We recently had a chat with Richard Penaluna, Editor of Calling Spots magazine and the man behind Wrestle Crate UK. Find him on Twitter at @Penaluna
When did you start watching wrestling?
October 5th 1997. Badd Blood – In Your House. Shawn Michaels faced Undertaker in the first ever Hell in a Cell and I was captivated.
Shawn Michaels. Initially because he piqued my interest with this Meltzer-rated five-star classic on my first night as a fan, but over the next six months I saw the flashy, cocky, showman and just fell in love. I think his four-year retirement made me love him more. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that. It made me go back and watch old matches. As my taste in pro wrestling has matured, I’ve found more and more things about Shawn’s body of work that nobody else has ever been able to touch. He remains my favourite in ring performer to this day.
What is your favourite match ever?
That first ever Hell in a Cell remains my favourite, with their effort at WrestleMania 25 a close second. I should have stopped watching wrestling that night; it would have been poetic. Honourable mentions go to John Cena vs CM Punk at Money in the Bank 2011, Brock Lesnar vs John Cena at SummerSlam 2014 and John Cena vs Seth Rollins vs Brock Lesnar from this year’s Royal Rumble. Three Cena matches. Not bad for a fella who “can’t wrestle”, eh?
What is the best wrestling show you’ve attended?
Oh now that’s tough. I’ve been to a lot. Let’s say WrestleMania 30. The atmosphere, the experience, the streak…best night of my life. I would also put PCW’s first Supershow of Honor and PROGRESS Wrestling’s Super Strong Style 16 tournament up there as the best weekends of in-ring professional wrestling I’ve ever seen. But then again, closer to home, the first WWF house show I attended in 1998 was amazing, seeing my heroes in the flesh with my dad, or even NXT’s first ever UK show this past week.
What is your current favourite promotion to watch?
PROGRESS Wrestling. They just get it. Stellar in ring product, captivating stories, cool-as-ice branding and they look after their fans. PROGRESS are on the cutting edge of what pro wrestling is in 2015, in my opinion.
Who is your current favourite wrestler?
Sasha Banks. So the oft-cited cliche is that wrestlers need three things; the look, the ability to talk and can go between the ropes. Sasha is in the top five in the world for each of those categories, giving her the total package (sorry, Lex).
Do you watch British wrestling, if yes what promotions?
Absolutely. I’m blessed to be based in the UK; professional wrestling is thriving here! PROGRESS and PCW I’ve mentioned; they’re standouts. ICW have just sold out a 4000 seat venue, that’s amazing. Tetsujin Shoot Style are trying something new and fresh. There are loads I either actively watch or have a (professional) invested interest in.
Who is your favourite British wrestler?
Jimmy Havoc. He is the most interesting character in the last decade of pro wrestling anywhere in the world.
What do you think of the current state of British wrestling?
Exciting. The ones who ‘get it’ are both on fire but also on the brink of something even more special than any of us know, I think. Don’t get me wrong, as with anywhere in the world, there are some dross promotions out there too. But, then again, that’s not always a bad thing as the more places our boys and girls can go for work the better.
If you were a wrestler what would you call yourself and what would be your gimmick?
Sorry for the rubbish answer but I took my 5ft 6 frame to wrestling school about eight years ago and learned, very quickly, that I could never get in the ring. I have so much respect for what these athletes do. A few bumps and “worked” punches were certainly an insight for me.
What made you want to start making a wrestling magazine?
1 – I wrote for other peoples websites and wanted to make something more creative.
2 – I like physical things.
3 – Everyone with a laptop, across every genre, seems to think they’re a writer. There are so many blogs that you need to do something different to stand out. I’ve pulled together the best team in the world who’ve enabled me to do that.
I don’t conduct the interviews myself. We’ve been lucky enough to be invited for sit-down interviews with Ric Flair, Bret Hart and other legends who you could call the “best”, but the best interview I’ve ever been able to feature was our sit-down chat with Jimmy Havoc. Hands down.
Who would be your dream person to interview past or present?
That’s difficult to answer as I have literally no interest in interviewing somebody because of who they are, unless what they have to say is interesting, fresh and not available anywhere else. Name wise, I guess I can’t look past Brock or The Undertaker; as both would literally never, ever sit down with us for an interview, so if that happened it would be amazing. Story wise, I’d love for James Musselwhite (award-winning photographer and our main interviewer) to have a photo shoot and conversation with Paul Heyman, Rey Mysterio, Jushin Liger, Jim Ross, Rollerball Rocco, Shinsuke Nakamura…the list is endless I guess, haha.
They’re a small, family-owned business in the States. I have a great relationship with Ed – their owner – as almost every Crate has featured a Calling Spots exclusive item. It frustrates me that us UK fans have to pay so much in shipping for US wrestling products so Ed and I got talking about ways to lower these costs for wrestling fans in Europe. Next thing I know I’m the trademark owner of Wrestle Crate in the UK and running the whole European operation.
Wrestling means art and happiness. That’s either really deep or really vague.
Calling Spots Magazine is a modern wrestling magazine for the new breed of wrestling fans. Full of interviews, reviews and exclusive artwork. You can order your copy or subscribe to Calling Spots Magazine at http://www.CallingSpots.com
Wrestle Crate is a mystery box of wrestling swag each month from t-shirts, DVDs, figures and exclusive content included. Get on board of the awesome Wrestle Crate at http://www.WrestleCrate.co.uk
SOMEONE STOP THE DAMN MATCH!!
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