The Great Up North – With Andrew Bowers from North Wrestling

Cold weather, cold beers, tepid pasties, more cold beers and the wrestling. In terms of a great night out, never a truer word has been spoken, but now, WE’RE SHOUTING ABOUT IT!
The North East is loud and it’s politely screaming at you to pay attention. The wrestling is back with a force like never before. Welcome to the North.

It goes without saying, British wrestling is going through an almighty resurgence and it’s not playing games. Make no mistake about it, the people of the North East take wrestling very seriously. Not only is there an abundance of high quality talent residing and performing in the region, but the promotions they work for seem to know how to put on a thoroughly entertaining night of wrestling. The Grapple Arcade has been attending shows in the North East for the best part of 20 years and it must be said… It’s never been better.
To get to grips with the grapple scene up here, @GrappleArcade (GA) chatted with Andrew Bowers (AB), the owner of Newcastle’s freshest wrestling promotion, North Wrestling. We’re on the come down from Norths most recent event, NCL.12 – Nobody Pray For Me and rapidly approaching NCL.13 – Scary Monsters & Super Creeps.

(GA) So Andrew, how was Norths 12th live event?
(AB) It was brilliant. No broken sound desks, no cancellations or last-minute injuries; everything went to plan. Actually, the host of our pre-show quiz was told the wrong date of the show and didn’t turn up, but we managed to turn it around. We also had the largest ever attendance and our biggest pre-show sales. Every match was super enjoyable, every one put 100% into their work. Yeah, super happy with it.

(GA) Tell us about how you got started in the wrestling business and what lead to today, preparing for Norths 13th live event?
(AB) I’ve always been a wrestling fan and I’ve always wanted to work within the business. As a kid I ran E-Feds (big up the Yahoo Clubs crew) and played an awful lot of Extreme Warfare Revenge. There wasn’t any real opportunity for me to get involved in any promotions in Newcastle. I know anyone in the business, so I had no references when I approached other promotions looking for work. So I started planning what then became NORTH Wrestling.
I knew I wanted it in our venue, the Riverside in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and no other. I was chuffed they were interested in working with me. Once I’d managed to get that, it was a case of sending a bunch of emails out to people I liked on the British Wrestling scene and tried to convince them that I wasn’t an idiot. I’m still doing that, come to think of it.
There wasn’t much in the way of hurdles, other than a few gatekeepers trying to warn me off starting. Which to some extent I totally understand now that I have to protect my own investment and brand. In saying that, I think there was a couple of people who were intimidated and were maybe a bit too forceful in showing that.

(GA) Do you regret any of your booking decisions? Have you ever looked back and asked yourself why on earth you booked it?
(AB) I see you haven’t watched the 8 man scramble for the NORTH Championship? Or maybe you have, and that’s why you’re asking that question! Ha!

(GA) Let’s pretend we haven’t. Anyway, fantasy booking time Andrew.
If money was no object, pick one wrestler you would bring in for one night only. They must be able to take independent bookings but can be flown in first class from anywhere in the world.
(AB) There are two that I would love. I think they’d be incredible in NORTH as well – Pierre Carl Ouellet and Joey Janela. I love them both, for totally different reasons. Pierre’s story is incredible and his gimmick is nuts. His promos have been like nothing else. He’s definitely operating in the same wheelhouse as Rory Coyle, and that’d be an incredible concept. As for Joey Janela, I just want him to acknowledge our existence and we can be best friends because like he’s really, really cool. Joking aside, he’s able to tap into the current wrestling zeitgeist like no one else and I love that.

