I'm writing this in January. I came back to America in November and I went over to Europe in August. Hopefully my memory is fresh and I can share what a great experience I had with all of you.
First off, before I go into the whole trip, I'll explain how this all came about. Oct 2003, I went over and wrestled for FWA in London, England. I had a great time. That was my first introduction to England and it was excellent. A year goes by. At this time, I'm lucky enough to be a full time pro wrestler. This means I don't have anything holding me back from exploring new wrestling options. Alex Shane is the head-chief of FWA and I tell him of what I'd like to do. Alex is the man and before I know it, I'm going to be in England from Sept 1st through Nov 1st. WORD!
At the same time I had been in contact with Brian Dixon of AllStar Wrestling. All thanks to good words from Chad Collyer and American Dragon, and maybe Nigel McGuiness, ya never know with that crazy limey :) I let him know that I wanted to head over to England and he didn't have a problem welcoming to his team, if I wanted to come over. So I knew I had a spot with the Allstart team, but we didn't set anything in stone.
Now I know I have a plane ticket thanks to Mike from Extreme Central UK Wrestling Shop. Many props to them btw. Word buzzes that I'm going to be over for a while. From there I get some emails asking me to wrestle in various places while I'm over. I take most the offers. Alex says just come on over and things will get taken care of. PEOPLE, I went over there with about 12 shows/dates written down in my book and knowing I'm going to be over there for 2 months. I really went without a steady plan and it's one of the craziest things i've ever done.
August 31st, my roomate drops me off at the airport. I go through Detroit to Gatwick. I arrive with no sleep. On the plane, they only have one screen instead of the movie gimmicks infront of the seats. Not only do they have one screen (and jerseygirl was the movie, blah) but the whole right side of the plane's earphones were broken. I was on the right side and I got a SWEET coupon for 50 bucks off a Northwest flight for 200dollars or more. YIPPEE! Luckily I made friends. I talked the whole time with these two dudes going over to play European basketball. They were from Oklahoma or something. I also made friends with this cute black chick from London. They were dig'n the accent already! Playboy Barry picked me up at the airport and took me back to his house for some sleep. More on Barry later as he rules! Playboy is the nickname Corino gave him. Why? I don't know, but it stuck and it rules!
That first night I spent hanging out with Paul Travell and Alex Shane. I told them I had come over with 44pounds(80bucks). Travell says something along the lines of "ROCKSTAR" and from there I knew what a great trip this was going to be.
I knew when I got there that I hate 4 shows in a row. The first two shots were in Scotland for BCW and then 2 shows in England for FWA. London to Scotland was a 7 or 8 hour drive. The car was myself, Joe Legend, Travell and Shane. It was a fun ride. We had absolutely no room. Joe introduced me to a lot of cool stuff like The Sport newspaper and Strawberry water. The Sport is a newspaper where the last 3 pages gives Soccer highlights. The first 57 pages are hot nude chicks being naked.
Colin Mckay headed up BCW. The First night I wrestled Jonny Storm, the next night I wrestled Trent Steel. I forget which night it was, but we only went clubbing one night in Scotland. I was pretty excited. The American in Scotland was ready to whooo all the ladies with his crazy accent and charming personality. I got hammered for the first time in a long time and I couldn't get one girl to even look at me. I was in awe. Luckily the whole trip wasn't like this, but it wasn't a good way to start out. Also, on this trip I met Manchester's finest: Declan and John. Much more on these two later!
On the way back to England I headed back to England with Doug Williams and Steve Corino. It was nice to finally get to know both Doug and Steve personally as people, as opposed to the regular short talk we'd had on ROH shows. Fozzy is FWA webmaster and good guy. He gave me a camera to try and capture some stuff of myself and Corino on the road, so we had some fun with that including me taping Doug taking a piss in the LOO.
