the welsh are coming: an update

In the post I wrote on Sunday I suggested that if BarrrrmmmMason Ryan was allowed to speak Welsh in his promos I might cry. On last night’s Raw he was allowed to use his mother tongue. OK, so it was very brief, but I wasn’t expecting it so early on. Did I cry? Not exactly. But that’s about as happy as wrestling can make me and it started my day off with a massive, happy contraction in my chest. And if you missed it…….

If you’re wondering, he was just saying that CM Punk WON’T be eliminated. So shutup, Husky Harris! (I added the shutup bit for effect. But that’s what his eyes were saying.)

It has come to my attention that world geography is escaping some people across the pond. No, Wales is not in Ireland or Scotland and DEFINITELY not in England. Here is a diagram to help you.

To be a little more specific, Barri Mason is billed as being from Cardiff, as am I. Or as CM Punk pronounces it “Carr-duff, Wayls.” Not technically true though. It wasn’t even true when they billed him as from Rhyl for a brief time when he joined FCW. He’s actually from a tiny little town in the North West corner of Wales called Tramadog. It’s so Welsh nobody speaks English unless they really have to. So now you know.

Mae’r arholiad yn cychwyn mewn un munud.

the welsh are coming! – mason ryan arrives

I said it would happen. Didn’t I say it would happen?  Almost a year to the day I wrote this post about Barri Griffiths, he appears on Raw. And if you’re not sure who that is, he’s now going by the name ‘Mason Ryan’. Still none the wiser? Fine. It’s this guy.

He made it. My Welsh-speaking Welshman from Wales made it to the big-time and I’m so unbelievably proud that I felt a little bit sick with excitement when I heard the news on Tuesday morning. I logged into my Twitter account and saw this:

I ran across the Wrestle-Bunker hallway and ordered Sidekick Andrew to tell what had happened. He showed me this:

I cried. No, not really. But I was absolutely thrilled. After a year of trawling the internet looking for FCW downloads so I could watch him wrestle in his new guise, he’s moved up to Raw. After a year of tweeting Steve Keirns to get FCW on YouTube, I can leave the poor guy alone. After a year of crossing my fingers, toes and other unmentionables hoping Barri would be in the next series of NXT only to be disappointed every time, he’s done it!

Sidekick Andrew continuously said “Don’t worry, I’ve a feeling he doesn’t need NXT. They’ll move him straight up. They made him FCW champion really early and he’s been on overseas tours already.” I wanted to believe it, but I worried that he’d be future endeavoured before he’d even had chance to grace my television screen. Actually, do cut FCW guys even get future endeavoured? That doesn’t matter any more. If you’ve been living under a rock this week, here’s how it went down……

CM Punk, now the leader of New Nexus, had a match against John Cena. John was back for the first time since Christmas and the crowd bellowed and hollered liked children just given a bag of Haribos after a fortnight without a sugar-hit. Nexus were banned from ringside for the match and Punk’s posse were worried. He, on the other hand, was not.  Let’s be honest, CM Punk can take Cena any day of the week.  Flexibility and speed beat slow and chunky every time.

Proof!

This goes on for a while and despite a brief comeback from Cena, he never really made a dent. Had I not known how this ended I would assumed that after Punk dominating the match, Super-Cena would dust off his hands and take the win. No. Both boys were splayed on the canvas  when a large gentleman in a vest, jeans and fetching tan slip-ons jumped up on the apron to point and shout at Cena.  Some random member of staff made a futile attempt at dragging him down by the leg, but this was never going to work. Barri was on a mission.

With Cena duly distracted, Punk was able to crawl up to his feet and kick him in the head. Nice. Delirious that his plan had come together, Punk held his arms out and invited  a celebratory kick to the gut. Barri obliged.

Barri was now FURIOUS and channelled his rage into slamming Cena into the mat. This is what all Welsh people look like when you spill their pint. Take note if you’re planning a weekend away.

The rest of the Nexus fellas ran in, unsure of who this person was and if his strange, foreign ways should be trusted. But Punk liked him. He liked him a lot. In fact, they way they eyed each other up I wondered if a man-snog might be in the offing.

Then Barri dropped to his knees, lowered his head and…..(behave yourselves)…..raised his arm so Punk could induct him into the New Nexus with an elastic armband.

Then it ended with Barri’s face as the final shot. That’s huge! That’s like getting the drums at the end of Eastenders.

Mae hen wlad fy Nghadau yn annwyl i miiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

So anyway, he may be some random stranger who genuflected in front of CM Punk at the end of Raw to you, but this was seriously significant news in my homeland. Well, kind of. They did a piece about him on BBC Wales Today, Wales’ nightly news programme. I didn’t think much of the report. It all seemed rather generic and strung-together at the last minute. I would suggest that the BBC hire me to run a weekly segment called Barri Watch. It could be sandwiched between the sport and the weather report. Lucy Owen could hand over to me:

This is Lucy Owen.

Then I could hand over to local legend Derek ‘the weather’ Brockway.

This is Derek 'the weather' Brockway

The report they put together was quite humorous actually. The sports dude referenced Hulk Hogan, The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin as he lead into the report:

Then during the report they spoke with Barri’s super-proud mam and dad:

Ah yes. Now I see where he got that tropical tan and raven hair from.

