Wednesday, 13 August 2003

12th August 2003

British wrestling referee Steve Lynskey.
"Global Wrestling Force: What Could Have Been."

There seems to be a recurring theme in my columns here at 1 Stop Wrestling - what if? Last time I put forward my idea of what should have happened at last year's October Outrage IV show in Norwich. This time, I'm going to talk about what could have been, if it hadn't been for wrestling politics.


By now everyone will know the name of Jon Farrer. Jon, like me, originally made his name writing about wrestling on the Internet, before moving on to writing for a few magazines, eventually landing a job with Total Wrestling magazine.

Last year Jon formed his own wrestling company, the Global Wrestling Force, and held his first show in Preston, called "Battle of the Champions", which featured a tournament in which Jonny Storm was crowned the first GWF World Champion. The event was a resounding success. All of those who attended the event went away happy, and it wasn't long before Jon announced a follow-up show, "Aftermath", to be held in Blackburn last February.

What happened at that show is now the stuff of legend. After a successful fan festival at the King's Hall, a veritable who's who of British wrestling gathered for the show - Doug Williams, Jonny Storm, James Mason, Jody Fleisch, Zebra Kid, Robbie Brookside, James Mason, as well as some well-known American stars, the legendary Jake "The Snake" Roberts, and CZW's Trent Acid and Johnny Kashmere.

The show turned out to be the biggest disaster in British wrestling history. Having booked a ring from a gentleman called Steve Lynskey, who worked as a referee for several promotions in Britain, Lynskey did the dirty on Farrer and failed to show. The reason he gave was that his van had broken down on the journey to Blackburn from Brighton, and that the breakdown service insisted on taking him back to Brighton, although it would later emerge that Lynskey hadn't left his home in the first place.

The story broke a few days later that the reason Lynskey no-showed was because he had had a massive argument with Jake Roberts, and did this just to get back at Roberts. What that argument was about doesn't matter. The fact is that Lynskey's actions affected everyone who showed up at Blackburn for that show.

Try as he might, Jon tried to get another ring for the show, but ultimately, he failed. So as the night went on, Jon's world began to fall apart as what could have been the biggest show in British wrestling history was cancelled at 9.30 in the evening.

The fans who attended the show, and those who were following proceedings on the Internet, began to have a field day, gathering together on the UK Fan Forum, joined by wrestlers and promoters as they discussed what had happened in Blackburn that night. Steve Lynskey became public enemy number one when it emerged what had happened, why he hadn't turned up in Blackburn. It got to a point where TWA promoter Scott Conway posted Lynskey's mobile number on the forum. This earned Conway an immediate ban from the moderators, and Lynskey hundreds of phone calls as fans showed their anger.

One could only feel sympathy for Jon Farrer. This young guy who had grown up as wrestling fan, and who had only wanted to put on a show to entertain the fans had been caught up in an argument that was nothing to do with him. He had hired Roberts and Lynskey to do separate jobs for him. If Lynskey had been professional, he would have left his personal differences behind and he would have done the job he had been paid for.

As the days went on, Jon promised that those in attendance would get full refunds, as well as tickets for his next planned show. But Jon, having had to pay for the hire of the hall, the wrestler's wages and travelling expenses, as well as the advertising costs, was now thousands of pounds out of pocket. At first, the fans were kind to him.

Jon's other big mistake was appearing at an FWA show the following week, alongside Powerslam's Greg Lambert, playing a heel manager against Alex Shane. This was perhaps the wrong thing to do. Fans who attended both shows were not happy that Jon was apparently making light of the situation he was now in, that he was trying to profit off the failures of others.

While he tried to sort out his problems, Jon virtually disappeared from the pages of Total Wrestling. He stopped posting on the UK Fan Forum, but every so often you would get posts from the fans saying that they hadn't had their refunds, calling Jon Farrer every name under the sun. It was surprising that they hadn't blamed him for the war in Iraq or the WWE's poor ratings. It was getting to a point where they would blame Jon for anything that went wrong in the world.

During this time I had spoken to Jon via e-mail and AOL Instant Messenger. I was genuinely concerned by what had happened to him. I never ill luck on anyone before, and Jon was taking a hell of a verbal pounding on the UK Fan Forum.

We began to discuss just what had happened in Blackburn, and Jon told me a few things that he had found out since my previous article about the Aftermath show. (Editor's note - this article can be viewed by logging on to the Wrestling section of my website, www.twoshedsreview.vze.com). What Jon said interested me.

It turned out that Steve Lynskey wasn't the brains behind the original master plan. It would seem that someone quite well known in the wrestling business actually put him up to this, with the thinking that this plan would put an end to Jon Farrer's promoting career. What Farrer had done in Preston in the previous year, and what he planned to do at future shows, could have threatened certain companies, and one man in particular put together the plan that would ultimately turn Jon Farrer into the laughing stock of British wrestling.

Jon also told me about the original plan for Aftermath, and the follow-up plan for the show that was due to take place in Blackburn this past May. At Aftermath, Jonny Storm would have retained his title against one of the CZW guys, and in a later angle, Jody Fleisch would have turned heel on Storm, setting up a feud that would have continued over into other shows.

Then, at the May show, while Jody went up against Robbie Brookside, Jonny Storm would have defended his title against someone who would have definitely drawn a crowd. Just one year previously this guy had been released for the WWE, and unlike other former WWE stars who come over to Britain and try to live off their name while their skills have diminished a great deal, this guy could have gone toe-to-toe with Storm and put on what could have been a match of the year candidate. The man in question was Sean "X-Pac" Waltman.

Pitting Storm against Waltman would have guaranteed big box office sales. For many Internet fans it would have been one of their all-time dream matches. But it was never meant to be.

Today, six months after "Aftermath", Jon Farrer's name is a dirty word on the UK Fan Forum. Many forum members still continue to complain about the lack of refunds, even though they've never actually sent their tickets to Jon to prove they actually went to the show. Some of them have even put forward the idea of taking Jon to the small claims court. Some have even said of forming a joint claim against him.

As far as his writing career, Jon has made only sporadic appearances in Total Wrestling, which is a shame. Jon is one of the best writers in the business right now, and it's a shame that events out of his control have curtailed his writing career somewhat.

Some would say that Jon Farrer is a crook. I would say that Jon Farrer is a vicitim. At first I would have said that he was a victim of circumstances, given the facts that were released about why the ring never showed up in Blackburn.

But Jon Farrer is nothing more than a victim of the politics that run rampant in certain areas of British wrestling. Some people saw Jon as a threat to their existence, and took steps to make sure that the Global Wrestling Force was destroyed by these forces. They not only destroyed his company, but took away from us what could have been a great show in May.

These people know who they are. They say they want what's best for British wrestling. By adopting these sorts of practices, they're doing nothing more than destroying the thing they claim to love.