Lockup 2013 Awards and Look Forward to 2014!
It is the time of year when like everybody else we look both forwards and backwards at the world of British Wrestling.
Lockup can state with integrity that not one of the many shows attended over the course of the year was a poor show and we are delighted to be able to say that, we have witnessed a number of simply outstanding shows and a lot of very good ones, with particular highlights for Lockup including the opportunity to meet and interview the legend of Sabu and also to witness some simply outstanding talent first hand namely Tommy End, Uhaa Nation, Kevin Steen, Michael Elgin and Awesome Kong.
We have also seen on a number of occasions the leading British Talent with all of the obvious names, we have picked out five names which Lockup has been particulary impressed with during the calendar year along with a few words on each one:-
Not surprisingly given that Southside is one of the main promotions we follow Robbie has been a big part of our wrestling year, he is as everyone knows a superb talent who is now branching out from Southside and getting bookings elsewhere which is something he does need to do to progress, Robbie’s talent in the ring is truly second to none across the UK, he is also somebody incredibly deserving of all good due to happen to him in the wrestling world, his mentor Keith Myatt has instilled so many good values into Robbie and I don’t just mean the in ring values either.
To continue along the path that Robbie is successfully treading we feel that he needs to be given an ever increased number of ‘big’ matches against proven top class talent, his match with Jay Lethal was one of the best all year that I have witnessed, to broaden his experience Robbie if at all possible needs to appear on a larger number of promotions to help in getting his name out there as well as experiencing different type’s of shows and different mentality’s of bookings, I would also like to see him doing an increased level of character work, his early development in HOP:E when he turned heel and renamed himself as Robert X is a promising beginning there – all in all an outrageous talent who has been skilfully handled chiefly by Southside to date and who possesses the potential to become something pretty special.
This guy to me has been one of the absolute stars of the circuit in 2013, so many people praise El Ligero and rightly so for the guy does so many matches and when can you ever say that you saw a bad one but Kirby is the same.
I have seen Kirby wrestle on a number of different promotions, in a number of different roles ranging from face to heel from singles guy to tag team wrestler and whichever role he is playing he is absolutely spot on with it every single time.
My favourite incarnation of him is the Ego Dragon persona displayed in Southside where he is so convincing as this evil heel who is anti Ligero and who will and can destroy all and sundry at will, how he without hesitation will do anything to reach his target, his interaction’s with the crowd whilst Ego Dragon are so perfect as well, seeing children reeling away in fear, of adults wanting to stand up and fight him, he leaves you with a feeling of distaste in your mouth at the end of yet another disgusting act in the ring.
Yet on another occasion, on another day he will have you splitting your sides with laughter, his humour comes across superbly well, when he wishes to play the comedic face whether in tandem with Travis or not he is pure comedy gold.
In the ring whatever guise he is wrestling in he is simply breathtakingly good, sometimes I think it is part psychological as a fan, when he was Ego Dragon before officially unveiling himself a year or so ago now he was moving around the ring every bit as smoothly as El Ligero and lost nothing by comparison, once unveiled and you realised it was Kirby, you know plain old Martin Kirby from up north yet he was still doing this sizzling moves, somehow you just accepted his moveset and said yep that is Kirby but we really do need to sit back and appreciate just what a talent this guy is – he would be absolutely fine in the world of WWE, perhaps a little on the small side but as we are seeing with others that should not matter, his in ring prowess and his awesome character work deserve a greater stage than he is currently receiving.
Some people may be surprised by this choice, Eddie is a name I had only heard of but not actually seen in action until the second half of this year but what an impact he has had upon me.
In the ring Eddie is absolutely fine, he is a tall powerful guy who I saw go toe to toe and defeat the mighty Stixx, then I saw him against the even mightier Uhaa Nation and trust me Eddie is no slouch in the ring.
However his main asset in my book is his quite simply outstanding character work, the man is a natural comedian and his interaction with the crowd when I have seen him whether that is at Kamikaze Pro or Pro Wrestling Kingdom has always been the best of the night no matter who is on the card.