Who were apparently watching:

Yep! Wrestlemania! Not Raw. Which their son was on. Silly BBC Wales Today.

But my favourite bit was after the report where the sports dude and Derek discussed their favourite wrestlers. Sports dude liked Big Daddy, Derek Weather liked Giant Haystacks. What they were trying to say was……

Oh how we all laughed.

I’m poking fun, but I actually love Wales Today and they were thoroughly proud of our Barri. Not nearly as proud as I am, but still, they glowed.

So what happens next? Tricky. My expectations have already gone through the roof. In my mind, and maybe his parents’ too judging by that news report, he’s already headlined Wrestlemania and won every belt possible. I’m guessing he’ll hang around in the Nexus for a while and, realistically, as long as he appears in the Rumble that’ll already make my wrestling year. Oh and he hasn’t spoken yet. Assuming they’ll let him at least take part in a few promos, there’s a good chance I’ll cry when I hear his accent. If they let him speak in Welsh, I’ll definitely sob.

Three final points:

  • Yes, he looks a lot like Batista. You’ll need to get over that.
  • In case I haven’t already laboured the point enough, he’s not American or Canadian. He’s not even English. You may refer to him as Welsh or British. Anything else is inaccurate.
  • I will try really hard to retrain my brain to knowing Barri Griffiths as Mason Ryan. I can’t promise I’ll succeed.

This post is dedicated to Sarah.

royal rumble voicemail – LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN

The one where I plug my collaborative live Royal Rumble blog with LOL, Wresslin’, announce that Crotch Watch is taking a very long hiatus, mention the forthcoming one-year anniversary of Wrestlegasm and say “cool” and “ummm” way too much. Someone buy me a thesaurus for my birthday.


i present to you…..the REAL celtic warrior

As a wrestling fan, I feel under-represented by the WWE roster. Hold your horses. Don’t back slowly away from the page. I’m not about to go on another immense ‘women in the workplace’ rant. This feeling of being left out relates to my nationality. I know what you’re thinking… “What’s her beef? There are plenty of British born wrestlers in the WWE!” True, there’s Drew McIntyre, Finlay, Layla, William Regal, The Burchills, Alesha Fox etc. And to satisfy my Celtic blood further, I also have Sheamus. WWE champion, no less.

But what about my Welshness? It’s as important as my Britishness but Wales is always the poor relation to Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland. While in America, it’s all I can do to maintain my polite exterior as I’m asked “Which part of England is Wales in?” AAAAARGH!  I’ve also been asked on several occasions if I’m Australian, which is weird.  No, I’m not an Aussie, but I want to go Sydney sooooo baaaad! I digress. You could say that a small province stuck to the side of England and with a population of three million people has no right to representation on a global wrestling product. That would be a fair deduction, I suppose. Thankfully for me and the other 2,999,999  people in this strange little place, Vince McMahon thinks otherwise. This, my friends, is Barri Griffiths:

And that's Barri with an i not a y.

Fabulous, isn’t he? And yes, you’re right, he does look like a younger, more handsome Dave Batista. He’s Welsh. VERY Welsh. He speaks the Welsh language AS HIS FIRST LANGUAGE. That’s huge. I speak fluent Welsh and spent every day from the age of 4-18 in Welsh medium education. But being dirty, filthy, Cardiff kids, everyone at my school spoke English at every opportunity; much to the despair of all our teachers.

So why am I telling you about this guy? Because he’s been signed to a developmental contract with the WWE and he’s making his way over to Florida this month to begin his amazing new life as an employee of the McMahons. I’m sure he’s very excited, but surely not as giddy as I am. Ok, maybe he’s a bit more excited than I am. Just a dash.

I’ve never paid a huge amount of attention to FCW, but from this month onwards that all changes. Barri’s not on the roster page of the website yet, but he needs to settle into the Florida way of life and get some training under his belt before stepping in front of an audience. Not that Bazza’s any stranger to an audience. He was ‘Goliath’ on the 2009 UK Gladiators……..

Tres Gerard Butler in 300, non?

…… and he’s wrestled locally. Although, he’s been going by the name ‘The Celtic Warrior’, so that’ll have to go. Unless he ends up in a feud against Sheamus where they battle it out for who gets to keep that prestigious moniker. Oooh and he could come out in Welsh flag trunks and drop whole sentences of our mother tongue into his promos the way Rey Mysterio drops Spanish into his. Then again, we could have some kind of Celtic Alliance where Drew McIntyre, Sheamus and Barri team up together………I’m getting ahead of myself. Observe his wrestling while I relocate reality:

Admittedly, 99% of people won’t have a clue what he’s saying, but in this next video he’s basically telling the story of how he was signed to his WWE contract and how he’s looking forward to moving to Florida. This video is from Uned5 (pronounced ee-ned-pimp) which is a daily TV show for teenagers on S4C, the only Welsh language TV channel. If you live in the UK, think of it as a less trendy version of T4 but a cooler version of Blue Peter. Got it? Sidenote: I was actually in the same year in high school as one of the girls who hosts this televisual gem, though as she was in the ‘cool-rugby-players-and-their-girlfriends’ group, and I just wanted to be, I doubt she’d remember me. Enough of my pitiful high school years, let’s get back to Barri. Watch and be transfixed:

And if you want another one, click here. Again, it’s in Welsh but it’s my favourite of the lot. Unfortunately it can’t be embedded, but in this one he takes part in a quiz about himself, two teenage girls struggle to stay composed in his presence and he reveals that he’s actually got red hair and eyebrows which he dyes black. Oh and his favourite meal is tuna and broccoli. Riveting stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Just in case Barri happens to be reading this….. Pob lwc i ti yn yr UDA. Da ni’n edrych ymlaen i dy weld ar y teledu. Ddangosa i’r byd beth mae’r Gymraeg wedi eu wneud o. Cariad mawr o Gaerdydd!

