No Alternative? is an annoyingly titled series of interviews that will hopefully introduce you to some of the independent wrestling promotions that we have come to love here at the blog. Rather than forcing yourself to sit through a dreary episode of Raw or a frankly embarrassing episode of IMPACT Wrestling (or whatever it’s called now) we want to show you that there is an alternative out there.
This week’s interview is with a promotion less of you will be familiar with; XWA based in Morecambe. I was lucky enough to catch one of their shows earlier this year and I was really impressed with their product and can definitely recommend grabbing one of their DVDs and giving it a try.
1. Thanks for agreeing to this interview. For some of our readers that might not be familiar with you could you give us a brief introduction to XWA?
The XWA was formed in 2007 out of the FWA, when the FWA went on hiatus. The promotion is based in Morecambe, a seaside town in North West England, my home. It’s a purely British Wrestling promotion and our strengths are the great atmosphere at our shows, continuous storylines, crazy characters, better than average production values for a British wrestling show and the fact that our wrestlers are booked to come across as stars. Our roster includes the very best talent on the UK scene – Johnny Phere, ‘The Ascension’ Alex Shane, ‘RockStar’ Spud, El Ligero, Joey Hayes, RJ Singh and many more.
2. What would you say sets XWA apart as an alternative from the mainstream promotions such as WWE and TNA?
We don’t insult our audience’s intelligence and we book storylines to an episodic and logical conclusion. Also at an average ticket price of £12, it’s a lot cheaper to come and see us than it is to watch WWE and TNA when they tour the UK. You get up, close and personal with the wrestlers, instead of maybe sitting right at the back of the MEN Arena where you can barely see the superstars who are just dots on the horizon. Coming to see XWA is like watching an episode of Monday Night RAW, only better value for money and right on your doorstep.
3. Do you think WWE and TNA present a reasonable view of professional wrestling to the mass market? Do you feel they do anything right or are you not a fan at all?
When WWE gets it right, their television shows can be absolutely superb. They are the market leaders for a reason. I like the way they present their product and the way they market their superstars. They are a successful multi-million pound business for a reason. I am not a fan of TNA. I don’t watch it. I can’t take the product seriously because of the poor booking and slipshod way they present and market their product. Realistically they are the number two promotion, but they continuously do things that make it far too apparent that they are an inferior brand to WWE. They should be accentuating their strengths and talking about their positives. Instead, they shove it down people’s throats that they are a cheaper imitation of WWE – sometimes they even seem to revel in it. Very bizarre. And is there anyone in 2011 who isn’t sick of Hulk Hogan, Sting and Ric Flair being on top in a major promotion?
4. One side of the 2 main promotions which gets heavy criticism (and that we on the site have been more and more interested in) is the womens’ divisions. Where does XWA stand on womens wrestlers? Are you fans of the more hard-hitting female wrestlers and intergender matches or would you prefer a more Diva/Knockout style division?
I wasn’t a huge believer in women’s wrestling in the UK because I hadn’t seen all that much British women’s wrestling in the past which impressed me. That is, until I saw the Britani Knight v Jenny Sjodin match at our last show XWA War on the Shore VII. What a performance by both girls, it was match of the night! My friend Dann Read is the booker of Pro Wrestling:EVE and he has often spoken passionately to me about the quality of the female wrestlers in his promotion and the Britani-Jenny match definitely made a believer out of me. I’m definitely more of a fan of the hard-hitting, competitive style of female match for that very reason. I may be a promoter but I’m also a wrestling fan, and until I saw two European female wrestlers put on that kind of match, I didn’t see the women on the same level as the men, I didn’t take female wrestling seriously mainly because of the way it is presented in WWE – as a throwaway match on the show, usually between two Divas who are employed more for their looks than their wrestling ability. Now I do take women’s wrestling seriously, and it’s the hard-hitting, athletic style that will convert more wrestling fans to the cause because it will always look far more impressive and credible than the WWE style.
5. Are there any WWE/TNA wrestlers you would like to bring into XWA? Conversely, are there any of your roster that you feel would fit in well in one of the mainstream companies? And would you want them to?
I’m a firm believer in using British talent because I believe the talent over here is good enough to stand on its own right. Also my past experience of flying in overseas talent is that it’s an extremely stressful project and more trouble than it’s worth. I’m sure the promoters of 1PW would agree with me. As for whether any of our wrestlers could have a chance in the main companies, Johnny Phere definitely has the WWE ‘look’ and aggression. With more seasoning Colossus could have a shot because he has the size WWE look for. El Ligero would be a great fit for the TNA X Division with his high-flying style and his masked wrestler gimmick. And I think Stallion could fit into one of the main companies as a comedy character, again he’s got a unique look, he’s outrageous and over-the-top, and is very quick-witted and entertaining. Having said that, I don’t think the Americans would have any clue what he’s saying in that Geordie accent! Look at what happened to Cheryl Cole…
6. Where can people find out more about XWA online?
7. What do you have coming up?
Our next show is XWA LastFight at the Prom on Saturday, October 8 2011 at The Carleton in Morecambe. The show will be headlined by a six-man tag team match pitting Sam Slam, Stixx and Johnny Phere against The Ascension, Nathan Cruz and Colossus. It’s part of a North West Wrestling Weekender as GPW are running in Wigan on the Friday and FutureShock are on in Stockport on the Sunday. So why not travel to the North West, the British Wrestling scene’s greatest hot bed of talent and great live shows, and make a weekend of it? We’ll also be releasing our latest DVDs, Goldrush 2011 and War on the Shore VII at LastFight.
8. Do you have a match/trailer online that would give people an idea of what to expect at an XWA show?
Check out our YouTube channel. Go to www.xwawrestling.com and click on YouTube.
9. Any last words for the readers?
If you’ve never been to an XWA show in Morecambe, it’s really something you have to do to experience the rabid and passionate atmosphere created by our fans. We are like the Memphis Wrestling of the British scene because after all, it’s Real in Morecambe!