As mentioned in the April Newsletter, An All Party Parliamentary group was formed in mid-2020 to discuss and investigate the British Professional Wrestling Industry as it currently stands and to make recommendations on the future direction the industry should take. If you would like to read the full inquiry report, published in March, then you can find that here.
House of Pain Academy have been proactive in regards to the safety and standards offered to our trainees, and when organisations and individuals were asked to submit their evidence for inclusion in this report, we were happy to be given the opportunity to do so. If you would like to read the document that we submitted then you can do so here.
We are taking these recommendations from the APPG seriously, and will be implementing any of their recommended measures that we do not already do over the next few months.
The APPG’s report findings and recommendations are as follows:
- Wrestling has fallen between the categories of sport and theatre, sometimes characterised as sports entertainment. The panel recommends that wrestling training schools be considered as ‘sporting’ and shows, promotions and associated activity be considered ‘theatrical’ or ‘artistic’ or ‘performative’, in respect of future guidance, legislation and regulation.
- The minimum health and safety standards across independent wrestling in Britain is worryingly low. The parliamentarians have recommended a raft of measures most notably, enhanced requirements under the licencing and insurance arrangements wrestling companies have in place, and the adoption of concussion protocols. Signed PAR Q fitness forms, guidance from the Health and Safety Executive and minimum first aid training are also recommended.
- Wrestling’s own MeToo movement, known as SpeakingOut highlighted stories of sexual abuse, assault and predation. The report makes a number of recommendations in response to the movement, including hardwiring the voice of abuse survivors into British wrestling, the development of practical guides for first responders and working to establish case management systems to address allegations of abuse.
- Wrestling training schools have insufficient protections in place, particularly given they are regularly working with minors. The report recommends that, as is proposed under current legislation, sports coaches be recognised as a position of trust for the purposes of child sexual offences and that wrestling coaches be considered sports coaches for this purpose. A number of interim steps in relation to safeguarding and data protection are also proposed.
- The wrestling industry suffers from a lack of official representation, and the report recommends the establishment of trade bodies to more effectively promote British wrestling.
- Other recommendations include a call for increased data collection about the industry, appropriate memorialisation of great British wrestling talents building on the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame for Scotland, work to better understand the gender pay gap in wrestling, infrastructure to support wrestlers working overseas and better measures to accommodate visiting talent, and creating a safety standard for wrestling rings.
In this months issue we’re looking at HOP’s first ever virtual debut day, the APPG Inquiry into Wrestling, and the next phase of our reopening plans post-covid.
If you have anything you would like mentioned in the May issue of Academy News, please drop us an email!
by Stephen Cummins
(Editors Note: The links in this article are not affiliate links, and we don’t make a penny from the sale of any of these items. They’re purely for illustration and information purposes and there is no obligation to buy any of these things, just advice )
Welcome to this series of blogs in which I will be taking you through the ideal wrestler’s roller bag.
First; I just wanted to clarify that this is an “ideal world”. These are not hard and fast rules, and, whilst these aren’t must haves, these are more to make your life, and, even the lives of the people backstage that bit easier, make you, potentially, more versatile, and, as such more attractive to bookers/promoters/rest of the team. Generally speaking, when you’re booked, either within your home promotion or for an outside promotion, you’ve been booked for a certain role, so, knowing what to pack should be pretty self-explanatory, and as such, this “guide” is more aimed at a performer who is going along to a show to network.
With that said, there is one rule; ALWAYS BRING YOUR GEAR!
But, let’s start at the start. Why am I writing this? Well, over my time, I’ve seen performer’s bags large and small. I’ve seen the over-prepared and the under-prepared, and, guaranteed, there’s always someone looking for tape, or someone’s boot laces decide to give up the ghost right before bell time. With that in mind, let’s dive in to the what and why of a performer’s bag. The idea being, I am going to go at this treating your bag in sections and compartments to put together the most prepared bag any performer could want.
What kind of bag should I get?
This is personal opinion, but, roller bags/suitcases tend to take up less real-estate than a duffle bag or hold-all as they can be stood up and pushed up against a wall. Anyone who’s ever seen the average working men’s club backstage area will know just how cramped it can get in those environments, so, anything you can do to save a little bit of space will help everyone!
Personally speaking, I would always recommend a case of max cabin size allowance and up based on your gear and your needs (should you have merch or other extras that you need to bring).
Linked below is the case that I have myself, and that is a set of 2 making it even more economical. For the same price you can no doubt get a larger, and potentially a hard shell case, that said, my personal preference is to have an external front pocket, and the case linked has said, so it ticks my boxes. You can even get cases with built-in phone chargers (more on that later) for a reasonable price if you know where to look!
What NEEDS to go into my bag?
Short answer, a lot! But, before we even put our first piece of gear into the bag, let’s start with that external pocket, and why I personally prefer to have that.
