Jan 22

Great Bear Promotions Interview – An Interview with The Bear! by Charman Morris

Great Bear Promotions Great Bear Promotions isn’t just a clever name, it’s an ever improving promotion that deserves a bit more attention than it’s currently getting. Running since March last year, Great Bear has played host to some of the most impressive matches in the UK and they’ve attracted some very talented individuals such as Jonathan Gresham, Chris Brookes and Josh Bodom to the town of Sandbach in Cheshire. I somehow managed to get hold of The Bear for a quick chat about how it’s all gone for the fledgling promotion since it began last year.

Why did you decide to start a wrestling promotion?

Running my own promotion has always been something I’ve been interested in. I’ve always found the business side of an activity far more interesting than the actual active side (I’m more of a Football Manager guy than FIFA if you want an easy comparison). However, I’ve been involved in the creative side of wrestling since I came into the business, be it suggesting angles (the entire finale of Futureshock 55 from CJ Banks winning the trophy to the mass brawl was suggested by myself, though I’m sure that’d be disputed) to even booking bush cards with Pete Dunne when the promoter had a breakdown on the day, so I’ve always felt that it was very much my strength, so me opening a promotion was always on the cards.

Great Bear really came about as my co-founder and I really thought there was a huge divide between the Midlands and the North West scene. Great Bear was pretty much set up as a bridge between the two scenes in order to give a few more Midland guys a bit more northern exposure.

Why did you decide on Sandbach?

We’ve always run in South Cheshire, which is slightly isolated wrestling wise. The only shows that turned up occasionally were Spot shows in Crewe, so there was obviously a good, untapped market to work with. Sandbach is actually a very easy place to get to on both the motorway and train, so it made perfect sense to hold a show there.

How do you feel your first year has gone for the promotion?

It’s been difficult! We’ve suffered a bit from poor attendances, but the move to Sandbach looks like it’ll go a long way to fixing that. I take huge pride in the fact that, creatively, we’re being put on the same level as long-established companies, so our in-ring action is at the right level. If we get the rest of the business right, then hopefully things will really pick up for us. So I’d say for the first year it’s been about finding our feet, and we’ve done that.

What have been the best shows and/or matches you think you’ve had in the past year and why?

I can’t really pinpoint one show as the best as they’ve all had their strong points, and all have had their weaknesses. We keep improving though, so that’s something positive to take away. Maybe in 12 months time I’d be able to give one show the title of ‘best show’, but while we’re finding our feet it’s difficult to say. In terms of best match, I’d actually say the ‘lost’ Jack Gallagher vs Chuck Taylor match was incredible, as both guys came together and drew bits from each other, some of Gallagher’s technical wrestling style rubbed off on Chuck and some of Taylor’s charisma rubbed off on Gallagher, making it a really enjoyable match. I’d also say Chris Brookes vs Jonathan Gresham (at Battle Kingdom 2012) was well up there in terms of crowd reaction and there has also been massive praise for Joey Hayes vs Josh Bodom from the last show Straight Buzzin’ Robotussin’.

With your shows given such interesting names as Straight Buzzin’ Robotussin’ and Great Bear in Beartown, I have to ask… Where do you get your show names from?

The show names are something that gets us a lot of attention for some reason. It’s really a concept we borrowed from the American Indies to give our shows pretty irrelevant names, but there’s also a bit of Japanese influence with names like ‘Battle Kingdom’ and ‘Exciting Battle in Cheshire’.

Sometimes it just comes from songs I’m listening to at the time. ‘Stright Buzzin’ Robotussin’ is a lyric from ‘Bass Down Low’ by Dev. Sitting for hours coming up with a name is just a waste of time.

What are your plans for Great Bear in 2013?

The first plan is to survive, as unglamourous as that sounds, but at the end of the day, we’re a business, and if we aren’t making money then we can’t continue. Aside from that, we just want to keep growing our Sandbach house, and hopefully look at a few smaller venues. If we could turn Great Bear into a UK Chikara, we’d be thrilled.

Do you have any dream matches you would like to book?

There was a really relevant quote from Rockstar Spud that ‘dream matches depend on whose dream it is’. Steve Blackman vs The Babyfaced Pitbull might sound ace in my head, but not in yours. That thought aside, I’d say my three ‘dream’ matches of import versus a Great Bear roster member would be Colt Cabana vs Sam Bailey, Rich Swann vs Joshua Bodom and Tajiri vs Tyler Bate.

Is there anything you would have done differently?

I would have made the leap to Sandbach a lot sooner! Creatively there’s been very little I would change whatsoever, so any changes would have been business orientated.

So tell us about your next show….

‘Open The Gate To Victory Road’ is our first show of 2013 and is an awesome event to jump into and get a feel for what Great Bear is about, especially with our first Champion being crowned and the HUGE match between Jonathan Gresham and Zack Sabre Jr. Tickets for that show can be bought here http://www.great-bear-promotions.co.uk/tickets/

If you want any Great Bear merchandise, go buy it at http://greatbearpromotions.bigcartel.com/ We have DVDs and t-shirts on there. Proceeds go towards my meals at Ben Brazil on post-show day

There is also a seminar. Chuck Taylor is coming to teach YOU how to wrestle for the bargain price of £185. He’s obviously travelled the world and knows a lot of stuff, so it’s ideal for any aspiring wrestler to learn from a premier indy worker. It also means I get to drink with him, which is fun. More info on that week-long seminar here http://www.great-bear-promotion.co.uk/training-seminar-2013

So there we have it. From The Bear’s mouth, as you will. Hopefully you’ll head up to Cheshire to see what all the fuss is about.

by Charman Morris