The two FWA matches I had were against James Tighe and Jonny Storm. They were both for TV. Forgot to add that now that I'm in England, I'm a TV star for TWC, The Wrestling Channel. After the first show a bunch of us go to a local pub. I think we were in a town called Morecambe. We all head to the pub. Now this is a seaside town. I guess that means everyone's a hardass and all that jazz. Fuck if I knew that. We grab a table and I start talking to this girl. Telling her how I'm a wrestler and from America. Buncha blokes come over and now notice we're "outsiders". The night goes on and I guess most of these guys in the pub want to have one out with all of us, me being totally obvlivoius to any of it. Stevie Knight suggests we leave b4 the bar closes. As we all get up to leave, some two dudes go for it and try and start an all out war. It was awesome. James Tighe I think slapped some dude and I grabbed a chair outta this guys hand right as he was about to crack Hade Vanson with it. Everyone just jetted for the door and luckily I'm alive and able to write this. That night we stayed in the most cracked out hotel ever. Corino's walls were legit covered in blood. He was a big fan of that place.
After the second show I went back to Playboy Barry's house. I ended up staying there for 3 days. Barry is awesome for putting me up. The day after the FWA show I called up Brian Dixon, on my new British cell phone thanks to Fozzy. Alex had called Brian and set some stuff up. Brian said he'd be happy for me to come on over and work with his guys. PHEW. Now I was set. I had a place to live up in Birkenhead now (right next to Liverpool) and I could also work weekdays for Brian. I jumped on a bunch of trains and Brian's daughter, Tish picked me up. That night I wrestled my worst match of the whole tour. It was a 3way babyface match w/ Kid Kool and Dean Xtreme.
Brian Dixon is one of the most famous and successful British wrestling promoter. Brian runs 5-7 shows a week during the summer. Sometimes more. For the most part I wrestled at Butlins Holiday Camps. If I was to describe this, I would say it's a place where families go on vacation if they can't afford Disneyland or somewhere cool. They have entertainment all over the place and AllStar Wrestling contributes to that. The thing is, there are different Butlins camps all over England so we would be constantly driving from Bognor Regis to Minehead to Skegness. For the most part, that was the loop. Monday off, then wrestle there tues-thurs. From there I would go off to other shows on Fri, Sat and Sun.
After i joined up with Dixon, my first show away from them was in Germany for WXW. I got to the airport the night before and attempted to sleep there, but by the time I got there I just decided to wait to get on my 6:45 flight. I met this really nice girl, i forget her name, but she guided me through the Europe-to-Europe plane rides. I did get some sleep on the 50 minute plane ride. That would be all the sleep I would
get. When I landed I remembered that the promoter had told me Robbie Brookside was on my flght. While getting my luggage, I approached to what looked like Robbie and introduced myself. We chatted and as we both grabbed our luggage I approached my new lady friend and gave her the ultra slick double kiss on each cheek. From there Brookside was going nuts. He couldn't believe it...Cabana was over!
This was my first time in Germany. I spent a lot of time talking to Robbie and just trying to sink in how stuff used to be and how stuff is. At this point in my trip I'm REALLY GETTING INTO the old british wrestling and loving WORLD OF SPORT on the tele. Robbie is great because he was wrestling that style back in the day and he can still go now. He's 38 years old and he's been wrestling for 24some odd years. That's some good shit right there.
WXW was in Essen, Germany. Hate is the promoter. Yes, that's his name. I wrestled Ares of Swiss Money Holding and then later-on I wrestled Robbie Brookside. Ares was a great way to wrestle my custom style infront of the German fans. Wrestling Brookside was awesome b/c I could also wrestle the British style and learn from Robbie. Earlier in the day I joined a camp Robbie was running and I'm greatful for the knowledge he was willing to share. The WXW crowd is something I won't ever forget. They were very cool and it was so nice to know that people in Germany knew me...and they knew me well. The crowd would surround the ring and make crazy german soccer chants and songs. I was way into it. The next day we got to the airport the latest I've ever gotten to an airport. Our flight was at 7am and we there at 6:42. Brookside lost his passport. Joe Legend was on our flight and he was all about getting on the fllght. I felt kind of bad, but Robbie said to go and he'd take care of it. We got on the plane with time to spare, don't ask me how. Later on Robbie said he had the police marking out and almost got on the plane even w/out a passport....rockstar!
From the airport, Legend and I did a five hour train ride to get back to Skegness Butlins camps.