Some people believe that to be a worthy wrestler on the indy scene you need to be able to do a triple monkey flip whilst simultaneously doing a double somersault and whilst I enjoy the flippy stuff as much as the next person we do require variety on our shows to prevent it all becoming too much of the same stuff and we also have to remember that it is showbiz, this is entertainment and one aspect of the game which Eddie provides is entertainment, the crowd instantly become animated when Eddie comes out to incidentally the best entrance music on the circuit today.
Eddie is a unique mix of a big powerful guy who can be a heel is all he does but who also possesses the ability to get the crowd onside simply through just how naturally he interacts with them, he is also one of the more agile big men on the circuit and is a guy who I am yet to see have a ‘standard match in front of a silent crowd’ which is another tribute to him, so many of us who attend the shows see a lot of the same names and the same matches so can become immune, with Eddie impossible, he is way to creative for that!
Kay Lee Ray
For fans of female wrestling and I am one, Kay Lee is an individual who is a great ray of sunshine if you will excuse the pun – she is so good and this is intended as a tribute that she makes you forget in a way that she is a female wrestler and puts on often some of the very best matches on the card playing her part against often physically larger and stronger men to perfection.
I have seen Kay Lee initially last year at PCW, then this year more than once at Southside and also at Pro Wrestling Kingdom and I would say that on every occasion that I have seen her she has become dangerously close to stealing the show on any of those cards.
Her ability to entertain and absorb crowds is top niche, she demonstrates a certain psychology in matches which draws you in to her work and really does get you buzzing for wanting her to win, the atmosphere at the recent Kay Lee vs Awesome Kong match at Southside was one of the very best I have heard all year anywhere and it was for an all female match up, you felt when watching that match that Kay Lee was surprising Kong with the quality of her moves, her never say die attitude and spirit and also her deceptive strength, there looks like there is nothing on her until she suddenly lifts a 200lb man up in the air and then you realise that this girl has it all, charisma, skill, character, power, courage and yes the looks, in a world which seemingly outside of the WWE is crying out for females to prove that they can put on decent wrestling matches Kay Lee is surely a shining light for all out there and I am looking forward to seeing a lot more of her commencing with LCW Roses in the new year.
People who know me well will not be surprised to see this name here, I am convinced that providing Tyler can steer clear of distractions and serious injury that out of everybody I have seen on the circuit this year he is the one who one day could not only be in the WWE but could be main eventing it.
A huge call I know particulary for somebody so young, I believe that he is still remarkably only 16 but so much of him reminds me of a young Brock Lesnar, his power for a lad of his age is incredible, he has a build of a well built 25 year old and given how young he still is and how hard he clearly works out I would anticipate in time Tyler developing a physique that the WWE naturally look for.
But Tyler is not just about power in fact I would say that it is simply one factor which makes him so special, he is quick, the speed at which he moves around the ring is astounding, Tyler is not particulary tall so he has possesses a fairly low centre of gravity meaning that he is always well balanced and combined with his own power makes him difficult to knock over but also means that he possesses a real ability to thrust at someone in a way that very few have, I guess that Big E Langston is the best known name I can think of to explain the rare combination of both power and speed.
However Tyler is also an extremely capable technical wrestler, the first time I saw him he was executing rarely seen power moves on WildBoar Mike Hitchman and he was executing them perfectly, Jay Lethal was in attendance and simply stood open mouthed watching this kid hitting moves that are rarely done on a higher stage due to the risk factor’s involved but so good is Tyler’s execution that clearly his opponent trusted him sufficiently to agree to the moves being hit.
The next occasion that I saw Tyler in action he was mat wrestling and doing it to such a standard that it conveyed the impression that he had been doing it for years he was so good at it, again this can not be possible given his young age so absolutely oozles of natural ability.
