One of my favourite things about being a wrestling fan is seeing a wrestler for the first time and then following their journey to (hopefully) the pinnacle of the wrestling world. Take Noam Dar for example, I had heard of him, watched him and spoken to him years before he was on the WWE radar and now he is signed to the world’s largest
wrestling, sorry, sports entertainment company. Maybe I’m wrong but I think that’s cool (albeit if a bit pretentious).
I’ve always thought that one of the harder tasks involved in being the promoter of an new wrestling company is deciding who to book. Do you go for a roster of local wrestler who have built up a fanbase in the area or do you book a bunch of performers from other areas who have never drawn a crowd in your location and hope that the novelty (for lack of a better word) entices fans to come to your show. Ultimately there is no right or wrong answer as different wrestlers in different areas will all yield vastly different results.
I have spoken to Andrew, the promoter of NORTH Wrestling NCL, and he has shared with me his trepidation when it comes to this issue. Personally I think his decision is made even harder by the fact that the Northeast of England is currently home to WCPW who in a few short months have already established themselves as arguably the biggest company in country and are undoubtedly the most exciting thing to happen to happen to wrestling in England in recent history. I believe this makes things more difficult for Andrew (and other Northeast promoters) as he could quite easily fill his roster with nothing but WCPW guys, put on a great show and effectively be a WCPW-lite. I think it’s a credit to Andrew (and everyone else in the Northeast) that he hasn’t taken this option. He has scoured the British scene and brought talented performers that, to my knowledge, had not graced the Northeast before. Yes he is using WCPW performers HT Drake, Liam Slater and ‘The Primate’ Jason Prime but given their talent, popularity (and with the exception of Slater) their proximity to the show it would be a ridiculous decision not to have them on the show if available.
Unfortunately for Andrew he has had some bad luck with some of his bookings. His bookings of Jimmy ‘Fucking’ Havoc fell through when Havoc realised he had committed to another company and had to cancel. The same then happened with ‘The Fashionista’ Jinny who had also double booked herself. Then only days before writing this preview Mark Haskins had to drop out due to injury (you can see his emotional explanation on PROGRESS Wrestling’s Facebook page here. At this point my heart genuinely sank for for Andrew as all of these things are beyond his control and there is nothing he can do to prevent them from happening. Luckily Andrew knows how to deal with adversity. This was demonstrated at his first show, Brace Yourself, when international superstar Will Ospreay had to cancel a few hours before the show citing an culmination of injuries including one picked up at WCPW in Newcastle two days earlier (the very fact he was wrestling in the same city two days beforehand for another company was probably frustrating in itself as he was announced for NORTH months before WCPW even existed). Thankfully Andrew was about to replace Ospreay with ‘Bad Boy’ Liam Thomson who went on to have a fantastic main event with HT Drake.
It’s not all been bad news and misfortune for Andrew and NORTH Wrestling NCL, he did bring ‘The Extraordinary Gentleman’ Jack Gallagher to Newcastle weeks before he signed for the WWE and he also brought in ‘The Bruiserweight’ Pete Dunne (again he was announced by NORTH before he was booked by WCPW) and he is also bringing Pastor William Eaver to Tyneside for what I believe is the first time in his career. NORTH have also managed to replace Jinny with Martina ‘The Session Moth’ (who is now due to make her ICW debut the following night against Kay Lee Ray at ‘I Hope They Kill That Iron Yuppie!’ in Leicester) and Jimmy Havoc has been replaced by Will Ospreay’s ‘Swords of Essex’ comrade Paul Robinson. Again both of these exciting young performers are making their Newcastle debuts. Perhaps best of all Mark Haskins has been replaced by ‘The Showstealer’ Nathan Cruz who is fresh from his tour of the USA and who will be appearing of NXT on November 2nd.
Annoyingly Andrew has been keeping his cards close to his chest and so far only two matches have been announced for the show. I did hear a rumour that ‘The Body Guy’ Roy Johnson is doing a “Wasteman Challenge” but that has been unconfirmed. For those who don’t know what a Wasteman Challenge is (like me when I heard the rumour), it is a rapper battle that usually ends in a fight. I have to be honest and say I don’t know a great deal about ‘The Body Guy or British rap in general but given that Newcastle is the home of the UK’s greatest ever rap artists PJ & Duncan I am sure this will go down a treat.
The first match announced for the ‘They Will March On’ was Rory Coyle of The Suns of Ulaid who has, at least momentarily, turned his attention away from Dom Black (or as he calls him “The Belle of the Ball”) and is going after the righteous Pastor William Eaver. I would like to build up this match but I don’t think I can build it up quite as well as Coyle did in this video.
The only other announced match puts North debutant Paul Robinson against ‘The Primate’ Jason Prime (whose New Nation partner Alexander Henry is also scheduled for the show) in what could be one of the most brutal matches help at The Riverside since Jimmy Havoc and Chris Renfrew fought a Geordie Rules match there at ‘Jimmy Nails Revenge’ in 2014. I am definitely expecting this match to turn nasty very very quickly.
With HT Drake, Liam Slater, Alexander Henry, ‘Hot Blooded’ Dom Black and ‘Number One’ Damian Dunne all set to appear alongside the debuting Martina Roy Johnson and Clint Margera I’m sure this show will be one you won’t regret attending.
Tickets are available here, myself and other members of the Calling Spots team will be in attendance and hope to see you there.