Thank you for checking out the 100th post of this site. Formerly theloathingone, now The Real Mid Card. If you’re a follower or a regular reader, I’d like to personally thank you for taking a look at my work, and I really hope you continue to enjoy reading it. I’d also like to thank Steve for recently jumping on board with the Ring of Honor stuff. Here’s to one hundred more posts. I hope you enjoy this one. Thanks a lot, thank you!
I stumbled upon an independent wrestling show going on in Bourneville, just outside Birmingham. It reminded me of something very interesting. Pete Dunne, and fellow Next Level Wrestling competitor Ryan Smile were the two guys who put me through some intense paces in my first and only ever wrestling lesson. Me and my flatmate decided to give professional wrestling a go and follow the dream. It only took that one induction session to extinguish my dream forever. My flatmate on the other hand has gone on to study Brazilian jiu-jitsu and is pretty dedicated to it.
That experience was so interesting. Not every guy can say that they went three hours in a pro wrestling gym. Everyone has their go-to response when it comes to the “Wrestling is fake” bullshit. Mine is “If you think wrestling is fake, go and do a seminar at NSW” – It’s so fake that I could barely walk for a week. It genuinely took me that long to heal up the various deep bruises and canvas burn. It made getting to work pretty tough. We were ran absolutely ragged with squats, sit-ups, press-ups, pull-ups. Half an hour of that and you are literally out on your feet. Then he wants you to run the ropes. I’ve never been in a ring so I have no point of reference, but those things felt like the fucking stiffest metal guardrails I’ve ever been thrown against.
Louis Theroux visits the WCW Power Plant
The above video shows what happened when my hero Louis Theroux tried to hang with wrestlers in training. It requires an extra level of dedication and an unbelievable level of fitness. My flatmate had to stop to go and vomit because we were worked over so much. Then we spent hours taking hip tosses over and over again. The coolest part of the whole thing was hanging out with Pete outside and learning a few basic holds, wristlocks and such. He was a legend. That’s what I imagine Daniel Bryan to be like outside the ring. Similar build, kind of similar look (this is pre-goat face) and a good, technical wrestler. He was inspired by guys I’d never heard of, and had already done tours in Europe and stuff.
That was NSW. I never went back, even though I promised I would. I just couldn’t hack it. Now I see both of those guys are a part of this Next Level Wrestling thing. According to the flyer, Pete just got back from working in Japan, which is amazing. He must have been going from strength to strength. His opponent at the Bourneville show has just got back from a tour in the States with world famous Combat Zone Wrestling. That’s pretty impressive in itself. The other guys on the card look great too, including Ryan. For £7, it’s a bit of a bargain. I need to try and get to one of their future shows!
Looking back on my intense workout, I can hold my head up high knowing that I didn’t try and duck out of the pain like Louis did. Obviously what he was going through must have been a lot more intense, but I’m still kinda proud that I managed to survive the ordeal without leaving early and losing face. Before we had even got to the bus stop, we were both trying to justify to each other and more importantly to ourselves, the idea that we should never go back. That day I kind of put my childhood dreams of being a pro wrestler finally to bed. Now I just appreciate the side of wrestling that I am cut out for, and that I love just as much. Being the spectator. Being the critic. Being the promoter. Praising, criticising and most importantly participating. You don’t have to be in ring talent to be an important part of the ecosystem that is professional wrestling.
I’ve become much more content with my role in the wrestling universe. I have fond memories of those three hours, and if I could go back, I would definitely still go. It helped me find a new found respect for the art-form, and for it’s performers. I think it’s a level of respect that I wouldn’t have been able to reach, without that gruelling experience. For that, I’m grateful. We should all take a moment sometimes to think about just how much these guys (some much more than others) sacrifice their bodies and minds for our entertainment. It’s definitely not as easy as it looks.
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