All Star Wrestling

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For the Canadian promotion based in Vancouver, British Columbia from the 1960s to late 1980s, see NWA All-Star Wrestling.
All Star Wrestling
Type Private
Industry Professional wrestling, Sports entertainment
Founded October 1970 (as Wrestling Enterprises of Birkenhead)
c. 1984 (All Star Wrestling)
Headquarters Birkenhead
Key people Brian Dixon (Owner)
Website [1]

All Star Wrestling is a British Professional wrestling promotion also known as All Star Promotions, Superslam Wrestling and Big Time Wrestling and originally known as Wrestling Enterprises (of Birkenhead), run by Brian Dixon and based in Liverpool, England. Dixon's promotion tours theatres, leisure centres, town halls and similar venues, many of them old venues for televised wrestling in the UK in the 1950-1980s, as well as holiday camps. It is the oldest active wrestling promotion in the UK, and furthermore the longest-running UK wrestling promotion ever - a record it has held since September 2013, when it eclipsed the 42 years and 11 months lifespan of Joint Promotions/Ring Wrestling Stars (March 1952– February 1995).

All Star contributed to the final two years of ITV's regular televised wrestling programme in the UK in 1987-1988[1][2] and some of their matches were included on VHS and DVD compilations and repeated as part of the World of Sport programming on The Fight Network, formerly The Wrestling Channel, until it stopped transmission in 2008.[3] These matches are currently being repeated on the Men & Movies channel.

History[edit]

1970s - Wrestling Enterprises[edit]

Brian Dixon, a wrestling referee and former head of the Jim Breaks Fan Club, established Wrestling Enterprises in October 1970 initially as a vehicle for his girlfriend (and later wife) British Ladies' Champion Mitzi Mueller, who was having difficulty getting bookings from Joint Promotions.[4] One of the company's earliest claims to fame was rebranding Martin Ruane (formerly Luke McMasters in the WFGB in the late 1960s) as new character "Giant Haystacks", originally "Haystacks Calhoun" patterned after the US superheavyweight wrestler of the same name and similar image about whom Dixon had read in imported American wrestling magazines.[5] Haystacks would go on to achieve household fame in the UK after he moved to Joint Promotions in 1975 as the tag team partner and later the archenemy of Big Daddy.

During the late 1970s, Wrestling Enterprises held regular major shows at the Liverpool Stadium and organised a version of the World Middleweight Title after the previous version became extinct with the collapse of the Spanish wrestling scene c. 1975. This title continued until champion Adrian Street emigrated to America in 1981.[6] Wrestling Enterprises also collaborated heavily with another independent promoter, former middleweight star Jackie Pallo. Neither promoter was able to gain a slice of ITV coverage however, as the 1981 contract renewal negotiations resulted in a five-year extension on Joint Promotions' exclusive monopoly of ITV wrestling.[7]

1980s - ITV coverage/ Competition with Joint Promotions[edit]

By the early 1980s there was increasing dissatisfaction among both fans and wrestlers with the direction of Joint Promotions (which was increasingly centred on Big Daddy), which resulted in a steady flow of top UK talent into All Star Wrestling (as it was by then renamed) and away from Joint and the TV spotlight. Title-holders such as World Heavyweight Champion Mighty John Quinn, rival claimant Wayne Bridges, British Heavyweight Champion Tony St Clair, World Heavy-Middleweight Champion Mark Rocco, British Heavy-Middleweight Champion Frank 'Chic' Cullen and World Lightweight Champion Johnny Saint all defected to All Star taking their titles with them, as did many non-titleholders.[7] By the mid-1980s All Star was running shows head-to-head with Joint Promotions and had its own TV show on satellite channel Screensport.[8]

When Joint's five-year extension on its monopoly of ITV wrestling expired at the end of 1986, All Star, along with the WWF, was also given a share of the televised wrestling shows for the two years 1987-88.[7] The beginning of this period coincided with the return to full-time action for legendary masked wrestler Kendo Nagasaki under the All Star banner. At the end of 1988, Greg Dyke cancelled wrestling on ITV after 33 years. Whereas Joint dwindled downwards as a touring vehicle for Big Daddy (and later Davey Boy Smith) before finally folding in 1995,[7] All Star had played its cards well with regard to its two years of TV exposure, using the time in particular to build up a returning Kendo Nagasaki as its lead heel and establishing such storylines as his tag team-cum-feud with Rollerball Rocco and his "hypnotism" of Robbie Brookside.[9]

1990s - Post-TV boom[edit]

