Thought I’d give him his full title as opposed to just calling it “Rid Lightnin interview….the second wan”
That image was picked specifically for this interview to serve as a reminder for anyone who might have forgotten, or any new fans of ICW who maybe don’t know what Red Lightning once represented in the company you have grown fanatical for. Red Lightning was the guy who pinned your hero. Every single fucking time. Even when he didn’t win…he won. See that image above? Thats back before Grado was Grado. Thats when Grado really was a chubby wee chancer fae the ‘shire, before people correctly sat up and took notice of his charisma (Aye I’ve got interview questions wae him anaw, and may or may not be sooking up his arse to get him to do them, so whit) and started chucking money at him to be an actor n that. Grado won the ICW Title from Red Lightning that night. His second ever ICW match. Pinned the baddest guy on the planet (of Glesga) and left to a wave of adulation. For about an hour and a half he was the guy. Until he wasn’t. Red Lightning used video evidence to prove his foot was under the rope, and had the match restarted. One Michinoku Driver later, and that was the image. Red Lightning has slain your hero.
Red Lightning is very good at what he does. For me, Scottish Wrestling is only as good as it can be with him heavily involved, and the last time we spoke to him, he was out the picture a bit. Since then, whilst he hasn’t been hugely involved in the ring yet, he has been very busy. So I bothered him with some more questions recently, and his responses were dripping wae eloquence, and a wee bit of swearing. A beautiful 1-2 punch. Give it a swatch.
Back when we last done an interview, you were a wee bit out of the picture in the Scottish Wrestling scene. Since then you’ve taken the role as GM of ICWs new show Spacebaws, and you’ve been involved in the launch of a new training school. Tell us a wee bit about how those things came about?
The GM thing I was approached about when ICW started their Spacebaws brand. They were looking for someone who could interact with the new characters and help them not only in the ring but backstage aswell. I have been doing promo stuff with most of the guys on that roster. It was also a chance to introduce me to a lot of the new fans who attend since I was last around. I believe wrestling is cyclical and I have sat on the sidelines and waited on the train coming back round to pick me up. I believe the train has arrived. When ICW opened their Asylum HQ we were presented with an opportunity to utulise the space. Several months planning later and GPWA was born. It is something that I have had an interest in personally for some time. I just never thought it would be possible in the current climate. But fuck me I was wrong.
Spacebaws gives you the chance to “run” a show. Which means plenty of mic time. Have you enjoyed the role of being the orchestrator of everyone elses storylines as opposed to being at the heart of them yourself? The wee setup for bringing Drew out at Bill Murray Strikes Back was class.
Without blowing my own horn. Actually you know what. I’m gonna blow my own horn. Because I have never been physically the best guy in Scotland. Fuck, I have never claimed that. The one thing I have a knack for is being able to put someone else’s shit into words. Someone can come to me and tell me the end game and I will fuck off for 5 minutes, come back and have exactly in my head how it’s going to go and how I am going to get that message across. That’s what makes me perfect in a GM role. And in general that’s what gives me value as a member on any Pro Wrestling roster, As an example Drew had this idea of how he wanted to be introduced and after listening to him and tweaking it, I think I nailed it in terms of what he was after. But I guess you’d need to ask him what he though of that one haha.
Speaking of Bill Murray Strikes Back, do you exclusively do The Big Shows theme or do you take requests?
That’s an old party trick of mine. Drew comes up to me, says he wants to sing a Xmas song to close out the year. But he can’t sing. He knows I can sing so he asks me so I end up saying “fuck it why not”. Then we realised Xmas songs are shit, and Big Show would be much more fun.
The GPWA launched late last year, and sees you team up with two ex Gold Label comrades in Wolfgang and Lionheart, along with Jack Jester and BT Gunn. Tell us what makes the GPWA different from the other training schools in the country?
Different schools have different models. A lot of schools outsource their training a lot. You know, different guests coming in and passing down knowledge. Which is a great model and more or less the one that we all came through on. At this point in time we don’t feel like we need to do that. Between the five trainers, we more or less have all bases covered in terms of wrestling. We are different shapes, different sizes, different levels. As an example you’re not going to see me teaching people how to kick or strike safely when you have BT Gunn there. In terms of agility, Lionheart is tremendous. Wolfgang is a big powerhouse worker and can do literally anything. He is going to be a huge asset to training bigger guys. Jester falls into that “heavyweight” mould aswell. You would see me focusing a lot more on the “performance” aspects of wrestling and the finer points, which has always been my stronghold.
