On The Road With ‘The Mexican Sensation’ El Ligero: To Italy And Back

A whole bunch of travel and not a load of sleep, as I embarked on my first European trip of 2016 last weekend. I think. It all just kind of blues together these days.

Before I left these shores, I wrestled a rematch from last week on the Friday, facing off against Chris Tyler at HOPE’s ‘home venue’ of Mansfield’s Forest Town Arena. One of my favourite venues to wrestle in, as the reactions there are always good and the crowd know all of the regular wrestlers, so you can use that familiarity to your advantage when building stories. The prelude to this encounter was the fact that rather unpopular HOPE official Craig Anderson refused to referee the match after I kinda sorta accidentally beat him up after he DQ’d me last week. But in fairness to me, anyone that has met Craig or spent any time with him will totally get why. His refusal to officiate the match led to the VERY popular return of Referee Whitey, so DID take control and oversaw the match between myself and Tyler. Near the end of a match that I was very happy with, for the 2nd week in a row with Tyler, Whitey was the victim of a collision which triggered Anderson to sprint (that’s being generous) to the ring, but refuse to count the fall when I had victory in sight. Then, to a HUGE reaction, Whitey pulled Craig out of the ring, decked him and counted the winning pinfall to RAPTUROUS applause. The reactions were even bigger when Craig petulantly grabbed the microphone and challenged Whitey to find a couple of partners whilst he did the same, which will lead to a 6-man tag down the line at HOPE, with both referees in action!! Everyone involved in this played their part extremely well, and helped produce something very well received that builds to something worth seeing down the line. Hey, if Anderson is getting molten heat from the crowd, why not make something of it?! Better get watching that Earl Hebner vs Nick Patrick match from WWF Invasion…

Arrived home at 1am. Ate food. Sat down for 20 minutes, packed 2 bags and drove off to Birmingham Airport. I had a real early flight to catch to Milan, so obviously I got diverted off the motorway for ages. That was pretty awesome. By the time I had arrived in Italy, I’d had zero sleep. I might have tried to get some on the plane, but some girls I was sat next to decided it was far important they tell everyone on board how tired they were. Repeatedly. No rest for the wicked, as I was picked up at Milan and driven straight to a gym in Bergamo, where a 20 foot ring was set up inside a dance studio-kinda. This was where I was to take two 2 hour seminars during the afternoon, before wrestling 2 matches that night. If ever I conditioned myself to get through fatigue, this is where it would hopefully kick in. Both seminars were actually really enjoyable in the end. The language barrier can often be difficult in seminars in foreign lands and it sometimes results in me not being able to always get across the full extent of what I’m trying to say, but luckily I had translators at both. The seminars were actually for 2 different promotions, ICW (which had about 14 students) and Rising Sun Wrestling (the promotion I was debuting for that night, where I had about 8 or 9 to teach), so that was pretty cool. The matches themselves in the evening were pretty enjoyable. The first, actually on the pre-show and only in front of about 50 people, but a VERY receptive 50, actually saw me capture my first Italian championship! I defeated the current FCW Champion, a wrestler called The Greatest, in a tidy little match, though one that left my back a bit sore afterwards.. Winning the title was a pretty cool moment, making it my 2nd European Title (not the one D’lo Brown had) after capturing the Swiss Wrestling Entertainment Championship in 2014. I then went on to retain the title later on that night on the main show, as the small hall filled up with about 120 rowdy fans. I get the impression they only really get shows over in Italy once a month or so, so when they do get shows, the crowds tend to be pretty hot for good wrestling. I wrestled a guy called Mark Fit, who has bags of potential, and just needed to slow down and take his time more with things. I really like going over and wrestling these guys in Europe who might not be too well known, but clearly have potential. It was the same with Ca$h Crash in Switzerland and Mark Fit definitely falls into the same category. We also got a pretty good crowd reaction considering we followed a hardcore match that seemed to last a week. By the time the main event finished, it was past midnight and I couldn’t really recall what life was like before being awake on a permanent basis. I crashed hard when I hit the pillow of an Italian families spare room at 2am. That was arranged by the promoter by the way, I didn’t just turn up at their house.

Headed off to the Airport in the morning, managed to sleep through most of the flight and got back to Birmingham around midday. Really enjoyed my time in Italy, was very well looked after and I’ll actually be back this weekend defending the title again. Drove home, had some food, watched an episode of South Park, then drove 20 minutes down the road to Pudsey Civic Hall, a building that NGW managed to attract a solid draw to despite it being RED HOT that day! Fun tag team action finished off my weekend as I tagged with Liam Slater/Lazarus to face off against The Proven. Pretty much a sprint for the 2nd half of the match, this was different to the last few matches I’ve had with Sam Wilder and Caz Crash, as we actually had a bit more free reign to go out and try some stuff, and were asked to provide a match that appealed more to the adults in the crowd than your typical family audience. That mean movez. Quite a lot of them. Some things could have been tightened up here with the odd positional correction, but in the end I really enjoyed it. From what I watched on the card, the crowd really did struggle with the heat, but I felt this provided more then enough entertainment for its place on the card, and was a really fun way to end an exhausting 72 hours.


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Where You Can See El Ligero This Weekend

May 13th: Fight Factory ‘Revelations’. El Ligero vs Paul Malen. Festival Hall, Market Rasen.

May 14th: Frontier Championship Wrestling ’11 Year Anniversary Show’. FCW Championship & RSW Championship – Anything Goes: El Ligero (c) vs The Greatist (c). Pero, Milan, Italy.

May 15th: HOPE ‘Evolution XXXVI: Fire Of Unknown Origin’. El Ligero vs Ashley Dunn. Arkwright Centre, Chesterfield.

May 15th: Fight Factory ‘Revelations’. FFW Championship: El Ligero vs Robbie X (c). Louth Town Hall, Louth.


*Our thanks to Nik Towers for the use of his artwork in the column header. You can see more of Nik’s artwork at the Wrestling Artwork NT Facebook page.

Additional thanks to Brett Hadley Photography, El Ligero and  New Generation Wrestling for the images used in the column.