There will be more on this young man. Oh yes, there will be more. Stay tuned.

cool britannia week: part five

…….. or as it’s usually known raw(lite).

I suppose now that my few days with the WWE boys and girls are suitably recapped, it’s time to get back to reality. Technically, the TV shows are unreality, because they’re based on characters and running storylines. Maybe the time where I was actually in the same room as them was the only reality. Oh bugger it! I can’t do existentialism on a Sunday afternoon. Let’s travel upt’ north to Sheffield and get back to the story.

Apparently, nobody in America knows who Ricky Hatton is. I suspect that was why this week’s (American) viewing figures for Raw were the lowest of the year. But you know that this tells you? This is basically what Raw’s viewing figures would be without the guest host bit. So rather than shit all over Ricky Hatton, why not think about THAT! Eh? To be honest, I don’t care about viewing figures. This is still Cool Britannia Week, I LOVE Ricky Hatton and on this one occasion, I’m going to say SCREW YOU, AMERICA! It’s not our fault you didn’t understand a word that came out of his mouth. PS—> I still love you , America, I’m just feeling very proud of my blood this week. I’ll make it up to you next week when I go New York City crazy.

Nice to see WWE have splashed out a new set for this round of UK shows. Last time they were here the did this…..

There was also a red phone box which I spotted during the Smackdown recap. And this time around they did……..

vlcsnap-2009-11-15-16h21m09s255

Wait.....

Ricky Hatton was introducing himself and the show when JeriShow decided to interrupt. As they do. There was a bit of banter and then Jericho called the Queen a hypocrite. Orrrff with his head! Actually Jericho, we may be under monarchic rule, but it’s not like we get much choice in the matter. And by the way, who’s on Canadian bank notes?

$20canada

Just sayin'.

Ricky told him to start speaking a language we could understand and I cheered. In my armchair. YEEEAH! After Jericho’s rebuttal Ricky told him he was just a guy with a bad haircut and he should get out of his face. YEEEEEEAH! Ricky set a match up between JeriShow and DX, then as the bad guys were getting a bit antsy, DX came out to give Ricky a hand. I swear to God, if Michael Cole says “CalVary” instead of “CaValry” once more I’ll blow a gasket. There was a bit of a scrap, which scared Jericho and Big Show away.

vlcsnap-2009-11-15-16h31m33s99

The first real match of the night was Kelly-Kelly vs Alicia Fox. Melina will defend her title against Alicia on tomorrow’s Raw at MSG in NYC with RRP as guest host. So Alicia needed a tune-up match. Has someone been giving Kelly extra wrestle lessons or something? Because she was prettygood. Although, I’m not 100% sold on her plan to be a broadcast journalist once her wrestling career’s over. Judging by the way she handled the mic from the balcony at Cardiff International Arena on Tuesday, I can’t really imagine her reporting from the Gaza strip. But who am I deny a girl her dream? I’ll be happy to be proven wrong. Anyway, Alicia won the match with a scissor-kick to Kelly’s neck.

afscisskick

I need to get back to pilates class. Pronto!

Backstage, Ricky Hatton and his mini-me ran into John Cena. John was a tad put out about not being given a match that night. Ricky suggested that John needed his rest, being that he has a title belt to defend and all. Something tells me we’ll be seeing John again later in the show.

Last week Sheamus destroyed Jamie Noble. And that’s not just an adjective. He really did. Jamie Noble retired this week. :( One career ends, another takes flight. Sheamus, now on a roll, decided to beat up a ‘local competitor’ just like Beth Phoenix has been doing on Smackdown. Normally, a Celt proclaiming that he’s going to make an Englishman look like a fool would appeal to my deep-set Celtic ancestry. But as he said nasty things about Wales in Cardiff on Monday night…..

vlcsnap-2009-11-15-16h36m16s111

I think you can guess how this one ended.

The Bella Twins are possibly worse at feigning interest in the guest host than Kelly, but still they were told to ask Ricky Hatton all about his current business ventures now that he’s a retired man. I didn’t know he had a clothing line. I might look into that. This was all very sensible, so Santino Marella turned up in a fat suit, because Ricky is well known for eating a lot of pies and drinking copious amounts of Guinness when in between training sessions.  See why he’s so amazing? Admittedly, he probably had too many pies before that last match against Floyd Mayweather (hate), but I largely put that defeat down to Roger Mayweather’s piss-poor training camp.  Anyway, Santino was fat. Hahaha.

vlcsnap-2009-11-15-16h39m41s119

Just like all British pub dwellers, Ricky’s a bit good at darts, so Chavo challenged him to a match. It didn’t go well for Chavo. Ricky Hatton (not Ricky Fatton) set a match for the two of them up for later in the show. I get the feeling things won’t be improving for Chavo.