At this point I had been wrestling with Allstar a lot. I think my favorite person to wrestle with was James Mason. James is my age, yet considered a grizzled vet over there. He's been doing the job since 14. He's one hell of a wrestler and I know he got a little time for TNA, since then he's lost 25pounds and is getting in great shape. He's right up there with Doug Williams, but unfortunately Doug is jacked, James isn't. I also had a lot of fun times on the Allstar camps wrestling with PN Newz, Broady Steel, Five Star Flash and Mikey Whiplash. I had a nice series of matches with Robby Dynamite and also made the best tag team combination when myself and Frankie Sloan dominated the tag team scene in Allstar Wrestling for a good weeks time, perhaps a fortnight.
The Butlins camps were good times for fuckin around. I think I met three of the funniest fucks over there. Broady Steel is the only 6'9 300lb comedian I ever met. Recently I met Spanky's Knuckles. He's close, but nowhere near Steel. Great sense of humor. Now Frankie Sloan and The Flatliner are another style of humor. It revolves totally around showing your ass, being naked, or ripping someone to shreads for your own amusement which I totally approve of as long as it's not me. Had some great laughs with these guys.
I had a good time one night hanging out w/ Broady Steel hitting golfballs at Mike Ahearns indoor golfing pub. Mike is a former British-American Gladiator. I think he's major famous over there. Not sure, but he was huge and nice and hooked me up w/ some free Coke Lights. Broady also likes to remind me of a night when we went out w/ PN Newz and I called this girl a FUCKING TWAT as loud as I could in this huge bar. It was great. We got a lot of hard looks, but no one was fuckin w/ me when I had two 300lb plus dudes with me :)
At this point in the trip I was also keeping some of my commitments and making appearances at ECUK in Manchester. That's the wrestling store that brought me over. When i was in Manchester I'd stay with my new mate's, Declan and John. My roomate Kip in the states is a speedtalker. Speedtalkin is all about wheel'n and deal'n, making shit happen. Declan is a great speed talker and John was one of the quietest dudes I ever met. It was a great challenge for me to try and get John out of his shell a little bit. Hopefully it worked, I'm not too sure. ECUK was nice too. It's a cool little shop surrounded by all this awesome bootleg stores. Mike runs this joint and is a really cool dude. I think we along really well and he made for good conversation too. In Manchester, my night life consisted of JABEZZ. That was club we went to ALWAYS. I think i was a regular there, wierd. They were all about the American accent!
Towards the middle of my trip I was also now wrestling for FCW. This is a group of guys, headed by Kevin Oniel, who ran a cool little fed in Birmingham. I ended up wrestling five shows throughout the trip for FCW. I had so much fun and those guys all took care of me really well. I got to go out a couple nights in Birmingham and it was a fun time. Many thanks to Jack, Spud, Dave, Rob, Cameron...fuck, there were so many of em, they all know I love em. Good times. Jack, Spud and Dave all put me up for at least a night, so I totally thank them for that.
I talked before about TWC. The Wrestling Channel. TWC is available on the equivalent to being a cable channel, I think. It's available all throughout the UK and Ireland. The headquarters are based out of Ireland. Friday nights they run this show called The Bagpipe Report. It's a one hour show with news and gossip and some good stuff. Sean, the big cheese over there, brought me over to do the show. It was a great experience. I flew into Dublin, Ireland on a Monday. I think it was beginning of October. I did like a 30 minute interview and a couple skits. I couldn't of asked for an easier day of work. I met all the people that make this channel happen. Everyone was way cool. Sean then took me out to lunch and then we did a mini tour of Dublin. It was very pretty. There were brick streets and it was very old fashioned. Every single stereotypical Irish bar name in the US, was there. Flanagans, Obriens, Olearys, Patricks, Sullivans, it goes on and on. Those fuckers speak so fast it was hard to make out a lot of the dialect. Luckily Sean was very easy to understand and I had a great day with him.
TWC is the greatest thing. I know some people try and complain and knock it about showing this or showing that. Think about it though. How can you complain. This guy has put on a channel that only plays the best wrestling in the world. What more could you ask for. There would be no need to spend thousands of dollars on tapes or anything, it's all one channel away. World of Sport also plays on TWC. AWESOME!
