Wednesday, 20 March 2019

RE-POST: Washed Up? Come to the UK! (2001)

I would like to start this column by sharing with you an excerpt from a show review by Chad Mayne, who wrote about a show in Bristol on November 27th. The full report can be seen by logging onto, and going to the newsboard.

"The big draw was the main event appearance of former WWF legend Jake 'The Snake' Roberts who put in one of the poorest and most embarrassing performances that I have ever seen in a wrestling ring. He was falling asleep on the tag rope and when he did get in the ring he was flat on his back selling."

It was while reading this that I began to see that there is perhaps a new trend in British wrestling. The ageing, has-been, washed-up former WWF or WCW superstar who, not being able to find work in the good old USA, decides to ply his trade here in good old Blighty. But the moment they get here, they decide to try and throw their weight around, making demand after demand. Then, when they get into the ring, they put in a piss poor performance.

A few months ago, three former WWF stars made the news for all the wrong reasons. The Honkytonk Man and The Bushwackers had been brought over by Scott Conway and The Wrestling Alliance. TWA is a promotion that has been operating in the UK since 1986, and continued to operate right through the lean period when British wrestling was removed from the television schedules in 1988.

Despite being way past their best, Honky and the Bushwackers were able to draw reasonably sized crowds, mainly because of their name value. However, inside the ring was another thing entirely. Their work-rate was described as being far below par. Some who worked with Honky said they found it difficult to get him to do anything.

Despite poor in-ring performances, they made what many would consider over the top demands outside the ring. They demanded that TWA paid their taxes, they demanded TWA paid their transport costs, they demanded this, they demanded that. All of this on top of the fact that Scott Conway had arranged other dates for them with other promotions, and had driven them to the shows himself, without asking them to contribute towards the travel costs.

Eventually, enough was enough for Scott Conway. He cancelled their contracts, and sent them packing.

When it was announced that Jake Roberts would be at the WAW charity show in Lowestoft on December 15th, teaming with Steve Quintain against the new AIWF hardcore tag-team champions, The U.K. Pitbulls, I jumped at the chance to go. I booked the time of work, and used my ever expanding group of contacts within WAW to get backstage, with the possibility that I could meet the great man himself.

But then I read Chad Mayne's report. In the tag-match, Jake teamed with Chic Cullen against WAW stalwarts Ricky Knight and Zebra Kid. Roberts got the pin with his usual DDT on Zebra, but the result here is not the point.

This isn't the first time I've heard of poor ring performances from Jake, and when I attend the show a week on Saturday, I have the feeling I'll witness another one. I am left to wonder, if Jake can't handle himself against the 200 pound Zebra Kid, how can he handle himself against the Pitbulls, who have a combined weight of nearly 850 pounds?

Already, local wrestling fans are starting to send me jokes in bad taste, the most notable one being did Ricky Knight offer Jake Roberts some crack to get him for the show?

As far as American wrestlers coming to good old Blighty, in recent months, we've had some top stars come over here. The likes of Earthquake, Steve Corino, The Sandman, Nova, PN News, Tiger Steele and Horace Hogan have all worked shows with good reviews. But for every American star that comes over, there will always one, washed-up has-been still trying to earn a living off his decades old reputation, and failing to deliver the goods, leaving wrestling fans feeling frustrated.

Will this ever stop? Not as long as there's a wrestling promoter who is willing to pay for these over-inflated under-performing egos.

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