Over in the interview area, The Miz and Jack Swagger did a lovely bit of promo for Survivor Series (can’t believe that’s next week BTW) and then we were back in the ring for Swagger vs Evan Bourne. Oh Evan Bourne. My lollipop man. *SIGH* Swagger looked like he was going to take this match without too much trouble, but The Miz came out dressed rather nicely and with a mic in hand to get a closer look. Jack was a little distracted by his ringside viewer, took his eye off the ball and allowed Evan to take the match. Swagger’s hopes at becoming a team captain at Survivor Series were well and truly scuppered.

vlcsnap-2009-11-15-16h41m15s33

Speaking of Survivor Series, there’s a few elimination matches happening there, so the promo continued. MVP was in his VIP Lounge with Mark Henry and then Kofi Kingston. Spot the guy who’s about to have an “impromptu” match.

vlcsnap-2009-11-15-16h43m29s91

All their pre-PPV jollity was interrupted by Legacy. I’d say ‘spot the guy who’s about to have an “impromptu” match’ again, but they all love not wearing trousers so much it’s very hard to tell which one it might be. They questioned the authenticity of MVP’s VIP Lounge. I hate to agree with those beautiful nutters, but they’re kind of right. Those pleather sofas are obviously borrowed from Teddy Long’s office and the $50 bottle of champagne is…..well at least it is champagne. Then again, that gold foil on the top of the bottle looked remarkably like a bottle of Magners. The jury’s out.

vlcsnap-2009-11-15-16h45m26s239

So they had a rumble, which ended in a bona fide match between Mark Henry (shocker) and Randy. Pretty decent. Randy won. The more we hate Randy the more we love Kofi. It’s the natural order of things. Am I allowed to love them both? Please? Randy wasn’t done. He gave Kofi a whack too but Kofi threw a few punches and frightened the baby oiled boys away. I. LOVE. THIS. FEUD!

Ricky Hatton vs Chavo was silly, but cool. And Ricky gave Chavo one hell of a wallop to the temple. Ok, so it probably wasn’t as hard as he could punch, but it sounded pretty real.

vlcsnap-2009-11-15-16h49m01s82

Over in the locker room, this happened…….

Funny! By the way, John, I sent you an invitation to my party and you didn’t even RSVP. What gives?

I have to commend WWE for the excellent promotion they’re pulling out of the bag for SS. The promotion for some of this year’s Pay Per Views has been awful, but they’re really trying hard with this one. John Cena was on commentary for the DX/JeriShow match and spoke about his triple threat with DX the whole way through. Way to plug, baby!

It all came to cataclysmic end (yeah, I said cataclysmic) when Jericho failed to twist Michaels into the Walls of Jericho. Shawn countered, Big Show came to his rescue but accidentally socked Jericho in the chops. Hunter knocked Show over the ropes, leaving Shawn to pin Jericho for the win.

Just as it looked like the show was about to end, Justin announced next week’s main event. DX vs JeriShow vs John Cena aaaaand……………….

vlcsnap-2009-11-15-16h54m27s20

Ohhhhhhhh! So THAT’s why Punk vs Undertaker was the first match in Cardiff earlier that night. At 7:30pm I was watching The Undertaker throw Punk in a coffin live in the ‘Diff. A few hours later he was on Raw in Sheffield. WHAT?!?!?! That’s like a five or six hour drive! How did he do that??????

BMAGIC

Or possibly………

LEGOCOPTER

cool britannia week: part four

I’m totally stealing this first part from LOL, Wresslin‘, but under these bluesy circumstances and on this occasion, I’m sure Adam & Matt would allow it just this once. So….

For a theme tune to accompany this post, please press play and enjoy…….

It’s always a bit torturous following a sport or, more specifically, a league which takes place in a distant timezone. I’ve watched NFL (American) football for probably 13 or 14 years, though apart from the day off work I book for the Superbowl I don’t worry too much about missing matches. It’s lost a bit of sparkle in recent years. NHL hockey, however, is another matter. I’ve had many a sleepless night because I’ve stayed up watching men on skates beat each other up on ice lately. And then a few years ago I started taking an interest in Australian rugby league (NRL), which usually takes place on a Friday morning when I’m at work. Although, at least before Setanta went down the pan I was able to watch on Saturday mornings. (GO MANLY!)

So too with wrestling. Ultimately, the majority of WWE matches take place in the US and Canada. For those of us living in European timezones, it means that Raw is broadcast in the middle of the night and, in most circumstances, staying up through the night to watch PPVs usually involves booking a day off work. We’re a dedicated bunch, giving up our precious annual leave for the sake of wrestling. I hope Vince McMahon appreciates us.

Like I mentioned when I announced Cool Britannia Week, North Americans are spoilt for choice when it comes to WWE shows. I’m not saying that everyone has access to shows every week. But generally they go to the same places over and over again, and they tend to be reasonably accessible to most within a few hours drive. A passport certainly isn’t required to attend a show. It’s accessible. So I doubt North Americans will really understand why most British WWE fans who attended this week’s tour shows have found themselves in a strange melancholic state once the shows they attended were over. Even the people who didn’t go to any of the shows were blue. Their jealousy at not having a ticket made them sad.