(GA) Have you ever been incredibly close to booking someone, but for some reason, the stars just didn’t align, and they will forever be the one that got away?
(AB) Well at NCL.1 we had Will Ospreay booked, didn’t we? He got injured at a WCPW show that really helpfully ran 2 days before our debut. There was a DDP Yoga seminar running the morning after one of our shows and I got to the point where I found out his requirements, but needless to say he’d have broken the budget somewhat. I guess I’ve always been quite realistic in my attempts to book people, so I’m pretty lucky when I look back at our previous cards and the people we’ve been able to host in Newcastle. In saying that, I spend an inordinate amount of time hanging around the city centre in the hope I’ll bump into PAC. (GA note – No one has told Andrew that PAC is out in Japan, oops).

(GA) The Honesty Box – It’s time to boost Norths public profile and to do so you have decided to purchase and revamp the Lex Express, kind of. You will be travelling the country for one month in the Express (let’s be honest, Mantaurs mini bus) and you obviously need to take a member of the roster with you. Their face and name will be printed all over the bus and you’ll be in each other’s company 24-7. Who do you choose?
(AB) Rory Coyle. He has a fine appreciation of coffee, the Adobe suite, and YouTube tutorials.

(GA) Who on the roster is currently underappreciated?
(AB)I think you could put anyone in this, if I’m honest. HT Drake is probably the most underappreciated wrestler in the UK, as is Screwface Ahmed. England’s Hardest Men don’t get around the country as much as they should – Big Lou Nixon especially, with his legit MMA background. I think Roxxy should be considered one of the best female wrestlers in the country too. Robbie X is a force to be reckoned with, at the minute. He’s never had a bad match at NORTH and some of the stuff he does is akin to PAC. If I had to choose just one person, albeit a bit of a wasted vote as he’s recently left NORTH, I’d say Liam Slater. I have no idea why he was not a nationally known name. Great mind for the business, great on the microphone, fantastic in the ring and a proper storyteller.

(GA) Who would you chuck in the Tyne?
(AB) Benji and Zeo. Set of b***ards.

(GA) You have a couple of back to back events in October. The first of which is on October 27th at the Star & Shadow cinema in Newcastle. It can only be described as a very unique night in which you will be showcasing the Progress documentary. How did this come to fruition?
(AB) I sent the guys who made the documentary an email and they were receptive to the idea, simple as that really. I think they just want to get the film out there, so this event is another case of us trying to show Newcastle off to people from further regions. As for the PROGRESS link, I’ve been lucky to meet Glen a couple of times and he’s from the area, so I think he also wanted to show his successes off to friends and family. Again, I’ve just been really lucky that people have wanted to work with us.

(GA) Have NORTH teamed up with any other wrestling promotions in the past and is it something we can expect more of?
(AB) Nope, we haven’t, but we’ve got good relationships across the country, which is the most important thing. We’d love to work with other promotions for sure. The idea of a cross-promotional show sounds like a logistical nightmare, but it’s definitely a challenge I’d welcome.

(GA) The night after the PROGRESS Documentary showing, NORTH will present NCL-13, Scary Monsters & Super Creeps. Can you let current and prospective fans know what to expect and who will be appearing?
(AB) We’re delighted to bring Jordan Devlin to Newcastle for the first time, he’s been on our wish list for ages now and Session Moth Martina kept pushing for him (laughs). Not only is it his first time in the city, it’s his first time meeting Robbie X. It’s absolutely guaranteed to be an awesome night. We’ve also got the debut of Viper, another long-term wish for us and we think she’ll be an amazing opponent for Roxxy. Spike Trivet is going to be travelling up from London and we’re chuffed to have his m9s Chuck Mambo (his opponent for the night) and TK Cooper in tow. I’d expect to see Nathan Cruz and his buddy Lucas Steel have something to say to Rory Coyle too. Basically, just come, because you never know what’s going to happen at a NORTH show!

All credit of event photos goes to the talented Carl Gac:
Twitter: @CarlGac

For further information about North Wrestling, head over to:
Northwrestling.co.uk
Twitter: @NORTH_NCL
Facebook: North Wrestling NCL

For further information about Grapple Arcade events & competitions, head over to:
Twitter: @GrappleArcade
Facebook: @TheGrappleArcade

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