-INTERVIEW WITH ANDY QUILDAN (IPW:UK)-
by Stefano D'Alessio
WE - First of all, thank you for taking some time for this interview. How did you get involved in wrestling and what is your role in IPW:UK?
AQ - I’ve been a fan of wrestling ever since the age of 4. I was bored, kicking up a fuss at my Aunts house and she put on some wrestling that she had taped for the neighbour to try and shut me up! From that point on I was instantly captivated by the larger than life characters, the bright colours and the theatre of Pro wrestling. I immersed myself with wrestling, I would watch every show I could, get the figures, videos, magazines, eat the endorsed foods...literally everything! As I got older I began to go and watch live British shows at my local theatre and eventually began travelling around the UK to see shows. The way I actually got involved in the business was almost a natural progression, one of the guys I used to go to shows with Dan Ambrose was going to a referee training course at the FWA Academy lead by Mark Sloan and asked me to come along with him and the rest as they say is history. I went on to become one of the top referees in the country having worked for all the major promotions in England and around Europe. I’ve had the honour and privilege working alongside many of my childhood heroes and learning from them. But I guess that’s a whole other story for a whole other interview!
As far as IPW goes: The promotion itself was started quite simply because a guy called Daniel Edler decided he wanted to run pro wrestling shows. He made a lot of fundamental mistakes that you often see in wrestling from first time promoters who get involved without guidance. But fortunately for the wrestling world he had a lot of common sense and enough money to back the first few shows. He was a fast learner, took a very realistic approach and as a result was quick to develop a small but loyal following in his hometown of Orpington, Kent. I knew Dan well as we were based in the same town and often used to drive to shows together and was brought in as a booker to work alongside Andrew Maddock & Dan just before the 4th show (Return of The Dragon) long story short, as time progressed I became the sole booker of the promotion & would take on more and more responsibilities as I looked to help the promotion grow to the extent that I now (aside from the Swanley shows & Kent training school) handle all the day to day running of the promotion.
WE - How would you describe IPW:UK to a new fan? If you had to pick some matches in the company’s history to show why IPW:UK is ‘pro-wrestling at its best’, what would be your choice?
AQ -IPW:UK is a promotion that’s at the forefront of British wrestling always progressing and always moving forward. From an in ring standpoint there is no parallel in the UK and from a production standpoint we are right up there & moving forwards with every show. We put an emphasis about not doing things by half and you can guarantee that from top to bottom you won’t see a stronger show.
Rather than select an individual match I would say feel free to pick up anyone of our Sittingbourne shows dating back from May 2009 to now and that will give you an idea of exactly what we are all about.
WE - Recently, IPW:UK took part in “BritWres-Fest 2012”. What’s your opinion on the wrestling industry in UK and Europe in general?
AQ -It’s good to see so many promotions working together. There is certainly a very high level of talent around. It’s a lot harder to get people into the venues than anytime I can remember over the past 8 years in the sense that you need to do twice as much promotion as before to yield the same results, so whilst the talent, show quality and production is improving across the board the industry isn’t necessarily in a better shape.
WE - IPW:UK has a name for bringing in England some of the finest wrestlers in the world. Which is the ‘import’ that made you proudest? And which is your dream wrestler you never managed to bring in UK?
AQ -There are so many different answers to this question. It was great working with Al Snow who brought so much experience to the table and he was more than happy to share it. I also love exposing crowds to fresh independent talent. El Generico has always been a pleasure to work with, our most used import who has been appearing on our shows since 2005 as a semi-regular. From day one when he was relatively unknown he has never failed to deliver a great match. I think Sami Callihan is going along in similar vein to Generico as well and I look forward to working with him a lot more in the future
From a personal standpoint I’d love to work with Bret Hart who was a hero of mine growing up. For one reason or another our paths have never crossed, there was actually one time he was in the UK for FWA (a promotion I used to work for) but sadly we had an IPW:UK show on the same day…. Ironically enough we had Teddy Hart & Harry Smith on our show!
WE - On April 28th, IPW:UK will present its biggest show to date, “2012: Revolution”, taking place in London at Troxy Arena. This event has a long history behind as it was originally scheduled to be promoted in conjunction with Nu Wrestling Evolution. Then, just few weeks before the event, NWE took a step back. Can you reveal us the reason behind their decision?
AQ -There were a number of factors & I plan on revealing everything post show. But for now it’s not the time as we should focus on this coming Saturday and making the best of bad situation.
