On Sunday September 30th, the little wrestling company that I co-own with my friends Jon and Glen does something quite unthinkable. PROGRESS Wrestling is doing Wembley Arena, and that’s genuinely mind-boggling for us.

Before I get too into this, should you want to come along to the show (which starts at 3.30pm and is finished by 8.30pm, fact fans), then please click here to get yourself a ticket.

If you go back 6 and a half years to our first ever show, in front of 350 people at the Garage in Islington, we certainly never thought we’d get to this point. We just wanted to put a wrestling show on and not lose all of our money, and then everything grew from there. Because of this show and the book release, I’m currently doing a lot of PR and interviews and the like and I just wanted to spill some words out onto a page about what a big deal this is for us.

I’m just going to throw out some stuff that is genuinely humbling, some figures that I am seriously grateful for. Honestly, I cannot thank people enough for their support at this stage.

We are the first independent wrestling company to be asked to put a show on at Wembley Arena. Ever.

Based on current ticket sales, this show is already the biggest independent wrestling show in England. Ever. (You’ll have to go back to the old World of Sport days; I’m not sure if that counts as independent or not. This is the internet, someone will correct me!)

Our little company is not on television; the card we are putting together is based around the best talent in the UK and Europe and nearly everyone on the show has ties to the company’s history. Obviously, this is easily the biggest thing we’ve ever done but we’ve been lucky to do it with talent that we already know and love.

That last point is the one that makes me the happiest. People have spread the word about us for the last six and a half years, talked about the guys that we use and that we’ve never overly relied on imports from beyond Europe (where we do use them, it always makes sense). This show was built on the wonderful talent we have at our disposal, and it’s far surpassed everything that we’ve ever done before. That level of commitment and support from our fanbase is something else. We literally cannot thank everyone enough.

Not that this show hasn’t had some issues, of course! We lost two wonderful talents in Will Ospreay and Zack Sabre Jr because of their New Japan commitments, and also guys like Travis Banks and Kid Lykos through injury. That’s a shame as I know they would love to be there with us, but it is what it is. Whilst losing those guys is a huge shame, the card isn’t a million miles away from what we originally envisioned; we’re a lot more used to rolling with the punches behind the scenes than you guys would ever know!

So now we have eight matches announced and a roster full of talent eager to smash this Wembley show out of the park. I know they all will; I know I can count on anyone who works for us to give their all every time they step into the ring.

It was this time last year that I announced we were doing Wembley and got choked up by the response from our fans at Alexandra Palace, everyone going crazy for what is just, if we’re honest, a venue announcement. But that’s what makes PROGRESS so special to me; fans get excited about us having this opportunity on a huge stage. It’s usually super hard to get tickets for our regular shows but this is the time to tell your friends, bring newbies, spread the word about what we do. We may never get chance to do something like this ever again, so let’s absolutely crush this.

I say at every show that newcomers have made new friends that day. With fans coming from across the world for this show, I know we’ll all walk away from Wembley Arena with a few thousand more friends.

Thank you for reading. I’m so excited about this show, I just wanted to write some stuff down. Please, tell everyone you know about this show. We were never, ever expecting to sell out a ten thousand capacity venue but we’re delighted with the response so far. That said, it certainly wouldn’t do any harm to have even more people come and see what British Wrestling and PROGRESS is all about.

On the biggest stage possible. Blimey. That is indeed PROGRESS.

Hope to see you there on the 30th. (Tickets here, once again)

Jim x

Taking a Break From Comedy

On June 13th 2005, I performed my first ever stand-up gig.  For the past thirteen years, comedy has gone from being an unhealthy interest to a lofty ambition to an actual career, and I'm very grateful for that.

Without comedy I definitely wouldn't have my moderately healthy outlook on life, nor would I have met my wife, worked in voiceover or started my wrestling company.  It has been, without a shadow of a doubt, the career choice that I have thrived the most within, after years of trying and failing to do regular jobs.  Basically, comedy has been very good to me and I have loved the last thirteen years. I've made a lot of friends and surprisingly few enemies (as far as I'm aware).

However, certainly for the next few months, I am taking a sabbatical from comedy to work full-time in the wrestling industry.  I'm calling it a sabbatical as I may still do the occasional gig, or indeed need to return to the circuit if wrestling doesn't work out for me over the rest of 2018 and beyond.  Working within wrestling is the ONLY thing I've ever wanted to do more than being a comedian, so please understand how long and hard that I've had to consider this.

I am very grateful to Sally for keeping me busy over the last few years and being the one who has had to take the flak when I've had to cancel work recently to do wrestling stuff.  I'll also always be grateful to every single club and promoter who has booked me to perform and helped me go from being deadpan, nerve-riddled open spot to moderately competent award nominee.  And obviously, I'm grateful to every single audience member who has laughed, even slightly, at me telling stories onstage for over a decade.  The laughter will be the thing I miss the most over the next few months, one of the greatest buzzes anyone can ever get, making people laugh with something your brain came up with.  I was never the funniest man on the circuit, but that doesn't mean I appreciated it any less.

I'm also aware of the irony of putting this statement out on the actual day I make an incredibly rare television appearance. Typical me, that.

I may end up doing a tour at some point around the launch of my book in late summer / autumn; and I'll still be putting out my podcast and ring announcing at PROGRESS shows.  It's just time to step away from my regular bread-and-butter club gigs for a little bit and focus on my family when wrestling isn't keeping me busy.

Anyone who knows me well will be aware of how exciting the next few months are for me within the silly world of wrestling, so thank you if you've already said something nice to me.  I'll miss sitting in green rooms talking nonsense with colleagues and above all else, making people laugh; but who knows what the future holds.

Lots of love

Jim x

Apparently, I Am Old.

On May 11th 2018 I will be 40 years old.

There’s a tendency amongst stand-up comedians (in fact, entertainers in general) to either be ambiguous about their age or to shave a few years off.  I’ve been told a few times that I could lie about my age if I wanted to, although the harsh reality is that it only takes you removing my hat and looking at my thinning hair or seeing the wrinkles around my eyes to see through any hollow attempt at me trying to claim I’m as old as I dress.

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