Breaking Kayfabe: Grabbing Your Spot by Wayne Tomkins

True believers, half term has finished! The sound of silence has filled my humble abode now that the kids are back to school! Much like Randy Orton, I can hear the voices in my head again, and they’re telling me to hurry up with this open and get on with it! And who am I to not do as I’m told (my wonderful wife will probably disagree with that statement)! Let’s get the show on the road!

I really hate my body. I really hate getting old. Combine the two and I REALLY hate them!

Another week has passed and I’m still not fit to train. As I’m getting older it’s getting harder and longer to recover from injuries. I’ve even been told that I may not actually get my shoulder back to 100% and will have to deal with it, suck it up. To be fair that’s what I’ve been thinking for a couple of weeks now anyway. Oh well, onwards and upwards, photo/videographer again for me today.

I had already been told that One Fan (also Senior Referee) Dan H wouldn’t be attending today, so with that knowledge myself and the rest of the posse made our way to Hawkinge in slightly damp spirits. You see, Dan H is the king of inappropriate comments and jokes, and always gives everyone a laugh in the car on the way there and back. Hence the damp spirits.

As always, we made good time and got to the community centre about five minutes early. The three of us – Dan C, Lee and myself – decided to hang back a tad today and carry on enjoying the seaside sunshine a bit more before entering the hall. I would say we were trying to catch some rays, but we stayed in the car and listened to the radio!

Bang on 8.00am we decided enough was enough and made our way in. As always we were the first ones there, so we got on with setting the ring up and the usual stuff that you already know we do.

Like clockwork the rest of the class began to stroll in and help assemble the ring. It wasn’t until around 8.30am that I realised that we were also missing Luke (Vega) and Adam (Axl Bludvist). I quickly found out that Luke had a family do going on and Adam had to work. So in total we were three students down. Gotta admit, the class did look a bit sparse, but that soon changed.

In my earlier blogs, I talked about a second coach who was at the academy. He specialised in the warm up, cardio and fitness side of things and was loved by us all (unless he made us do extra circuits, then we cursed him under our breath). His name is Coach Turley.

Coach Turley moved away towards the end of last year. He didn’t move just a few miles away, no he moved to a different country. Spain to be precise. He kept in touch with us all through the super secret SEPW Facebook group page with how he was doing and always took a keen interest in how the academy was progressing.

So back to today and as we were setting up the ring, Ollie walks in bold as brass as always, followed by Coach Turley!

After a lot of man hugs and handshakes, Coach Turley tells us all he’s moved back to Blighty, literally just down the road from the Academy! Coach T was also going to stick around and watch today’s session too, and that we’ll be seeing more of him and you never know, he may take a few warm up’s down the line. That lifted the mood of everyone and put a definite spring in our step. Which was good, as we had a new starter today too. All go at the academy today folks!

Charlie is a brand new student and today was his first session. He looked very nervous but within minutes all of us had him relaxed, smiling and helping out with the ring. You see, that’s what we as a class are like. We don’t bite, we’re not George “The Animal” Steele. We welcome everyone, and make you feel part of the class within minutes.

To recap – we’re three students down, a new student has joined, Coach T was back, the ring has been assembled – which means it’s time for warm up and stretching action.

Again, you loyal true believers (can’t believe I haven’t been sent a cease and desist email for using that phrase) know the score. You don’t need to know what happened here. Although I will say that Charlie was put through his paces here with the neck bridges and did really well. Charlie is at the back right of this picture. Good form there for a first timer. Big thumbs up from me dude!

Nicely warmed up and stretched out, it was time for cardio. Now when The Saint visited us for a seminar (click here to read all about that) he left behind a drill called the Set Go. And it seems that Head Coach/SEPW owner Matt has acquired it for us students as we did it again today. The only difference today’s was though is that H/C Matt upped the pace, there was a lot of quick transitioning between the Set and the Go. So much so that it looked like some students were in a state of perpetual motion! Good thing was that it got everyone’s cardio up in a few short minutes.

