ALL STAR GRAPPLEVINE
Words by Russell Plummer – Pictures from Tony Knox
AS Grapplevine December 11
‘Vampire Warrior’ Gangrel returns in 2014
ALL STAR Wrestling have big plans for the opening months of 2014 with more than 30 Superslam bills around the country from January through to April and with the first of a string of international stars already announced! The ‘Vampire Warrior’ Gangrel (pictured left above) will be back to start a 2014 tour during February and other formidable campaigners are being lined-up from North America, Japan and Europe for the Spring period. The pressure will be on for home stars as well, in particular Superslam title holder Dean Allmark (above right), whose early challenges will include a Gravesend meeting with the winner of a clash between ‘Party’ Marty Scurll and and teenage force Josh Faulkner who battle it out in an eliminator in the Woodville Hall ring on February 7. All Star open 2014 with four January dates, beginning at the Alban Arena, St.Albans on Saturday January 18 with a 7.30pm bell time. Next afternoon (Sunday January 19) brings a big bill at Bournemouth’s Pavilion Ballroom, starting at 3pm. Saturday January 25 sees All Star back at the Hexagon, Reading, where the action gets underway at 6 o’clock, then, the final day of the month, Friday January 31, brings action at the Royal Spa Centre, Leamington, from 7.30pm. A big February line-up includes programmes at the Victoria Hall, Hanley, Stoke on Trent (Saturday February 1 at 7.30pm); Sunderland Empire Theatre (Friday February 7 at 7.30pm); Epsom Playhouse Theatre (Monday February 17 at 7.30pm); Skegness Embassy Centre (Thursday February 20 at 7pm); Telford Oakengates Theatre (Friday February 21 at 7.30pm); Croydon Fairfield Halls (Sunday February 23 at 3pm) and Hull City Hall (Friday February 28 at 7.30pm).
Festive Superslam action at Butlin’s resorts!
Superslam action gets underway at the Butlin’s resorts with the first festive line-ups at Bognor Regis and Minehead this coming Saturday (December 14) which are quickly followed by a Sunday (December 15) show at Skegness.There will be regular outings through the festive period for home stars including Dean Allmark, Marty Scurll, James Mason (above, far left), Robbie ‘the body’ Dynamite, ‘Prima Donna’ Nathan Cruz , El Ligero, natural athlete Jamie Farrell, Kid Cool (centre, left), Justin Starr (centre, right),the Magnums tag formation of Dick Riley and Chris Walker, plus mighty midget ‘Little Legs’ Mark Sealey who is pictured with TV personality Keith Lemon (far right). The action continues on December 20 at Minehead and Bognor; December 21 at Skegness; Christmas Eve (December 24) at Minehead and Boxing Day (December 26) at both Skegness and Bognor. There’s more Bognor action on December 27; at Minehead on December 28; Skegness on December 29 before a New Year’s Eve bill at Minehead. Then, 2014 is set to receive a Superslam welcome at both Skegness and Bognor on New Year’s Day.
TOP international contender Hiromu Takahashi has completed his first British tour and returned to Japan and other departing stars are the ‘American Avalanche’ P.N.Neuz and Austria’s emerging force Max Moran, alias Maximillian. British campaigners continue to be in demand from Continental promoters with T.J.Stomper a recent return visitor to France.
Farewell to Princess Paula and Ray Crawley
THE wrestling world has had to say farewell to two stars who made their mark around the country from the 1960s through to the 1980s with a funeral for Ray Crawley taking place at Carmarthen in South Wales on December 3 before sad news of the passing of Princess Paula (pictured above, far left) came just two days later. Campaigning initially as Paula Valdez, the dark haired star was often to be seen sharing a tag rope with ‘Queen of the Ring’ Mitzi Mueller in her early career before switching to a managerial role with her then husband Dave Finlay. The pair were regularly featured in ‘World of Sport’ televised contests with and occasionally joined forces for mixed tag challenges, Paula also continuing to make some solo appearances. Originally from the Midlands, Ray Crawley was a big favourite for fans in the Nottingham and Derby areas and also featured at times as the masked Spiderman.
A FRESH name to watch is that of Jamie Farrell (pictured, centre left), a 22 year-old South Londoner who is billed with good reason as the ‘natural athlete.’ Standing six-foot-two and weighing a lean 98 kilos, he was recommended to All Star by James Mason and made a big impression in a debut outing at Gravesend earlier in December. Jamie’s first sporting love was track and field athletics and he gained representative honours for Great Britain. Starting on the track running the 400 metres and, moving to the high jump, he was ranked 12th in the country at the age of 16. Finding he could throw a javelin pretty effectively as well, a logical move was to the decathlon but hopes of a 2012 Olympic Games slot were dashed by a serious injury.
TWO top stars will be starting 2014 on the sidelines with Zak Knight (centre right), one half of the UK Hooligans with elder brother ‘Zebra Kid’ Roy Knight, suffering a serious knee injury that seems likely to keep him out of action for many weeks. One of the fastest emerging forces in the heavyweight division, South London-based Leon Shah (far right) also went into hospital this week but hopes to get the all clear to resume early in 2014.