Wrestlers prepare to turn concert hall into a Battlezone

John Graham books his final show for the SWA at Motherwell Concert Hall before handing over the reigns.
John Graham books his final show for the SWA at Motherwell Concert Hall before handing over the reigns.

The Scottish Wrestling Alliance returns to Motherwell on Saturday, November, 28 as booker John Graham prepares to hang up his pencil.

The annual Battlezone event at Motherwell Concert Hall will be Graham’s last as he gets set to hand over the reigns of the SWA following his home town show.

A former SWA tag team champion Graham’s in-ring career was cut short by knee injuries, but he was able to transition behind the scenes for five very successful years.

He said: “I think since I took over we have managed to improve the SWA in every way and I am very proud of that.

“The first show I promoted in Motherwell we drew 120 people and it has grown ever since from St Bride’s Hall to Braidhurst High to the concert hall, which really is one of the best venues in Scotland.

“Everything is better now than when I was starting out, the production is better, the training since Damien O’Connor took it over is better, the guys look better and have better gear and it all adds up to gives fans a better product.

“We have grown the markets in Motherwell, Paisley, Cumbernauld, Govan and across Ayrshire and when you get people asking when the next show is as soon as one has finished it is very satisfying.

“There are still a few dodgy promoters and promotions out there but along with companies like Progress, Preston City Wrestling and Insane Championship Wrestling I am delighted the SWA has been part of something of a renaissance in British wrestling.

“As such it is a shame that circumstances mean I have to give it up, but my work is expanding and creating new opportunities so I just can’t give wrestling the time it needs so it is better I hand over responsibility to people who can.

“The SWA will go on without me, but I certainly aim to give the fans in Motherwell a great show to sign off with.”

The 30-man Battlezone match will be the main event, but there is plenty of other great action on the card too.

Joe Coffey and Jackie Polo will square off to decide who gets number one and who gets number 30 in the Battlezone match, while Joe’s brother Mark Coffey will be competing 24 hours after facing Drew Galloway for the SWA title, as will current TNA star Grado.

Mikey Whiplash is out for revenge against Dutchman Tommy End after Whiplash was knocked out and left the arena in an ambulance following their last encounter and one of the UK’s most exciting prospects Will Ospreay will also be in action.

Graham said: “For the most part we stick with pretty much the same roster, over the last five years the audience have got to know the guys and come out to see them.

“An odd time I might have considered an ex-WWE talent when they’ve been available, but there really is a very small list of guys who move tickets.

“In the ring guys like the Coffey brothers, Joe Hendry, Jackie Polo, Lewis Girvan and Ryan Griffin excite the audience far more than some ‘name’ star that I might remember, but no one else does.

“That being said I’m delighted to be able to bring Will Ospreay to Motherwell because he truly is an incredible talent and destined for big, big things.

“I’ve tried to get him a few times, but he is always so busy so I’m thrilled to have finally got him booked urge everyone who can to see him while they have the chance as I am sure he’ll follow Prince Devitt (Finn Balor) and Pac (Neville) to WWE sooner rather than later.”

Graham believes the future is bright even with WWE sniffing around some of their top stars.

He said: “The Coffey brothers have try-outs with WWE and I’d be amazed if they weren’t picked up.

“They got into wrestling just before I did and have shown so much dedication over the years they deserve everything they get.

“However, the future is unlimited led by Lewis Girvan and Ryan Griffin and many more who have really impressed me, I could include Joe Hendry as well, but I don’t expect it will be long before WWE snap him up too.”

As Graham prepares for his final card he admits he couldn’t have done it alone.

He said: “I want to thank everyone who has helped over the years from selling tickets and sticking up posters to working in the ring, but most importantly I want to thank the audience for coming along as without them there would be no show.”

First bell is at 7pm and tickets costing £12 (£35 family of four) are available by calling 01698 403120 or visiting Ticketmaster