WWE tours the UK just twice a year. It is the only opportunity we have to see our beloved superstars up close and, if we’re lucky, maybe shake their hand too. My intention was not to go to the Raw show on Tuesday night, but the Smackdown show released the kind of endorphins that are amazingly addictive. Like a narcotic. Like a song you play twenty times in a row because you need to hear how great it is again.  So I went again. I know others went to more than one show too.

When it was all over and the WWE wagons rolled off into the sunset to go to another city, I felt a bit lost. I’m usually pretty bored at work on a normal day, but as I sat at my desk on Wednesday, office life seemed extra humdrum. My office-mate even bought me surprise cappuccino to cheer me up.

42160037

Come back, John Cena. Come back, CM Punk. It didn’t last long enough. Let’s do it all over again. And again. And again. This sad feeling took me completely by surprise. I hadn’t expected to feel blue when they left. I had a major case of the post-wrestling blues. I was having withdrawal symptoms. It was odd. But I was lifted by the fact that I wasn’t alone. At least, judging by the messages I’ve had.

It was suggested to me via email that it’s kind of like having an amazing, hot boyfriend who spends the most incredible week with you and then dumps you, moving on to another woman without a second thought for how great your time together was. I think it’s more like a holiday romance. It’s exciting, intense and it makes your tummy tie up in knots. You know it has to end and you’ll have to part ways, but you put that out of your mind so as not to spoil the fun. But then it actually ends and you’re like OHHH IT ENDED AND THEY HAVEN’T EMAILED ME IN A WEEK! SOB-SOB-SOB

The good news is that they’ll be back after Wrestlemania 26, though not to Cardiff at the moment, which both puzzles and upsets me. Until then, come on Britain. Stretch yourself out of that foetal position. Let’s all hug each other and share memories of this week over cups of tea and a pack of chocolate HobNobs. We’ll get through it togethaaaaah. Sing in chorus….

And I guess that’s why they caaall it the bluuuuues

TIME ON MY Haaaaaands

Could be time spent with yoooooou

Laugh-ing like chil-dren

Li-ving like lo-vers

Ro-lling like thun-der

UN-DER THE COOOOO-VERS

And I guess that’s why they ca-aaall it the bluuuuuuuues!

 

 

Someone hold me! Hold me tight!

Thanks, Dolph.

Thanks, Dolph.

cool britannia week: part two

If you were one of the people who read this blog when I started it seven whole months ago, you may remember that one of my very first posts was about the fact that Rey Mysterio was doing a signing in Cardiff, which I couldn’t go to. I found out about it far too late and had to go back to my office. I made quite a silly drama out of it.

But no such worries this time around. Knowing the guys and gals of the WWE would be rolling into town on Monday and Tuesday of this week, I deliberately went looking for signings last Saturday. I want to shake a midcarder’s hand and someone better make it happen, damnit! I was starting to lose hope, until I rolled into Borders and saw a giant poster advertising a Kofi Kingston and Gail Kim signing on Tuesday. YESSSSSS! I quizzed the staff on the event and purchased my £5 worth of trading cards to get my ticket.

tcstic

On Tuesday morning I woke up in possession of three things. The disbelief that I was just 3oft away from CM Punk twelve hours earlier, the eyes of a panda thanks to the fact that I passed out with my mascara on, and a dilemma. A dilemma, you say? Yes, I say. Having had such a great time at the Smackdown show, I now wanted to go to the Raw show that night. Actually, I had wanted to go to both all along, but nobody wanted to drop the cash for two shows. I had to decide whether to go alone or skip it. The consensus was that I would hugely regret it if I didn’t go. On balance, the idea of spending the night with John Cena and Triple H seemed far more exciting than spending it watching Eastenders and Gok Wan on TV.  I made a decision.

DSCF9617

Now, time to think about Kofi and Gail. I had swung it with my boss that I could use some of my overtime and leave at 2:00pm for the signing at 3:00pm. Time to break out the Pepto Bismol tablets again. Much as the day before, I began getting excited enough that my stomach started tying itself up in slipknots. At this point it was suggested that I should just try being cool because it’s ‘just Kofi’. And it’s not like it’s Punk or anything. Honestly, if CM Punk was doing a signing, I’m not sure I’d even be able to walk through the door. I’d be too afraid of walking up to him and making involuntary and vulgar sex noises in his direction, ultimately being removed by security and arrested for a public sex offence.

There were some problems with this day. For starters, it was raining. And I mean REALLY raining. That in itself is not a surprise. It’s November in Wales. Rain storms are a daily and unremarkable occurrence. But I had to walk from my office to the other side of the city centre in drenching drizzle and my hair, which was beautifully coiffured in the morning, was sure to be flat as a pancake by the time I got to Borders. Also, I was in unglamorous office clothes and forgot to bring the programme from the show the previous night. I figured that adding a couple of autographs might add some value to the worst show programme in the history of show programmes. So I did the really sensible thing of forgetting it.

