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The Ballance Sheet #9: Mid Term Report

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Hope 2014’s been good to you, folks. My own is going pretty well, all told. Here’s a few bits and pieces on the last six months.

WEDDING CRASHERS
Well, technically we were invited, and it was actually at the very end of 2013, but I’ll include it here, anyway. My blog, after all… I wrestled at a wedding reception just after Christmas last year in the Radisson in Galway, working a singles match with Bam Katraz, and a tag match against him and Omen, where I teamed with Tucker. An interesting experience, and certainly the best-dressed audience I’ve ever worked for! The crowd- mostly non-wrestling fans (muggles)- were appreciative, though probably a little perplexed at the same time. It was after dinner, though, so I’d say a bit of the ol’ gargle helped matters. No hiptoss into the wedding cake or superkicking the father of the bride mid-speech, unfortunately, but it was a grand evening nonetheless.

KEEP IT DOWN IN THERE!!
I worked two shows for Wrestling.IE this year in Funtasia, an indoor amusement park just outside of Dublin; similar enough to the Funderland attraction that comes to the RDS in Dublin every year, only it’s there all year ’round. At any rate, it was a grand place to wrestle, and I had two enjoyable matches there, with Omen, and with Paddy Morrow. Before the show where I worked with Paddy, the whole crew was requested to keep the noise down and not to interact with the audience. Some neighbours in the area, as it turned out, had filed a noise pollution order against Funtasia, and solicitors would be in attendance with equipment to test the noise created from the show. I’m not shitting you- this actually happened! For an entertainment medium that thrives on noise and audience interaction, being asked to wrestle quietly and not appeal to the crowd was a new one on me, I have to say! That said, all went off without a hitch, and the crowd (seemingly) made just the right amount of noise, their air horns and vuvuzelas having been confiscated by The Man.

HIP, HIP, HOOR-OW!
On that Funtasia show, I was working heel against Paddy and, having tasted bitter defeat at his hands, I had a bit of business with match official Niall Fox, after the 1-2-3. I gave him a ferocious ear-bashing, shoved him, then charged at him as he returned my shove with force. Niall craftily low-bridged me (pulled the top rope down) and I went flying to the outside. Taking the exit theatrically, I overshot it somewhat, and went flying toward the audience, almost wiping out a young baby in a pram, in the front row! That could’ve been disastrous.. I teased returning to the back, but tried charging Niall again, only for him to low-bridge me a second time. This time, however, I missed grabbing the top rope and apron (to steady myself for a safe fall) and ended up essentially flipping from the ring straight to the floor, onto my hip. Not fun. Not fun at all. No major damage done, though – could’ve been worse. Damn ball-and-socket joints…

BACK TO WZ
I made my first trip of 2014 to Wrestlezone in April, working a six-man tag on their show in Westhill, teaming with Dave Patterson and Scotty Swift (two guys I have a lot of time for) against Chris Archer, Johnny Lions and Damien. Very enjoyable match, I have to say, which included a bit of brawling on the outside early on, and an amusing sequence where I tossed a stuffed animal at Damien’s head, and he took a comically exaggerated back bump on the merch table! A fun match, and fun trip. Aer Lingus Regional were great to travel with- they usually are, when they’re not striking! They got me back home in time for WrestleMania, anyway, with time to shower and carry out my standard gear-cleaning ritual (drowning my tights in Febreeze, and reciting incantations from the Sumerian Book of the Dead), so all’s well that ends well.

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AN ULTIMATE EXIT
I started watching wrestling in 1991/1992, and The Ultimate Warrior was one of my favourites back then. Though time has shown his work to be a bit limited, and maybe not all it was cracked up to be, he still remains a very fond memory of my childhood. The circumstances of his untimely death, less than 24 hours after his appearance on Raw, were bizarre, to say the least, but it was great to see the send off WWE gave him the next week on Raw. A real shame, but if he achieved a sense of reconciliation, as he was reported to have done over the WM weekend, maybe there’s a tiny bit of good to be taken from this.

PUTTING THE ‘OATH’ IN RATOATH (SWEARING TO PERFORM SIMULATED FIGHTING FOR MONEY)
A Friday evening show in Ratoath, Co. Meath (not far from Dublin) in April for Wrestling.IE was a fun affair. In stark contrast to the “rock ‘n’ roll” image that one might expect from a wrestling show backstage, ref Niall Fox came into the dressing room at one point to find me in my gear, ironing a shirt for the MC, Jamie. Not sure where the ironing board or iron came from, but I pressed that shirt like a boss, as they say (even though I’m not a manager, nor carry out any of the duties of a manager by proxy…) Don’t let that image fool you, though- I was doing massive amounts of Class A substances later in the evening, including wolfing down a post-match supper of chips and a chicken and morphine pie- yum. My singles match with Omen led into a tag, with him and Corvin facing me and Jordan Devlin. That was very enjoyable, I have to say – a great crowd, and a very good match. I was surprised to see a guy named Darren in the audience that I’d gone to secondary school with, and got a quick chance to catch up with him at the meet and greet after. Having not kept in touch with anyone I went to school with, I’m surprised anytime I run into the lads to learn how many people actually know that I do this. I guess it’s not your average, garden variety pastime, or whatever you want to call it.

