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.

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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 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.

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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 three

Having met with Kofi Kingston and Gail Kim earlier in the day, and having spent Monday night in the company of the Smackdown roster, going to the Raw house show in Cardiff on Tuesday felt totally normal. Like… “Yeah, just going to knock a few bevvies back with the Raw boys. No biggie.” For the first time in about three days I was actually feeling completely cool about sharing the same space as WWE staff. Oh, how that was to change come the main event!

As I mentioned in Part Two, I was flying solo for this event. Not ideal without someone to chit-chat about the matches with, but I just couldn’t pass on the opportunity to be there. Thanks to some traffic issues and having to collect my ticket at the door from the slowest ticket clerks in history, I was a little late. I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to all the people with small children who were also waiting to collect their tickets. As I waited to be called forward to the counter I heard screaming coming from the crowd, Justin Roberts kicking the show off and Mark Henry’s music hitting. In my anger at missing the start of the show I quite audibly wailed AHHH SHIT!!!!” in front of a bunch of kids. The kids themselves didn’t flinch too much. Their parents weren’t pleased.

mtlsabw

Wrestling makes me a bad person. (Property: Corbis)

I collected my ticket and literally ran to my seat, which was considerably more difficult to find now that the lights were down.  I found myself on the floor  but in the back row, which wasn’t the best place for a diminutive person in flat shoes. Several people seemed to be standing on the seats for the first match, which happened to be Mark Henry vs Chris Masters. I did the same. But security were losing their minds with all this chair surfing and ordered that everyone sit down. I complained that I couldn’t see and a particularly friendly steward invited me to sit with him closer to the middle, where the view was marginally better. I accepted his offer and moved. But then he saw my camera and became concerned that it was too professional. Here we go again. I looked pleadingly into his eyes and he gave me the benefit of the doubt. I think he liked me. But every time I tried to use it he looked at me like we were trying to pull off a drug deal and the cops were circling, so we came to an arrangement that he would let me get to the front row in between matches if I used my compact camera during the matches. DEAL! We kissed on it…….I kid, I kid! We just nodded on it.

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Sorry, Mark Henry. Far be it from me to upset you. You’re scary. The average age of the crowd was significantly lower than it had been for Smackdown. Most likely because of John Cena and DX’s presence. The kids are NUTS for Cena. And so were the ladies. More on that later. The show also had a different vibe to it. Just as on television, Smackdown and ECW were the more classic wrestling shows, and Raw was a tad more about polish and showbiz. Not to say that one was more entertaining than the other, just different. Oh and the Raw matches were slightly shorter. The show as a whole was 30 minutes shorter than the Smackdown/ECW show.

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Ok, ok. Don’t hurt me, Mark Henry. Actually, don’t tell the WSM but I missed a lot of this match with all the musical chairs I was playing. I think Mark Henry won though. After that Kelly-Kelly appeared on the balcony and did the same as Savannah had done the night before. She got a group of kids to answer an easy question and gave them front row seats. URGH! The balcony seats are the cheapest in the house. You get what you pay for. I paid £55 for this ticket and I can’t actually see the mat. Yeah, yeah. The children are our future. Blah-blah-blah.

From there we went straight into Jack Swagger vs Santino. I know Santino is annoying at times, but people love him. They love him loads. Much as I enjoyed keeping my eyes fixated on Jack Swagger (A LOT) everyone was just waiting for Santino to do his funny little hand swinging thing. Jack Swagger was wearing my favourite outfit of his….the one where the cut-out design looks as if he’s half-naked on TV. Unfortunately, in person that orange fabric doesn’t match his skintone so well. Sad times. But good times for Swagger, who won the match rather convincingly.

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Next, Sheamus was up against MVP.  Kind of a lacklustre match if I’m honest. But I was glad to see Sheamus. I’ve got a funny feeling about him. Noooooo. Not that kind of funny feeling. I just mean that I have a feeling they’ve got big plans for him, so I may have witnessed a star of the future. I think on TV they may dust him with icing sugar or something. It may have been the lighting, but in the flesh he looked considerably less pasty.

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After that, Chavo Guerrero made his way to the ring, taunted the crowd and called for his opponent, which happened to be lovely Evan Bourne.  Soooo cuuute! I could just pinch his cheeks and give him a lollipop.

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Great stuff. One of the longer matches of the night and extremely entertaining. Every time Evan got up on the ropes the crowd held their breath waiting for the shooting star press, which he eventually delivered to take Chavo out. He also ran up the ramp draped in the Welsh flag. Swoon central.

Next we had an intermission, which seemed odd being that we were only an hour into the show. That was the first major indication that this would be a shorter show than the previous night. After a visit from the Honey Monster, who was accompanied to the ring by Kelly-Kelly, we were back to work with a Divas match. Jillian and Alicia Fox vs Melina and Gail Kim. It was odd seeing Gail back being her in-ring persona. She had been so sweet and demure when I’d met her early in the day. She was a completely different person her glittery ring attire.

