Our very own Gary Henderson’s wrestling training with Premier British Wrestling (PBW) here in Scotland continues. Today he shares his stories from week 3 of his training.
Its 4pm on Saturday afternoon. There’s a typically overcast murky grey landscape in the scenic Greenock bay and its just beginning to get dark. I’ve got a hangover and I’ve been on the go since 9am. I’ve been flyering in Dumbarton, picked up a wrestler from the airport and now we’re heading into Tesco.
The result is a proper good wrestler and four trainees wandering the aisles extra for fake tan and trying to fashion a mitten out of rubber gloves and cotton wool. This is the real world of the weekend warrior.
I’m going to preface what sounds a lot like moaning here by saying that I had an amazing weekend. I’m absolutely knackered and – once again – in agony, but I had a brilliant time.
So first of all Grado – who I’m an unashamed mark for – gave me a loan of one of his singlets for Halloween. I barely took it off all weekend. I went out in it on Friday night, which lead to the hangover that beleaguered me for most of Saturday.
Premier British Wrestling held their biggest show of the year on Saturday – Maximum Impact. Being right keen to get involved, I put myself and my car forward to help in anyway. So off we went loading the ring into the van, passing out flyers, picking wrestlers up from the airport, helping with security, driving back, loading the ring back into storage and home for about 2am. A solid 15 hour day that promoter Ross Watson and his merry band of wrestlers and trainees do year round.
You really have to love the wrestling to understand the motivation for it all.
On the night, I got to do Grado’s merch stall – making a cool £6.50 in change in the process – and heeding some words of advice from the man himself as I carried his stuff back to his car like a proper skivvy.
After a solid couple of hours sleep, we were off to training on the Sunday morning. This week we had a seminar with Irish wrestling star Sean Maxer (incidentally who I had picked up at the airport the day prior and searched for fake tan with).
I don’t know if it was because I was tired or because I was expecting too much out of myself for it being my third week there, but I felt like I struggled. Firstly, I heard my neck crack on my first proper bump on the ring mats rather than the crash mats. After that, I just about managed five squats with big Kyle (about 19/20 stone prob) on my shoulders.
From there, Sean had us trying hiptoss and armdrag sequences that even the boys at it for a year were struggling a little with. It’s baptism of fire stuff but, well, fuck it, there’s no such thing as “no” or “I can’t” in the early days if you want to be something in this game.
You watch an armdrag on tv and think it looks like the simplest thing in the world, but all at once I’m trying to concentrate on locking arms tight, posting on his shoulder with my free hand, looking straight ahead, timing it to go when he drops, rolling properly, planting my feet properly, slapping my hands on the mat on time and then immediately feeding for him in the right direction. That’s a single armdrag. Eventually it will hopefully all be second nature, but it’s a lot to take in right now.
Sean was an absolute gentleman by the way and couldn’t have been nicer to all the guys and how he went about his business.
However, I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself to learn this quickly and get baw-deep in the business quick, so it’s the only way.
We worked on our lock-ups some more, did a bit of this and that, then settled down to watch the more experienced boys put on some matches. Then it was back on with my Grado singlet and into town for ICW at the Barrowlands – one of the biggest shows in British wrestling history.
In all honesty, when I left training I was a little disheartened. I thought, I’m not picking up on this as quickly as I want to, I’m in fucking agony, I’m too old, I’m not in good enough shape and really, I’m absolutely knackered and spent about £30 quid on petrol for fuck all the night before, when really, what’s the point?
The minute shit kicked off in the Barrowlands, I was back in the room. This was what it was all about. 1700 wrestling fans losing their collective shit for four hours solid was all the incentive I needed to give me a wee boost. Standing watching Ross, who had been sitting shit-chatting to us in joggies at training earlier that day taking in an incredible ovation from the Glasgow loyal was an amazing sight.
For me though, being the total Grado fanboy that I am, it was all about those opening bars of ‘Like A Prayer’ blasting through the sound system, having every person in there singing along and giving me goosebumps through my ill-fitting spandex.
The weekend as a whole encapsulated the world of wrestling for me. Travelling, chatting shit and getting to know some right good folks like Muff, Billy, Krissy, Kyle, Ali, Sean, Matt, Edward and whoever else I was blethering to, lobbing yourself all over the place, working hard, feeling like shit – but having it end with that period of pure euphoria when it all comes together like it did for ICW.
That’s fucking wrestling and I love it.