Welsh Wrestling
Founded2004
StyleProfessional wrestling
Sports entertainment
HeadquartersWales, United Kingdom
Founder(s)Alan Ravenhill
WebsiteWelshWrestling.com

Welsh Wrestling is the only national Welsh professional wrestling promotion. Neath-based Alan Ravenhill is the founder and promoter of the group, which was established in 2004 and holds live events all across the country.

Overview

Welsh Wrestling is the only national Welsh professional wrestling promotion, holding live professional wrestling events across the length and breadth of Wales.

Welsh Wrestling at Porthcawl's Grand Pavilion in October 2014
Welsh Wrestling at Porthcawl's Grand Pavilion in October 2014

The shows combine athleticism, drama and fun, with each having the primary goal of giving each paying customer an enjoyable and action-packed night out. The product is family-orientated sports entertainment, catering for adults and especially children, while aiming to provide humour, excitement and overall enjoyment for both.

The actual wrestling is hybrid of American wrestling and traditional British wrestling, with contests most often contested under ‘one-fall’ rules. Each match is overseen by a referee, dressed in traditional bow-tie and shirt, with a smartly-attired MC.

Wrestlers on the card will typically be larger-than-life, both in persona and physique – with the heroes drawing influence from wrestling stars like Hulk Hogan, Big Daddy and Rey Mysterio and the villains bringing with them traits popularised by past performers Kendo Nagasaki, Ravishing Rick Rude, Superstar Billy Graham and others.

Welsh Wrestling at Trecco Bay in August 2015
Welsh Wrestling at Trecco Bay in August 2015

Throughout each year, the roster perform in front of several thousand fans at primarily theatre-based venues. The live events run around two hours in duration, with a short interval, and are typically headlined by either a Battle Royal, Royal Rumble or multi-man tag team match, with an array of singles bouts on the undercard.

At the conclusion of each event, Welsh Wrestling offers a Backstage Pass – allowing spectators to meet the evening's wrestlers, take photographs with them and collect autographs. Traditional wrestling merchandise, including foam hands, is commonplace at the shows, and adds to the colourful, carnival-like atmosphere.

The Welsh Wrestling touring roster has showcased wrestlers with experience from WWE, TNA Wrestling, National Wrestling Alliance, Ohio Valley Wrestling and promotions across Europe. WWE NXT athletes Oliver Grey[1] and Gavin Reid[2] worked extensively for Welsh Wrestling prior to signing their developmental contracts and moving to the United States.

In 2017, Ravenhill set up the Welsh Wrestling Training Academy, based in Morfa, Swansea.

International stars

In the early days of Welsh Wrestling, international talents including Billy Kidman, Chad Collyer and Joe E. Legend were brought in for various big events. However, in recent years the promotion has maintained a policy of promoting quality domestic talent. Among the WWE superstars to have plied their trade in a Welsh Wrestling ring are the former Intercontinental Champion, Wade Barrett, as well as Mark Andrews, Pete Dunne and others. Promoter Alan Ravenhill also helped to introduce former Impact Wrestling star Rob Terry to the wrestling business, after a chance encounter in the Swansea area in the mid-2000s. Through his association with Orig Williams, Ravenhill has been a long-time advocate of North Wales grappler Mason Ryan, who has also wrestled on the Welsh Wrestling circuit.

Celebrity involvement

In 2012, former Liberal Democrat MP and media personality Lembit Opik became embroiled in a feud with Kade Callous, with the dispute covered by The Guardian,[3]The Daily Express,[4] The Daily Mirror,[5] Metro,[6] The Independent,[7] The Telegraph[8] and The Huffington Post.[9]

The key incidents between the two, culminating in a tag team match in Welshpool, drew television coverage on both BBC News[10] and ITN News,[11] as well as entertainment programmes The Wright Stuff and Have I Got News For You. National radio station talkSPORT also covered the story, which appeared on the MSN, AOL[12] and Orange[13] websites and spread as far as Albania,[14] Croatia[15] and Opik's homeland of Estonia.[16]

Premiership footballer and Wales captain Ashley Williams has also appeared in Welsh Wrestling,[17] participating in an in-ring angle with Mean Tommy Dean.

