When I was a young wrestling fan one of my favourite events was the WWE (then WWF) King Of The Ring. I used to love watching the Monday Night Raws that preceded the event to see who would qualify for the next round and then I’d try (and often fail) to stay up and watch the pay-per-view to see who would win and with the exception of Mabel in 1995 I was never disappointed. Yep, that’s right, I wanted Billy Gunn to win in 1999 and to this day I maintain that the WWE failing to continue his push and capitalise on him winning is one of their biggest mistakes of all time. Surely I’m not the only one who would have loved to see Mr Ass win a WWF Championship or two and maybe even have his own ass themed title belt.
Although the history of King Of The Ring can be traced back to 1985 the WWF were not the first company to use the format of a single round elimination tournament. In 1955 Stampede wrestling held the “Alberta Gold Belt Tournament” and the NWA fictitiously held a tournament in 1975 that allowed them to make Harley Race the first ever United States Champion. When I did some research on the subject I found countless examples of tournaments held across the wrestling world from Japan to the US to Mexico and our very own UK.
Although a seemingly simple premise of having one competitor face off against another with their next match being against one of two predetermined opponents gives, in my opinion, gives the tournament a aura of legitimacy that is sometimes missing in professional wrestling. We are currently in an era where all too often wins and losses can mean very little, a wrestler can lose a match one day and then be given a title shot the next and this makes me long for a better time. A time when winning meant something.
Thankfully I don’t appear to be alone as the promoters of Absolute Wrestling seem to want to do what they can to make winning important as they have arranged a 16 man tournament to determine the first ever winner of the Absolute Wrestling Championship. For those of you that do not know Absolute Wrestling are a relatively young wrestling promotion based in the North East of England. I have been fortunate enough to attend both of the shows they have held so far and have been thoroughly impressed at what I have seen so far. Their inaugural show saw Liam Lazarus, one of my personal favorites, crowned “King of the North” after defeating Jason Prime in his semi final matchup and then HT Drake in the final of the four man tournament which main evented that evening’s show. At their second show, “Wrestling Isn’t Dead” Lazarus was again involved in the main event, this time passing out while locked inside a Shankly’s Gate by Liverpool’s Number One Zack Gibson. I attended both shows with a group of non-wrestling fans and I was taken aback by how much they all genuinely enjoyed the shows as I had had to twist some arms beforehand. I believe that the fact hardcore wrestling fans and casual fans can both enjoy the same product speaks highly of Absolute Wrestling and the product they produce.
As mentioned earlier, Absolute are holding a 16 man tournament for their championships. This tournament will be held over their next four events with the final being held on the 22nd October at Absolution 2016. The first round of the tournament will be held across three nights in their Absolute Fight – Club Tour 2016 which takes place this weekend and includes some of the best performers in the UK including many that are rarely, if ever available to watch live in this part of the country meaning this will be the first time that I will be able to see talented grapplers like CJ Banks, Bubblegum, Flash Webster and Justin Synum in person.
The first night of the tour will be held on Friday 15th April at Pelaw Social Club at 6:30pm. Three of the tournament’s first round matches are scheduled to take place on a card that is Absolute-ly (see what I did there) packed with fantastic matchups but the following three matches stand out in particular.
The always impressive MVK Valkabious is set to face off against Justin “The Hammer” Synum.
The Coffeys are set to go against one of the few UK teams that may be able to matchup with them in terms of sheer strength and power The New Nation.
Rampage Brown going toe to toe with Wolfgang in the evening’s main event.
The following night, Saturday 16th April, is at Spennymoor Working Mens Club again starting at 6:30pm. Two more performers will book themselves a place in the tournament’s next round as CJ Banks is matched against Micky “The Dragon” and “Flash” Morgan Webster faces Tyler Bate “- Professional Wrestler”. With all due respect to those four talented wrestlers It is the non tournament matches that I am most looking forward to as Liam Lazarus is against “Mr Massive” Chuck Cyrus and there is a fatal for way bout where HT Drake, Chris Ridgeway, Iain Robinson and “Wild Boar” Mike Hitchman will all compete. I will be seeing the “Wild Boar” for the first time live after watching many of his matches online and via Wrestle Talk TV and I am looking forward to it.
The third and final show of the tour will be at the NE6 Suite on Sunday 17th April starting at the slightly earlier time at 5:30pm. This show will see the final three men book their place in the quarter finals. Liam Lazarus and HT Drake (both of whom will have wrestled on both the previous shows) face off in a repeat of their King Of The North semi-finals, Bubblegum is matched against Chris Ridgeway and Zach Gibson goes against “The Amazing” Matt Myers. Three other matches are scheduled for the show with the tag team match pairing off The New Nation against “Wild Boar” Mike Hitchman and “Flash” Morgan Webster being potentially the match of the night.
So there you have it, three great nights of wrestling across three different venues where some of the UK’s best and brightest will give their all to qualify for Absolute’s next show “The Championship Suspects” and potentially move one step closer to being the inaugural Absolute Wrestling Champion.
If you would like to join Calling Spots at one, two or all three of these fantastic family friendly shows you can purchase tickets via www.ringsideworld.co.uk or you can contact Absolute Wrestling via their Facebook. I hope to see you there.
Neil “I broke the first rule of fight club” Rogers