ALL STAR GRAPPLEVINE
Writer: Russell Plummer – Photos: Tony Knox
Oliver Grey chasing Butlin’s hat-trick
In focus: Oliver Grey, Rampage Brown, Robbie Dynamite and ‘Yes Man’ J.D.Bryan.
IT IS NOW more two years since Oliver Grey returned home from a successful stay in the United States after the considerable achievement of enjoying tag team title status in the WWE’s development territory NXT. The heavyweight from Exeter in Devon signalled his return to the British scene in 2014 by becoming a first overall winner of the Butlin’s Belt, the award presented by the management of the famous holiday centre chain. He triumphed again in 2015 and is now bidding for a hat-trick as the 2016 Butlin’s Belt eliminations get into full swing at the Skegness, Bognor Regis and Minehead resorts and will continue right through until the end of the year. Grey first campaigned as Joel Redman but has stuck with the name under which he enjoyed success on the other side of the Atlantic. The Butlin’s Belt has brought a fresh edge to solo action and with the current holder having to accept challenges from both home and overseas wrestlers at the different centres. Continental stars like Adrian Severe, Hakeem Wakur, Hans Hoffman and Vitto Peru have all figured along with Superslam number one Sam Adonis and a string of home contenders including Rampage Brown, Dean Allmark, Robbie Dynamite, Justin ‘The Hammer’ Sysum and South London-born James Mason, with whom Grey has had some notable needle in recent months. Blackpool action man J.D.Bryan continues to develop a high profile ring presence that delights his growing band of followers. He has no qualms about giving away experience and weight if necessary and is a firm believer in the old adage that it is possible to learn something new from every single contest. A big favourite with younger fans his ‘Yes Man’ tag comes from a striking resemblance the American star Bryan Danielson who first made his name in British arenas as the ‘American Dragon’ during 2004.
Sam Adonis bids for more success
Pictured (l to r): Sam Adonis, Black Tiger, Thunder and Adrian Severe.
SUPERSLAM Champion Sam Adonis will be storming back on to the British scene during July determined to extend a title holding run that stretches back to October last year when the heavyweight battler from Monroeville near Pittsburgh edged out James Mason in a Croydon battle of leading contenders. This was after previous holder Darren ‘Thunder’ Walsh was forced to relinquish the belt due to a serious knee injury that is still keeping him on the sidelines. Sam has since seen off every challenger including a triple-threat match against ‘American Avalanche’ P.N.Neuz and Welsh ace Mason Ryan before an equally explosive one-on-one showdown when the challenger was Rampage Brown. Sam left his UK Merseyside base at the end of April to go to the family home in Pennsylvania and was re-united with his brother who is now highly rated ring commentator as Corey Graves with WWE off-shoot NXT Graves who had made his British ring debut as Sterling J.Keenan. Sam then went on for an intensive two month spell in Mexico and while there made history by becoming the first Superslam champion to successfully defend the title outside Britain registering a thrilling victory over masked lucha libre star Black Tiger who has now come to this country in search of a re-match and remains a major threat. There is also no shortage of opponents from the home front including former title holders Dean Allmark, James Mason and Rampage Brown plus newly emerging talent including Charlie Garrett and ‘Yes Man’ J.D. Bryan, although Norfolk star Zack Knight has pushed his way to the front of the queue and faces Sam Adonis in a Superslam title ladder match at the Embassy Theatre, Skegness, on Saturday 9 July when the programme begins at 7pm. Germany-based Adrian Severe shook off effects of what was first thought to have been a nasty knee injury to return to action on the other side of the North Atlantic when taking part in the WWE’s high profile cruiserweight event. Originating from Austria, he was trained in Nuremburg at the ‘Wright Stuff’ school of English father and son combination Steve and Alex Wright and having achieved a highly impressive record since first coming to Britain in 2014 is due to return for summer Superslam action during July.
Major rivalry North of the Border
SCOTTISH talent will again be making a bid to steal the glory when All Star return to the Haven Centres north of the border with established and emerging eager to make an impression during July and August appearances at leading venues including Craig Tara in Ayr, Seaton Sands, Haggerston Castle and Haven Berwick upon Tweed. Once again the man to beat will be Glasgow-born Kid Fite, the first Scot to achieve real success on the other side of the Atlantic when competing at the infamous ECW Arena and now coaching at the Premier British gym in Barrhead near Glasgow. Another man to watch is 28 year-old B.T.Gunn from Coatbridge in Lanarkshire who has been a regular title winner in solo and tag action, making use of every ounce of his 194lbs fighting weight. Lou King Sharpe may only stand five-foot-four and tip the scales at a modest 119lbs but the Glasgow-based action man has made great strides in the last couple of years and is never afraid to let fans and opponents alike know just what he’s thinking. Also winning a battle for recognition is the PBW product who campaigns as Krieger and can often be seen tagging with Lou King Sharpe. Lucy Cole is being tipped as the next Scottish lass destined for stardom ans no one is more committed to follow in the footsteps of flame haired Kay Lee Ray who has projected herself into international reckoning. Surprisingly Lucy had no interest in wrestling until watching a WWE event DVD with a former boyfriend – but then quickly took to the Internet for information on wrestling schools and found PBW. She went on to train under Kid Fite in Barrhgeade in addition to attending wrestling seminars conducted by Drew Galloway, Marty Scurll, Zack Sabre Jr. and Rampage Brown.
Phil Powers, alias ‘The Man Van,’ has returned to ring action after featuring in Channel 4’s hit show ‘Shipping Wars UK.’ He admits to being surprised at the positive reaction to the series which ended its run in June after Phil, seen above right with his white van, had a final test when taking a batch of very fragile fairytale cakes to the British Bake-Off studio. He was first encouraged to try wrestling by Luton’s Johnny Kidd and then figured in the early years of the late Andre Baker’s Hammerlocks operation in Kent. Phil is currently enlivening All Star bills on the Butlin’s holiday centre circuit with the ‘Shipping Wars’ series winning fresh fans.