Diary Of A 30-Something Trainee Wrestler: Flips, Dips & Trips by Wayne Tomkins

Hello and welcome to another little insight in my life! It’s blog time folks! How have you all been? Good I hope. Me you ask? I’ve been in the wars , I’ll explain more in more detail a bit later, but I’m in a little bit of pain as I’m writing this (Thursday evening), trying to type with one hand is harder than I imagined. Added to the fact that I look even more stupid than usual!

Apart from the injury I’m good. Really good to be honest. With Wrestival 3 literally right around the corner, I am firing on all cylinders. Promotion for the event is in full swing and I am still trying to get my head around the fact that I am MC’ing (MC = Master of Ceremonies) the show in front of 300+ people!

I had settled on MC’ing the SEPW Academy shows – that would be my little niche for the promotion, but when Head Coach Matt asked me to do a “main roster” show, there’s no way I could refuse no matter how nervous I know I’m going to be. Just got to use those nerves to give the best possible performance I can, and maybe just maybe, edge myself into a “main roster” spot! You never know! 😉

Anyway, I’ll talk more about that, Wrestival 3 and last week’s lesson and the drama that unfolded…..

Six days. Six little days until arguably one of the biggest moments of my life. Recently I’ve had a lot of biggest moments. Setting foot inside the ring, running the ropes, meeting and training with Doug Williams, MC’ing for the first ever time at Hustle & Heart……and now this. MC’ing in front of over 300 people at Wrestival 3.

Double the amount I “performed” in front of at Hustle & Heart, double the pressure. Not from anyone else, all me. I’m putting the pressure on myself, I always do. I am my own worst critic. I do this to myself to keep myself going, to not stagnate, to be the best I can every time.

Right now though, I have to push it to the back of my mind as it’s training day (not the quite brilliant movie featuring Denzel Washington), and One Fan Dan is on his way to pick me and the rest of the Ashford Posse up. I need a clear head otherwise I won’t take in a lot of what’s being taught today, or even worse cause myself a mischief.

The car is full of jokes and laughter…..Oh and Lee once again reminding me of what bands he had seen and I hadn’t. It’s ok, I still have my trump card for that argument! I’ve seen what I think is the greatest band in the world and he hasn’t – Pearl Jam! If you don’t know who they are and you like grunge/rock music, you need to look them up, they are frickin’ amazing and it bugs Lee so much that I’ve seen them and he hasn’t!

With the name dropping of bands done we pulled up at Hawkinge Community Centre raring to get started. The four of us raced into the hall and began setting up the ring as others began to pile in. This week I did my fair share and helped out a lot. The fetching and carrying, building of the ring, placing the wood, you name it I did it this week. I know some of you are saying that it makes a change, and yes you’re right, but as you’ll read later on, maybe I helped out a bit too much.

Warm up was held by Luke aka Chris Castle this week. A nice gentle introduction to the mornings events it was too. Nothing too taxing at all for my slowly fading body of mine. So much so that i was actually looking forward to the cardio section. I mean come on, six days before the show, there’s no way that we’ll be going all out today…….Man did these words come back to kick me not just in the arse, but all over the hall we were in!

Cardio time was again more circuits. Eight stations, two rounds, 45 seconds a station. Simple! This week we had to pair up and do the circuit together, so myself and Lee decided to push each other along this week and team up. The activities this week were as follows –
Push Ups
Back To Back Wall Sit
Lock Up & Push Away
Sit Ups
Reverse Whips
Plank & Jump
Turnbuckle Wheelbarrow

If you read my blog last week, you’ll know what the Turnbuckle Wheelbarrow is (and no, it’s not a position from the Karma Sutra. You have no idea how many people asked me that…). So for the benefit of those that didn’t, here’s my quick recap – I lay on the floor and wait for Lee to pick up my legs. Using my hands I “walk” to a corner and climb the turnbuckles, using my hands to climb and pull, to the top and then back down again. Walk over to another corner etc., rinse and repeat. Caught up? Awesome! I’ll continue….

Lee and myself started at the squats station and away we went! We were going great, working through each station really well. A few slips here and there, mainly on the push ups, but we were good. A little heavy breathing on Lee’s part, a lot of heavy breathing on mine, but nothing too serious…..Until those turnbuckle wheelbarrows!

