Breaking Kayfabe: The Second Doug Williams Seminar by Wayne Tomkins

Hello again! How are you? Good? Great! Me?……I’m feeling awesome! I’ve just got back from seeing my friend Doug Williams (I use the term “friend” loosely as I can guarantee that he wouldn’t pick me out of a line up, but I’ve had a lot of conversations with him so I’ll take that as friendship) and I’m now writing down the experience before I forget. Don’t get old guys and gals, memory is the first thing to go.

Anyway, in this post expect lots of gushing about my new BFF Doug. Apologies to all those that are actually my best friends! In my close I’ll be talking about the upcoming SEPW events (Hustle & Heart II and Kings Of The Summer 17) and some media from SEPW Towers. Enjoy the read and no, I will not feel bad for marking out for Doug. I’m still a fan dammit…..

For the first time ever since I began training at the SEPW Academy, I woke up on a Sunday not really wanting to go. Even though I only told a select few Academy members, I still felt embarrassed over the way I acted the week before. Luckily the ones that I did talk to told me to not worry, man up, and get my ass to training. And as I value their advice, and was a bit concerned I would end up in a two on one handicap match against them, I got my ass to training. Good job too as my friend, amigo and compadre Doug Williams was attending to give another seminar.

For those newer readers of my blog, firstly hello, and secondly I’d like to direct you to this link where you can read all about the first time Doug Williams came to the SEPW Training Academy to give his first seminar. Not only is it a great read, it also gives you a bit of back story to today’s post.

Back to today and the Posse were on their way to Hawkinge full of enthusiasm and trepidation. Lee was literally wetting his pants. Like all of us, he’s seen Doug fly the British wrestling flag for many years. From his time in TNA to coming back to these shores and wrestling at the many independent shows, Lee has been a fan. And the fact that this wrestling legend was about to impart some of his vast knowledge just feet in front him, Lee began to mark out a bit.

My role today was unfortunately photo/videographer as my damn shoulder just wasn’t healing as fast as I wanted it to. Stupid aging body! Nevertheless, I was still going to listen in and capture everything Doug was willing to teach us today.

Lee, after The Saint seminar a few weeks back, was thinking he would like a collection of photos with himself being taught by fellow pros. Apparently I took a great shot of Lee with The Saint in a headlock and if the opportunity came up again today, could I grab some shots.

With some photo requests done we were at Hawkinge ready to rock and roll. Walking into the hall with a spring in our step and actually looking forward to today’s lesson. Yes even myself. I had a bit of a verbal beatdown in the car on the way and I was thankful for it. Dan C, Lee and Dan H put things into perspective for me and gave me a slight ass kicking to get me over myself. Good job boys!

Not long after we arrived, the hall began to fill with other students. Pretty soon we were at full strength, and with that knowledge we assembled the ring quicker than ever before. Not bad really, only been a year of doing it and we’re now finally nailing down consistent build times! Check us out!

Ring assembled, Head Coach/SEPW Owner Matt brought us all together to tell us how the mornings session would break down. First of all would be our warm ups, some bridging to strengthen our necks and a quick cardio blast to get ourselves nicely warmed up. Then it would be a quick practice of our rolls (forward, backward and shoulder) and finish off with some bear crawls.

Bear crawls I hear you ask? Ok, you crawl along the mat on your hands and knees as quickly as you can while Luke H (Chris Castle) is in the middle of the ring with his arm extended about three feet off the mat. You have to crawl under his arm at speed. If your ass touches his hand you go back and do it again. Pretty simple right? Trust me it’s a lot harder than it sounds.

Twenty minutes later and all completed, Mr. Doug Williams strolls in through the side doors of the hall. A lot of us just acknowledged Doug with a hearty “Hi Doug” as he went into the changing rooms to get prepared. Me? I was watching Lee’s expression and I really wish I took a photo of it. Now I know it sounds like I’m bashing him, and I am a bit I must admit. The reason I’m bringing this up is that the times I’ve met professional wrestlers like Doug, Colt Cabana, Trish Stratus, Lita (personal fave of mine……OMG she is just gorgeous but that’s a story for another time) Will Ospreay, etc, Lee would say he would never act like I did….basically mark out.

