Wednesday 23 July 2014

WQ: Week 1 - Who Is Your Favourite UK Wrestler

Disclaimer: This is the start of the Weekly Questions series, where I ask a group of UK wrestling fans a question, every week surprisingly enough, and we compare answers. It's free to all if you want to join in - just send me an email to or a DM if we're following each other @AWBAblog - wrestler, fan, blogger, podcast maker, whoever you are, your opinions are wanted.

(Oh and if anyone wants to make me a sweet Weekly Questions banner, feel free)

To start us off, I've went with an easy question:

Who Is Your Favourite UK Wrestler?

First up is Mark Moore, a prolific wrestling write from, and Ressurrection magazine, as well as a weekly podcaster on He says:

"My favourite active UK wrestler is Sammi Baynz from WAW and Bellatrix. She has that mix of old school wrestling with a modern twist. A superb heel who gets genuine heat from a crowd rather than trying to be cool and get cheered. She has a great look that is unique and not interchangeable and would be a fantastic addition to any roster, UK or overseas. Future is as high as she wants it to be."

Next Billy Strachan who runs the enthusiastic and always has his pulse on the latest UK wrestling goings-on. He says:

"A loaded question with a multitude of answers. Picking one is difficult, if we look at it from a pure entertainment standpoint it's hard to not pick Grado. He is the biggest draw in UK wrestling today. Everyone and their Gran loves Grado. I love Grado…in a totally manly way. From a wrestling standpoint I'd go with Kris Travis or Marty Scurll. But then there's Damo, Jackie Polo, Martyn Stallyon, Ian Ambrose. Dammit, it's too hard! As far as the ladies go, I could list upon list favourites but to pick one I'll go with Viper. She's unlike anything in wrestling today. She's a powerhouse, has speed, is stunning to look at but you know she could snap you in two if she wanted to."

Here I'll put in my own 2 pence. Chris Kelly, aka Me from here!, says:

"I hate myself for picking this question. There have been a few wrestlers lately that have made me believe in everything they are doing, from Grado to Kay Lee Ray to Chris Renfrew. There are those I appreciate more than words can describe, like Jack Jester and Jimmy Havoc. But for the one who combines believability, brutality and charisma it has to go to Carmel Jacob. I have always felt mic skills can make or break a character, and since being released from Mikey Whiplash's grasp, Carmel has become known for her scathing promos. But beyond that, she always delivers in the ring. I cannot think of a match of hers I have seen, be it a mixed tag or a Last Woman Standing, that hasn't been an A+ performance. Several of her matches I just will not get sick of rewatching, from her Last Woman Standing matches with Kay Lee Ray at ICW's Dave's Not Here and the Fierce Female's debut show, going all the way back to the battles she had with Nikki Storm in 2009/2010. Best known as a bit of an evil character, I've seen Carmel work some good girl magic too, and am incredibly excited for where she is right now in the Fierce Females promotion. Enthralling story-telling, death-defying work inside the ring and a barbed tongue, Carmel is the full package."

Johnny from Breaking Baws says:

"For me this is a hard question, Only in the last 7-8 months have I actively been seeking out British wrestling. My fellow “Baw Breaker” Paul wanted to find a Scottish wrestling podcast but couldn’t find one specifically for that, so he pitched the idea to us back in January about starting a Scottish Wrestling Podcast. My initial reaction was I’ve only been to 1 ICW show… nothing else. Since then we have been podcasting since January and I have had the pleasure of going to a large number of shows in Scotland, from Aberdeen to Cumbernauld!

With that in mind I would say I have 3 favourite active UK wrestlers… Well… here goes!

Kenny Williams
ICW 100% Shenanigan’s back in December was my first exposure to ICW, What I took away from that night is FUCK ICW is fanSHITTINGtastic! Everyone in ring was fantastic, on top of their game, the storyline’s were great, easy to follow, it felt like it was going somewhere and Who the fuck is that boy Kenneth! He’s amazing!

Kenny Williams for me is a fantastic talent. His athleticism in-ring is amazing, his style of working instantly caught me, He has a VERY specific look so much so he stands out and when he is playing the cocky wee prick from school character you just want to slap the shite out of him! I see big things for Kenny in the future not just with Scottish wrestling but beyond!

