Grand Pro Wrestling

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Grand Pro Wrestling
Acronym GPW
Founded 2003 - Present
Style Professional wrestling
Headquarters Wigan & Manchester
Founder(s) Lee Butler
Owner(s) Johnnie Brannigan
Website Grand Pro Wrestling

Grand Pro Wrestling (formerly Garage Pro Wrestling) or GPW is a British professional wrestling promotion based in the North West of England. The promotion was established up by former British wrestler - "The Middleman" Lee Butler - in February 2003. However, in August 2004, Butler handed over the reins of the promotion to his senior trainees and retired from wrestling. Since January 2005 GPW has been run by British wrestler Johnnie Brannigan. However, the name 'Richard Noble' was used as the public facing name up until Brannigan went public with his role in the company in April 2012.

Overview[edit]

The promotion runs shows in the North West of England, mainly in the Greater Manchester area at The Rose Club (formerly known as The Monaco Ballroom) in Hindley Wigan running between 8 and 10 times a year.

It has developed a large, passionate fan base and gained a reputation for one of the best story telling wrestling companies on the independent scene. Its shows are known for their addictive and progressive storylines, strong characters, hard hits, high flying, comedy and a strong connection between their audience and the characters.

GPW has established several flagship shows that it has become known for, such as: Crazy Cruiser-8 (one night 8-man tournament show), Only The Strong Survive (survival themed show) A Few Good Men (a Royal Rumble themed show), Friday Night Thriller, promoted as an "unpredictable night of wrestling" and Back With A Bang, the traditional show to start a new year.

GPW is credited with having started off many of today's British and American independent wrestlers careers. These names include: Bubblegum, El Ligero, Claudio Castagnoli, Joey Hayes, "Dangerous" Damon Leigh, Heresy, "Juice" CJ Banks, Dylan Roberts, Danny Hope, JC Thunder, Cyanide, Jack Gallagher, William Gáylord, Ricky J. McKenzie, L.A Austin, Ste "Bin" Man and many more.

History[edit]

The promotion's first show was in July 2003, GPW: "Defection" held at the Monaco Ballroom, Wigan. Wrestlers on that night who are still active on the roster are Johnnie "Heresy" Brannigan, "Dangerous" Damon Leigh and Joey Hayes.

Other memorable shows include GPW: "Nemesis" which saw a main event tag team tables match between Lee Butler & Heresy vs. The Young Offenders ("Dangerous" Damon Leigh & Joey Hayes). The match featured Heresy and Damon Leigh in a 30 ft balcony stunt.

During GPW: "Last Orders At The Legion" in January 2005 there was a well documented riot, at the now demolished venue in Leigh, Greater Manchester. The riots in the audience were very real and occurred when Alex Shane stole the British Title from then champion Damon Leigh. Local papers featured the events as headline news.

In July 2005, GPW: "Saturday Night Showdown" saw JC Thunder vs. El Ligero in main event hardcore match. The match was quite possibly the most controversial in British wrestling history and resulted in the venue banning all professional wrestling from the Greater Manchester area. However, the following year they were allowed to return.

In April 2006, GPW promoted "A Few Good Men" one of the only 30 Man Rumbles in the UK at that time.

May 2007 GPW promoted Europe's first ever Survivor Series dedicated show.

July 2008 saw its 5th Anniversary show; GPW: "V". In October 2008, GPW became the only European company to feature a Torneo Cibernetico a match that has gone onto be a staple part of the GPW shows.

In August 2010, GPW re-branded as Grand Pro Wrestling.

In June 2011 at "Heroes & Villains", GPW presented its 500th match between Zach Diamond and Jack Gallagher for the British Title.

In April 2012, GPW wrestler, Dom Travis aka Kastor LeVay died. His last official match was for GPW at "Battlefield" May 2011 but he also made appearances in November (pre-taped videeo) and December 2011 (run-in during Heresy v Voodoo).

January 2013 saw the start of the company's 10th Year Celebrations.

Championships[edit]

GPW Heavyweight Championship[edit]

