Exclusive Interview: UK's newest indy Fight Forever Wrestling talk how they got Cody Rhodes and Bruce Prichard on the same show
The UK Wrestling scene is about to get one huge spotlight, not just from the launch of WWE NXT UK, but because World of Sport Wrestling is coming back to British television. Never before have British wrestlers been given such a huge stage to showcase their talent on, which is great for us because there's a reason Jeff Jarrett thinks the British independent scene has the 'best crop of undiscovered talent', and that is that it really does!
Regardless of these two huge boosts to the wrestling scene in the UK, the independent scene has been thriving anyway! But one specific promotion has caused a lot of buzz by popping up out of nowhere and advertising a card that would make most well-established promotions jealous.
I am, of course, talking about Fight Forever Wrestling, which has announced a debut tour in December this year featuring the likes of Cody and Brandi Rhodes, Flip Gordon, WWE NXT UK's Zack Gibson, Travis Banks and Flash Morgan Webster, World of Sport's Viper and Kay Lee Ray. They've also got Bruce Prichard and Joseph Conrad's 'Something to Wrestle With' live Podcast show and an after-party hosted by Hall of Famer Charles Wright as Papa Shango and the Godfather.
I was intrigued as to how the two men behind Fight Forever Wrestling, Simon, and Jonathan Kay, had managed to put together a card like this despite having, as they admit themselves, absolutely no experience in doing this kind of thing. So I absolutely had to reach out and speak to them about the UK's newest wrestling promotion and how they pulled it all together.
You guys are self-financing this venture, which some would see as a big risk, what do you stand to lose if it isn’t’ successful?
Fight Forever: Mainly our pride! That and a significant amount of money from our own savings. No business venture is completely without risk and we are very pleased with early ticket sales numbers. We are determined to make this work and we believe very strongly that it will.
With six months until the shows actually happen, and a self-professed lack of experience, on top of other start-ups like 5 Star running into issues, there is understandably some skepticism towards you guys and Fight Forever. What can you say to reassure people?
Fight Forever: We’ve surrounded ourselves with experienced people who have worked in the business for years. We’re not just going in blind and hoping for the best. The advice we’re receiving on a daily basis has us confident that we can sustain our promotion and be around for a long time to come. Whatever happens, this tour will go ahead.
Despite having no experience in running a wrestling promotion beforehand you’ve managed to book Cody Rhodes and Brandi Rhodes and Bruce Prichard. What did you do to convince them to get on board?
Fight Forever: In terms of Bruce & Conrad it was as simple as making contact with Conrad via Twitter and putting forward a strong proposal. We met them both for breakfast in New Orleans over Wrestlemania weekend and got along really well. Everybody was happy to move forward and we had a contract over to them the following week to secure the deal.
We made initial contact with Brian Wittenstein (Cody & Brandi’s agent) prior to WrestleMania and met with him briefly at WrestleCon to discuss a potential deal. I think it really helped that we could state with confidence that Bruce & Conrad would be on the tour.
A lot of your announced talent have recently signed WWE UK contracts, are you not worried about the possibility of them being unable to appear for Fight Forever? Or can you confirm that these wrestlers will be allowed to appear?
Fight Forever: We aren’t worried but, quite rightly, WWE have first say when it comes to their talent. There are no conflicts in terms of scheduling with our advertised talent. If WWE decides to unexpectedly pull any wrestlers for whatever reason then we will inform fans of this ahead of time and do our very best to book the best available replacement talent.
As a new independent promotion in the British Indy wrestling scene, can you already see, or do you think, WWE’s NXT UK expansion is going to have an effect? And will that be a good thing for new promotions like yourself?
Fight Forever: It gives exposure to a lot of fantastic wrestlers in the UK. Not just NXT UK but now we also have ITV’s World of Sport returning. So many talented men and women are about to become household names and that’s a good thing for independent wrestling. We have recruited stars from NXT UK, ROH and World of Sport which means we can book some amazing matches that fans won’t have seen elsewhere.
You already have a great looking roster with the likes of Cody Rhodes, Flip Gordon, Travis Banks, Zack Gibson, Flash Morgan Webster, Viper and Kay Lee Ray to name just a few. Can we expect more announcements leading up to the debut tour?
Fight Forever: Maybe 1 or 2 more, but we’re quite stacked and we want to make sure the fans don’t get burnt out with too many matches.
Do you have your eye on anyone else? Which talent would you love to bring in to Fight Forever?
Fight Forever: We had a list of 30 top targets for our roster a few months back and we’re pleased that we were able to sign a good number of them for the tour.
We would love to bring in some top NJPW talent but unfortunately, our tour dates clash with their shows on this occasion so it wasn’t a possibility. In terms of UK talent we would love to work with Zack Sabre Jr and Will Ospreay in the not too distant future should they be available.
Can you let us know a little bit more about the set-up of the promotion, how many title belts will there be? When will the belts themselves be revealed? Will there be ring announcers, commentary and a general manager?
Fight Forever: There will be two titles initially, a Men’s World Championship and a Women’s World Championship. We will reveal these in late September/October and we have something very different in mind in terms of design! We feel that the GM thing has been done to death elsewhere so will be taking a different approach. No commentary for this tour as it won’t be broadcast but we will have Steve Lynskey (who is also our Head of Talent Relations) as a ring announcer.
You’re doing something a little different to most Indy shows, giving wrestling fans a wrestling show, a live podcast and an after-party with Charles Wright as Papa Shango or the Godfather. Tell me more about this decision
Fight Forever: We really want to offer fans an amazing, once in a lifetime experience. There are lots of excellent promotions in the UK and we felt that Fight Forever needed to bring something a bit different to the party. With the talent roster that we have on board, the in-ring action will be phenomenal and second to none in terms of quality but for us it’s about creating a ‘complete experience’, something that fans won’t forget. We aim to give wrestling fans the best night of their lives when they attend our shows.
York Hall is one of your debut tour venues and is fairly synonymous with pro wrestling in the UK, is that what made it a desirable venue to launch the promotion?
Fight Forever: We got lucky with York Hall - it was offered to us via a venue scouting agency - and with it’s great reputation for hosting combat sport events we couldn’t refuse. We’re really excited to take our show there on the 7th.
Tell me more about Fight Forever’s plans after the debut tour, which cities will they be appearing in, any venues that you really want to use? Or is it a case of seeing how these first few dates go first?
Fight Forever: In the hunt for venues over the last six months we’ve seen plenty that we’d love to run in future, we have a list in mind for future tours. With us being from the Manchester area we’d like to run a very special event there next time. Watch this space.
As someone living in the United Kingdom, I am all for more indy wrestling promotions cropping up. British Wrestling has been put on the map in a big way with promotions like ICW, Rev Pro and Progress receiving international recognition. It's early days for Fight Forever Wrestling, but if they can avoid what I'm going to affectionately call 'Five Starring' it up, then they might be someone to keep an eye on for the future.
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