The end of TV coverage left many of these storylines at a cliffhanger and consequently All Star underwent a box office boom as hardcore fans turned up to live shows to see what happened next, and kept coming for several years due to careful use of show-to-show storylines.[7] Headline matches frequently pitted Nagasaki in violent heel vs heel battles against the likes of Rocco, Dave 'Fit' Finlay, Skull Murphy and even Giant Haystacks.[10][11][12][13][14]

All Star's post-television boom wore off after 1993 when Nagasaki retired for a second time. However, the promotion kept afloat on live shows at certain established venues and particularly on the holiday camp circuit. Since the mid-1990s, the promotion has mainly been focussed on family entertainment. After the demise of Joint/RWS, All Star's chief rival on the live circuit was Scott Conway's TWA (The Wrestling Alliance) promotion, originally founded as the Southeastern Wrestling Alliance in 1989.[15] By the late 1990s, many smaller British promoters were increasingly abandoning their British identity in favour of "WWF Tribute" shows, with British performers crudely imitating World Wrestling Federation stars.[7]

2000s - Competition with TWA/ Recent developments[edit]

Although All Star never descended into a full-fledged 'tribute show', by the turn of the millennium, many of these tribute acts such as the "UK Undertaker" and "Big Red Machine" were nonetheless headlining All Star shows.[7] Disaffected with this and other matters (such as the inclusion of former WWF World Champion Yokozuna on advertising posters over a year after he had died, the continued advertising of Davey Boy Smith months after his planned tour fell through and the use of a photo of the original WWF Kane to depict the tribute performer "Big Red Machine"), Conway cut his links with All Star and declared a promotional war.[16] He began to promote his TWA as an alternative, featuring more serious wrestling (in much the same way as All Star had previously targeted Joint fans disaffected with Big Daddy). All Star duly adapted to meet the challenge, recruiting a new generation of wrestlers such as Dean Allmark and Robbie Dynamite and signing up such stars as "American Dragon" Bryan Danielson. The promotional war came to an abrupt end in 2003 when Conway relocated to Thailand, closing down the TWA (which he briefly tried to transplant to his new country as the "Thai Wrestling Alliance").

In recent times, All Star has reached new heights of activity not seen since the post-television boom of the early 1990s, reactivating many more old TV venues, and in the summer 2008 season revived the old tradition of wrestling shows at Blackpool Tower, with a Friday night residency there. All Star has re-established old links with promoters in France, Germany, Japan and Calgary. All Star wrestlers have been widely used to represent Britain by major American promoters, for example the Team UK in TNA's 2004 X Cup which featured four All Star Wrestling regulars James Mason, Dean Allmark, Robbie Dynamite and Frankie Sloan. Mason would also guest on WWE Smackdown in 2008, defeating MVP.

The promotion also runs a wrestling school in Birkenhead, Merseyside, with Allmark and Dynamite as chief trainers. Dixon and Mueller's daughter Laetitia, a popular ring announcer for the promotion, is married to Allmark and the couple have one son, Joseph, the first grandchild of Dixon and Mueller.

In April 2014, ASW established a relationship with Japanese promotion Wrestle-1.[17]

Championships[edit]

Current champions[edit]

Title Current holder Date won Location Previous Champion
'Superslam' British Heavyweight Championship "Bad News" Rampage Brown[18] March 25, 2012 Croydon, England Dean Allmark
British Light Heavyweight Championship Dean Allmark[19] August 19, 2014 Rhyl, Wales Seiki Yoshioka
British Mid-Heavyweight Championship Robbie Dynamite[20] October 2, 2009 Birkenhead, England Dean Allmark
British Open Tag Team Championship Mikey Whiplash and Robbie Dynamite[21] February 25, 2006 Staffordshire, England Kid Cool and Dean Allmark
(The UK Dream Team)
World Heavy-Middleweight Championship Mikey Whiplash[22] March 3, 2009 Croydon, England Thomas La Ruffa
(UEAW) European Heavyweight Championship Chaos April 14, 2012 Viborg, Denmark Bad Bones

Former championships[edit]

Mountevans Committee-established titles[edit]

The Mountevans committee was an independent committee which met in 1947 to establish a set of rules and championships for the British professional wrestling scene. Three of the five current titles listed above were set up by the committee. All Star Wrestling hosted many other such championships in the past, some of which have since been moved to or revived by other promotions.