One thing I would absolutely say is to get good zip-loc bags, the main reason for this will become clear in future entries, but, for right now, they’re going to come in handy for your hygiene items. You can get a 30 pack of zip-loc bags from Ikea for £2.50 and are great quality
In this hygiene set, I am going to put in a toothbrush, toothpaste, a travel size bottle of mouthwash, baby oil/gel (although, it could also be a good idea to put this in a separate bag, and the gel is generally easier to apply in personal experience), and aftershave/perfume. The reason for the zip-loc bag is simply just in case the toothpaste, mouthwash or baby oil leaks, nothing else in your bag should be affected. Further to that, you can get toothbrush covers very cheap (I’m talking pence to packs for a pound) from many places. Further to this, deodorant as well should be in your bag for obvious reasons, and shouldn’t be a cover up for basic hygiene and turning up clean and presentable.
A phone charger seems incredibly obvious, but I can count on all the fingers and toes of myself, and, my partner, the number of times I have needed to lend out my phone charger over the years. You can get multi-port USB wall chargers (which are also incredibly useful in a small backstage environment when there may be limited sockets available) for very reasonable prices, as well as 3-in-1 cables that have Micro USB, USB-C and Apple Lightning, ready for everyone to use.
The other reason for having a cable with you, be sure you have your entrance music with you on your phone so you can transfer it to the device being used for music, a couple of promotions I have been to have been using a tablet, so being able to have your music ready to send via Bluetooth is helpful. But, also be sure you have the music on a USB stick or a CD as well so you have all bases covered.
I would also recommend a portable phone charger just in case wall sockets are limited. A 10,000mah power bank is usually good for between 4 and 6 full charges for most phones these days, and you can even get ones that solar recharge themselves!
In the wake of a few things that have arisen in the last few years, shows should have a first aider on site, but, we’re all going to get cuts, scrapes, bumps and bruises, so, a First Aid Kit should certainly be in your bag, as well as a blister of paracetamol/ibuprofen just in case – but be absolutely sure only you use these unless you are sure that others can have these and have no allergy or side effects with them.
In the front pocket, I also put in wrist tape – strictly speaking, I use Kinesiology tape, which in of itself is handy should anyone have any nagging muscle injuries and is running low on k-tape themselves. I was able to get a 6-pack of 5cm x 5m tape from Wish for £22.
Some shows you go to may well have a post-show Meet & Greet, so, having markers ready to sign those autographs is definitely going to come in handy. To make sure you’re ready for any poster or picture put in front of you, it’s definitely worth your while to have a variety of colours. I have found this pack of Sharpies (so, top quality), and very cheap:
That is a lot!
Yep! But, I’m sure you’d agree, all of this is incredibly helpful, not just to you, but everyone else around you – and we haven’t even put in the first thread of gear yet!
Part 2; we’re still not putting your gear in yet! We’re going to be dealing with the “extras” in your bag.
Until next time; happy packing!
Stephen Cummins is a wrestler, referee, HOP graduate and podcaster from Derby (check out Play Your Pods Right, The Bucket List Festival and whatever he is doing next)
Twitter & Instagram: @tjdeanwrestles
The lovely folks over at Notts TV popped in to the House Of Pain today to see what all the fuss was about and have a chat about the resurgence of British Wrestling
Give this little video a watch, and if you fancy being part of all this excitement, get in touch.
We are delighted to announce that HOP Alumni Joseph Conners and HC Dyer have been announced as among the participants in the inaugural WWE UK Championship tournament, which will take place in January 2017. Best of luck to both of these guys, their achievement is a testament to the hard work they’ve put in, both at the HOP Academy (where Conners is a trainer), but also on the wider U.K. wrestling circuit.
On the 10th December, House of Pain Academy were proud to present a brand new crop of fully-fledged pro wrestlers to a packed house for their first show at the St Ann’s with Emmanuel Church.
The 2016 Debutantes were the high flying Alex Shaw, Hannah James, Vegan Powered Nick Hendricks, Michael Rothrock, Bruza (former HOP referee and now part of the Destructive Tenancies faction), Karl Brown, Jake Dylan, Jason Hunter and The Manowars (Bear Adams and Owen Ocean).
Great performances were put on by all involved, and the 2016 graduating class will be having their second show at St Ann’s on the 14th January
Marcus Hood def. Alex Shaw
Syntax & Hannah James def. Nick Hendricks & Michael Rothrock
Karl Brown def. Paul Malen by disqualification
Steven Harris def. Jake Dylan
Six Man Tag Team match: Tommy Taylor & The Manowars (Bear Adams & Owen Ocean) def. Davey Thompson & Destructive Tendencies (H-Block & John Carling)
Alton Thorne def. Jason Hunter
House of Pain Wrestling is opening the doors to the dungeon once again to welcome anyone who is thinking about taking the first step towards becoming a professional wrestler.
There are no entry requirements, no fitness level you need to be at, no special skills you need other than the desire to do it, bring your mates for moral support, the more the merrier.
The session is held at the House of Pain Dungeon, on Ashley Street in St Ann’s/Sneinton, just down from the Ice Arena and Victoria Leisure Centre. The cost for the session is £5, you need to be wearing comfortable sports appropriate clothing and trainers. It’s wise to bring a drink, and due to the cold weather, probably sensible to wear something warm too, as our dungeon isn’t the warmest in these winter months.
The session will be run from 1pm until 3pm, and will be taken by Stixx.
If you want to give it a shot before you add ‘become a wrestler’ to your New Years resolutions bucket list, then come on down, or head over to our Facebook page and drop us a message or use our contact form if you have any questions.