Brian Damage, Craig Wilson and Jamie Lithgow
It’s February and that means our blog Ring the Damn Bell is celebrating a very special milestone. This month marks the 10 year anniversary of the blog’s existence. We thought it would be a treat, to bring back a couple of the OG’s who started this thing way back in February of 2012! Let’s hear from the creator…none other than Craig Wilson about the origins of Ring the Damn Bell. Also, Jamie Lithgow who created some fantastic graphics for us to use week in and week out. So without any further ado….let’s take that wrestling trip down memory lane.
Back in February 2012 when I started the blog, I had no idea at all what would come from it. Largely due to a short attention span, I had no idea the blog would last more than a few weeks, let alone see out the year.
It’s great, therefore, to see that it surpassed all my expectations and now we celebrate the 10th anniversary of it.
It is fair to say that that wouldn’t have happened without Brian Damage, the current editor. A blogging force of nature, he took over from me as I veered towards lapsed fan status and has driven the site on.
The change in the world of wrestling from when this blog was born to now is remarkable. CM Punk was still champion when this kicked off, there was no WWE Network, NXT was still a show that saw rookies monitored by an established professional and few would have ever expected any promotion to rival WWE again.
But here we are in 2022. That then WWE Champion is in AEW, a genuine threat, of sorts, to WWE supremacy, NXT has gone from that format to a genuinely cherished brand (and then to whatever it is now) and few think of PPV anymore as the WWE Network is the game in town. And that’s before we even mention the pandemic that saw shows take place with no fans in attendance.
And for all its faults, you can hardly say that the WWE has got things wrong – this week it announced that in 2021 it made a billion dollars.
Now, as I sit here counting down to going to Dallas in April for WrestleMania – my first Mania trip – I’m unsure if I’ve ever consumed so much wrestling on a weekly basis. Whether that’s through the aforementioned WWE Network or catching AEW Dynamite and Rampage on terrestrial TV here in the UK or any of the legion of independents that stream shows online.
Has there been a better time to be a wrestling fan? Undoubtedly everyone will say yes and cite a time important to them. Some of my vintage will list the Attitude Era, others may go further back to the early 90s and it’s not fair to Flair Rumble era. Those of an older vintage (*cough* Brian *cough*) may even head further back in time.
But when I kicked Ring the Damn Bell off I hoped that it would be a perfect accompaniment to whatever wrestling you watched. A mix of current product and harking back to whatever those glory days (in your eyes) were. Over the course of a week, we could talk about Hulk Hogan’s best opponents, the heyday of the Monday Night Wars through to the crazy territory days.
Nothing ever seemed off-limits and everything seemed to fit. I like to think that is still the case under Brian’s excellent stewardship of this site.
There’s rarely a day I don’t miss the old site and check-in and see what’s been said. Happy 10th anniversary to the old site and a big thank you to everyone who has written and contributed to the site over the years. It was great, and a surprise, that people would get in touch to contribute their own thoughts to whatever wrestling issue was on their mind.
But more importantly, a huge thanks to everyone who has read the blog, visited the site and followed us on social since it was launched. It was always appreciated that a blog that started as something for my random wrestling musings would be ready by anyone, that it has lasted and continues to be enjoyed by so many is mind-blowing.
Whatever format you consume wrestling – whether it is streaming or attending events, now that we are able to again – I hope that it continues to bring you joy. I can’t help but think that, despite my own occasional grumble, looking back on this era in years to come we will realise we actually had it quite good. Sure, the product might not always blow our mind but what a choice we have nowadays and what an incredible looking product we are treated to.
Remember, though, if you do have grumbles about the current product or have an era you love waxing lyrical about, Brian might host a post from you on that subject. Hey, maybe I could write about my WrestleMania experience this year, Brian?
Anyway, keep enjoying the blog, folks.
Not much has changed in wrestling in the ten years since Ring The Damn Bell has been around, has it?! CM Punk is still a huge star in America’s promotion, Daniel Bryan is showing us how amazing he is in a heel role while Zack Ryder is getting himself over by carving his own niche on his own terms. I’m joking of course. When this blog started Brock Lesnar had not been seen in WWE for eight years, The Shield were ten months away from their main roster debuts and women’s wrestling consisted of three minutes on a two hour show, if that.