GRAPPLING IN GALWAY
The week after the Ratoath show, I had another show for Wrestling.IE; this time in Galway, at a venue called The Black Box. I travelled with old pal Vic Viper, and Tiny Iron, a sound dude from the UK, who’s massive! Enjoyable trip. The turnout was fantastic, with almost 600 in attendance. I opened the show with Corvin, in a singles match, and it was a great experience. Terrific crowd, and loved working with Corvin again. Our last singles match had been a good while ago for PWU, in 2010 I think, and this topped it, I reckon. Definitely hope to get another singles with him this year.

ABERDEEN ANARCHY II
Really happy to have been part of WZ’s biggest show of the year again- the Beach Ballroom is an incredible venue, and it was great to see the place packed out again this year, with almost 1,300 people in attendance. The production had been enhanced, too, with a large screen on the stage showing entrance videos, and professional lighting. It ‘looked the business’, as it were. Really enjoyed opening the show for the second year in a row, and had a blast working with Andy Wild again- he and I had had a match four years previously for SSW in Bathgate, and that was a lot of fun. Though it wasn’t the match I’d been advertised for, I think it came off well, especially a sweet bicycle kick he hit me with out of the corner – looked like he’d taken my head off! The atmosphere backstage was great, for the most part, with the exception, perhaps, of a former WoS star who pretty much endeared himself to no one. It was nice catching up with the WZ guys, though, and getting the chance to chill out for the rest of the show. Managed to get some sightseeing done the next day, too, with a trip to Dunottar Castle in Stonehaven- a fun experience, even with the rain.

SNAP, CRACKLE, NO POP
I headed to Downpatrick in Northern Ireland, on the last Friday in May, with Joe Cabray and Kazza G; a fun and relaxed journey. The venue (the Great Hall) was quite well-hidden, set back at the end of a long driveway, and around the back of a hospital. We got there in the end, though. I worked with Joe in front of a lifeless crowd. Every so often, you get an audience where you need to constantly stay on them to keep them clapping, and making noise. It’s a pain, and this audience were particularly tough. It was a lot of effort, and I knew even before Joe and I had locked up that we were in for an uphill battle, remarking to ref Niall Fox: “Jesus, man, they’re fuckin’ dead. Shit crowd.”  The match was grand, and I enjoyed working with Joe again, but they were popping for very little in any of the matches all night, so it’s not one I’ll look back on fondly. Strangely, during the post-show meet and greet, many of the fans were coming up, expressing how much of a great time they’d had, so I was totally non-plussed! That’s the main thing, I guess… (The punters being happy, not me being confused.) As disappointing as it was that the crowd didn’t really hold up their end, as it were, most of the people we met afterwards were very nice (with the exception of a young lad in a Miz T-shirt, who had appalling manners. “Please” and “thank you” go a long way.)

“REMEMBER THE DRUMSHANBO MASSACRE? THAT WAS HIM…”
I actually thought Drumshanbo was made-up when this line appeared in an episode of Father Ted, but I can certainly attest to the fact, now, that Drumshanbo is indeed very much a real place! Taking part in an exhibition there for Wrestling.IE at the start of this month, and during a festival in the town, we wrestled outdoors, with the ring set up in the car park of a pub in the town. I worked with Joe again, in front of a better crowd, and thought the match was a good deal better than the one we’d had two days previous, in Downpatrick. I certainly enjoyed it more, anyway. We had a tag match, as well, as Joe and Paul Tracey took on me and Jordan Devlin, and that was fun, with the action spilling out onto the Main Street at one point! Festival shows can be hit and miss, depending on who turns out to watch, but this was one of the better ones. Incidentally, the special guest of the town’s parade, just after we’d finished, was David Rawle, star of Sky 1’s excellent Moone Boy.

NINE-IVERSARY
This month marks nine years for me in the ol’ grap game. Paradoxically, it seems like a lifetime ago since I stepped into that ring in Baldoyle and took my first bump, and yet it also seems like the time’s just flown by. It’s been a largely enjoyable nine years and, though I’d be lying if I said I’ve loved every second of it, I can definitely say that it’s mostly been a fun and fulfilling experience, and one that’s changed my life immeasurably. I’ve no idea where any of this is going, but I’m enjoying the journey while I’m on it.

Images courtesy of John Morrissey Photography & Design

Website: http://www.johnmorrisseyphotographydesign.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JohnMorrisseyPhotographyDesign

Wrestling.IE Website

 

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