Why ICW are the Kings of the Wrestling World

mark_dallas_and_rhino_backstage

Like many other wrestling fans across the globe, I like to think I could be the next Vince McMahon, I think that I could run my own wrestling company and I always have a million and one storyline ideas running around my head. Someone who got off the couch and actually turned these thoughts in to reality was Mark Dallas. In 2010 Mark ran his first show in front of 30 people, last weekend his company Insane Championship Wrestling ran their biggest show to date at Scotland’s biggest arena ‘The Hydro’ to over 6000 paying fans.

In 2010 if you said the name Mark Dallas to any wrestling fan the response would have been – who is he? Now he is synonymous with the growth of wrestling popularity not only in ICW but across the UK. Mark hasn’t done this with stacks of cash, he has done it with unrivalled creativity and vision, which has seen ICW become one of the most talked about and most influential promotions around the world today.

Going mainstream

ICW were cemented as part of the mainstream when across 2014 and 2015 the BBC produced two incredible documentaries on them called ‘Insane Fight Club.’ These shows broadcast ICW from their native Scotland to across the UK. The documentaries were the biggest TV event for British Wrestling since the World of Sport days during the last golden era for British Wrestling, but now we can say thanks to ICW that a new golden era may just be beginning.

ICW’s annual show ‘Fear & Loathing’ is their flagship show, their version of WrestleMania if you will. In 2014 they sold out the Barrowlands with it, in 2015 they sold out the SECC the second biggest arena in Scotland and although they didn’t sell out at ‘The Hydro’ they grew the crowd by thousands and at their current rate of growth, you wouldn’t put it past them to sell it out within the next two years.

Something different

ICW are so different to any other promotion, not only on the creative end of their product but the business end as well, two things which have been sorely lacking in the UK for some time. Being the visionary that Mark Dallas is in 2015 he announced that ‘Fear & Loathing’ would be at ‘The Hydro’ in 2016 and the day after this year’s incredible show tickets were available for next years show, again at ‘The Hydro.’ Not many other (if any) British wrestling companies plan and promote shows a year in advance but that is how professional ICW is and how forward thinking they are. When ICW announced that they would be at ‘The Hydro’ in 2016 many people thought that it would be a bridge too far, even for ICW but not Mark Dallas, he believed in his product and put in the hard work to make it a success.

What is more incredible about this years success is that they sold over 6000 tickets to ‘The Hyrdo’ without the BBC coverage that they had in the run up to the SECC show in 2015. What ICW managed to do in 2015 was capture peoples imagination and through their product they not only continue to keep fans but their fans continue to be their army, championing their cause, spreading the word and bringing new fans to the promotion.

Competition

ICW had lots going against them this year, first was WWE announcing and holding Raw & Smackdown tapings at ‘The Hydro’ a few weeks before their show. The second thing was the incredible competition in the UK marketplace with Ring of Honor doing a small tour of the UK on the same weekend as ‘Fear & Loathing’ the first UK Ring of Honor tour for 10 years, this was coupled with shows by other great UK Promotions like PCW and RPW holding the very successful Global Wars the weekend before.

Whilst the likes of RPW and RoH were putting on critically acclaimed shows in front of anything from a reported 600 to just over 1000 crowd, ICW blew them out of the water. Don’t get me wrong 600 – 1000 are big numbers in comparison to where this industry has been in the last 10 years but nowhere near ICW’s league. There is one reason why ICW can draw these numbers and transcend the business, that reason is their identity.

Packaging and presentation

The brainchild of Mark Dallas is so strong that ICW is unlike any other. You can see many of the ICW roster on shows across the UK but you can’t see a show like ICW anywhere else. ICW isn’t relying on wrestler star power or so-called ‘dream matches’; ICW’s selling point is its packaging and presentation. An ICW show is an experience unlike anywhere else, the storylines and characters that Mark Dallas creates is what makes ICW one of the most talked about wrestling promotions today.