I made it to Borders and was buoyed by the fact that we were allowed to wait inside, away from the drizzle. Being about 40 minutes early I wasn’t too far from the signing table and expected to be on my way home and getting ready for Raw within the hour. I slowly shuffled from one foot to the other, checking the time on my phone, people watching and generally willing the clock to move faster. I hoped they might be slightly early as my green high heels, soggy from the puddles I splashed through, were starting to hurt. I switched them for the flat ballerina pumps I had in my bag…. because I think ahead when it comes to shoes but not when it comes to bringing merchandise to be signed. I wondered if Kofi would come running down the stairs like this….

But I suspected not.

I knew something was up when the staff started handing free WWE dog tags out to everyone. Clearly we were being pacified and being kept there for a long wait. The guy actually tried to walk past me without giving me a dog tag. How DARE he! I held my hand straight out and said “CM PUNK, PLEASE!” I got my goodies.

DSCF9608

I'm wearing my gift as inspiration as I write this post. I'm keeping him close to my heart.

An announcement was made that there would be a delay but we were assured that Kofi and Gail were on their way. UUUUURGH! As the guy behind me said “that’ll be another hour then.” He had no idea how true that would turn out to be. They were now 40 minutes late and I was starting to get very fidgety. I’m not very good at being still. Or waiting. At 45 minutes late I thought I’d been stood up. The people in front of me were giving them until 4:oopm and then bailing. I had decided I’d stay as long as possible.

Just in the nick of time, there they both were, clutching their red, Christmas Starbucks cups and looking very sheepish. “Sorry, guuuuuys! We got kinda lost!” It’s ok, Kofi. I forgive you. Funny how I completely forgot the annoying wait as soon as they showed up. Gail looked beautiful. She was wearing a short bejewelled dress and looked so glamorous she might as well have been on the red carpet at the Oscars. She certainly looked overdressed for Borders in Cardiff. But we certainly appreciated the effort.

Once things got started the line moved quickly and I found myself  waiting to be called up to the desk  in no time at all. Argh! I turned to the two blokes behind me and asked if they would take my picture. They agreed and I was called forward to meet Kofi and Gail. I repeat, ARGH! I stepped forward and, noticing I hadn’t brought anything to be signed (because I’m a fool), Kofi grabbed for one of the WWE signing sheets they had on the desk. “Heyyyy. How are you doin’ today?” he asked in a deep, silky voice. And then I made a complete idiot of myself. With a big grin on my face I replied “I’m VERY well thank you. All the better for meeting YOUUU!.” URGH! Even as the words spewed out of my lips I was thinking SHUTTUUUUP! The only thing that would’ve made me more cheesy would have been if I’d winked at him and done my best Joey Tribbiani impression. Like this…

Thankfully, Kofi is a super nice guy and said “Awww that’s nice. That’s nice.” I didn’t feel like such a cheese monster after that. He passed the sheet over to Gail and I asked if I could shake his hand. “Of course” Kofi said, as he proceeded to squeeze my hand.  SWOOOOON! I told him it was lovely to meet him and he returned the sentiment. I don’t believe him for a second, but it sounded sweet. Gail was quiet as a mouse, but I told her the same, she returned the compliment too and I shook her hand.

I tried to come in beside Gail to have my picture taken, but the angry security guard put his arm in the way and stopped me. Idiot! I mean, I know some nutcase punched Leona Lewis in the face when she did a signing a few weeks ago, but do I really look all that menacing, Mr. Security Guard? I’m just a girl in office clothes with flat, damp hair hoping not to look too hideous stood next to the stunning Gail Kim.  All he would let me do was lean into the desk. Never lean IN to a picture. Everything falls forward. Not flattering. I learnt that from Madonna as a kid and I never forgot it. I had no choice, so I leaned in as graciously as I could and the guy snapped my picture. This picture was the result of all this nonsense.

DSCF9385(cropped)

In my excitement I forgot to take my glasses off too. They are the WORST glasses for pictures ever.

Satisfied that I had my autographs and picture I moved away from the desk to put my coat on and compose myself. I grabbed my stuff and walked off down the street. But something was wrong. I had forgotten something. After all that time waiting, I had left my autograph sheet behind. OH MY GOD! Could I be any more flaky?  I ran back and, luckily, it was still on top of some books, where I placed it while I put my coat on. PHEEEEW! Back in the shop I decided to stick around for a few minutes and watch Kofi and Gail at work. It may be an act, but they seemed like genuinely lovely people. Kofi is particularly good with the kids. It was cute to watch him striking up a new conversation with each child and watch their faces light up as he engaged with them. They probably felt the same way I did.

Doing it for the kids.....and me.

Doing it for the kids.... and me.

From there  I made my way home. I had to primp myself a little bit for the Raw show.

My next task is to find a frame for this fabulous piece of paper

DSCF96042

cool britannia week: part one

I won’t tell you how long it’s been since I last went to a live WWE show, but it’s been some time. Scanning through the programme, some of the guys on that card are either now dead, wasted, bankrupt or movie stars. Admittedly, it’s wrestling, so that could have been a month ago. But if I say it was before WWF became WWE that should give you a rough idea of how long it’s been.