That was until he met Jimmy Havoc walking through Camden (a suburb of London) a while back. I have it on good authority (his better half Jess) that he marked out so much when Jimmy walked off – you wouldn’t mark out in front of him, he stays pretty much in character all the time. I really wished I was there to see that, hence why I wanted to see his reaction when Doug walked in. Trust me it was a picture. You know when you’re trying too hard to keep it together and look cool, like it’s just another day. But your eyes let you down? That’s exactly how Lee looked. His face was calm cool and collected but his eyes looked this……!

Doug didn’t take too long to get changed, and just as he came back into the hall, regular SEPW photographer Claire P came in and set up to take much much better shots than my own. You’ll see which ones are hers, they’re the ones that aren’t blurry and look a million times more professional than mine!

Doug quickly ran down what he would like to see from us today. As it has been a while since he last saw us, and as we have some new students he would like everyone to pair up and do a quick two minute “showcase” of holds and escaping in the ring. Everyone paired up and headed into the ring one after another to show Doug what they could do.

With a quick look at how us students are doing, Doug explained that he saw just one small thing we could all do to help “tidy up” our lock up’s. Our footwork was a little bit messy and tidying that up will make not only the lock up better, but ourselves too. Doug grabbed Dan C and showed the class a quick drill.

In the lock up position, you would move back and forth but mirror each others footsteps, until it looks very fluid. Yeah I know, my description sucks, so this is where my little secret conversation with Matt from last week comes in – tying up those intriguing loose ends you see!

I had an idea that every week I would post a Facebook Live video through the Academy training page to show prospective students just what exactly we get up to each week. Matt loved the idea (of course he did, it’s awesome) and suggested we start next week….which is today. So ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, SEPW Training Academy proudly brings to you a sneak peek of the Doug Williams Seminar. Enjoy!


Pretty cool huh? When it comes to promotion, I know a few things. ?

With the footwork drill completed and all of us looking great and in sync, Doug mixed it up a bit and taught us something we haven’t practised for quite a while – strikes.

I’m not going into detail here on how, according to Doug, you throw a european uppercut. You want to know, then get yourself to training. ?

All I will disclose is Doug picked a “striking bag” from the students (just so happened to be Lee) and went through the motion of the strike, to the placement of the strike on your opponents body, to the selling of the strike. After hitting Lee a fair few times, everyone partnered up and practised against each other. Doug actually went around the hall and spent time with each student, so that everyone would benefit from what Lee had first hand.

All around the hall were flailing heads and arms, with an undercurrant of the dull thud of forearms smacking against chests. As I was shooting away, I have to admit I didn’t feel as close to my BFF Doug as last time. The companionship that was there last August wasn’t there as much this time around. Damn shoulder of mine! ?

Fifteen minutes flew by and while I was comfortably taking shots, the students were taking chops and other strikes. Chest’s getting redder by the minute, Doug draws that drill to an end and begins the next and final part of today’s lesson.

Those strikes we all practised, they will be used in the next drill. Doug rolled back into the ring and asked Dan C in too, to show the class the drill. For this one you’ll have to bear with me as I never took any video for public use, you’ll have to do with my descriptive ways. Ready?….

Starting in a corner, you would be whipped into the opposite corner, but at the last minute you put your left foot up onto the middle turnbuckle to stop yourself. Thinking you’ve out witted your opponent you turn around to your right only to be met with a European uppercut or some other strike. Pushed back into the corner, you then get whipped back into the original corner you came from and take the bump. Your opponent then runs at you with the intention to splash you or some other kind of offensive maneuver, but you raise your foot and they eat a big boot to the face. Again thinking you have the advantage you run towards your opponent, who is now in the middle of the ring selling the big boot, only to be met with a back elbow to the chest and back bump to the mat. And that’s that. A simple and effective 30-45 second spot. And my description wasn’t bad either!

