Hello and welcome to The Livewire, erm, I mean Final Cut, the only column that has more bad taste than a joke concerning dead Chinese cockle-pickers from Morecambe.
This week found me scratching my head on a topic of debate that certain other writers had not yet covered, this obviously left very little so I went with the one subject that had not been covered to date – backyard wrestling!
Backyard Wrestling. Mention those two words to any professional wrestler/manager/journalist or the majority of wrestling fans and they will utter a sentence about how appalling these people are and how they are giving our industry a bad name.
But what exactly is backyard wrestling? The term ‘backyard wrestling’ is a misconception as it would have you believe that it means ‘wrestling in your backyard’ when in actual fact it covers a wider spectrum than that.
The term ‘backyard wrestling’ basically means to wrestle anywhere but in a qualified wrestling ring. This could mean in your backyard, in your living room, bedroom, in a field, even in the street. Many backyarders do not even use a ring, they will use mattresses, trampolines or even the ground!
Some of them will even go as far as to make their own ring out of bits and pieces that they will either find lying around or will have stolen from a nearby building site.
Backyard wrestling is a craze amongst bored youths who have nothing better to do with their time than to inflict injury on each other. A harsh statement? Minor & severe burns, nasty gnashes, concussions and in some cases broken bones are just part and parcel of this ridiculous epidemic of insania (ha!)
Ask many of the backyard wrestling community why they take part in this idiotic past time and they will spout all the normal reasons such as:”It costs too much to train” – That is complete rubbish! Many schools now cater for people on low incomes, you can attend a wrestling school for as low as £8 a lesson, hardly expensive, even for people on low income.
“There are no training schools in this area” – Training schools are opening all over the country on a regular basis and if you do a few searches on Google or any reliable wrestling web site you will find plenty near your area.
“Most of us just want to wrestle without going professional” – This is a rather lame excuse. Many training schools get students who want to train for fun and do not want to make a career out of wrestling. Attending a training school is a safer alternative than backyard wrestling.
Whilst researching this column on the internet I stumbled across an article written by a backyard wrestler by the name of Chris Lewis Of Wrestling Envy and this is an actual quote from his column: “It’s a constant rush of adrenaline when you’re working a match with your mate – just like on the “big boys” do on television.”
That quote really does show the normal mentality that most backyard wrestlers have, and if that was not enough here is another quote from the very same article: “They (journalists like myself) know nothing about the sport. They know nothing about the people who do it.”
Excuse me but since when has backyard wrestling been a legitimate sport? And most of us know the kind of people who partake in backyard wrestling.
The thing that really makes my blood boil is that these kids have the nerve to call themselves “wrestlers,” you are not wrestlers. In my view you can only call yourself a wrestler a professional wrestling trainer has trained once you. What is more you cannot call what you do wrestling.
FWA manager Dean Ayass put it perfectly: “hitting someone over the head or back with a road sign or a chair and doing nothing else isn’t wrestling. Yes, there are hard-core style matches that go on but if you watch those matches, you will see that the violent spots are interspersed with wrestling moves and, to use a word that is seemingly totally foreign to backyarders, psychology.” – I could not put it better myself.
Professional wrestlers go through an extensive training regime to become professional wrestlers, months, even years of hard training goes into what they do. Taking time to go over every single move, bump and technique over and over again, every single day until they have perfected it.
Backyard wrestlers, as Dean Ayass also pointed out, want to have the glory of being a wrestler but do not want to put in the training or pay their dues.
When a backyard wrestler is put in hospital because of their stupid antics the media normally has a field day, but it is not backyard wrestling that receives the criticism but professional wrestling who face the full brunt of the attack.
Every time some 13 year old kid has to be patched up after doing some half-witted stunt that he/she saw whilst watching World Wrestling Entertainment, despite the numerous disclaimers, professional wrestling takes another step backwards into the seedy world it was thought of 20 odd years ago.
You can almost feel the anger as some local reporter quotes the young buck: “I saw a wrestler do it on a WWE show and thought it would be kind of cool, the disclaimer just made me want to do it even more, it was their fault blah blah blah….”
Most people cry that we should ban backyard wrestling, I can not see this ever happening unless professional wrestling gets a governing body and even if against all odds it does it will only push backyard wrestling underground and we know that most illogically-challenged kids love illegal activities these days.
Whilst a big portion of the blame should be laid at the feet of the kids and young men who take up this “death hobby” there are other areas that should take a small part of the blame as well.
Television – Thanks to television channels such as Channel Four producing and broadcasting shows such as “Lock Up Your Son’s” they have managed to glamorise backyard wrestling. Channels like Kerrang, Scuzz and many others have given the impression that backyard wrestling is cool along the lines of skateboarding, punk rock and BMXing.
Gaming World – like it or not but as soon as they brought out the video game “Backyard Wrestling: Don’t Try This At Home” they had helped glamorise backyard wrestling far more than any television programme could have done.
It does not make any difference if the game was a comical look at backyard wrestling, the gaming world have glamorised this by running it in their magazines and putting out a game on the subject.
Parents – The majority of that small part must lay with the parents. Most parents will probably have no idea what their son/daughter is really up to and could think it was harmless horsing around with mates.
I have no children but I have nephews and cousins that are around the 13-16-age bracket and if got a sniff of any of them taking part in backyard wrestling I would make sure they never thought about doing it again!
But what if you know what your child is doing and you decide not to take action? Then that makes you just as bad as a parent who abuses his or her own child in my book!
I thought finishing with a line from an old column I wrote on backyard wrestling would be more than appropriate for this occasion:
The fact of the matter is that backyard wrestling has no place in our world and we need to stamp it out and ban it because there is a chance that your son or daughter is doing it and they will end up in a wheelchair or a coffin it is your choice.
I am more than happy to read any feedback from a backyard wrestler. It could be interesting to read them defend their insane decision to partake in this feeble-minded past time. You can send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time. (I actually stole this line from Jerry Springer! Ha!)
I am running the 2018 London Marathon to raise money for Livability UK in memory of my dad. If you can I'd appreciate any donation you can spare. http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/deansaliba