So I was pretty excited about going to the Smackdown/ECW house show in Cardiff on Monday night. Ok, so all the cool kids may have been up north watching the TV taping of Raw in Sheffield,  but I couldn’t find anyone who fancied a five or six-hour drive to Yorkshire, so a three-mile trip to the little house show that could was on the agenda. All day at work people had been asking me about the show, fascinated by the fact that I could be this excitable about wrestling. What they saw was actually my toned down, calm exterior. What they didn’t see was that I’d been chewing on Pepto Bismol tablets all day to untie the knots in my stomach. I also spent the final hour playing This Fire by Killswitch Engage on a loop just to wind myself up. As soon as the clock hit 5pm I locked the office door behind me and caught the train home to get glammed up for CM Punk.

I inhaled some vegetarian sushi and headed into town with my little brother. If I could sum my delirium up in one picture, it would be this one…….

IMG_0509-sh

….. where I all but danced down the street.

Once in the arena, my plan was to buy the DX t-shirt, but on realising it was £25 I plumped for the programme, which was only £15. BIG MISTAKE! I should have flicked through the pages before handing my cash over. It was the most generic piece of trash imaginable. No articles, no points of interest, just a single picture of every superstar with their vital stats next to them, and some ads for other WWE products. I was duped. But never mind. The show was about to start. EEEEEEEEP!

The lights went down, a recorded message warned against video recording and Tony Chimel appeared in the ring. Damn! I was hoping for Matt Striker. Oh well. To my surprise, CM Punk came out first. OH MY GOD! He looked AMAZING. Ruggedly handsome doesn’t even come close. I could feel my pulse in my thumbs. After a few moments arguing with some kids in the crowd, Punk proceeded to tell us all off for being drunkards. Well, this is Wales. It’s not an insult if it’s true. At this point I fell into a lovely dream. My brother began snapping away with his camera, leaving me free to swoon to my heart’s content.

IMG_0531-sh

But close enough to swoon.

That is, until some complete moron in our row started shooting the show with his camcorder. Not just using the video function on his phone, but a full video camera. Jackass! This lead security to pull the guy out of the crowd to warn him of the illegality of his actions. Why am I telling you this? Because when security were squeezing past us they spotted by brother’s camera, which is a very nice camera but not professional, and removed him from his seat too. While they were inspecting his camera, which apparently he wasn’t allowed to use, he totally missed Taker’s entrance.  FURIOUS! And they made him delete most of the pictures he’d already taken. I understand that they have to protect their copyright, but just because someone has an expensive camera and enjoys photography, it doesn’t mean they’re going to sell their pictures.

Thankfully, I was still in my seat and witnessed the arrived of the casket and Undertaker himself, for his match with Punk. Which was incredible. The match felt short. But I suspect that had something to do with the fact that they had to do the whole thing over again for TV the next night. It might also have something to do with the fact that while watching the newly hirsute CM Punk, time seemed to stand still. I tried to soak as much of Taker’s performance up as possible. Even though he was way more impressive than I was expecting, he can’t have many years of touring left in him. As you might imagine, Taker won. I think I may have been the only person in the crowd who shouted BOOOO when he slammed the casket lid down on Mr. Punk. It was a facey crowd. Luckily, I happened to have a small but powerful compact camera on me and we managed to grab a few half-decent pics.

DSCF9291-sh

From there, Savannah appeared right next to us and gave some kids front row seats for answering a simple question. Pfft! Why didn’t she give ME front row seats? Do those seven year olds dedicate their spare time to an awesome blog? Highly unlikely!

DSCF9318-sh

Next we had a Divas match between Mickie James, Layla, Beth Phoenix, Natalya, Katie Lea Burchill and Rosa Mendes. The winner would face Michelle McCool for the Women’s Title later in the show. You can pretty much narrow this one down to either Mickie or Beth. And since everyone loves Mickie, she was the obvious winner. A few observations: Beth is far less scary in real life, Katie Lea’s hair is ridiculous  and Mickie James is anything but fat. Seriously. She’s steaming hot.

DSCF9321-sh

But Mickie is jumping and Beth is posing, so not bad.

After that it was back to the dudes with Finlay and Yoshi Tatsu vs Zack Ryder and Ezekiel Jackson. Not everyone watches ECW, so just to make sure those not in the know cheered for the right people, Finlay grabbed a Welsh flag from the crowd and waved it around like he was from Cardiff himself. He even taunted Jackson by waving it in front of him like a matador ushering a bull into the middle of a different kind of ring entirely.

DSCF9355-12

Let me just say, Ezekiel Jackson is STACKED! I mean, Mark Henry’s a big guy, Big Show’s enormous, but Jackson’s muscles are unreal. If he walked up to me, told me to cluck like a chicken while patting my head and rubbing my tummy I’d do it until he told me to stop for fear of being killed. Incredible body!

It was another brilliant match. The great thing about house shows is that, they may be short on glitz, pyro and storylines, but they’re an awesome opportunity to watch wrestling without the constraints of a TV schedule and the need for a complex script. You’d think that being such a huge fan of the soap opera part of wrestling I’d find this kind of show boring. Not one bit. That made me very happy because it proved (possibly to myself as well as others) that I truly am a fan of wrestling and not just who’s wearing which trunks that week.  Team Face won, of course, and they continued to parade the Welsh flag around the ring. Well, who can blame them? It’s an excellent flag!

