ALL STAR GRAPPLEVINE
Presented by Russell Plummer
Japanese legend Liger heads for Croydon
Jushin Liger, and Croydon opponent Robbie Dynamite.
ALL STAR Wrestling’s opening winter season event at the Fairfield Halls, Croydon, on Friday 3 October has received a massive boost with confirmation of an appearance by one of the ring’s most enduring and influential personalities, Japanese ace Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger. The event, starting at 7.30pm, marks the beginning of a 45th year of presentations from All Star, now easily Europe’s longest operating wrestling organisation, with the action again centred on the compact new arena within the Fairfield complex that was a big hit with fans in April and June this year – and this time, as an added feature, ringside seats can be reserved by personal callers at the Fairfield Halls box office or by ringing 0208-688-9291. All Star also stress that all ticket prices are free of service charges or booking fees.
Noted from early in his career with New Japan Pro Wrestling as the ‘Fist of Thunder,’ a teenage Liger first made his mark on the international scene when campaigning for All Star as Fuji Yamada in the late 1980s, regularly clashing with top home campaigners of the era including ‘Rollerball’ Mark Rocco, ‘Belfast Bruiser’ Dave Finlay and ‘Lancashire Lion’ Marty Jones. He made a number of appearances in the ‘World of Sport’ Saturday afternoon ITV slot, including a memorable match when taking Rocco’s world heavy-middleweight crown – although the ‘Master of Disaster’ re-established himself in a return meeting. Yamada was also in action in All Star’s never to be forgotten Royal Albert Hall spectacular in 1987 and has gone on to take a role in Japanese wrestling that has been described as being as significant as the part played by Ric Flair in the United States.
Down the years Liger’s career momentum has never faltered. Now he is set to battle it out at Croydon with long-reigning British mid-heavyweight champion Robbie Dynamite, the muscle packed powerhouse from the Potteries who has the experience and fitness to give a tough match to any opponent. Liger’s All Star outing has been arranged in conjunction with West Country promoter Matt Jarrett for whom he will be appearing the following evening, Saturday 4 October, at GL1 in Gloucester when teaming with Danny Collins and Jason Cross against the Knight Dynasty, brothers Roy and Zak, plus father Ricky
Oliver Grey facing Fairfield Halls challenge
In focus from the right: Oliver Grey, Doug Williams, Thunder and Danny Collins
FRIDAY 3 October brings more top class action to Croydon, not least a heavyweight clash between Oliver Grey, one of the summer season’s most talked-about stars, and the ever consistent and competitive Doug Williams. Grey, now 27, hails from Exeter and originally campaigned as Joel Redman but is sticking to the name used during a two year transatlantic run with WWE’s NXT division during which time he enjoyed a spell as tag team title holder partnering Adrian Neville. Grey faces a major Fairfield Hall test against another star who is no stranger to American rings, Williams having proved his worth during a reign on the other side of the Atlantic as TNA X-Division Champion. And to give the match an extra edge, the winner will be able to nominate his own partner for a tag team clash with UK Hooligans Roy and Zak Knight in All Star’s next date at the Fairfield Halls on Friday 21 November.
Wirral-based Superslam champion Dean Allmark is sure of an enthusiastic welcome when he returns to Croydon to meet metal masked heavyweight force Thunder, the uncompromising star who spends a lot of his time campaigning in Germany and other European centres. There will also be a Fairfield first appearance for ‘Blackpool Blond’ J.D. Bryant who meets south coast sizzler Andy Simmonds. Dave Finlay junior took his time before deciding to make his own bid for wrestling fame and after partnering his father in the United States was impressive appearing around Britain through a busy summer programme and is now staying on into October. But he will need all his ability and enthusiasm in a Croydon debut against ring veteran Danny Collins, a former British and European title holder who had many battles with Dave senior in the past and now spends time coaching potential future stars in East Anglia.
Training School resumes Saturday sessions
Training School head coach Dean Allmark with El Ligero, Sam Adonis and Caden Lay.
THE All Star Training School is up and running again after a summer break with sessions from 10am to 4pm every Saturday at Bebington Civic Centre. Boys and girls to older people with experience, or just beginning, are all welcome with tuition in a 16 square foot ring from head trainer Dean Allmark and a string of guest trainers including home stars El Ligero, Frankie Sloan and Robbie Dynamite, plus visiting overseas campaigners such as the ‘American Avalanche’ P.N.Neuz and Pittsburgh bombshell Sam Adonis. Dean explained: ‘The school caters for all ages but has a growing demand from younger children and thanks to links with schools around Merseyside we are now welcoming youngsters aged from eight upwards for fully supervised tuition.’ A string of talent from the Training School has gone into the professional ranks with none making more impact than North Wales contender Caden Lay while the past summer saw a number of trainees get their first taste of live show action in bills at Rhyl Town Hall, among them Rufus Jacobs, A.J.Silver, Big Kahula, Just Insane and promising girl discovery Sammy Rae. For more information, or parents to arrange a trial visit to a training session, call 07738-330-316. The School also continues to offer popular children’s parties at Bebington.
Events come thick and fast in late October
THINGS really take-off for All Star Wrestling at the end of October with seven big events in the space of as many days, starting with a seasonal opener at the Victoria Hall, Hanley, Stoke on Trent on Saturday 25. On Tuesday 28 there are events at both Aldershot Princes Hall and the Embassy Centre in Skegness; Wednesday 29 sees wrestling back at Kent hot-spot the Woodville Hall in Gravesend before the scene switches next night (Thursday 30) to the Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone and the run finishes on Friday (31) at the Beck Theatre, Hayes. All shows start at 7.30pm except for Skegness where there’s a 7 o’clock bell time. More Superslam action is also lined-up at the Butlin’s resorts with ‘Money in the Bank’ events at Bognor Regis on October 18, 25 and 28; Skegness weighs-in on October 19, 26 and 30 while the spotlight shines at Minehead on October 26 and 29.