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What's more panto than panto? It's wrestling at Huddersfield Leisure Centre - watch them in action in our video

No fine line between the goodies and the baddies


Ok, so it may not have been a defining moment of my childhood but I still remember the first time masked evil wrestler Kendo Nagasaki had his mask ripped off.

And his face wasn’t quite as weird and shocking as I hoped it would be.

It’s hard to imagine how big wrestling was on TV on a Saturday teatime and one of the finest sights of the 70s was a little old lady bashing some brute who had fallen out of the ring over the head with her handbag.

Fast forward to 2016 and wrestling is all about the World Wrestling Entertainment – that’s American wrestling to you and me that’s loud, brash and more theatrical than ever.

There was a decent turn-out at the leisure centre for this UK version of it with many young lads clearly dragging their dads along for some Sunday grappling action.

American Wrestling at Huddersfield Leisure Centre.

It is what it is. Perhaps there should be a sign over the door urging all who enter to suspend any sense of reality for a couple of hours.

First up was the snarling Boston Brawler, said to be representing America hence why he carried the stars and stripes into the hall. You can tell by the menace in his face he was the villain up against our hero, Tony Brittain, complete with the Union Jack. As the kids went wild for him I couldn’t help but wonder where he stood on the Euro referendum. Was Tony Brittain in or out?

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That will have to wait for another day as the Boston Brawler yelled ‘shurrup’ at the crowd in his LA accent – that’s more akin lower Almondbury rather than Los Angeles.

After much chanting ‘England, England, England’, tattooed Tony did the deed and sent the American imposter packing.

At first glance at the start of the second bout you’d be forgiven that a Yank was back. For there in an orange prison jump suit and Hannibal Lecter anti-bite mask was no other than The Inmate and his wonderful sidekick Lady Sapphire, perhaps not the most feminine of women who proceeded to stamp on his opponent, the wonderfully-named Joe Rage, every time he was chucked out of the ring.

Why is it that wrestling referees always have their backs turned to the illegal action for far too long no matter how loud the crowd yell? I reckon they need their ears syringing. You had to admire the two blonde streaks in Joe Rage’s black hair. As soon as he started to grapple they tumbled down the side of his face like limp horns. Nice.

The Inmate carried the Silence of the Lambs look through by demanding that he wouldn’t wrestle unless there was absolute silence. Cue a torrent of noise.

American Wrestling at Huddersfield Leisure Centre.

And so it went on with Goliath – actually a pleasant enough looking chap (he’s no Giant Haystacks) against the perma-tanned, musclebound Bram, a kind of wrestling pied piper as he was surrounded by kids both before the bout and after. One for the ladies is Mr Bran who was into posing. Mind you I probably would if I had a body like that. No time to go down to the gym, see.

The tag bout was Tokyo Joe – masked along the lines of Mr Nagasaki – and S B Wolfe against the lively and athletic duo Davey Blaine and Josh Turbo who did the best stunt of the event, a back flip from the top of the ropes to land on poor old Joe.

As the vanquished limped out of the arena with pain etched on their faces and the victors lapped up the cheers you have to stop and think this is more panto than panto.

And, sadly, no old ladies got in on the action.



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