DSCF9359-12

You know who doesn’t like Wales? Drew McIntyre. So much for my theory on celts sticking together. Apparently Drew always thought Wales was just a part of England. BUUUUUURN! How to piss a Welsh person off: Call them English. So that jacked his heelness up a bit. He was fighting Matt Hardy who, to my surprise, I totally marked out for. Weird, because I don’t usually pop for Matt when he’s on TV, yet in person I squealed and clapped like an infant. After a lot of walking away, then returning, then walking away and returning again Drew beat Matt up pretty nicely. But don’t worry, Matt returned later to help an old friend out.

As I said, these shows are an opportunity for guys who struggle to grab TV minutes to show what they can do. Never was this more true than with the Cryme Tyme vs The Hart Dynasty match, all of which were superb. And the kids love Cryme Tyme. You know what I like about kids? They see through the bullshit. They totally get the fact that Cryme Tyme are a gimmick and that the CT duo don’t spend their evenings hustling on street corners. They won, by the way.

IMG_0564-sh

Right, now on to a couple of guys who get a lot of TV time, but deserve more. Dolph Ziggler and John Morrison. John Morrison is gorgeous! I mean, I know he looks pretty on TV, but in person he’s a very beautiful man. I would KILL for his hair. I can also confirm that those abdominals are in fact real. Sadly, I didn’t get to examine them with my hands, but I examined them very closely with eyes and they seem pretty pukka to me. To steal a line I’ve heard men use a million times…….

IMG_0586-sh

Stupid video camera on a stick. Stop blocking my view.

But the stand-out guy of the night for me was Dolph Ziggler. As you know, I’m rather fond of Mr. Peroxide, so when his music hit I got particularly giddy. I wanted to shout out “I bought skimpy snow leopard PJs in honour of your Bragging Rights absence DOOOOOLPH!” But I didn’t. I’m a lady. Shuttup. He was excellent with the crowd. Interacting with the front row, being perfectly and deliberately narcissistic and summoning up even more love from myself.

IMG_0580-sh

We’ve seen them collide several times on Smackdown and it was as great as it’s ever been on TV. Probably better. Not being a regular viewer of Smackdown, my brother only knew John Morrison as “that guy who looks like Jim Morrison”. The Starship Pain changed that. Mission accomplished. Stars of the future. No doubt.

After all that, we needed a break. Actually, I didn’t. I wanted more action. Straight away. But the kids all needed to pee so we had an intermission, during which I made my bid to be Humanitarian of the Year. A very desperate looking young man came up to me and said “Excuse me, my love, but could you please help me out? My little boy is desperate to have these pads(?) from the merchandise stand and I’m short 22 pence. He’s close to tears here.” He really was. I don’t know who looked more anguished, the man desperate to make his little boy happy or the little boy desperate to be happy.” My maternal instincts kicked in and I handed 22 pence over to the guy. Having just spent £5 on two bottles of 7up, how could I begrudge  a child a souvenir? I don’t need an award. The warm feeling in my heart was repayment enough. I know. I’m amazing.

Three matches left. The first was the Women’s title match between Michelle McCool and Mickie James. I’ll be honest, I don’t remember much about it other than I couldn’t take my eyes off Mickie James.

IMG_0603-12

Never has a title been dropped at a house show (I presume) so the belt stayed around McCool’s perfectly toned waist. I did finger gunz for you, Mickie James.

Back to ECW and Christian vs Goldust. This. Was. Awesome. Once again, I squealed like a child when Christian flung the Welsh flag around, grabbed a mic and shouted “Sounds like there’s lots of Welsh Peeps in the house!” YEAAAAH! You know, when you’re watching on television, you kind of forget just how hard that ring is. In person, you can’t. You can HEAR how hard it is. I don’t think anyone hit that ring as hard as Christian and Goldust. It was so incredible I turned to my brother half way through and exclaimed. “I want to go to wrestling school.” The next day that didn’t seem such a good idea. At the time though, it felt like a sound career move.

IMG_0611-sh

Oh Christian. You made me want to hurt myself in a wrestling ring. That's some powerful vibe you got, chick.

Just one match left. BOOOO! That meant it was coming to an end. I figured it would involve Rey Mysterio, but the rumour had been that Batista wasn’t there, so I was unsure as to which bad guy Rey would be facing. The rumours were groundless. Batista was there and the crowd went insane, including myself. Then the crowd remembered that Dave is a badass now and started booing. Then Rey came out and more audience madness ensued, including myself.

It was so nuts I can’t remember much of it, but I know most the card ran back out to the ring to help their respective pals.

IMG_0665-YEAH

And your winner, wearing the Welsh colouuuuurs is....

And then. It was over. Three hours. Gone. I began the float home…… after an obligatory “Hi, this is us at the wrestling” shot.

Thanks, brutha.

Hi. I'm little.

Ok, now I can float home. Oh, I don’t have to cross water to get there. We went on the bus. But I was so happy I might as well have drifted to my bed with my feet six inches off the ground. From there I began thinking of tomorrow where I would meet Kofi Kingston and Gail Kim. I also wondered how I might sleep after such excitement. I didn’t.

*All images on this post are property of C.Davies and Wrestlegasm.com.

UPDATE: Apparently, the Intercontinental Title was dropped at a house show. I knew some smart-arse would correct me on that.