There is a saying that goes: ‘There is a first time for everything…’ I cannot lie to you, I am a lucky person when it comes to ‘first times’… My first concert I ever went to was Kanye West (pre Graduation)… The first stag/bachelor party – I was the best man, my first album purchase was Chef Raekwon – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… my first WWE star I met was Melina… it’s an impressive resume/CV of first times… (what about the first time you had se-) Yo that’s personal..! I’m not telling you about that!!! But since you are too nosey and really wanna know, this is how it went down…
This ain’t Wendy Williams – we don’t do that over here!!!
But I can add another first time to the list, the first time I went to a live pro wrestling event, and I was asked to be the ring announcer. Not only that, but to meet the TNA/WWE/ECW Legend Sabu… and carry out an exclusive interview with him. How many wrestling fans can say they have done that???
August 23, 2013, Worcester UK would be my moment. The wrestling promotion named themselves after my favourite hip hop group of all time – (Wu-Tang Clan), and has that blend of pro wrestling and hip hop and so to be asked to be the ring announcer was an honor and privilege. Knowing that I’m about to share the squared circle with a hardcore legend, yes I had butterflies, yes I had goosebumps, yes, I was starstruck, but I knew I had to shake all that off and get the crowd hype.
I drew my energy from my inspirations, one of them, The Rock. There has been many wrestlers past and present that has held the mic and cut promos and captivated the crowd, but none of them… has done it like The Rock. To me, he changed the mic game. Usually the heel commentator is supposed to support the heels (bad guys) and say anything negative about the babyfaces (good guys), but The Rock’s mic skills were so gripping, funny and revolutionary that the heel commentator (in this case – Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler) couldn’t say anything bad about him. I never thought that I could grip the audience like that, and being the Wu-Tang fan that I am, used the traditional WU-TANG!!! chant and switched it up. Gripped the crowd instantly and got them hype for the matches and made them extra magical.
The other inspiration was Bruce Buffer of the UFC. Michael Buffer may be the original voice of ring announcing but Bruce took voice hyping to a new level. I have seen MMA fighters really get fired up hearing Bruce introduce them and actually become fans of Bruce himself. Michael is known for his saying ‘Let’s get ready to RUMBLE!!!’ Bruce is known for his saying ‘It’s TIME!!!!’ and has written a book with the same title. I combined that with Wu-Tang’s classic track and said ‘It’s Time To Bring The RUCKUS!!!’ for the main event. Once again, it worked, and the more hype the fans were, the more the wrestlers put in that extra energy for their performance. To hear the fans chant for Sabu, his opponent Mark Haskins who was the hometown hero, the ECW chants and ‘THIS IS AWESOME!!’ chants were just amazing. There was that hilarious moment where Sabu was reaching out for the steel chair to use on Haskins, and my co-host Jazz Kumar (pictured below, centre with Sabu) acted like he was Sabu’s manager and sneakily handing him the chair! How the crowd did not see that and not boo him was beyond me!
Gotta give it up for the other wrestlers on the night; Tukay, El Ligero, Big Grizzly, Richtor, Slade Mercer, Sam Wilder Barnsley, Rik Van Damage, Mad Man Manson, Dan Maloney, T-Bone and Dave Mastiff (I botched his name and he told me how to pronounce his name correctly, he looks more intimidating than Fandango I can tell you that!) They all put on an amazing performance as they fed off the energy of the crowd.
Sabu himself is a great guy. As he walked past us at first, our legs turned to jelly and was like 7 year old boys all over again seeing a larger than life character saying hello to us and remembered us from social media, even buying him a drink at the bar was a big deal – how many fans can say they shared a drink with a superstar like Sabu? I’ll give you a hint: NOT MANY! The interview me and Jazz Kumar conducted was a surreal moment, we learned who he rates as the best wrestler ever, the origin of his ring name and his feelings towards WrestleMania 28 & 29 main eventers The Rock & John Cena in which he felt highly of. Understand what I’m telling you here, this is the same man I watched on TV bounce off the ropes, jump on a chair, on the top ropes, and leg dropped John Cena through the announce table, and I’m sitting next to the guy having a laugh like he’s long time friends with me and Jazz… taking pictures with him pointing to the sky…. I WANT THE SKY BABY!
Let me tell you something, I can compare this experience to the first time I went to a strip club… you can feel the addiction instantly… I’m already itching to go to the next live pro wrestling event, now I understand why fans stop at nothing to get their hands on tickets to attend these events…I dread to think what a WWE experience would be like… I have that feeling that it won’t be long before my opportunity comes… you see in the UK it is not often we are in the presence of greatness, superstars like Sabu and the WWE/TNA stars come to the UK like twice a year… and if you want to meet your favourite stars, you grab that opportunity by the throat and squeeze the life out of it. That’s what me, Jazz and our friend Rich did (pictured above, right with Sabu) and I just want my fellow wrestling fans to lead by example. I just can’t help thinking that they missed out majorly on an opportunity like this. This was also Jazz’s first pro wrestling event as well and it meant a lot to him as it did me, going all the way back to Hulk Hogan & The Ultimate Warrior, in a world where we never thought that we would interview and talk to these guys we grew up with, let alone shake their hand and get an autograph! The other thing I have to say is I am humbled by the feedback by the crowd and the wrestlers… I have never done ring announcing before, and I helped make the crowd go home happy and wanting more, I have my inspirations to thank for that. It was an anticipated event that the promotion dubbed : ‘The Moment Of Truth’, and I think they achieved that.
Opening Match: Slade Mercer Vs Tukay
Big Grizzly Vs Richtor
Dave Mastiff Vs Mad Man Manson
Winner: Dave Mastiff
Three Way Dance: Sam Wilder Barnsley Vs ‘Mexican Sensation’ El Ligero Vs Rik Van Damage
Winner: ‘Mexican Sensation’ El Ligero
Dan Maloney Vs T-Bone
Main Event: Mark Haskins Vs ‘The Genocidal, Homicidal, Suicidal, Death Defying’ SABU
Winner: Mark Haskins
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