WE - How did you get involved with the Italian promotion and what do you think about their way to promote events all around Europe?
AQ -I came on board with NWE as a referee and have worked for them for many years, I had a good relationship with everyone involved and they had been talking for a couple of years about wanting to break into the UK market. Back in October last year management flew over to England and sold me on the idea of working alongside them. Saying they were fully aware of the reputation and wanted to do things properly which is why they wanted to partner with myself.
There are certainly many faults to the way they layout their shows & I’d like to think they were aware of that which is one of the reasons they approached myself and they told me their version of events from when they partnered with 1PW a few years back & seemed genuinely intent on building something. Contracts were put in place and I had no reason not to believe in their intentions.
WE - Can you tell us the original plan for this show?
AQ - The main thing is there was one big name talked about which fell through (another story for another day) but the long and short of it is that this would have in my opinion completely changed the complexion of the event. I was told we were days away from confirming and to hold off on local promotions, but then weeks passed and months passed, it never happened and we were left with a lot of ground to make up, essentially giving us only 2 months promotion for the biggest show in our history.
In addition to this I was told (& it’s event written in the contract) we would have 4 ex-WWE guys including 1 main event level guy.
I was also told that we would have a television advertising campaign, which again never happened.
Aside from all this I know there were grand plans for production, but the in ring aspect was down to myself (within reason eg. We still had to have a NWE title match on the show).
We are still giving it our all with production and I believe now we are in a stronger position in terms of in ring action. We are doing what we can to make this thing happen and make it a night for people to remember.
WE - Which are the international superstars still scheduled to appear in London and which not?
AQ - Still scheduled to appear are Sami Callihan, Chris Masters, M-Dogg 20 Matt Cross & Carlito.
The only guys who are no longer on the card are Kevin Nash & Super Nova.
WE - From a financial perspective, also considering Europe is still in a recession moment, how IPW:UK coped this inconvenience and how will it affect the promotion?
AQ - It’s no secret that this whole operation has cost us a LOT of money and at the moment we are literally doing what we can to try and minimize the loss. I personally felt it more important to take the hit as I think British wrestling has had enough setbacks over the years. Throughout this whole thing I said if you don’t have faith in NWE, just have faith in IPW:UK as we will always deliver our absolute best for the fans, we will always be upfront and honest and you can trust us. Now the line is more support IPW:UK than have faith in us but regardless we will repay that faith and support this Saturday with a top to bottom great show.
It may take a while to recover, but I’m confident with the continued support of the wrestling community we can pull through this, learn from this experience and become stronger. I’m not one to sit and complain, for me it’s about looking forward and making stuff happen!
WE - The Undisputed British Cruiserweight Championship tournament will see the “end” word in London as Marty Scurll will wrestle Sami Callihan in the final. Could you sum up the history of this tournament?
AQ - Rockstar Spud was stripped of the British Cruiserweight Championship last year due to inactivity, and we decided that rather than hold a match between the two top contenders we would aim to throw a breath of fresh life to the division by bringing together 8 of the best cruiserweights in the world to contest in an 8 man tournament. There was no random draw. We set up two brackets with stylistically what we thought were exciting first round bouts and have produced some of the most exciting matches contested in a UK ring in a long time.
In Sami Callihan & Marty Scurll we have two guys who are on the hottest rolls of their respective singles careers and they are on a collision course with each other. This is a first time singles contest, the feature bout of the evening and a perfect way to end what has thus far been a great tournament. Personally I can’t wait.
Checkout the preview video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErTNYg_RuPQ
WE - Which will be the other highlights of the evening?
AQ - Of course it’s always great to see former WWE stars in an IPW ring so for that fact alone the contests featuring Chris Masters and Carlito will be spectacles in their own right. But aside from that IPW:UK is known for great in ring action and I’m sure a perfect example of that will be the Joel Redman vs Mark Haskins contests. Two former tag team partners who had a reputation for stealing the show alongside one another now this Saturday they have the opportunity to steal the show against each other.
Bottom line is every single match brings something different to the table and from the 6 man ladder match, to a singles bout featuring a former WWE star, to the 6 man tag team grudge match whatever style of wrestling you like there will be a particular highlight for you!
WE - You took part in the past Dragon Gate:UK events in a referee role. Rumors says DG:UK will make a special announcement during the ‘Revolution’ show. Could you reveal something more about it?
AQ - Yes. Come along on Saturday April 28th to find out!
WE - Thank You again!
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