I’ve been a wrestling fan for as long as I remember, its been a part of my life from a young age, my grandparents were huge World Of Sport fans, My Parents used to drink in the pub owned by Wayne Bridge and my Dad used to work with Catweasle back in the day. My earliest memory is watching Wrestlemania 8.
Who was your favourite wrestler when you were a kid?
The go to answer just like most people is Hulk Hogan but I always also loved Bret Hart and the British Bulldog, I think I was always encapsulated by guys that wore bright colours. Obviously getting older through the Attitude Era I became a huge fan of Austin (like most) and was hugely drawn to Chris Jericho because of his awesome mic skills and huge array of moves and styles he could work.
What got you into becoming a wrestling referee?
I was originally training to wrestle with BAWA (British Allstar Wrestling Alliance) in Oxfordshire, their Ref was due to go off to university and they hadn’t found a replacement so I agreed to step in on a short term basis, after realising I was a decent standard of ref and the fact I couldn’t commit to a gym (to at least look like a wrestler!) I made the decision to stick with refereeing.
What has been your favourite match you have officiated?
I have a few favourite matches that i have reffed since i started; Colt Cabana vs Stu Odyssey (BAWA, 2009) because Colt was my first import and at the time that was the biggest crowd i worked in front of (around 250), Skarlett vs Sweet Saraya (EWW 2011) because at the time my opinion of womens wrestling had slipped and these 2 ladies went out and put on a great hard hitting match with great psychology that wouldn’t look out of place on any show in the UK and lastly Zack Sabre Jr vs Tommaso Ciampa (Progress, 2015) I love this match purely because of how great a technician Zack is! This match was a beautiful display of technical wrestling which the fans respected and enjoyed.
What was your first match you refereed?
I honestly do not remember what my first match was i reffed because i only originally stepped in on a short term basis until a replacement was found. I remember the company and month, it was for BAWA in August 2008, to be honest this year is the first year ive been keeping a count of how many matches i have reffed per show.
Have you ever considered having a wrestling match?
I had a few matches back in 2008 under a mask because my body type matched one of the roster members at the time who no showed a few shows, to be honest i wouldn’t call them ‘Matches’ i was squashed on all occasions.
If you could have refereed one match in history which would it have been?
One match in history… British Bulldog Vs Bret Hart from SummerSlam 92 at Wembley, it was/is the biggest drawing event over here where the home guy went on to win the second biggest Title in pro wrestling at the time in a great match which the fans ate up! I remember watching this match and being so into it, even now when i watch it with my son i revert back to being a child and get so engrossed and invested in this match even though i know the result.
Who was the biggest influence on your career?
I would say my granddad (on my mothers side) he was a huge wrestling fan, used to shout at the tv and get so emotionally invested in the product. He is probably the reason I followed this path. I would also say my son Jake is the reason im still on this path, his love of wrestling keeps me doing this at weekends (hes still not 100% clued up that its a work) seeing his faces at shows and the proceeding 20 million questions remind me why i loved this business as a child.
What do you think of the current state of british wrestling?
British wrestling has come a long way since i started, back when i started there were far less promotions and only a few were bringing in a big number of fans. The standard of talent was good but in the last few years the talent of the guys has improved to incredible levels! Now we have huge companies like REV:PRO, PROGRESS, PRO WRESTLING CHAOS, EWW, ICW, IPW:UK (and obviously many more) drawing good numbers of fans who keep returning to see great action containing a huge majority if not completely british talent filled shows. That is a great achievement in itself! Plus the only was is up!
Where do you see yourself in 12 months time?
To be honest im happy where i am at the moment, i get to ref for some amazing companies in front of a lot of amazing fans in a ring with some amazing talent! I am always willing to improve and if the opportunity to work for some more great companies both British and internationally come up then I’m more than willing to jump on them and further myself.
Who should wrestling fans look out for in Progress wrestling?
Anyone from the PROJO, Progress are producing great guys and girls who not only can perform safely but understand the psychology of wrestling and are able to portray a character, guys like Pastor William Eaver, Jack Sexsmith, Earl Black Jr and Kyle Ashmore can all perform amazingly in the ring! If i had to pick one stand out though it would be JINNY, she has this great character which she just portrays so amazingly. She is a great villain to the point she only has to walk out to get a reaction and her work within the ring is solid, no sloppy looking ‘diva style’ moves or strikes. Her year long feud in Progress with Pollyanna which transcended the ENDVR shows and culminated in their no DQ match on the main Progress show (Super Strong Style 16 day 2) was a great example of old school storylines, escalating to the point of the no DQ stipulation in which neither woman went lightly on each other! She has been hugely accepted by the Progress fan base (which is a battle in itself) she is seriously one to watch out for not just in Progress but in British wrestling in general for the foreseeable future…
Watch as many refs as you can (both well known tv refs and local indy refs) learn what you can from them, if you feel you still want to become a ref find your nearest promotion and inquire. You’ll be surprised how many companies just throw a trainee or someone with minimal training in reffing in a shirt and expect him to do it well! Plus most refs are more than willing to help each other improve so don’t be scared to ask other refs.
Finally… What does wrestling mean to you?
Wrestling means family… the guys and girls of British wrestling are like a second (sometimes dysfunctional) family to me who are there when you need them to be, whether its for a general chat, life advise, banter or anything you may need… find me another sport where you can have that, not just in this country but worldwide.
SOMEONE STOP THE DAMN MATCH!!
Massive thanks to Paz for taking the time out to chat with us, let us know what you thought of the interview over on the Facebook page at http://www.someonestopthedamnmatchblog.wordpress.com/