Professional wrestling is extremely popular thanks to the WWE on Sky Sports and TNA on Challenge, and the British equivalent is also on the rise again. But what’s it like to actually step into the ring? GREG LAMBERT, content editor of The Visitor, is about to find out...
At school I was bullied, battered in playground fights and viewed as a coward and a weakling.
So I’m just about the last person you would expect to step into the ring to fight a professional wrestler.
But that’s exactly what will happen on June 1.
Brave or stupid? You decide.
I was bitten by the wrestling bug in my teenage years. The larger-than-life showmanship, battles between good and evil, and the glitz and glamour were intoxicating, and my idols were spandex-clad heroes like Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker.
Such was my obsession, in my early 30s my dream was to actually become involved in wrestling.
Incredibly, the dream came true.
For 10 years, I ran my own wrestling events in Morecambe.
Although my promoting days are over, these days I’m still involved, as Preston City Wrestling’s ringside commentator for matches featuring big-time American superstars like Rikishi, Goldust, AJ Styles and MVP.
I also appear for Morecambe-based P.A.I.D Promotions Wrestling, accompanying a bruising bad guy called ‘The Psychotic Warrior’ Johnny Phere as his manager, a devious character known as ‘The Truth’.
The role of a manager is to rile up the crowd and insult the good guy wrestlers, whilst rarely getting physically involved in the action.
But then in February, during a bout, my big mouth got me into trouble.
My taunts pushed the P.A.I.D Promotions Champion, Joey Hayes, too far and I was dragged into the ring, where Hayes beat me up, much to the delight of the audience.
The dream had turned into a nightmare.
What happened next could have been due to dented pride, years of pent-up resentment for not standing up to the childhood bullies, or most likely temporary insanity.
At the next show, I blurted out a challenge to Hayes. Amused, he accepted.
So on Sunday June 1 at The Globe Arena in Morecambe, I will take on my arch-rival, one of the best around, in a wrestling match.
Now look, these days, most people know that wrestling is entertainment. It’s theatre in spandex, soap opera in lycra.
But the body slams, the piledrivers, the clang of metal chairs on bare skin, they hurt. For real.
Over the past decade, I’ve seen numerous injuries, up close and personal.
Concussions, broken ribs, separated shoulders, severe cuts, and that frightening incident in Preston where Scottish wrestler Lionheart broke his neck.
I’d like to think I’m in reasonably good nick for a 42-year-old married father of two. I’ve been working out and eating healthily, and have even grown a beard in an attempt to look hard.
But compared to the athleticism, courage and toughness displayed by the wrestlers, I’m still a wimp.
The thought of any kind of pain scares me.
So how, you may wonder, can I survive against, let alone beat, one of the top wrestlers in the country?
Greg ‘The Truth’ Lambert versus Joey Hayes headlines a night of professional wrestling at The Globe Arena, Morecambe, on Sunday, June 1. Other bouts include ‘Psychotic Warrior’ Johnny Phere v The Creeper and Bubblegum v ‘Delicious’ Danny Hope. Great fun for all the family. Doors 4pm.
Tickets from HERE or Studio Bronze on Queen Street, Morecambe.