Venues

Grand Slam Wrestling

Welsh Wrestling also hold wrestling events in England under the Grand Slam Wrestling banner, in towns including Abingdon, Bude, Banbury, Brackley, Cheltenham,[49] Crewe,[50] Colne,[51] Congleton,[52] Craven Arms, Didcot, Eastbourne, Henley-on-Thames, Kidlington, Kettering, Newbury, Oswestry, Ormskirk, Oxford, Plymouth, Poole, Reading, Walburton, Witney and Weymouth. These shows typically use a similar structure, ethos and talent pool as the Welsh Wrestling shows.

Roster

The Welsh Wrestling touring roster typically consists of 8–12 heavyweight and super heavyweight wrestlers at any one time, with light heavyweights and guest talent featuring often as further attractions. Women's matches are a rarity in Welsh Wrestling, but have been known to occur as a special attraction.

Welsh Heavyweight Championship

History

The inaugural Welsh Heavyweight Champion was crowned at a special "King of the Castle" tournament in Harlech on 1 May 2010, run in association with Cadw at the Harlech Castle site.[53] The six-man tournament consisted of three singles matches, which saw contenders Dafydd Rhys, The Saint and JD Knight eliminated. The final match was contested under triangle rules, and saw James Mason defeat both Kade Callous and Danny Garnell to win the championship. The present Welsh Heavyweight Champion is Stevie Starr while Kade Callous holds the record for longevity, with a reign of 480 days.[54]

Champions

# Order in reign history
Reign The reign number for the specific set of wrestlers listed
Event The event in which the title was won
Used for vacated reigns so as not to count it as an official reign
N/A The information is not available or is unknown
+ Indicates the current reign is changing daily
# Wrestler Reign Date Days held Location Notes
1 James Mason 1 1 May 2010 175 Harlech, Wales Defeated Danny Garnell and Kade Callous in a tournament final three-way elimination match to become the inaugural champion.
2 Kade Callous 1 23 October 2010 480 Builth Wells, Wales
3 Stevie Starr 1 15 February 2012 142 Llanelli, Wales
4 Tommy Dean 1 6 July 2012 7 Machynlleth, Wales
5 Bison Brody 1 13 July 2012 72 Blaengarw, Wales
6 Iestyn Rees 1 23 September 2012 151 Cardiff, Wales
7 Bison Brody 2 21 February 2013 65 Maesteg, Wales
8 Stevie Starr 2 27 April 2013 397 Swansea, Wales
9 Kade Callous 2 29 May 2014 63 Barry, Wales
10 Stevie Starr 3 31 July 2014 200 Tenby, Wales
11 Kade Callous 3 16 February 2015 102 Llanelli, Wales
Vacated 29 May 2015 N/A
12 John „The Machine" Titan 1 29 May 2015 232 Barry, Wales Won a tournament for vacant title
13 Kade Callous 4 16 January 2016 84 Blackwood, Wales
14 John „The Machine" Titan 2 9 April 2016 55 Merthyr Tydfil, Wales
15 Stevie Starr 4 3 June 2016 266 Barry, Wales This was a three-way match, also involving Kade Callous.
16 Kade Callous 5 24 February 2017 98 Swansea, Wales
17 John „The Machine" Titan 3 2 June 2017 92 Aberdare, Wales
18 Sterling Gold, Esq. 1 2 September 2017 119 Cardiff, Wales
19 Kid Cymru 1 30 December 2017 111 Lampeter, Wales
20 The Klown 1 20 April 2018 1,470+ Trecco Bay, Wales This was a three-way match, also involving Sterling Gold, Esq.

Affiliation

Welsh Wrestling is Wales' representative in the UEWA (Union of European Wrestling Alliances),[55] which recognises the Welsh Heavyweight Championship as the country's premier title. As part of their membership, the promotion has hosted one of the few European Heavyweight Championship title matches on UK soil[56] and sent light heavyweight standout Wild Boar to represent them at the inaugural European Cruiserweight Championship tournament in Oslo, Norway.[57]

See also

References

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