With everyone’s blood pumping and full of adrenaline, H/C Matt brought us all down gently with a reminder from the week before. At last week’s lesson my BFF Doug Williams (I will be referring to Doug as my BFF going forward, just thought I’d warn you) told us all to work on our footwork, and showed us a drill. Again H/C Matt thought it would be wise if we practised that same drill today. So everyone all paired up, locked up and walked around the hall in unison. To the untrained eye it did look strange, pairs of students collar and elbow tie up, walking step by step but in the space of one week I could tell that the drill was working. It was working so well that some pairs had even changed from a collar and elbow tie up to a waist lock, and walked step by step.

After recapping those drills, Rookie Matt walked in, along with a friend of his (I feel really bad as I never caught his name, so apologies if you’re reading mate). Matt’s friend was going to train with us today too, so after completing the necessary paperwork, Matt showed him a quick warm up/stretching before he handed him over to H/C Matt to show how to bump.

It was time to brush up on something we all needed. Something that is becoming more and more prominent in the wrestling scene today…..Strikes.

I recently attended an event nearby held by another promotion that I know quite well. The card was pretty good, but there’s one match that stood out to me for all the wrong reasons. Now before I begin I’m not slating or trolling. I admire and have the utmost respect for any wrestler of any age or ability. But when I watch a match, whether it’s in a local gym, hall, or arena, I expect to be told a story. Student v Teacher, Wrestler v Brawler, an opponent attacking a particular body part to weaken and finish them…..As long as I can see a story, a reason for whatever they’re doing then I’m happy.

This one match went around 12 minutes. And I kid you not, it felt double that. The match was a snoozefest. For at least 10 of those minutes, it was just chops, forearms, kicks. No wrestling, not even any rope running, just strikes. I was bored to tears. I wasn’t the only one. I looked around me and people were just not invested in the match. The crowd were so silent you could have heard a pin drop.

The reason I said that is that yes, strikes are becoming more prominent. A lot of wrestler’s finishers are now strikes, but for the love of god don’t make them the basis of an entire match! If we wanted to see that we wouldn’t be sat there. We would be watching some boxing or MMA. So please, if any of you true believers are training or wrestling yourself, please please please, don’t sell your match around them. I beg you.


Doug showed the class last week how to use strikes. The when and where in a match, the technique, where to place your strikes. And with Hustle & Heart II in four weeks time, H/C Matt thought it best that we do a quick catch up.

With Matt’s friend, Charlie, Amber, Wendy and Rhys in the ring with H/C Matt doing rolls and bumps, the rest of the class were outside the ring giving and taking strikes.

Much like last week with Doug (he retweeted my blog last week, BFF’s, told ya) the hall filled with the slapping sound of skin on skin. Some of the guys with long hair looked like they had stepped off the set of Rocky with the sweat flicking from their head after being striked! And much like last week, I made another Facebook Live video to show the world just a teensy bit of what we do. Expect these videos in every post from now on, and expect them to get better, my camera work is shoddy.


While I was getting all Ridley Scott, H/C Matt was in the ring watching rolls and bumps taking place.

A quick look at the clock and it was 11am! Where had the time gone?!? Matt called us all together and said that for the last hour or so he wanted some match up’s to take place. Due to a few students unable to attend, the numbers were low for the matches he envisaged. So with that in mind, this is what he wanted for today’s practice matches:

Justin Vincible v Jack Voltage & Rookie Matt
MeatHead v 2Tone
“The Original” Conroy v Silas Roth
Chris Castle v Will Powers!

Silas Roth I hear you ask yourself? Whose that? Well this is where today’s title comes into play. Silas Roth is the alter ego of none other than fellow posse member Lee. For weeks now, Lee has had his character nailed down. A bio of Roth, gimmick, entrance and ring gear, entrance music, possible moveset including finisher……He’s thought of nothing else for weeks. I know this as he’s asked my advice on things like ring gear, finishers, transitions into the finishers. It’s been so cool helping Lee out with this, just wanna say thanks for at least thinking about the crazy stuff I’ve mentioned, let alone the things that you have taken on board!