At some point around this time, Alex Shane let me know that there was a spot on British Uprising 3 if I wanted to extend my stay. It was a very hard choice because that would mean i would have to miss the ROH show w/ Jushin Liger. Two very important shows. I made the decision in the end to extend my stay. A couple of reasons. I was having a blast and ya never know when I might be able to this. Also, if I was to stay, I had like 4 more shows that I could have done. In the end, I think it was a smart move.
I did two days wrestling for Jon Freemantle. He runs Premier Wrestling in London. This was what I was really looking forward to. Jon runs wrestling shows based on the old Britsh style of wrestling. His shows were 4 matches and were done in the rounds system. On his shows, they were best 2/3 falls, 6 3minute rounds. What loaded shows these were. On these two nights, here were the guys in the buildings: Myself, Robbie Brookeside, Mel Sanders, Johnny Kidd, Kendo Kashin, Dave Taylor, Paul Birchall, Phil Powers, Steve Grey and some more. What a lockerroom that was. The second night I wrestled Johnny Kidd in what I consider my greatest experience over there. Johnny is 50 years old and he was blowing me up in there. What a class act and a star. He's really a throwback and I think his style is what the Pure Wrestling in ROH is all about. I think it would be awesome to have Johnny come over and do an exhibition Pure Wrestling match. I just have to get on Gabe...anyone want to join me?
Towards the end of October, I headed back to Germany for GSW. The show was ran great. It was a packed show. I was the opener. No complaints there. I got to hang out all night. The show consisted of Mick Foley, Steve Corino, Joe Legend, Riptide from ECW, Michael Kovac from Germany, Doug Willaims (who was on the flight w/ me), Zach Gowen, 5Star Flash from England and a handful of others. Chris Hero was supposed to be on the show, but something happened where he got stuck in Scotland. After doing WXW and GSW I was really touched. The people of Germany were chanting my name and were really behind me. I thought this was so cool and I would've never expected anything like this. I hope to be back for GSW & WXW soon.
They had a convention in the afternoon. People would put on name tags. I took full advantage of this. I put on my name tag "David Hasselhoff". I'm a huge mark for Norm McDonalds theory. From that point on, GERMANS LOVED ME. I then marked huge when in my match, I got a big DAH-VID HASSELHUFF chant. Big smile on Cabana's face. That night I also met my Dream German chick. This girl was as money as they get, great personality, cute as could be and I think even dug the Cabana charm. Hopefully she'll marry me in the future, but I doubt it, lol.
Doug and I leave in the morning for the airport. Hero left 2 of his huge bags in Germany and was going to pick them up, but didn't make the trip. Hero's buddy Tas, Demands (crazy germans) I take Hero's bag. Now i have 4 bags and it'll probably cost 60 bucks in extra baggage. Luckily, Doug and I play McGiver and find a way to squeeze everything so we could both take them and not get charged. We go through security and everythings OK. As we're about to go on the plan I tell Doug how we should go through his bag and see what's shaking. As I search through, I whip out this GIANT SWISS ARMY KNIFE and mine and Doug's jaws DROP! That Asshole left me w/ a huge knife in his bag to cross country lines. For some odd reason, security wasn't too tight, but imagine how much shit I would of gotten in. I shake my fist at you Chris Hero. I was also fortunate enough to take a 4 hour train ride with 4 huge bags.
After Germany, I had shows for FCW, then went up to Scotland, then go back to FCW. After the final FCW show I had 4 days off. These were four needed days off b/c before that I had wrestled 47 matches in 49 days.
The next three days after Germany were real nice as I get to spend time with Chris Hero who was in the area doing a mini tour himself. We spent a whole 6 hour train ride together going up to Scotland in what was a good time. It was also nice b/c I got to spend some good time w/ Dlo Brown, who was doing a 3 week tour of England. I got to know DLo pretty well and he's a hell of a guy too.
The last two weeks were spent in Manchester at my mate John's house. Many thanks to John and his family for having me. Declan randomly left to Ireland the last week, lol. Rockstar.
