When I was asked to cover the second show of the UK’s newest wrestling promotion Legacy Wrestling at the Leamington Assembly, my mind could not help but flash back to the traumatic ordeal that my only other experience of live wrestling had been. Having arrived early to secure a front row seat and ensure that I could see even with my little legs, I was breathless both from excitement and filling up the inflatable hammer that my dad had bought me from the merchandise stand by the time the first goliath came out from backstage. A typical ‘bad-guy’, however, the hulking monster of a man ensured that my enthusiasm was short lived, tearing my hammer away from me and bursting it with his teeth to make a mockery of the seating position that I had been so smug about just a few moments before. The rest of the event was viewed through a filter of tears, and the cuddling arms of my mother could do little to halt the convulsions of my sobbing hysteria. It was all too much for a boy of 17 to take.
Gracing the Assembly on the first Saturday of every month, Legacy Wrestling provides two hours of quality, family-friendly entertainment.
I kid, of course. I was 5… Honest. It may have taken me 15 years to once again be emotionally ready to sit three feet away from a wrestling ring, but my experience with Legacy Wrestling quickly showed me that this was once again a case of oversensitivity on my part. Gracing the Assembly on the first Saturday of every month, Legacy Wrestling provides two hours of quality, family-friendly entertainment that will make you realise buying a set of small dumbbells will not turn you into Hulk Hogan if the spiders in the dark, lonely corner of your room have attempted to lift them more times than you have, but will also leave you with a smile on your face.
Although the crowd for the event was admittedly modest, this was only the second show of the promotion’s short existence and, as it was also on the night of a small football game involving Barcelona and Juventus, a few Dads might have said “we’ll go to the next one” to any potential young fans. Despite this, the signs were there to suggest that Legacy Wrestling will only grow in popularity and that current fans, some of whom already had official t-shirts and posters of support for their favourite stars in the street before the doors opened, will be back again. Any successful wrestler must have the charisma to match his athleticism and with it an ability to get the crowd to make some noise. Legacy’s superstars did not disappoint in this regard, as Chuck Mambo in particular panned to the younger fans by pointing out the similarity of Jack Starz’s ice-themed costume to Princess Elsa from Frozen, and a number of the wrestlers coming out during the interval to meet the younger audience members was a nice touch that could potentially breed some lifelong fans.
The gimmick is everything in the character of a wrestler, and one that particularly stood out from Legacy was the enigmatic figure of Arcade, whose video game theme saw him run out with a Space-Invaders printed mask on his face and Sega Genesis controllers around his neck; something which appealed to both the young and the older generations in attendance. He and his partner may have lost at the hands of The Henchmen, but Arcade’s following, already in extremely good health from that night’s showing, is only set to rise as the months and shows go by for Legacy Wrestling due to his unique and innovative persona. The best was saved for last, however, as the most physically impressive specimen I have ever seen in the flesh, Justin ‘Hammer’ Sysum, squared up against Mike ‘WildBoar’ Hitchman. The latter should have been automatically our favourite of obvious reasons (the guy is literally a walking sandwich board for us when in costume) but it was impossible to ignore the sheer majesty of the Hammer as the big man closed the show with a death-defying somersault splash from the top rope. In a night bursting with talent from start to finish, there was little doubt that the biggest squeal from the crowd was from when the Hammer came down on the pig.
The signs were there to suggest that Legacy Wrestling will only grow in popularity and that current fans, some of whom already had official t-shirts and posters of support for their favourite stars in the street before the doors opened, will be back again.
Though professional wrestling in the UK may never reach the popularity that it has in the USA, the number of local promotions offering entertainment of this type has skyrocketed in Britain since 2010, with Legacy among the newest of these. A mixture of theatre and sport that has something for everyone, this might be just what you’ve been looking for to fill the period of after dinner and before pre-drinks on a Saturday night. Give Legacy Wrestling a try, you may find yourself pinned.