Melina looked beautiful. Not that I expected her to be rough as a dog or anything, but in person she looked gorgeous. Her hair in particular is stunning. I bet she and JoMo have quite a few fights over the hair dryer round their place. And I’m certain they must fight over who has the prettiest locks too. Alicia Fox is a sexy girl. Like whoa! And Jillian is WAY better looking in person. But as it was suggested to me on Wednesday, when they’re right in front of you they’re not characters. They become real people. So it’s much harder to poke fun at them.

It was actually a great match. I enjoyed it immensely. Melina and Gail won and I managed to get a great shot of Melina at the end. Unfortunately, the flashing lights confused the camera and it came out like this.

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By the time I’d messed about with the camera settings she was already on the other side of the ring. URGH! Oh well. Still great to be that close.

From there it was time for The Miz vs Kofi Kingston. The Miz actually is awesome. No, really. He is. He had the audience wrapped around his little finger, taking every piece of bail they threw out there in his opening gambit. It’s hard to appreciate how good he is on TV, but like him or loathe him he definitely gets a reaction. Of course, the crowd went crazy for Kofi. Another super match, which The Miz won, because the United States Championship was on the line. And I know several people have reliably informed me that titles have dropped at house shows, but not this time.

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I started running the Raw roster through my head and figured the only people left to come out were Legacy, DX and Cena. I deducted that we’d probably get Rhodes and DiBiase vs DX, followed by Cena and Orton. But then Justin announced that this would be the main event of the evening and I realised that all six of them would be coming out together. OH. MY. GODDDDDD! Remember at the beginning when I was being all blasé about being in the same room as the wrestlers? Errrrm, yeah, that went flying out the window the second I heard the words “main event”. It was akin to the kind of hysteria I remember feeling when I went to see Take That in 1993. And Fall Out Boy this Spring. I grabbed my good camera (screw you, security) and ran to the front.

I heard the words “ARE YOU READY?” playing through the speakers and I lost the bloody plot. TRIPLE H! Holy shit! DX bounced their way to the ring, flinging glo-stix as they went. It was very surreal. Remember in Part One when I mentioned that I went to a WWF/WWE house show in Birmingham several years ago? Triple H was on that bill. If you’d told me then I’d be stood right in front of him all these years later and loving it even more, I never would have believed you. Yet, there I was. Magical.

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A girl appeared next to me who was approximately my age and screamed just as loud as I did. She nudged me with her elbows as she ran to the front “Sorry!” she said. “But this is my man coming out. I’ve got to be close to him!” “Who, John Cena?” I responded. “Yeeeeah. Right, that’s enough DX, get John out!” she replied. I laughed and later kicked myself for not writing wrestlegasm.com down on a piece of paper for her. Clearly we share some common ground. At the time I didn’t think of it though. I MUST get some business cards printed!

Anyway, once DX had done their thing and the crowd had agreed to SUCK IIIIIIIIT! John Cena’s music started and if I thought I’d lost my mind for Trips and Shawn, it was nothing compared to the amount I (and my new friend) screamed for John. I actually felt something snap in my throat. It may have been a sprained vocal chord. It was two to three days before I stopped answering the phone at work like I’d just smoked 20 consecutive fags. Again it was surreal to see John right there in front of me. Like a real person. I wanted to poke and him to see if he was a real person and not a crash test dummy.

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May not be the real John Cena.

I composed myself for a moment while John, Shawn and Hunter prepared for the match.

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But then my thumbs started pulsating again when I heard “I hear voices in my head…….” Randy. This is too much to take at once. Couldn’t they have spread this insanity out over two matches? Being Randy he took his sweet time getting to the ring and from where I was stood I couldn’t actually see him until he reached the ropes. Sweet mother of God. Randy Orton comes in for a lot of stick for all kinds of reasons, but he looks incredible. I actually bit my lip when he walked past. And I almost imploded when this happened.

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Thanks, babe. I appreciate it. More than you know.

After all that excitement security sent everyone back to their seats and I continued to snap away with the good camera. But then some new steward came up to me and said “Listen, love, you’ve got your pictures now put the camera away!” WHAT! ?!?! You don’t get to choose how many pictures I can take. Ok, he kind of can. But not for long.

The match so full of action I didn’t know where to look. Apparently, Ted DiBiase had his trunks pulled down. I think I may have been the only person in the arena who missed it. Probably because I was giving the yellow shirted steward evils. Fear not. Some eagle eyed (and very naughty) person in the crowd managed to catch it on film. Game on!

Legacy had a good go….

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….but being that this was the DX Invasion tour, it was highly unlikely that the crowd’s sweethearts were going to lose. And they did it all with a little help from Hornswoggle. Gimmick infringement and all. Legacy skulked off but as this was the last match, John and DX hung around to press palms with fans. At one point, Hunter was just six feet away from me. I reached my hand out to give him a high-5 but my arms weren’t long enough. Having looked me straight in the eye a bit earlier…..

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….. I think he was just feeling a bit shy about that special dream we shared. It’s understandable. It was pretty intense.

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And then it was all over. Not just over the until the next night. Over. Full stop. I was still awake at 2:00am. And there begins the comedown, which I’ll go into in greater depth in part four.

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…….

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….. 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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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…….

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.