For those that don’t know me, I’m Jamie, the first person Craig recruited to join the blog a decade ago. As childhood friends you can equate this to the night after Wrestlemania 14 when Triple H turned to his family, his blood, he turned to The Kliq and brought X-Pac into DX. The problem with that analogy is that Brian would have to assume the role of Road Dogg and/or Billy Gunn, which would massively under play his role in the blog. Craig started Ring The Damn Bell and I may have been the first of many writers to join the team over the years but Brian is the driving force, make no mistake about it. If I was on the drums and Craig was on guitars then Brian was/still is writing and singing all the songs.
Of course, things change. My involvement in the blog became more and more sporadic before I eventually stepped away completely a couple of years ago, but that doesn’t mean I stopped liking wrestling or writing articles, quite the opposite. I simply ran out of things to say and didn’t want to hang around and ramble about the same topics I’ve covered before. Contributing to the blog was the ultimate catharsis for all my wrestling hang ups, of which I had plenty. If you are reading this and get frustrated by WWE’s booking decisions, AEW’s lacklustre women’s division or just love pro wrestling and want to share that fact, then give Brian a shout and get involved. Even if you think you only have one post in you, write it! Who knows, you might surprise yourself and catch the writing bug, but if not that’s cool too. I had an awesome time on the blog and hope the guys and gals who read my stuff enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Now, to round this trip down memory lane off, let me take you back to the beginning…
At exactly the same time the blog came to life, I started seeing a young lady. Why am I telling you this? Because one of our first dates was a Ring The Damn Bell sponsored trip to see UK wrestling promotion ICW in Glasgow. I say “sponsored”, in reality Craig managed to blag some free tickets as only he can, but couldn’t actually go himself. Thus, he handed them over to me and I took a massive risk by dragging the girl I had just started dating – and non-wrestling fan – along to Glasgow’s infamous Garage venue to have Jack Jester throw a bloody Jimmy Havoc into our laps! Thankfully, she had an absolute ball, as did I. You can still find my brief recap of the show here – ringthedamnbell.wordpress.com/2012/04/03/icw-sos-yer-maw-review/. I like to think I got a bit better at writing, certainly proofreading if nothing else.
This may sound a little sappy and sentimental considering it’s just a wee website where I discussed my love of wrestling but Ring The Damn Bell has left a permanent imprint on my life. Ten years ago I couldn’t decide if I wanted to go on a date with a young lady or watch semi-naked men batter each other in a sketchy Glasgow night club… so I did both instead! Ten years later, the blog is still going strong and that young lady is now my wife.
Thanks to everyone who has read, followed and supported this wee blog. Without you guys and gals it’s all just a bit silly to write about men in pants rolling around with each other only for nobody to read it.
I was never a wrestler, although I did one bump at Johnny Rodz school in Brooklyn, New York. It was one of the most painful experiences of my life. I co-hosted a wrestling hotline before the internet took over the world. I have been on TV and radio talking about pro wrestling including the dreaded Bubba the Love Sponge show. There is plenty more to this story, but I’ll try and keep this as brief as possible. I am truly humbled by Craig’s and Jamie’s words and honored to keep writing for this wonderful blog. It may not be perfect, but all who have contributed want to offer you…the readers…something for everybody. I think we have achieved that and continue to look for different avenues to keep you entertained. I have no idea how much longer we will continue the blog, but there are still stories to tell and articles to write. It has been my honor to do this since 2013.
Thank you to all our contributors throughout the years. You have helped me out a great deal as there are days that I don’t have the time or energy to write something. Shout out to likes of Eric Adamz, Lowlife Louie Ramos, Amerigo Diehl, Russ Morgan, Earl Marx, Padraic Toolan, Kenneth Richardson, B. Dangerous, ‘The Kodiak Bear Tom Casola and anyone else who has written anything on here. Most importantly, thank you to all our readers day in and day out. You make this a lot more enjoyable, knowing we have so many of you reading our stuff on professional wrestling. Ring the Damn Bell simply exists for 10 years because of all of you. THANK YOU!
The Ring the Damn Bell 10th Anniversary was brought to you by Jobber Clobber
Jobber Clobber is this screen printing start-up of our very own Jamie. He specializes in geeky wrestling-related t-shirts so if you enjoy Icons of Wrestling you’ll love Jobber Clobber. You can find him on Etsy, Instagram and Facebook. Don’t be shy, give it a ‘like’ and help to spread the word.