I have seen Tyler as both a singles and a tag wrestler, I have seen him as both face and heel, he has the combination of power,speed,technically superb execution and a widely varied moveset ranging from a power game to the type of speedy flippy moves often seen on the circuit to a near perfect mat wrestling style rarely seen these days and yes guys he is only 16 yet manhandling 240lb men as if they were nothing.
As with Robbie X I would like to see Tyler Bate for his next step now to branch out into more promotions for the increased exposure and experience which that will gain him and I’d also like to see more character work from him and in time some bigger matches but this guy is so young he is 3 years younger than Robbie X so plenty of time but the potential is limitless.
As for promotions followed by Lockup we would like to make the following Lockup awards:-
Best Overall Promotion of the Year: Southside Wrestling Entertainment (SWE)
Southside has continued to grow in 2013 putting on a sequence of superb show’s including their first ever supershow, judging by the card’s being announced for 2014 shows the progress will only continue in the right direction.
Most Improved Promotion Of The Year: Leicester Championship Wrestling (LCW)
LCW has during 2013 produced a string of shows which are constantly improving and evolving and they are now establishing their own culture of having just five matches on the show but making each of those five matches count as in giving them time.
They are also beginning to carve out a little niche in terms of originality and innovation as exemplified by the recent World’s first multi man multi title ladder match.
Best New Promotion Of The Year: Kamikaze Pro
Kamikaze have put on a series of shows that come across as those of a much more established promotion as opposed to one only formed during 2013.
Already a lot of the leading UK stars have performed on the Kamikaze stage as well as leading international names such as Sabu and Uhaa Nation, Kamikaze shows are forming a reputation as being well ran, immensely entertaining containing some high quality wrestling but also a number of light hearted moments, all in all a hugely encouraging start for this West Midlands Promotion.
Looking ahead to 2014….
An exciting time lies ahead in British Wrestling, the promotions in Scotland most particulary ICW appear likely to continue to grow, in England PCW lead the way in terms of crowds but Progress sell out their shows in remarkable fashion.
The established ‘leading’ promotions such as RevPro, Southside,NGW,4FW,IPW and others such as Infinite and Futureshock I believe will all continue to improve.
The West Midlands scene is strong with Kamikaze along with AWW, Pro Wrestling Kingdom,Wrestle Midlands returning, the occasional Attack Pro show all happening along with Phoenix Pro Wrestling and Triple X and Fight Club Pro all nearby as well.
A special mention to Extreme American Wrestling in the Northants/South Midlands area, a promotion which does not receive as many mentions as those above but a promotion which puts on about 30 shows a year and is now in it’s eleventh year, typically they perform to sold out in advance venue’s to mainly family based crowds and if you are looking for some fun and a way to introduce your children to wrestling this promotion is full of characters and storylines with some exciting wrestling to boot along with a second to none opportunity for the kids to interact with the wrestlers along with the best production values I’ve seen in the UK.
If you like your names then the likes of Stixx, Sabu, Jimmy Havoc, The Predators, Doug Williams, Mad Man Manson, Jimmy Havoc, Loco Mike Mason. Alpha Female and Kay Lee Ray have all appeared for EAW during 2013, some on a number of occasions and it is also a terrific promotion to follow if you want to see the future of British Wrestling in action with their own trainees often involved on shows along with a regular strong contingent of House Of Pain Trainees so please remember other promotions put on decent show’s outside of the ‘name’ ones and hey where else can you see a softcore match like EAW put on with Mad Man Manson and Dave Andrews from BattleSquad Awesome on their Over 18s show last year?
Other mentions for 2014, LCW already have an exciting looking card set for their first show of the year on January 25, on the same day their sister promotion LCW Roses which is an all female show kicks off with an exciting card.
It will be fun to see what path Kamikaze Pro takes and also keep an eye out for the hugely impressive HOP:E’s return this year.
Lockup shall be at many of these shows reporting for you, bringing you the honest opinions of what happens on the show’s along with some interviews and other news.
For links to the facebook pages of the promotions mentioned in this write up please see below and thank you for reading!