I’ve heard the comparison at shows of Kenny and Rockstar Spud, But Spud ain’t got nothing on Kenny Fucking Williams! Kenny is the bollocks!

Mikey Whiplash
Much like Kenny the first time I got to see Whiplash was at 100% Shenanigans, at that show he suffered a very serious injury doing a second dive to the outside and landing on an exposed part of the guard rail. I never got to see Whiplash until his now famed turn at the Square Go, That for me was a brilliant moment. Whiplash for me is the best technical wrestler in the UK at the minute. I had the pleasure of seeing Whiplash take on Ryouji Sai at SWA. This match was not only match of the night for me but match of the year, they both told a great story in the ring and were hard hitting. Whiplash LOVES wrestling and that comes across when he is in the ring! I look forward to seeing more from Whiplash as the year progresses!

Fergal Devitt

Now he may not be active in the UK anymore but Devitt has to be put on this list, The Fergal Devitt Farewell tour that seems to have been going since January until now has been fantastic. Devitt is a guy who’s look totally catches you but then his in ring work blows your head off! Having spent the last 8+ years in Japan with NJPW, Devitt has been moulded into this wrestling machine who seems unstoppable. Devitt against Jester at ICW Square Go is up there as one of my favourite matches of this year! I look forward to whats next for Fergal."

Any excuse to post a picture of Fergal Devitt

Johnny's colleague Paul from Breaking Baws says:

"Wolfgang. The guys immense, has a great look. He can work a lot of styles and his matches are always great whether working with a small or larger opponent. He can work the crowd well too, everyone pops when his music plays.

Got to mention Noam Dar too. Love watching him work, athletic, great worker and his personality comes through too. His match with Chris Hero in Preston was a treat to watch one of the best, if not the best, I've seen this year.

New Age Kliq, I know not a wrestler but a group. Running through ICW as a tem or the members having there own singles feuds. You never know what's going to happen when they appear and I fucking love it."

John Ferguson has spent the last 18 months finding wrestling taking over his life. His opinion is:

"For me it's a toss up between Joe Coffey and BT Gunn. Been a huge Coffey fan since I started with the UK independent circuit and he stands out not just with his physique, but also with his technical prowess. Every match he's involved with right now is always technical brilliance no matter his opponent or the environment he works in. He's probably the best wrestler pound for pound right now.

BT on the other hand is more versatile than Joe. He can do technical, cruiserweight or even, if he has to, hardcore. He's equally as good to watch for different reasons. He likes a fast pace with exciting back and forth action. That's always going to be easy on the eye. He also likes to make sure his opponent gets his stuff out as well as his own, this helps the crowd see the best of both wrestlers.

Some of my favourite matches this year have involved either one of them or even both together. Hopefully they can keep it up for the rest of the year at this level

 Joe Coffey being the King Of Swing

Alan Reynolds is a fan who got into wrestling seriously in like 2006/2007 through bootleg CHIKARA DVDs and it has just kinda grown from there. He says he definitely appreciates the more comical side of wrestling, "although I do love watching good wrestling no matter what promotion it is from". His favourite UK wrestler(s) are:

"This one is a hard one. I've not got one set favourite instead, it is more like a group of favourites. If I had to have a top five it would go

  1. Joe Hendry
  2. Lou King Sharp
  3. Joe Coffey
  4. Mark Coffey
  5. Jimmy Havoc"

Next up is Sammie Jo, aka My Better Half. A relative newcomer to UK wrestling, Sammie fell in love hard with it after attending her first ICW show, 100% Shenanigans. Since then she has proudly never missed a show (something I can't claim, which she never lets me forget. PS Fuck London.), has been getting into other promotions like BCW and SWA, and has begun training to become a wrestler. She says:

"James "Darkside" Scott. Why? Versatility, he knows MMA, grappling and is not scared of the top rope or getting into the crowd. Also, the major heel turn to NAK, giving a sob story about neck surgery then coming out to assist the NAK. His freakish strength and stamina, countless Iron Man match contests and running out of time with Joe Coffey. It's only a matter of time before he is once again ICW Heavyweight champion!"