Now here is where my morning, and pretty much my week went tits up (nice parochial UK saying there. Who says I don’t educate?). As I was climbing the turnbuckles I felt something pop in my left shoulder and then this almighty hot searing pain run through the left part of my back and into said shoulder. I immediately dropped from the top turnbuckle down to the canvas in a heap and began cursing under my breath. I’m not going to lie, I was in agony, but I had a partner so I had to finish the circuit so off I walked to the next turnbuckle. BIG MISTAKE.

Every “step” (remember I’m using my hands to walk here) was putting more pressure on my popped shoulder and making it more and more unbearable. Eventually I got to the next corner, but I was done, there was no way I was gonna get my sorry ass up those turnbuckles, so I had to do something I detest….I had to pull out of training.

Just a quick break in proceedings to shill some social media bits and bobs. I actually have a page on Facebook totally dedicated to this blog. It’s cunningly called “Diary Of A 30 Something Trainee Wrestler”, and you can find it at this link right here. I’d also like to plug mine and South East Professional Wrestling social media too since I have your undivided attention. Click the links, have a gander and if you’re feeling particularly nice, maybe gives us a like and a follow too.

South East Professional Wrestling website – http://www.sepw.co.uk

South East Professional Wrestling Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/SouthEastPro

South East Professional Wrestling Twitter – https://twitter.com/SouthEastPro

My Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/30SomethingTrainee

My Twitter – https://twitter.com/ski101

I’ll now hand you back over to your regularly scheduled reading material…..

I slid under the bottom rope and walked over to the side of the hall in a mixture of pain and anger. Once again I had to sit out a bloody session due to my body failing on me. Inside I was livid, but I couldn’t let the others know so I put on a brave face and tried to see if there was something I could do to help ease the pain. I eventually settled on pushing the back of my shoulder/back onto a sharp corner to try to push back in whatever popped. Twenty five minutes later I was there. All the while cardio had finished and the lesson had moved on to some freestyle wrestling on the mats outside the ring. Granted I don’t usually participate in them, but having that option taken away from me was a bitter pill to swallow.

While I was trying to ease/forget the pain I found that where I was sat had a perfect vantage point to grab some shots of the Academy grappling. So one handed, I took the following shots of the group giving their all in some freestyle action.

I don’t know about you, but these shots really give off a Fight Club vibe don’t they?

With freestyle done, everyone (minus me) climbed into the ring to be shown a few new things. First up was the diving forward roll.

Now everybody in the class knows how to perform a forward roll, heck even I know, stop sniggering! It’s not my fault I can’t actually perform one, stupid inner ear dammit! But to dive forward and roll? That’s a different story.

So one by one they all lined up and instantly performed a diving forward roll…..Sometimes I hate my fellow academy members. =)

With that move licked, it was time to incorporate the diving forward roll into something. A backdrop to be precise. We have been taught a how to take and give a backdrop, but it’s been a fair few months and we’ve got some new recruits at the Academy since then, so H/C Matt thought it might be best to have a quick refresher. And in case you don’t know what a back body drop is (if so what the hell are you doing reading a blog like this?!), here is a quick video to show you exactly what one looks like…

The refresher lasted about ten minutes with the newer recruits picking it up very quickly and looking good in the process. With both the diving roll and backdrop still in everyone’s memory it was time to put the two together to make one fluid move…..the Sunset Flip.

I love a Sunset Flip! I remember watching The Rockers back in the day and in one particular match Marty Jannetty and Shawn Michaels both performed a sunset flip on both members of The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers at the exact same time. It looked beautiful and amazing, and impressed me so much that damn near 30 years later I still remember and talk about it!

Just because I think it’s awesome, an amazing feat for someone his size, and perfectly illustrates what it is, here’s Big Show performing a Sunset Flip on Erick Rowan.

Frickin cool or what?!

The boys and girls were soon performing this like seasoned vets in no time at all. In fact, Lee came over to me (I was now walking around with my left shoulder drooping, taking pics and videos of the class) and said that “I’m only three weeks into training and I’ve been on the top rope practising dives and now learnt how to sunset flip an opponent….somebody pinch me!” I did go to pinch him, but thought better of it as I’m injured and an easy target.