Dan C, Lee and myself are pretty sure that if it wasn’t for others being off today, he wouldn’t have been offered a match. Think about it, he’s only been training for eight weeks at this point. Lee himself asked Matt if he thought he was ready, to which Matt replied of course. That comment boosted his confidence and off he went with Dan C to prepare for their match.

While everyone was busy either in the ring doing bumps or outside preparing for matches, I went around, camera in hand and took shots to make myself look busy. A few moments later, Lee called me by to ask my opinion on something. Then Ollie wanted to pick my brain on signature moves, while Justin asked if a certain spot looked good or not. All the time I’m still snapping away and getting called over more and more by everyone. I have to admit, it felt great to be asked by others to help out in their matches, to have my opinion at least heard. Made me feel all fuzzy inside.

All of a sudden a thought flashed through my mind…..If the things I mentioned to everyone get over, look good, help the matches out, then maybe I could slide on over to the booking side of things. Maybe help Matt out in the run up to H&H2 with some alternative ideas? Then I quickly thought that only being in this business for a year, maybe I’d end up in Russo territory and I’ll be so out my depth that I’ll start throwing crazy wacky ideas out there like Tables, Ladders, Chairs……and Stairs.

I soon backed down from my original thought and carried on takings shots of the students. I know my place, and I’m very very happy where I am. I’d rather be remembered for entertaining the crowd, or getting talent over. That’s what I want to do. I don’t want to be involved in any SEPW backstage political arguments. *As far as I know, there isn’t any backstage SEPW arguments at all. It’s all peace, love and harmony!

Now as always, what happens at an SEPW Training Academy session stays at an SEPW Training Academy session. What I can and will say are these quick on the fly thoughts –

If put in a handicap position, Justin looks very capable.
Jack and Matt had a bit of chemistry there. Maybe something to look at going forward.
More confidence in 2Tone and he could be a powerhouse of a force in the future.
MeatHead is still one crazy ass dude.

I may be biased as they’re my closest mates, but the “Original” v Roth match was great and stole the morning. Considering that it was Lee’s first ever match and was guided along by the more experienced Conroy , he did a great job. Grasping the basics of a match, not blowing up, a good looking suplex and a great transition into his Dragon Sleeper finisher = grabbing that spot.

Will he keep hold of it when other come back? Will he push on and impress H/C Matt? Who knows. What I do know is, that today Lee made himself known that he might be very capable indeed. Hustle & Heart II is four weeks away. If he keeps performing like today he may well force himself onto the card.

No time to mess around today, it was matches finished, ring down and put away. No messing. So that’s exactly what we did.

In the car on the way back home, it was hard listening to Lee saying that he doesn’t think he’ll be on the card in four weeks, that he’ll be in attendance watching us all. I asked him how would that make you feel? He replied that he’d hate it. Conroy jumped in and said then maybe Lee should work his ass off like today and grab that spot. With that last comment, Lee quieted down and looked like he was contemplating doing just that. You never know Lee, crazier things have happened. Look at me, I began this journey wanting one match, and now all I want to do is announce/manage and put others over. If it can happen to a schmuck like me, it can happen to anyone. Just gotta put the work in!

Closing Time

So that’s that. To me Lee definitely grabbed his spot, but what do I know? I mention a few things to some students and then in my head I’m Uncle Vince, mapping out the next year of SEPW storylines!

Four weeks to our next academy show and nope, the nerves aren’t there just yet. I’m still plodding along with a dodgy shoulder and a smile on my face! I feel like I should be nervous as I remember back in March for the first Hustle & Heart show, when Matt asked me to announce it was five weeks in advance and I began shitting it there and then! I’m sure the nerves will kick in soon, in fact I’m counting on it!

So there we are, blog post one of three this week. Another productive week ahead of me I’m sure you’ll agree, well only if you like my blogs that is. Been told it’s a waste of time by some, but that’s a story for another time.

Blog number two should be up in the next few days, with number three another two days behind that. With half term finished I have no excuse to be lax so I’m all over this like Mark Henry on Mae Young.

With that wonderful image, I’ll bid you all farewell. See you in a few days!