 The former James Scott - "Darkside"

Now for Bruce Mackintosh's choices. Bruce, like many of us, had been away from wrestling for a while following the demise of ECW and the Attitude Era, but the UK and independent scene brought him rushing back in. He's chosen:

"This is a tricky one considering there’s such an array of talent and it seems to be growing from strength to strength! I’d have to say I’m really excited to see the developments with Prince Devitt, Paige is doing great in WWE and with Grado being an Ayrshire boy like myself, it’s always great to see talent so close to my doorstep! Jack Jester would also be in the running but I have to say the Fierce Females’ roster looks solid and packed with exciting wrestlers. I had the chance to catch ‘Mad Maxine’ on Sunday past and thought it was a top notch card. Especially impressed by Nikki Storm, Debbie Sharpe, Owens twins, Viper, Liberty and shout out to Kay Lee Ray and Sweet Saraya for drawing some great heat from the crowd! So, in closing my two favourites of the moment are Prince Devitt & Nikki Storm."

Tod from has been a wrestling fan from the early 90's, going so far as to collect the Silver Vision VHS tapes dating right back to Wrestlemania 1. His number one UK wrestler right now is:

"Zack Sabre Jr. 

I think at 26 years old he has potential and experience, he has the hard hitting japanese style that I personally like but he is also very technically sound. Amazing to think he was having a highly acclaimed match 6 years ago with Bryan Danielson. I suspect that he will be looking at the route Fergal Devitt has taken to WWE proving himself in Japan at the highest level doesn't seem to have hurt and I am sure Sabre may be far more active in the Far East in the coming years. He seems a natural fit for ROH shows too, if he could get regularly featured on ROH TV or PPV's and perhaps a major Japanese tournament with New Japan. I'm straying into fantasy booking but I think the phrase is that he has a lot of 'up side'."

Des Delgadillo from has been a life-long fan of pro graps with a particular interest in comedic wrestling, as well as the U.K. wrestling scene, all the way from today’s burgeoning indy scene to the golden years of ITV’s “World of Sport” show. He has this to say:

"My favorite active wrestler right now has to be Noam Dar out of Scotland. (Is it politically correct to pick a Scottish guy in a U.K. poll? If not, please don’t kill me.) 
Dar is only 20 but has been hustling on the indy circuit for six years now, and I believe he’s on the cusp of being something really special. He’s so young and already so talented. It’s exciting and a little frightening to think where he’ll be in a few years. He’s a guy I really urge people to check out now, because he’ll be doing some great things before you know it."

 The youthful-yet-experienced Noam Dar. Not pictured - his awesome dog.

Lee Burton from the incredible has been watching wrestling for more than 2 decades, putting us on/off fans to utter shame. He developed a focus on women's wrestling around 2006, setting up a podcast in 2009 and then Ringbelles in 2011. His answer doesn't come as a shock, but is a great choice:

"I’ve been trying to find an alternative to my immediate reflex answer, just in case there was someone who I had forgotten - and while I enjoy watching the likes of Kay Lee Ray, Saraya Knight and Sammi Baynz, my attention always returns to the self-professed Greatest Wrestler in the Galaxy, Nikki Storm.

I’ve been following Nikki’s career for five years and have seen her grown from a pea-green youngling who was being carried in matches with Jetta to someone who is going toe-to-toe with joshis, winning titles, cracking America and making sure everyone knows who she is.  Her wrestling can be brawling, technical or comedy depending on what is required.  She has also worked to develop her character, appearance and promos, and it has paid off in spades.  Nikki Storm is great, and I’ll sing her praises whenever I have the chance."

Ryan Blackwood has been watching wrestling as far back as he remember.  He provided us with a veritable essay of an answer, and a cracking read to boot:

"I’m unsure if this means from the uk or wrestling in the uk so I’ll go with wrestling in the uk regularly.

This probably changes from event to event but usually sways between 4 guys but I’d say one of those four is more conisitently my favourite. If you had asked this 4 weeks ago my answer would be Devitt with absolutely no explanation needed, but he’s in a better place now (sheds a tear)

The four are; Jimmy Havoc, Tommy End, Chris Renfrew and BT Gunn.

