wrestling was November 25th 2013, in Darlington. I didn’t really know what to expect, I knew the promoter through the punk music scene (he’d actually booked my various bands over the last decade or two) and I’d heard of about 50% of the line up, a mix of American imports and British wrestlers (one of whom, Martin Kirby, comes from the same town as me), and despite having no friends to join me, I hopped on the train and made my way to something that would flip 2014 on its head for me. As I made my way into the sports hall, bumped into a few folk from bands I knew, and had a quick chat with Kirby, I sat with my arms folded, a tad dubious as to how the night would play out, on my own waiting for the first match. It happened to be Kris Travis vs ‘Party’ Marty Scurll in the opening match, and from the second the bell rang I was impressed. I’d seen plenty of indy wrestling before, mainly American stuff though, and all on video (there was a couple of occasions where a small promotion came to Thirsk a decade or so ago, and I’d gone along, but was more interested in drinking and heckling than watching, other than that the only live wrestling I’d seen was WWF & WCW), but this was the first time I’d sat and really watched wrestling, and from that match onwards I fell in love with the sport all over again. The ring was terrible, the ropes barely usable, and the sound system was barely audible, but still the action in the ring was second to none. I loved it from start to finish, each match was different in its own right, all different styles clashed, and most importantly to me, after the wrestling I chatted to a few wrestlers and they were all sound as fuck. Nice people. I actually almost walked past Marty Scurll, thinking he’d be all “Ive been on TNA, I don’t need to talk to fans”, but he said thanks for coming along, shook hands, chatted briefly and seemed really humble & genuine. I wanted to be part of this scene, it made me feel like punk rock did in the early 90s.

About a month or so after the Tidal tour had finished, I got a call off the promoter saying he was booking some more shows, and then dropped a bomb on me, he asked if I’d like to commentate on the matches for the dvd. I nearly shit my pants. I don’t think I slept a single night leading up to the first show, at The Cockpit in Leeds, a venue that normally hosts bands (I’d played there myself a few times) I was so excited. However, as soon as I arrived, excitement turned to nerves, my pasty white skin turned a whiter shade of pale, and despite each wrestler entering the building, coming over and shaking my hand, introducing themselves, I felt totally out of my league. It didn’t help that ‘Perfect’ Purdie, a wrestler from Darlington, broke his foot when the ring ropes snapped as he was testing out the ring, all of a sudden I was very aware that these people were risking their lives, and I was about to ruin their matches with my zero talent commentary. Then a couple of the wrestlers pulled me out of it. Grado, from that BBC documentary ‘Insane Fight Club’ came over to me, had a wee chat, told me just to relax, be a fan, and it didn’t matter how I did. He was, and still is, one of the nicest, most humble, kind, and funny people I’ve ever met. After that El Ligero’s alter ego, Simon Musk, came over and asked if he could join me on commentary after his match, which I was so glad about, all I had to do was get through the first match, then I’d have someone to carry me. And carry me he did, where as I was barely able to string together a sentence, Simon was a walking encyclopedia of wrestling knowledge, if it wasn’t for him I probably would’ve given up. I honestly can’t praise his skills enough. And then on the final match Noam Dar joined me, who had a much more laid back approach, making me laugh and making me realise once again, just be a fan, the rest comes naturally.
The show itself was outstanding. Ligero and Noam Dar tore the house down on the opening match, which was just incredible to watch. The womens four way match, featuring Kay Lee Ray, Lana Austin, Pollyanna & Violet O’Hara still stands out to me as my favourite ever womens match, and it also introduced me to my favourite referee, the beautiful Fearne Wai. The Bucky Boys and The Proven had an all out brutal war, which was so much fun to call. After that Mark Andrews & Pete Dunne took on Matt Myers & Liam Lazarus in a totally rad, technical and exciting master class. Following that Rampage Brown and Dave Mastiff destroyed each other, in one of the most hard hitting, jaw dropping matches I’ve ever seen. And to end the night Grado & Nathan Cruz treated us to all out entertainment in a classic comedy match. The atmosphere was great, no seating, no barriers, the crowd were as much a part of the night as the wrestlers themselves.

The second show of the year was at Darlington again, and I felt much more relaxed at commentary this time. I still wasn’t great, but managed to call the entire first half on my own, and it felt pretty good (especially calling Violet O’Hara a ‘Kinder Egg with a scorpion inside’) but I still wasn’t great. After the interval, Seb Strife joined me on commentary, never met the guy before, but we just clicked and got on really well, and he upped my game to the point where I started feeling so much more confident. The headlining match, between Nathan Cruz & Johnny Gargano is still one of my favourite matches I’ve commentated on, it just felt so good to call two great wrestlers having a great match alongside Seb. Matt Myers joined us on the commentary desk for a match too, which was fun, despite his mean attitude in the ring, he was a really nice fella. I enjoyed the night, another good mix of styles, and great action from start to finish.

In April, Tidal crowned its first ever champion, at the show ‘Release The Kraken’, back at The Cockpit in Leeds. This night had everything, including solid commentary from a great team. Each match I was joined by a partner, Craig Anderson from DirtSheetMania podcast, Seb Strife and Matt Myers all tagged with me to call the action, and each one of them was such a pleasure to call with, I got on great with all of them, and by this time I’d actually started to get good at commentating (better late than never). Another awesome night from start to finish. Liam Lazarus & Dara Diablo kicked things off with a great match, followed by another great ladies match, this time with local lass Lexi Reckless vs Nixon. ‘Wild Boar’ Mike Hitchman and Sebastian Radclaw had a wild match, some of the chants from the crowd where unbelievable - STD STD STD! Also memorable for Matt Myers doing a David Attenborough impression on commentary. Rampage Brown took on Johnny Storm in a clash of styles, which, as you’d expect from these competitors, was just awesome. Pete Dunne took on his tag team partner and good friend Mark Andrews in a non stop, back and forth, technical masterclass, after the match a whole heap of craziness ensued, but I’ll leave that surprise for when you watch the DVD. The Proven took on the UKs greatest tag team, Project Ego in a show stealing tag match. And finally, the title match, between El Ligero & ‘Party’ Marty Scurll was everything we expected, and more, even some of the crowd got slammed and wiped out. Despite busting his shoulder during the match, Marty carried on to the end, showing the kind of determination and honour you’d expect from a real Titan (the show was Release The Kraken, c’mon...).
This Saturday Tidal return to Darlington, for another great show. Unfortunately I won’t be at that one, due to a wedding, but don’t let that deter you, it’ll be a quality night, I guarantee it. I’ll be at all the rest of the shows throughout the year though, including the much anticipated Tidal vs CZW in October. If you're at all interested in wrestling, or even if you're not, I'd highly reccomend checking out some Tidal, especially if you get a chance to see it live, its gaining a cult like following, and the atmosphere is unreal. Its gonna be a good year, nothing stops the tide...
More Tidal Championship Wrestling at:
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And watch the mayhem right here:

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