Like many other promotions from time to time ICW bring in big name imports from America to star on their shows. The difference when ICW brings them in compared to other promotions is that they find a way creatively to sew them in to their storylines and get the most out of them. At ‘Fear & Loathing’ this year they had Kurt Angle, Team 3D, Ricochet and an appearance by Finn Balor but what they did is they found ways to use them to get the local talent over, so they didn’t all win and they all played a part in creating and cementing long term stars in ICW. That takes bravery from Mark Dallas and shows how big ICW are, that big name American wrestlers are happy to do the honours and play their part to help the brand.

The new ECW

Many similarities have been talked about between ICW and infamous American company called ECW, who in the late 90s were seen as the most cutting edge, game changing wrestling promotion. I think a few years ago the similarities may have been seen to many as flattering to ICW but now I think with what ICW have achieved these last two years that it should now be ECW alumni who are flattered by being compared to ICW. If ICW were based out of America and doing what they have been doing for the last 6 years then you would have to start calling them the number two promotion behind the behemoth that is WWE.

An investment opportunity in Saltash

As many of you are aware, I am in the process of trying to find a buyer for our home in Saltash, Cornwall. The move has come about due to having to move for a new job as originally we had planned to spend some time in Saltash. Now me being me, I have been hard at it, promoting the house all over social media and the web. Through doing this the one question I get asked a lot is, would I rent it out?

Renting Potential

Sadly I have had to answer no every time, as we are looking to buy straight away in Wiltshire and don’t have enough money to have two mortgages on the go. The number of people approaching me about rent (after all my social media posts have been about selling) was to me, phenomenal. I was quite surprised about the number of comments and messages I have had to be honest and if things were different I might have considered it.

A chance for an investor to make money

This is why I think that our property would be ideal for an investor as well as someone looking to do a buy to let mortgage. After looking around the area, there doesn’t seem to be many if any, 3-bed properties in the town of Saltash for rent. The house is well priced, there isn’t a lot that needs doing to it and would quickly start paying itself back. On our street there are other properties that have been purchased by investors, who have managed to fill their houses quickly with tenants and with the price of the house being so low, it surely has to be tempting to someone reading this.

Lets support each other

If anyone were to buy our house with the view to renting it out, I would be happy to pass on the contact details of all the people that have enquired with me about renting it out. I would love to work with someone to help their dreams come true as well as ours, I would love the sale of the house to be beneficial to everyone.

So if you have money sitting in the bank, are bored of watching it do very little and want to make some money out of it, then look no further than our home on Warfelton Crescent. Click the link below to view it for yourself and be sure to arrange an appointment with Maitlands our Estate Agent to come and see it.

http://www.zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/details/42064399?search_identifier=0ef70456629a14ec4db41ae4ba927010#mKmrGOSjDRgC8cOB.97

3-bed home in Saltash for sale

A few years ago I brought my first home. Now after securing work in Wiltshire, I am now selling my house in Saltash, which is in the county of Cornwall. Selling this house will enable my family to start a new chapter as I change jobs and careers. They say you can sell anything on the Internet, well this is me trying! I’ve never tried to sell anything this big before and already have an Estate Agent who are marketing the property, but as the saying goes every little helps, right? We live in a world where it can only take a few people sharing something for it go viral, so why can’t that be my house-selling project?

Family home

This house was more than just a home to my family. It is the place where we had our first child, where our first child took her first steps, a place which was our first home as a married couple. More than this though, it was a place where we did life, a place where we laughed, cried, achieved things and a place where even the mundane bits of life will forever be memorable to me.

First time buyer or investor

The Estate Agent will do a cracking job selling the house, but I wanted to come on to my blog to sell you the home. My wish now is that a first time buyer will see it as a great place to start life and to get on the first rung on the property ladder, or an investor will see it as a buy to let investment and enable another family to be able to rent a property in the town, as there aren’t many like ours available in Saltash.

Everything I am doing is just to get one more view on the Rightmove and Zoopla pages for our house, one more viewing and hopefully a good offer that we can accept. All of what I am doing might be for nothing and it might be the Estate Agent that gets the sale, but I just couldn’t sit back and not try to help. To me if you have wanted something to happen it has always been about making it happen. I don’t like leaving things to other people and always want to be working the hardest.

