A Brit Abroad with Gabriel Kidd: Nine Years

I’m sitting here writing this on Friday the 13th November 2020. (SPOOKY 👻☠️)

Yesterday was my professional wrestling debut anniversary, 12th November 2011. It also marks 2 years since I first travelled to LA to meet and train with Shibata San. As someone might say:

9 year this f’kn business!

I feel extremely blessed to have experienced the journey that I have so far. I have got to travel and live around the world through professional wrestling. I have met some of my closest friends through professional wrestling. I have also had the chance to test myself against some of the best professional wrestlers on the planet.

I’m far from done, and sometimes when you’re living in the moment you can easily forget how far you have come and what you have done, but every now and then it is good to look back and really appreciate the journey that has led you to where you are now. Which is what I want to talk about in today’s diary.

I truly believe that I am a part of the best professional wrestling company on this planet, but I am very proud of how I got here and the way I did it.

When I realised that I wanted to make professional wrestling my career, I’d ask my trainers and experienced wrestlers at my training school if I could hop in their car with them and come along to the show to watch and help out if needed. Set up rings, set up chairs, help sell merchandise or help with music. One of my coaches Joseph Conners always told me to bring my wrestling gear with me just in case someone on the show couldn’t make it or the promoter needed an extra wrestler on the show, which helped me out on more than one occasion.

I’ve been very lucky to have fought in several different environments over the last 9 years.

I have fought in a circus tent, at several different festivals and at a university freshers night. “Freshers nights” are events put on by universities for the new intake of students, designed for everyone to make new friends, but really its just an excuse for everyone to get drunk.

I have fought in front of 7000+ in Sapporo and in front of 1 paying customer (and his dog) at a working men’s club in Mansfield Woodhouse.

Toronto to Loughborough, Osaka to Berlin, Tokyo to Carlton.

But as my career goes on, I realise that some of the shows that had a low attendance or the ones when I was making next to no money on were some of the best experiences of my young life. Memories that will last a lifetime.

I used to do shows once a month in a city called Stoke-On-Trent, which is very much a working class city. Last Friday of every month, me and 4 of my friends would travel from Nottingham to Stoke to do these shows in front of no more than 100 people, but like I said before, I had some of the best times of my life doing those shows. The shows were fun, but most of the time the highlight would be the car journeys. Hours on hours of hilarious stories, pranks and in general good conversation.

As we would do them so often, we made a tradition on the way home.

We would finish the show, pack the car with our bags and head to the nearest supermarket.

I would always get a cup of pic n’ mix (candy), one of my friends would get a dirty great big bag of pork scratchings and another friend would get a 4 pack of value branded lager that would cost 25p (34 yen) a can. We would all have a can of this horrible lager (bar the driver of course) for no other reason than it cost so little. It was, as you would imagine, disgusting.

But I can’t lie and say it wasn’t a great feeling when I started wrestling in bigger shows. You feel a sense of accomplishment that you have been chosen and feel the need to prove that you deserve to be on that bigger stage. I wrestled and pinned Cody Rhodes in a company that had given me my first big break. It was in front of over 1000 people and it was my first win in the company. The reaction from that night blew me away. People were crying, I got grabbed and hugged by a group of fans, people started chanting “you deserve it.” I’m not going to sit here and say just because I’m a professional that I don’t get excited by those moments. I’d say it’s actually what I live for as a professional wrestler. You can’t compare that rush to anything else in the world. You have the be in that moment and truly FEEL it.

The best example of that rush that I can give was the moment that Shibata San invited me to the LA Dojo, on a show in Manchester, England.

I had been training for 7 months to lead up to this moment, the first time I had seen Shibata San since first attending an LA Dojo camp.

He had told me to lose weight and get my condition up, so I lost 50lbs in 3 months and was doing the dojo style training 6 days a week.

I finished my match, in which I fought Clark and Karl. I won the match for my team by submitting their teammate Brendan White, and after the match I asked Shibata to come to the ring.

I knew LA Dojo was the next step that I needed to take in my career, and he came to the ring and invited my to be the newest member of the team.

I was flooded with emotion. Almost 8 years of travelling around the UK, making a name for myself, messaging so many companies to try and do so had all lead up to this moment. What I had worked towards for so long had finally paid off, and I would change ANY of it for a second.

These diaries are too short for me to say everything I want to say, so maybe I’ll talk about some of the most memorable and funny stories from my 9 years in this game.

This diary’s track of the day is:

The High Kings – Fields of Glory.