Tommy End is just captivating in everything, ridiculous skill and influence in kickboxing in his work and unbelievable on the mic. Its clear to see that he’s brilliant in tag action with the SDS and just as good without the help of dante; particularly in his matches for progress in London.

Renfrew and bt gunn for very different reasons from each other. Renfrew has questionable skill in the ring IMO, but that’s no way a smear on the guy, because its in his work on the mic that he shines through, I would argue that he is unrivalled in this department in the uk. Bt gunn is the opposite, doesn’t talk (don’t think I’ve ever heard him say more than 3 words) but wow that guy is good in the ring, can mix is up with both technical wrestlers (seen in his icw match with devitt (my potential match of the year last year)) and with the most hardcore of wrestlers (the big standout being any match of his involving jester or havoc), and can we really forget the bumps the guy take? All I’ll say is wolfie at still smokin’.

Some of Chris Renfrew amazing promo work:
Watching this, its not just the guys way with words, his way of speaking, his expression. Even listen to the music in the background, the setting. The guy just has a massive knowledge of the wrestling business and what makes sense in it. 

So now I come to my current and probably most of the time favourite. This man.... JIMMY HAVOC.

As you can probably see from my favorite matches, I love a bit of hardcore. I feel that blood in wrestling is a huge additive to the overall experience if used properly (that’s an argument for another day) and I don’t think theres a man in the country (hell even the planet) who does it better than jimmy havoc. He just knows how and when blood, chair shots, light tubes and any other weapon you can think of should be used.

I recently watched his tag match with clint margera vs mary Dobson and mad man pondo for hxc in Manchester and that proved it to me. Pondo is like a hell of a lot of US deathmatch wrestlers where he just wants to get hit and thinks that merits a good match, well it doesn’t. you could see in that match that havoc can hold off with weapons, he just knows how to build it up to a point where weapons are logical, I think that’s explaining it well.

Don’t let the blood fool you though. Jimmy is a fantastic technical wrestler too when he gets to do it, see his match with zack sabre junior at progress chapter 11, even in this he is playing his heel run so we still see a bit of that hardcore brutality but really, the guy can go with just about anyone in the ring and make it look good- I guess it does help being against ZSJ though.

That mention of heel brings me to the final point. His personality.

Ever since I started following indie wrestling I’ve known him as an uber face (mainly with the icw fans). As most people can appreciate a good hardcore match regardless of their overall opinion on blood he could get over just about anywhere with steel chair in hand and blood running down his face. But wait....

 About a year back in progress he done something of interest. JIMMY TURNED HEEL.It wasn’t until this point that I realized that he isn’t only the best at hardcore and cracking technically. The guy can talk; he proved this with some of his promos against progress owners and fans, just brilliant.

His run as heel has been just fantastic and is one of the reasons I regularly buy progress DVDs when available. He’s slowly but surely building up a faction similar in fashion to the NAK of ICW and is doing it just as well as them. I’ve heard that at ICW ‘what’s your boggle’ the inevitable finally happened. Jimmy turned. I for one cannot wait to see what this brings us but I can sense its gonna be good. The guy makes anything he touches good. Just look at this photo by DJW (I think its his)...

I don’t think their needs to be any more explanation about the man and tbh I can’t be bothered typing anymore. A wee highlight reel of his turn to heel in progress will end this surprisingly for me long account. Ps. I didn’t realize how much I use (_______)...

The aforementioned photo - Jimmy Havoc taking great delight in stuffing Chris Renfrew's mouth

And finally we have Wrestleropes rounding us out. A great source of British wrestling news and views, their answer is short and straight to the point:

"Favourite wrestler in the UK right now has to be Joe Coffey. To me he is the complete package for a wrestler. Great look, charisma and talent. I also think he is very believable with everything he does."

So there we have it, Week 1 in the bag. If you want to join in for Week 2, contact me as above. Please check out our Wrestling Questions page for a wee bit more about the contributors, and spend a bit of time exploring the awesome links above.

There was no clear "winner" here, although a few of the same names did crop up, but that was never the point. UK wrestling is fantastic right now and there is a scene developing right on our doorstep. People contributed worldwide to this little article, and hopefully there will be a few new names mentioned above for you to check out.

Long live wrestling.

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