Buying happiness

I can’t promise happiness from buying our home, I can only share the stories of happiness and love that we have experienced since moving in. I will miss the house dearly when we move. I didn’t expect to be moving this quickly from it but as this chapter ends quicker than I thought it would, it will always be a chapter I look back on fondly.

I may not be an Estate Agent or a sales person but this is me trying to ask for some help with our journey and to offer something to somebody that I think will make their life better. So why not come and buy yourself 4 walls and a roof, but most importantly buy a new chapter for me and for you:

http://www.zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/details/42064399?search_identifier=0ef70456629a14ec4db41ae4ba927010#X46BYFx45UHBPaXh.97

 

Keep on chipping away

I always have a lot of personal projects on the go, like the promotion of the book I published and my involvement with the local wrestling scene here in Plymouth. Some days I put a lot of my spare time and thought space in to them, some days I don’t touch them, but they are always there in the back of my mind.

I think it is great to have things you can pick up and put down. Some days you are filled with motivation and inspiration. On those days in one night you can get the equivalent of a weeks or more work done. This is why I think it is important not to worry about putting things down from time to time, as long as you don’t put them down forever and pick them back up on a regular basis.

Bringing me back

My book titled “Unbreakable Bond” is one book, but the journey with it has now lasted over 3 years, from writing it, to editing it, to publishing it, to promoting it. It is the promotional work I enjoy, as it keeps bringing me back to the project and means the project just doesn’t get left on the shelf forever more.

With my wrestling involvement, sometimes there are mad weeks with lots of stuff going on to talk about and promote, then some weeks it seems like very little is happening. I don’t worry though as I always know something big is just around the corner and that even on quiet weeks my passion for it doesn’t change.

Unlocking potential

I know that if I was to step away from these things tomorrow, that I have done things and created things that are long lasting and will be around even after I am gone and I am very proud of that. That comfort however doesn’t stop me from wanting to do everything in my power to make them as big as I can before I stop. You see there is so much potential in everything you are involved in and its only when you push it all the way, that you find out some of what that potential is and could be.

Your projects that you are involved in are a part of you and an extension of you. It is up to you if they realise their full potential or not and it is up to you what you want to do with them. I like the constant contact and involvement in the things I do and I hope in 50 years time I am still championing and working on the book and the wrestling.

Adding value to the city you live in

For some reason I feel that it is my duty and obligation to add something to the city I live in, this city is Plymouth. I was born in Plymouth and have many fond memories of growing up in the area. I remember the first Plymouth Argyle game I went to, I remember shopping in the city centre before Drakes Circus when C&A and the like used to rule the world, I remember my first cinema experience at the Odeon and so on and so on.

Giving back

The city of Plymouth has given me so much that I now want to give back and be part of creating amazing experiences for others in this city. This is part of the reason why I am so passionate about making Plymouth a city for Professional Wrestling. I have been a fan of Professional Wrestling since I was about 8 and have travelled the country and the world to support it, to go to shows and to experience it. I know there are lots more wrestling fans in the city like me (the WWE NXT show at the Plymouth Pavilions earlier in the year proves that). I now want to help build a community with them, to network with them and give them a regular wrestling fix, instead of having to wait for the once in the blue moon event that we get down here from WWE, as there may not be any more shows like that down here in our life time.

It’s not the cities that make the other Professional Wrestling companies in other areas of the UK so big, it is the people behind them and I think we have the right team of people here at Plymouth Wrestling Association, to make Professional Wrestling big in Plymouth like it is in London, Glasgow, Preston etc. I would love for Professional Wrestling fans in Plymouth to not have to travel in order to see an entertaining show, I would also love them to have local wrestlers that they support and a growing local company they can get behind. For the local economy I would also love for the money wrestling fans spend supporting their passion to benefit this city and to stay in the city, to help grow this city.

A great form of entertainment

Professional Wrestling may be looked down upon by some or misunderstood by others but I believe Professional Wrestling is a great form of family friendly entertainment, that mixes athleticism, drama, music, culture, personality, competition and art. It is a place where fan participation and interaction is encouraged, where kids can be kids and don’t need to sit still and be quiet.