I wrestled for Stevie Knights promotion inbetween my wait for Uprising. That was a fun show. He had probably 700 people. I thought it would be a great night to make some money on gimmicks, but I was way off. If your name isn't DLo Brown, you weren't racking it in. Good for him, he must of done 200 Poloroids.
Uprising was great too. FWA did an awesome job of promoting there biggest show of the year. Terry Funk, Jimmy Hart, Aj Styles, Ulf Herman, Myself, DLo were all brought in from "the outside". They drew about 2000 people in a big dome. It was true professional show and I thought it MADE FWA. They were a bigtime promotion running big time venues now! Awesome. They have TV and a huge following in England. It's the place to be and hats off to everyone over there making it happen. Alex Shane is the pimp of the UK. That night I got ditched by my lady friend, but I had a great time at the bar w/ all the heads making my last night on my tour a good one to go out on.
I basically just wrote a book. Congrats if you made it through all that. It's not over though :)
That was what I did. I do want to share some stuff with everyone.
Here's a list of things that I took note of while over there:
* The English hate ICE
* It's Expensive as balls over there
* Those fuckers don't have free refills, this kills
* Word Comparison: NIKE to USA like UMBRO to UK
* The English put Mayo and Butter on everything
* On fags/cigs they have signs like "Smoking will KILL YOU" and "You Will DIE if you Smoke"
* If you don't have a mullett or a spike, YOU ARE NOT COOL
* The toilets over there are like the black hole. These things are unreal deep. BUT...not one of them works, not one.
* Sandwiches are retarded in England: Shrimp & Bumblegum, Turkey & Charcoal, I'm talkin the wierdest combos ever
* You don't say Z. You say ZED. C-ZED-W
* The have only Hot and Cold faucets. You can't turn anything to warm. When washing your hands you either burn or freeze your hands.
* I was once asked if I was Simon Cowell in a bar, no joke, I laughed for days.
* You can get "killed" over who you support as your football/soccer team.
* England is as Old Fashion as it comes people.
Favorite British Wrestlers:
* Vic Faulkner
* Johnny Saint
* Les Kellet
* Johnny Kidd
* Steve Grey
* Rollerball Rocco
* Jim Breaks
* Dave Finlay
* Clive Myers
* Danny Collins
* Mike Jordan
* Ken Joyce
* Robbie Brookside
* Keith Hayward
I've never done more traveling in my life. I didn't complain once. I actually enjoyed traveling all around. I've also never been on so many trains in my life. I must of taken over 25 train rides to different places. It was very peaceful. If there was a day when I wasn't on the road for a 3 hour trip, it was a peace of cake. Big Broady said that until you do a traveling schedule in UK, you don't know what traveling the roads are. I believe it.
My trip was a complete success. I would totally like to thank everyone. Phil Austin drove me Bristol to the airport when I was stuck. This dude named Chad hooked me up with a bunch of posters and programs of old British Wrestling. They're awesome! Alex Shane for basically hooking it all up. ECUK and Mike for helping me out. Barry, Declan, John, Spud, Jack, Dave for giving me places to sleep when I needed it. Brian Dixon for allowing me to work everyday and giving me a house to stay in. Steve Knight and Lynsky for being dickheads, loveable dickheads! The list goes on. It was great experience and I can't wait to go back. England is for sure my second home. Fozzy for the DVD hook up! Sean at TWC, Kevin w/ FCW, Felix/Hate w/ WXW, Alex w/ GSW and all those guys. Colin w/ BCW. Did I win an award?
Now that you've read this. Very soon, Colt Cabana: European Vacation will come out on DVD. It's a 2 disc set. It's going to have matches, behind the scenes stuff, promos and much more fun stuff on it. I totally encourage you to get it. I will also be putting a special deal with it. I collected loads of programs, cards, and posters from various shows. You will have an option to get the *Bonus Package* which will include all these goodies that will include names such as Dave Taylor, Kendo Kashin, Johnny Kidd, Robbie Brookside, Mick Foley, Steve Corino, Johnny Storm, Alex Shane of course, COLT CABANA.
It will all be available at www.ColtCabana.com and all orders will be very special and appreciated and will be sure to shipped out ASAP. Thanks a lot guys.
GOOD TIMES, GREAT MEMORIES,