Wrestler Times Date Place / Type Of Match / Event
Chris Hero 1 6 March 2004 Whitehaven / vs. JC Thunder / GPW: "Hold The Line Tour Pt.1"
TJ Cain 1 17 October 2004 The Legion, Leigh / vs. Chris Hero / GPW: "...A Hero's Welcome"
Heresy 1 22 January 2006 Den Haag, Netherlands / vs. TJ Cain / DCW: "Shockwave"
Dirk Feelgood 1 17 October 2006 The Monaco Ballroom, Wigan / vs. Heresy / GPW: "Friday Night Thriller"
Darkside 1 21 September 2007 The Monaco Ballroom, Wigan / vs. Dirk Feelgood / GPW: "Back To School"
Johnny Phere 1 7 March 2008 The Monaco Ballroom, Wigan / 3-Way vs. Dirk Feelgood vs. Darkside / GPW: "Strictly Come WRESTLING!"
Bubblegum 1 4 July 2008 The Monaco Ballroom, Wigan / 4-Way vs. Johnny Phere vs. Dirk Feelgood vs. Darkside / GPW: "V"
Juggernaut 1 18 April 2009 The Monaco Ballroom, Wigan / vs. Bubblegum / GPW: "Slam Jam"
"Dangerous" Damon Leigh 1 19 November 2010 The Monaco Ballroom, Wigan / vs. Mark Kodiak / GPW: "Guts and Glory"
Dirk Feelgood 2 2 December 2011 The Monaco Ballroom, Wigan / vs. "Dangerous" Damon Leigh / GPW: "Do or Die"
Martin Kirby 1 2 December 2011 The Monaco Ballroom, Wigan / vs. Dirk feelgood / GPW: "Do or Die"
Cyanide 1 7 December 2012 The Monaco Ballroom, Wigan / vs. Martin Kirby vs. Joey Hayes / Triple Threat Match / GPW: "Heroes & Villains 2"
The Cause* 1 25 October 2013 The Rose Club, Wigan / Gauntlet Match/ "GPW Friday Night Thriller 7"
Dirk Feelgood* 3 3 October 2014 The Rose Club, Wigan / Six Man Tag Elimination/ "GPW Friday Night Thriller 8"
  • Between March 2004 and October 2006, the Heavyweight Title was defended Internationally and therefore known as the International Title. Now only competed for domestically, from 2006 it has been known as The Heavyweight Title.
  • In August 2010, the then reigning Champion, Juggernaut was forced to retire due to long term injury and there was a 4 man tournament held for the vacant title.
  • The Cause (Dave Rayne, Zack Gibson, Sean Daniels, Axl Rage and James Drake w/ Melanie Price) defeated Cyanide in a Gauntlet Match. Dave Rayne announced that the group as a whole would be recognized as GPW Heavyweight Champion.
  • Dirk Feelgood made a surprise return at "Thunder Brawl 2014", winning the Rumble and earning a title shot in the process. At FNT8, he teamed with Johnnie Brannigan and RJM to face three members of The Cause with the title at stake. In the closing moments, after the other participants had been eliminated, Dirk pinned Dave Rayne to win the match and an unprecedented third GPW Heavyweight Title.[1]

GPW British Championship[edit]

Wrestler Times Date Place / Type Of Match / Event
"Dangerous" Damon Leigh 1 24 April 2004 Blackburn, Lancashire / vs. Joey Hayes w/ Heresy as special guest ref / GPW: "Hostile Takeover"
Alex Shane 1 16 January 2005 The Legion, Leigh / vs. "Dangerous" Damon Leigh / GPW: "Last Orders At The Legion"
"Dangerous" Damon Leigh 2 3 February 2006 The Monaco Ballroom, Wigan / vs. "Showstealer" Alex Shane / GPW: "Back With A Bang 2006"
Juggernaut 1 16 February 2007 The Monaco Ballroom, Wigan / vs. "Dangerous" Damon Leigh / GPW: "Let Loose"
"Dangerous" Damon Leigh 3 16 March 2007 The Monaco Ballroom, Wigan / vs. The Juggernaut / GPW: "Hot Gossip"
Joseph Hayes 1 20 July 2007 The Monaco Ballroom, Wigan / 3-way vs. Heresy vs. Joseph Hayes / GPW: "Collision Course"
Heresy 1 16 November 2007 The Monaco Ballroom, Wigan / "I Quit Match" vs. Joey Hayes / GPW: "Supercharged"
"Dangerous" Damon Leigh 4 1 February 2008 The Monaco Ballroom, Wigan / vs. Heresy / GPW: "Back With A Bang 2008"
Jac Domitrescu 1 4 April 2008 The Monaco Ballroom, Wigan / vs. "Dangerous" Damon Leigh / GPW: "Ballroom Blitz"
"Super" Sam Bailey 1 12 December 2008 The Monaco Ballroom Wigan vs. Jac Domitrescu / GPW: "Christmas Crunch"
"The Juice" CJ Banks 1 16 October 2009 The Monaco Ballroom Wigan vs. "Super" Sam Bailey / GPW: "Friday Night Thriller III"
Zack Diamond 1 19 November 2010 The Monaco Ballroom Wigan vs. "The Juice" CJ Banks vs Jack Gallagher vs Martin Kirby / GPW: "Guts & Glory"
Jack Gallagher 1 3 June 2011 The Monaco Ballroom Wigan vs. Zack Diamond / GPW: "Heroes & Villains"
Ste "Bin" Mann 1 2 December 2011 The Monaco Ballroom Wigan vs. Jack Gallagher / GPW: "Do or Die"
Danny Hope 1 5 October 2012 The Rose Club Wigan vs. Ste "Bin" Mann / GPW: "Friday Night Thriller VI"
Zack Gibson 2 22 February 2013 The Rose Club Wigan vs. Danny Hope in a Lumberjack Match / GPW: "Romance Is Dead"
El Ligero 1 4 April 2014 The Rose Club Wigan vs. Zack Gibson in a "No DQ" Match / GPW: "Only The Strong Survive"