Plymouth is known for many great things whether that is the sports, the stunning views around the Hoe and Barbican area, the culture, the history etc. But I want Plymouth to be known for and famous for much more and I am going to do everything in my power to add Professional Wrestling to the list.

With that in mind I would love to invite you to the next big Plymouth Wrestling Association show title ‘September Slam’ on Sunday September the 25th at Plymouth School of Creative Arts. Doors open at 6pm, tickets can be purchased from as little as £8 and can be purchased by going to:

http://plymouthwrestling.co.uk/events/event/pwa-september-slam/

 

Camping Holiday

Last week we had our first family camping holiday. My wife and I used to go camping a little bit before we started a family but it is always something we have wanted to do again, so took the plunge and booked a week in St. Ives, to camp with our one year old. Although camping with a one year old is a bit trickier, I was so glad we did it, as it was such a fun week.

Timing

Thankfully we timed our arrival to the campsite just right as it was during her nap, so we were able to get a lot of the putting up of the tent work done whilst she was asleep, which made things a lot easier. The first night was a challenge for our little one year old to settle to sleep, but from day 2 she slept without any fuss. This all made the holiday less stressful and although you have to adapt a bit when you are away from your home comforts, I enjoyed the challenges it presented.

The best thing about the campsite was that it was next to a beach, so we had our first beach day with our little one and although she was a little apprehensive at first, she really enjoyed it and going to the beach became a highlight of the holiday. The space and freedom for our little one to toddle and crawl around was brilliant. In general life you just don’t get the expanses of space and lack of cars etc. so it was fun to just watch her enjoy it and adventure in it.

Outwell tents

One thing I can’t speak highly enough of was our Outwell Alabama 7p tent. Although there were only 3 of us the huge living space and the huge space at the front made it fun and pleasant to be in the tent, as it wasn’t too cramped and everyone had space. A 7-man tent may seem overkill for 3 people but it was perfect, plus the tent had lots of other great features, like roll away sleeping compartments. They may be more expensive than the rest but you are buying quality when you buy an Outwell tent and that is what we got.

For anyone considering taking a young one camping I would encourage them to do so. Yes it’s a bit more challenging and takes a bit more planning but we had a great week and created some fun memories that will last a lifetime.

 

Promoting an event

One thing I am doing a lot at the moment is helping promote live entertainment shows. Whilst doing this I am always trying to think of new and different ways to get attention on the product, without having to spend any money.

There are so many platforms and avenues available now to promote events and products, the problem is that the audience you are trying to get hold of are so spread out, that there aren’t many places to go to in order to reach a big audience. This means you need to be constantly active and active across a number of places.

Converting views to sales

When I first started promoting events in the early 2000s all I had to do was buy advertising in the local paper, to the city I was promoting in and I would draw a crowd. Now we live in an era where even if you get millions of views across social media, it seems to be harder than ever to convert them in to sales.

The problem is that people aren’t actually taking in what they are reading on social media, they are just scrolling through. Liking something takes no time or commitment, so even an engagement doesn’t mean much to be honest.

Connecting audiences

What I try and do now when I promote events, is try and work in partnership with other groups, people and companies. Everyone has an audience, but the way to truly grow an audience is to share audiences. An audience is a huge asset and the more you can connect what you are offering with new audiences, the more what you are offering is worth.

I also believe that as a society we don’t hand over money for things as freely as we used to. Everyone wants a good deal and everyone’s attention is being taken in a hundred directions, so getting customers to pay for tickets for an event is harder and harder. Sadly the costs of running shows haven’t diminished so it is a hard time for an entertainment promoter, unless you have a big brand behind you. You only have to look at the number of pubs and entertainment venues that have shut down in the last few years to show you that.

Competing in the marketplace

To compete in the marketplace, building a brilliant brand is paramount to success. The better your brand is, the less you have to spend on marketing as more people care about your product and will come to you instead of you always having to go to them.

So if you are promoting a live event the thing I would advise to concentrate on is your brand, as everything comes off the back of that.