Keego goes to Wrestlemania – in Buskers of Templebar


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In a change of tact this week I am going to tell you about my trip out to Buskers in Temple Bar for a night of watching Wrestlemania. Yes, that Wrestlemania! The one we all used to stay up and watch back in the day while trying to keep the volume low enough to not wake the house and hope our parents didn’t give out when the next monthly sky bill arrived.

A little about me from the top, I used to be obsessed with wrestling, I have wrestled all over the world and was able to pay some bills with the hobby. I eventually got too old to be topless in front of strangers for so little money and decided to stop, but I still get that twinge of longing when mania season arrives.

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The reason for me making it to Buskers was an odd one. An old friend from my wrestling days (Rick O’Shea on twitter) called me to speak on his podcast about rugby (a far more socially acceptable pastime apparently) and this lead to that and he put me down on the guest list for the party. As we all know, Irish people are whores for a guest list pass; it means we don’t have to pay the entrance fee which is something that makes us feel good. The party was run by Low Blows Ireland, and while that may sound dodgy, it is also the name of an illegal move in wrestling, the low blow. It is also something you can pay money for in the privacy of your own home but that is another story for another time.

The Low blows crew had the bar set up for pool competitions, food, a gig and a big screen for the big show. I arrived at about 8:45 to find the 2 bars already full of people in their favourite wrestling shirts. At first it was quite intense, I very much felt out of my element, it had been so long since I had been near wrestling it was how I imagined it would be for the pope to be at a strip club.

The vibe was good, the bar was fully stocked and everyone was involved in some sort of competition and or storyline that the lads had going on their podcast (details below).

Mania started at midnight, I was already fading. This was the latest I had been up in a while. I was missing my bed but when the show started that same adrenaline spike I had when I was 8 years old appeared. The red bull helped too. So here is what I saw:

The first thing was, where have the numbers gone from the Wrestlemania signs? People around me pointed out that they haven’t been used in years and looked at me like the oldest person at the pulling post outside coppers. But I digress….

Knowing the show was going to be near 5 hours and I wouldn’t make it that long, the things I really wanted to see where the Irish lads (and lady), the women’s match involving Charlotte and Asuka, Daniel Bryan and Ronda Rousey.

The event started with a battle royal won by Matt Hardy who isn’t the high flying matt hardy I remember, he’s had some sort of mental episode and wants to delete everyone. Maybe he is talking about his own internet history file but I don’t know. Next, Bray’s own Finn Balor against 2 other lads. Not important. This match was an example of what I would show anyone who hasn’t seen wrestling before. It was fast moving but believable (in the context of a fake sport). Nonstop. Anyone could get into this; it was minimal on the cheesy storylines and silly action and maximum of athletic effort with personality. A great watch.

I am not sure if it is the amount of alcohol on board, the knowledge that nearly everyone in the bar was off on Monday or the legitimate excitement but all eyes were on the screen, everyone was into it. It was great to see. It is the wrestling version of a Star Trek convention, no hassle and everyone having a bit of banter because seeing as it is not legit, people have tastes and because these same people were drunk, they assume that their tastes and opinions are right. Hilarity ensued from that point on. The energy levels went up again for the women’s match. Both having big entrances and looking like stars. Charlotte looks like a legit athlete which is always important. She’d be good for a scrap I reckon and Asuka the same. This was another top match that you could show anyone. People will go into more detail on this elsewhere but it was worth staying up for. That’s the most praise this aul lad can give anything that is happening between midnight and 5 am. It was more nonstop action and amazing athleticism mixed with about as much reality as you would expect. They both hugged afterwards which is not something I want in sport, handshakes and show of respect yes but the big hugs and tears aren’t for me, but I was in the vast minority on that on the night. That meaning, I was the only one who didn’t like it.

Then we got to Ronda Rousey teaming with Kurt Angle against Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. This was the intrigue for me. Would the Rousey who became so unlikeable towards the end of her MMA career be the one we see, or will the knowledge of knowing you won’t get kicked in the face keep the smile on said face? She is less than a year into training which added to my criminal jealousy of assuming that in my day (yea I said it) I would have been able to work rings around her at Mania. Well, what can be said? The match was long, the women got involved more often than would be expected and everyone performed at an elite level. Rousey who would be used to crowds did her piece and looked great. There is a moment when she squares up to HHH and the stadium and Buskers went bananas. Mainly because we know she could crack HHH if she wanted to and the movements where close to her old job, it just looked great.

It was very different to the other 2 big matches, but it showed the other side of the coin and the greatness of wrestling. There is something for everyone when it is done right. This is well worth a watch.

Wrestlemania (insert number here) is going so well that I am struggling to remember a better show.

There were a few matches after the tag and an appearance by the undertaker who looked, moved and wrestled like the 112 year old man he is. But when his music hit the noise level went up again in the bar. A pity he looked horrible and there really was no need for him to be there, but based on the noise generated from the 400+ in Buskers, I was in the minority again.

Then we got to Daniel Bryan. The main reason for me to be up so late on Sunday. The fella is too small to be a wrestler, to broken down and had too many concussions to do the job. That is what we have been told. The truth is, he looks like a wrestler, he has a style different to anyone else and more importantly, everyone who listens to him believes him. It is what made Hogan Hogan, Warrior Warrior, The Rock the Rock and Stone Cold Stone Cold, we believed what they said. Bryan was recently cleared from career ending concussions and this was his first match back. Again the bar went bananas, again the stadium went crackers and the action was quick. Another very different match, the skill level from 1 participant was nowhere near the other three but this was about a story and not the skill level.

When Bryan won the match for his team the place went crazy. Delighted for him I was. I was delighted but I was also knackered, ready for bed and unable to keep up with the people around me so I beat a hasty retreat into the night to find somewhere to sleep.

Eventually I will catch up on the rest of the show. But for now the main takeaway is that if you long for the years of old where you would sit around with mates and watch wrestling, then the Low Blows Ireland crew have you covered. There was not one bit of aggro in the place, everyone got along and the banter was there throughout. As long as you have the Monday off work, these parties are a great way to watch big wrestling shows on the cheap.

More info – twitter.com/@hashtaglowblows

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