Title Last All Star Champion Date won Location Previous Champion
British Heavy-Middleweight Championship[23] Danny Collins September 4, 1990 Croydon, England Richie Brooks
British Women's Championship[24] Nicki Monroe February 1992 Bournemouth, England Klondyke Kate
British Welterweight Championship[25] Steve Prince October 9, 1993 Croydon, England Doc Dean
European Heavyweight Championship[26] John Praytor 1995 - -
European Middleweight Championship[27] Jason Cross December 1995 - Mal Sanders
European Welterweight Championship[28] Mal Sanders September 1994 - Kashmir Singh
Commonwealth Heavyweight Championships[29] Count Bartelli 1981 Liverpool, England Hans Streiger
WWA World Heavyweight Championship[30] Wayne Bridges March 28, 1988 Cheltenham, England Kendo Nagasaki
World Mid-Heavyweight Championship[31] Johnny South May 27, 1999 Bristol, England Marty Jones
World Middleweight Championship[32] Danny Collins November 1, 1991 Bath, England Owen Hart
World Lightweight Championship[33] Johnny Saint June 13, 1993 Bristol, England Steve Grey

Other (non-Mountevans) titles formerly in All Star[edit]

(The below list of various championships previously featured on All Star shows but not recognised under the UK's Mountevans Committee rules include company-only championships as well as titles from American promotions defended by visiting champions. As with the previous list, some of these remained active outside of All Star)

Defended on All Star shows by then-champions Doug Williams and Nick Aldis while on a UK homecoming tour in October 2009. Title still active, mostly in its promotion of origin.[34]
Brought to All Star briefly by Lord Steven Regal while on World Tour in 1996, returned to home promotion subsequently. Abandoned by WCW 1999.[35]
  • Pan Pacific World Heavyweight title
Claimed on All Star shows by Joe E Legend c. 2005-2007.
  • All Star Peoples Championship
Title originally created by All Star 2004. Abandoned 2005.[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.johnlisterwriting.com/itvwrestling/87.html
  2. ^ http://www.johnlisterwriting.com/itvwrestling/88.html
  3. ^ http://www.johnlisterwriting.com/itvwrestling/twc.html
  4. ^ The Wrestling, Simon Garfield, Faber & Faber 1996 edition, page 105
  5. ^ Garfield op. cit. page 138
  6. ^ http://www.wrestling-titles.com/europe/eu-world-m.html
  7. ^ a b c d e f g http://www.houseofdeception.com/British_Wrestling_History.html
  8. ^ http://www.johnlisterwriting.com/itvwrestling/other.html#Anchor-Screenspor-63753
  9. ^ http://kendonagasaki.org/comeback.htm
  10. ^ http://kendonagasaki.org/masters.htm
  11. ^ http://britishwrestlingarchive.co.uk/1989%20RESULTS.htm
  12. ^ http://britishwrestlingarchive.co.uk/1990%20BILLS.htm
  13. ^ http://britishwrestlingarchive.co.uk/1991%20BILLS.htm
  14. ^ http://britishwrestlingarchive.co.uk/1992.htm
  15. ^ Article on All Star Wrestling, Sleazenation Volume 2 Issue 7 (July/August 1998 edition)
  16. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20031211105514/www.wrestle-zone.co.uk/interviews/scott_conway.htm
  17. ^ Meltzer, Dave (April 28, 2014). "Apr 28 2014 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Ultimate Warrior documentary review, ROH moves to live PPV, UFC on FOX review with new heavyweight contender, tons more". Wrestling Observer Newsletter (Campbell, California): 28. ISSN 1083-9593. 
  18. ^ "British Heavyweight Title". Wrestling-Titles.com. 
  19. ^ イングランドでの吉岡世起選手、初防衛戦結果のお知らせ. Wrestle-1 (in Japanese). 2014-08-20. Retrieved 2014-08-20. 
  20. ^ "British Mid-Heavyweight Title". Wrestling-Titles.com. 
  21. ^ "British Open Tag Team Championships". Wrestling-Titles.com. 
  22. ^ a b "World Heavy-Middleweight Title". Wrestling-Titles.com. 
  23. ^ "British Heavy Middleweight Title". Wrestling-Titles.com. 
  24. ^ "British Women's Title". Wrestling-Titles.com. 
  25. ^ "British Welterweight title". Wrestling-Titles.com. 
  26. ^ "European Heavyweight Title". Wrestling-Titles.com. 
  27. ^ "European Middleweight Title". Wrestling-Titles.com. 
  28. ^ "European Welterweight Title". Wrestling-Titles.com. 
  29. ^ "British Empire/Commonwealth Heavyweight Title". Wrestling-Titles.com. 
  30. ^ "World Heavyweight Title". Wrestling-Titles.com. 
  31. ^ "World Mid Heavyweight Title". Wrestling-Titles.com. 
  32. ^ worldm. "World Middleweight Title". Wrestling-Titles.com. 
  33. ^ "World Lightweight Title". Wrestling-Titles.com. 
  34. ^ http://tony6499.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=currentbritishwrestling&action=display&thread=1049
  35. ^ Walking A Golden Mile, William Regal with Neil Chandler, WWE Books 2005

External links[edit]