As with any new wrestling related business in the area, there were reservations and there was, for lack of a better word, beef. We want people who are serious about this. While there is a huge social aspect of being in any sports club or association. We need our students to be committed. We have an induction programme, which again raised eyebrows. But we have just completed our first induction and it served its purpose. There were students who simply did not enjoy it, had a false expectation and they realised that this wasn’t for them. So after 8 weeks they were able to say to us “thanks for the opportunity guys”. There were people who needed some more time to grasp the basic fundamentals of Wrestling and we have given them that time. There are people who flew through it and they are now in our main class. We can only teach you if you turn up and want to be taught, if you prove yourself to be un-coachable then we can’t coach you going forward because you put yourself at risk, you put your fellow students at risk and you’re wasting time that others have paid for. And that’s what the 8 weeks is for. And that is unique to our school and I guess something that makes us different.
How impressed have you been with the students you’ve taken on so far? Anyone standing out?
I am impressed with all of them and proud of them all for taking that step into the unknown. People sit at home and wonder. But these guys did it. Also, they put the faith in us as coaches and as a school when we had literally, and arguably still, had no track record. It paid off. These guys listen, they are keen to learn, they aren’t afraid to ask for feedback, if they do something wrong they want to go back and do it again. They don’t want to rush straight to the top rope dives and all the cool shit. They get it. And that’s all that we can ask of them at this stage.
Your focus seems to be moving away from in ring activity lately. Is there any thoughts of giving up that side of it there? (please dont)
Absolutely no chance. I’m 28 years old. A young wrestler these days from a global standpoint is about 31 or 32. Look at your WWE main eventers. They don’t peak until their mid-late 30s. See my situation is different. The wrestling thing is something that you really make a push with in the earlier twenties, when you’re young, single and could fuck off at the drop of a hat. I’m 28 now, I’ve got a young family and I need to provide for them, and that’s real life now. And it’s great. But I’m not living in a wee bubble any more where everything is wrestling, I am responsible for the welfare of others. From a business perspective I have to do more than just wrestle to make a proper go of this as a career. I’ve been around for 13 years. I have the knowledge. Whether that be from a coaching perspective or booking/creative. And of course in ring. I might only have ten years left as a performer, but there is no reason why I can’t go forward and coach wrestlers until I am in a box. It’s about expanding your skillset. Like I said earlier, I’m on the train again.
A quick break to introduce anyone unaware of what Red Lightnings coupon looks like up close, here ye go.
I wanted to ask this first time, but I forgot, so here it is. Less of a question, more me shouting at you a bit. The Save Pro Wrestling Movement was golden and I hold you personally responsible for its death. Why did you let it die? Nah seriously though, that storyline was captivating back in 2012/2013. Was it entirely your idea? And if so, what was the vision for it?
It stemmed from WWE reportedly banning the word “Wrestling” and reportedly banning reference to their talent as “Wrestlers”. I though that sounded ridiculous. And if it was true, just complete nonsense. I wanted to use that frustration and turn it into something creative. So the Save Pro Wrestling Movement was born. I was starting at ground level and working the way up. I thought it was something that I could reach quite far with, given that this opinion was also that of fans worldwide. That was my long-term goal. In the short-term I wanted to stop ICW from losing it’s pro wrestling roots. We were cutting edge, we were alternative, and I stood for the people who didn’t want that. The fans obviously hated it. It was only ever meant to be me but then we decided to bring the Coffeys in. Joe and Mark more or less weren’t being booked at the time, at least not on a full time basis. I thought they would be valuable to the roster and to me. Like I got over as the “mouthpiece” and orchestrator of Gold Label and in a way I guess we were trying to recreate that. Inevitably we all naturally started to take our own direction Joe in particular was naturally getting over and I was about to end my run as champion. I was always scheduled to disappear so it was always going to end at that point. Joe was initially going to take on the gimmick but he had his own direction he wanted to take. We had good fun with it.
Last but not least, tell us why you love wrestling. Or if you don’t love wrestling, tell us exactly what you think of the cunt
It’s a cliché thing to say but Wrestling more or less has been my life for at least 20 years now. It’s shaped me as a human being, it’s given me larger than life experiences both as a fan and as a performer. I think that being involved in the industry, however, can taint your passion slightly. Because when you take it on as a job, as a career, a hobby, or whatever, some of that magic is lost forever. You’re now a part of the machine. It’s still a fantastic thing, but once you cross that line from fan to performer, you’ll never look at Wrestling in the same way again. You can’t just sit and watch Raw willy nilly and be sucked in by it. You develop almost a resistance to being entertained by wrestling. Because from that moment on all you’re doing is learning.
Big thank you to Red for another belter of a read. Follow GPWA on all yer social media, and like Reds Facebook page here