Many moons ago I was a lowly physiotherapist working in the Welsh town of Merthyr Tydfil. Living in a small rented terrace, I ventured out several times a week to rehearse with the local musical theatre company. In the month of warm weather that was known as summer I liked to hike around the Brecon Beacons. Life was good.
Nobody knew that I was harbouring a secret identity. At night, I’d put on my special costume and dispense my own brand of justice. That’s right folks. (In my best gravelly voice) I’m Batman. Not really, in the world of British Professional Wrestling I was known as the number one referee, Charlie Fatt.
I’m not exactly sure how I came to be a wrestling referee. I noticed a story in the paper advertising wrestling training and having been a fan of the WWE and such since I was little, I went along to check it out.
I wandered into the Cathays Community Centre in Cardiff one Saturday afternoon to discover a group of people of all shapes and sizes running around the outside of a rusty old wrestling ring. Following that, they entered the ring and started to practise “bumping” with the trainers.
A “bump” is the wrestling term for falling on your front or back without hurting yourself. By outstretching your arms and slapping the mat, and landing with as much surface area as possible, it’s possible to make lot of noise but not hurt yourself (much).
Eventually, one of the trainers, Karl Griffiths, but known to his fans as former Celtic wrestling champion Caiman, invited me to join the training session. I declined, as I wasn’t particularly interested in performing in lycra undies and not much else, but did volunteer to help out in some way. Karl suggested I come to their next show and maybe referee a match. He explained that my height, or rather my lack of height, would make the wrestlers seem even larger. “That sounds great,” I said, but my spider sense was tingling. What had I gotten myself into?
A few weeks later I’m driving to Cardiff for my first show with James, a mate from Sydney. I had my zebra stripe shirt and black trousers, standard issue for a referee, but still hadn’t come up with my wrestling name and was getting desperate for ideas. As we pulled up to the venue in my rusty beaten up Ford (it cost me 350 quid and I drove it for three years until the fuel tank fell off on the A465), he suggests Charlie Fatt. I don’t have a clue where the Charlie came from but my second cousin is Jeff Fatt from The Wiggles. With no better names on offer, I became Charlie Fatt.
Nervously stepping into the venue, I was greeted by Caiman who informed me that there would be a few hundred people coming to watch the show and that I would be making my professional wrestling debut (with no preparation or training) as the one and only referee for the two hour card. Oh boy.
Next week I’ll write about Charlie Fatt’s grand debut. One .. two ... three.