Dan C and Doug performed what I described above to the class twice. Once where Doug whips Dan and then again where Dan whips Doug. Everyone paired up again and made their way into the ring one at a time to show Doug and the class what they had been taught so far.

All in all it was a great way to finish the seminar. As you can see in the above shots, Amber even got in the ring with Doug and practised the routine. I’m not sure that even in her wildest dreams she would have imagined that would be a possibility when she began her training journey back in January!

The clock was saying 11.30am which meant us students had around thirty minutes to quiz Doug in a quick Q&A session. I’m not going into detail about what was said, you know the drill, you wanna know then join up! What I will say is that Doug spoke about his time in TNA, the way different crowds react around the world, how to work a match when both men/women are cold to the crowd (the crowd don’t know who they are) among many other subjects. Just like last year, it was a very informative and stripped back conversation that I’m sure will benefit each and every one of us students.

Just before we break the ring down (in another record time hopefully) it was time for the obligatory class photo. Now here was my chance. I didn’t really have time to talk to Doug during the lesson so now, now is where our bond would be strengthened once again. I don’t know how just yet, but sometimes the best plans are the ones made on the fly.

We all gathered on, in and around the ring for the photo op and I took my chance. I was one of the last ones to enter the ring, and I spotted a space right beside Doug, so I slid in there like the smooth guy I am, placed my hand on the middle of his back and waited for the shot.

Doug, slightly surprised that someone was touching him, turned around. Noticing it was me a fellow student, and not some kind of deranged stalker (I’m sooooo not), flashed a smile, said hello and waited for the picture to be taken. Huzzah! Friendship renewed! And as the photo below shows, I’m beaming!

With the group photo complete, it was time to pack up and go home. Doug went to the changing rooms to get changed while us students tore down the ring and began to get ready to leave. Just as I was packing away my own camera and suchlike, Doug came in and I walked over and said, “Thank you for today and everything you’ve taught us. It’s just a shame I couldn’t participate this time, I would have been as useful as a chocolate teapot, but it has been a blast, just like last year.” He replied by saying that injuries heal and as long as I’ve taken in what he was teaching today, it was all worth it. Seriously, the guy is a legend for a reason. I have so much respect for him and after those few words, I have even more.

And with that he made his way around the class to shake hands and went on his merry way.

The journey home was the four of us talking about what had just happened and Lee bugging me if I got any decent shots of himself and Doug. Well as you can see dude, I did. ? Quite a lot actually.

What a session. I’m so glad that the posse verbally threatened me to come today. Cheers dudes!

Closing Time

Alright, enough of the gushing and borderline stalking. It’s time to get you all up to date on things here at Breaking Kayfabe and SEPW. Below is the entrance video for SEPW’s own MeatHead! Could this mean that we could possibly be seeing video screens at future events to show entrance videos? SEPW Owner Mr Wicked was unavailable for comment at time of writing so at this time we can only hope he confirms this. Now, open those eyes wide (much like Lee did earlier in the blog) and take in this majestic video for MeatHead!

I already have some suggestions for a “Smart” Mark Blake entrance video don’t worry true believers!

And if that’s not enough news for you, how about the recently released official posters for Hustle & Heart 2 and Kings Of Summer 2017 for you to feast your eyes on

How cool are they?!? Although I think the H&H2 poster could be perked up a bit with the addition of Smart Mark Blake, though. ?

In the run up to H&H2, I’ll be talking more and more about how the show is shaping up, how the students themselves feel about performing and also about myself in my role of Mark Blake. At the moment I feel pretty calm , there’s three and a half weeks to go, but as the countdown ticks ever closer I will bet the pressure will build. Not just for me but for everybody involved.

Anyway, more about that soon folks. I’m off to bask in this glorious sunshine outside with a good book and a cheeky beer! See you soon…..


Some pictures courtesy of Claire at Just Shoot Me Photography.