Looking at the clock we had roughly an hour left so H/C Matt called us all together ringside and divulged some information about Wrestival 3. The first thing he told us was the matchups for the show. At the time of writing only two matches have officially been announced, so with that in mind that is all I’m going to say here. This is what’s been confirmed so far….

We have the debuting “Savvy” Sid Scala against the first graduate from the SEPW Academy, “The Original” Conroy.

And the SEPW Heavyweight Champion Eddie Ryan will defend his title against his old foe JD Knight in a Table, Ladders and Chairs match!

Not going to lie, when we were told a TLC match was taking place, I let out a squeal of joy! I’m hoping I won’t be too near the action when the match takes place. Not sure I can bump that well on a table or ladder!

The second thing that H/C Matt told us all was, in my eyes at least, even bigger than the card and run down for Wrestival. Due to the resounding success of Hustle & Heart, the Academy will be presenting Hustle & Heart II on Sunday June 18th!! And as we sold out the smaller hall for the original show, we’ve been bumped up to the larger hall where all the main shows take place! The only caveat to that is management wants to keep the H&H shows smaller and intimate, so the hall will be split into two with a curtain running down the middle. Still a nice small intimate venue, but with a lot more room to do some high flying, death defying spots (before you ask, no I will not be busting out a Swanton from the top rope).

I looked at Lee and saw his eyes light up and I knew what he was thinking as I was thinking the same thing. If he keeps performing at this high level at training, he could be on that show! What a buzz for me if that happened! My two closest friends on the same show as me! Frickin amazing!

Matt the H/C soon brought the conversation back to Wrestival, and told us that for the last hour or so there would be some practice matches in preparation for the show. I can’t tell you all the matches that took place as that will spoil it for Saturday, but I can tell you that Conroy faced off against Chris Castle in a very evenly fought technical battle, and the team of One Fan Dan/Alex Aces/Rookie Matt squared up against the dastardly team of Luke Vega/2Tone/Axl Bludfist, where the nasty heels used every trick in the book to gain an advantage.

As soon as the practice matches had finished we were told to get the ring down quick smart as the centre needed the hall back ASAP. So we all ran around like lunatics taking the ring down and putting it back into storage. I’m sure we took it down in about 14 minutes which is a new record!

All of us congregated in the foyer after we had finished and had our usual catch up with each other and everyone asking me how I was feeling to which I replied “in bloody pain but it’ll pass”. A quick chat with Ollie about football/soccer as both of our respective teams face each other this Saturday right before Wrestival starts, and how we were going to be able to watch the match. And then that was it, home time! The Posse said their goodbyes to everyone there and moseyed on back to Ashford where I think One Fan, Conroy and Lee had an afternoon nap, while I spent the rest of the day popping pills and putting heat pads on my shoulder to ease the pain. Hopefully this gets better before Saturday otherwise MC’ing Wrestival could be a bit of a pain!

Closing Time

I know what you’re all thinking! Has he caved on the chocolate embargo? Well the answer to that is……a little bit! I had a crappy day at work on Wednesday, so I bought myself a small bar to cheer myself up, yes folks I’m that easy to please! Apart from that small, almost miniscule bar, I’ve been good. But I’ll tell you all this, after training this Sunday I am having the biggest bar I can find and demolishing it!

My shoulder/back is a lot better. Haven’t got a full range of movement yet, say about 80%, but it’s a lot better. Get the odd twinge when I forget about it, but apart from that I should be good to MC this Saturday, which by the way, I’m still psyched for! I will conquer those damn nerves and use them to my advantage. And then I’ll give SEPW management a headache because my performance will be so outstanding they won’t know who to use for the next main show, myself or MC Ant Masters!*

Next week’s blog is going to be two parts. The first part will be about myself at Wrestival 3 and the show itself. It won’t be a full on show review as I’m obviously busy presenting it, but I’ll try my hardest to remember and put it all down on paper/keyboard.

The second part will be about training the very next morning as usual, with a slight twist. SEPW management have asked the well respected veteran UK talent, The Saint, to hold a seminar for us. I will be covering that in as much detail as possible, and maybe try to get a quick interview from him too, you never know! 😉

Anyway, I’m off now to write my flash cards for the show, don’t want to forget wrestler’s weights and locations now do we? So with that in mind…..


*I know it’s not going to happen, but who would have predicted Jack Swagger becoming world champion? Gotta keep the faith true believers!