Monday, 31 December 2001

East Norfolk Backyard Wrestling

It was about three months ago, while doing some research on the Internet for an article on British wrestling great Kendo Nagasaki, that I first came across the name of East Norfolk Backyard Wrestling.

I was extremely surprised that such a group existed in this country, let alone just a short train journey away from home. Intrigued by their web site, and seeing the possibility of getting some material for an issue of my own newsletter dedicated to the British wrestling scene, I got in touch with the group, via instant messaging, with the owner of the group, 18 year old James Weston. In quite a nice conversation, James agreed to contribute something to my wrestling special, and we even discussed the possibility of my newsletter carrying regular reports for the ENBW shows.

Sadly, the deadline I set for them passed, and no article was forthcoming.

A short time later, when Martin Marshall of NRG films and co-promoter of the Norwich-based World Association of Wrestling, approached me about possibly doing some commentary work, someone, I forget who (it might have been The Moz), suggested that I get in touch with ENBW, saying that if I was interested in doing commentary, I should try and "cut my teeth" with them.

I let the idea slip, especially when another writer, David Southwell, said I should just turn the sound down on my TV while watching wrestling and try it that way.

I continued to pay the occasional visit to their web site (www.enbw.co.uk), just to take a quick look. I didn't really explore the site in general.

About a month ago, a couple of their number got in touch with me asking for help in trying to locate a wrestling training school. Knowing that WAW owner Ricky Knight ran a school, I was happy to oblige by giving them his e-mail address.

It was then that I decided that rather than make a passing visit to their site, I would make a more in-depth visit, and try to take in as much as possible, trying to find out exactly what ENBW was all about.

What I found, I must say, wasn't exactly pleasant. Okay, James and his boys are obviously very passionate about what they do, but whenever I hear the word "wrestling", I always get a certain picture in my head. The pictures on this site did not exactly match those of my mind.

The site of one kid putting what looked like a Sharpshooter on another kid in what looked like the middle of a field did seem somewhat laughable. But some of the other pictures on the site did not make for pleasant viewing.

In various locations, none of them being a wrestling ring, or even a crude facsimile of one, these kids performed various moves on each other ranging from a diving splash from a four foot high fence post, to being power bombed through a flaming table, to being thrown of a garage roof. Other shots included kids proudly showing off their blading wounds to camera.

The idea of working with these kids, while it had some appeal at first, now had absolutely no appeal whatsoever. I found the images on this site somewhat disturbing.

Having recently suffered an arm injury which will leave me with a large scar, which, as a result, as led to a friend of mine (a non-wrestling fan) labelling me as "hardcore", I have to wonder why these untrained athletes want to put their bodies through this kind of punishment. While I admit that, during the heyday of British wrestling in the 70's and 80's, my brother Michael and I would engage in fake wrestling contests in our bedroom and in our backyard, we did nothing like this.

My injury, which saw me lose my footing and fall, arm first, through a pane of glass, made me think of these kids. Whereas mine was an accident, these kids would probably do the same sort of thing for the sheer fun of it.

While I have nothing personal against James Weston or ENBW, I must say that this sort of wrestling is definitely not to my liking. Every week on their shows, the WWF superstars always tell us to "please, don't try this at home". Upon seeing the exploits of these boys, I couldn't agree more with that statement.

With the news that WAW will be holding weekly shows in Yarmouth, right in ENBW's backyard, and with my intention of attending at least two of these shows in August, there is a chance that I might bump into some of the ENBW crew.

So, don't take this the wrong way, fellas, but when you see the likes of Big Dave, Zebra Kid, and Hot Stuff do their thing in the ring, please, don't go away and try to copy their moves at home.

Or rather, in that old field.

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