GPW Tag Team Trophy[edit]

Wrestler Times Date Place / Type Of Match / Event
Project Ego (Kris Travis & Scotty Hexx) 1 18 March 2006 The Monaco Ballrom, Wigan / 4-way vs. Kev n Krev vs. Damage Control vs. WKD / GPW: "Hold Tight"
WKD (Matty "D'Lyrium" Taylor & "Super" Sam Bailey) 1 16 February 2007 The Monaco Ballroom, Wigan / Tag Team Gauntlet Match vs. Project Ego vs. Mil-Anfield Connection vs. The Holmes Bros. / GPW: "Let Loose"
Mil-Anfield Connection ("The Model" Danny Hope & Jiggy Walker) 1 20 July 2007 The Monaco Ballroom, Wigan / vs. WKD / GPW: "Collision Course"
The Young Offenders ("Dangerous" Damon Leigh & Joey Hayes) 1 16 January 2009 The Monaco Ballroom, Wigan / 2/3 Falls Match vs. The Mil-Anfield Connection
Paradise Lost (Heresy & Kastor LaVey) 1 17 July 2009 The Monaco Ballroom, Wigan/ vs. The Young Offenders / GPW: Heatwave
The Mystics (Voodoo & The Great Suzuki) 1 16 April 2010 The Monaco Ballroom, Wigan/ vs. Paradise Lost / GPW: "Jam Hot!"
Paradise Lost (Heresy & Kastor LeVay) 2 21 May 2010 The Monaco Ballroom, Wigan/ vs. The Mystics / GPW: "A Few More Good Men" NHB Match
Chris Echo & Ricky J Mckenzie 1 6 May 2011 The Monaco Ballroom, Wigan/ vs. Paradise Lost / GPW: "Battlefield" NHB Match
The Killers (Mark Kodiak & Johnnie 'Heresy' Brannigan (3)) 1 2 November 2012 The Rose Club Wigan vs. Blackpool Blonds / GPW "Fireworks"
The Island Brothers (Tabu & Rio) 1 26 July 2013 The Rose Club Wigan vs. the Killers / GPW "X" "NHB Match"
Ste "Bin" Mann & Jet Fashion[2] 1 21 November 2014 The Rose Club Wigan vs. the Island Brothers / GPW "Final Fight"

Crazy Cruiser-8 Tournament[edit]

The Crazy Cruiser-8 is an eight-man one night tournament, and one of the shows GPW has become synonymous with. The eight entrants into the tournament are junior heavyweights or are considered a cruiserweight. Heavyweights are not permitted entry into the tournament. Qualifying matches are contested months prior to the tournament either in traditional one on one matches, 4-ways, 3-ways or in a "Last Chance Saloon Battle Royal". Byes passed the preliminaries have been given in the past to established foreign entrants, eligible reigning Champions and "The Fans Choice".

The eventual winner of the tournament would have not only been successful in the preliminaries, but have won three times in a row on the night of the tournament itself. The winner does not defend his title the following year.

2006[edit]

The first CC-8 tournament was 3 November 2006 and the final 8 men were:

The eventual winner was Bubblegum after he defeated Joseph Hayes in the final.

2008[edit]

The second Crazy Cruiser tournament was known as CC-08 and competed on 2 May 2008. The final 8 men were:

  • Jack Toxic
  • El Ligero
  • "The Model" Danny Hope
  • Jiggy Walker
  • Juice
  • "Super" Sam Bailey
  • Chris Echo
  • Voodoo

Juice was the eventual winner after defeating Chris Echo in the final.

2009[edit]

The third Crazy Cruiser tournament was competed on 13 November 2009 and saw new rules on qualifying. 2 top seeds were selected as automatic qualifiers (Joey Hayes & Bubblegum). Other qualifiers were decided through a first ever Fan's Choice, a 4-Way Qualifier, The Last Chance Battle Royal and the return of the International Entrant. The final 8 men were:

  • Max Damon
  • Joey Hayes
  • Fox Carter
  • The Juice
  • Bubblegum
  • Martin Kirby
  • Ricky J. McKenzie
  • Dylan Roberts

Joey Hayes was the eventual winner after defeating CC8 2008 Champion, Juice in the final.

2013[edit]

The fourth Crazy Cruiser tournament was competed on 29 November 2013. The final 8 men were:

  • El Ligero
  • Joey Hayes
  • Jack Gallagher
  • Kris Travis
  • Bubblegum
  • Zack Gibson
  • Jim Nastic
  • Dylan Roberts

El Ligero was the eventual winner after defeating Zack Gibson in the final.

GPW Training School[edit]

Established when the promotion first started in 2003, the training school has turned out some of the best wrestlers on the European circuit today.

The training facility is based in the heart of Manchester with regular classes. Head trainers are Johnnie "Heresy" Brannigan and Damon Leigh. However, other graduates and established British wrestlers are also involved in the development of trainees.

References[edit]

External links[edit]