THE story so far...
I’ve unwittingly become the official referee for Celtic Wrestling, a professional wrestling promotion in Cardiff, Wales. With absolutely no training whatsoever, I survive my first ever two hour show. To my surprise, I’m invited back.
You’d think that there wouldn’t be much demand for professional wrestling referees. It’s not like you need much training (I didn’t have any). And the rules aren’t hard to enforce (there aren’t any). Somehow, my profile was posted on a UK wrestling database online and I started to receive invitations to work for other promotions around the country. I ended up politely declining all offers.
You see, in my entire wrestling career as Charlie Fatt, I earned no money at all, not a single penny.
Unless you’re working for a major US promotion like World Wrestling Entertainment, you are not truly a professional wrestler. You’re more like an amateur “professional” wrestler. I wouldn’t think that there is a single wrestler in the UK, let alone Australia, who doesn’t have a day job. An independent wrestling show is not cheap to put on, so by the time the promoter hires a venue, publicises the event and pays the talent (the wresters), there isn’t much left for the lowly referee or ring announcer.
Celtic Wrestling was growing in popularity and the shows were now a monthly event. I had started training with the local wrestlers and was best mates with the then champion and local promoter, Karl “Caiman” Griffiths. Even the national promoter, UK wrestling legend Andre Baker, had started to speak to me.
Now before each show, I’d be briefed about the matches, who would go over (win) and we’d plan out any high spots (moves off the top rope, or a series of exciting moves). We’d also organise any referee distractions. Usually, this involved a member of the heel (bad guys) tag team turning me away for an argument while his partner cheated.
My favourite heel to work alongside was Tank. He was a 170kg monster with a wicked sense of humour. He’d grab me by the collar and turn me away from the shenanigans. I’d berate him for touching a wrestling official and, as planned, I would then have to force him back into the corner of the ring, except Tank didn’t move as we had agreed. I pretended to push him with all my might, while the whole time Tank stood still, with his arms crossed laughing at me, along with the audience. Eventually, he’d give me a wink and I’d turn around, using my best acting talents to look surprised and confused that the faces (good guys) were now unconscious, the innocent victims of a concealed (but not from behind the ears) set of knuckledusters.
I still occasionally pull out Charlie Fatt’s confused look. It’s really effective at the video store when I get asked about a late fee. “No, I’m certain I returned Titanic on time. I have no idea what happened.”
Next week: Son of Abdullah the Butcher, first blood matches and (possibly) the untimely demise of Charlie Fatt.