Hustle & Heart 19/03/17 – The Birth Of Mark Blake (Part 1)

Howdy true believers! (Still can’t believe that I’ve totally ripped off Stan Lee and I haven’t been sued yet, plenty of time I suppose) Many thanks for sticking by me and reading my randomness. Those close to me that read my blog will know the reason for the extreme lateness for my latest post, but for all of you that I don’t know personally, I’ll fill you in….

A few weeks back I lost my brother. He passed away on March 14th. He was only 28. To say it threw me off track would be the biggest and stupidest understatement of the century. He was taken away so suddenly and at such a young age, that it shocked me to my very core. I had no interest in wrestling, football/soccer my job, anything for about a week or so afterward (I still haven’t watched any WWE programming since, but that’s another story for another time).

So yeah, I lost interest in pretty much all aspects of my life…..apart from the first SEW Academy show, Hustle & Heart. I’m saying this for the first time, and I know a lot of the Academy boys and girls read this blog, but if it wasn’t for my amazing wife, children and my SEW family, I’m not sure I would have had the courage to get myself to Hustle & Heart. I’m being 100% honest. Every single person from my wife, all the way down to a few people at the Academy that I had only known for a few weeks, helped me in ways that they’ll never understand. I would like to say right now, that I will never thank you all enough for how you helped me, encouraged me, and got me through the past two weeks. I love you all…..

Now, with you all caught up and a public showing of my feelings (I NEVER show my feelings 🙂 ) I’ll tell you a story about a rag tag bunch of peeps that totally and utterly rocked a village in the south east of England. A story that culminated in my life long dream being fulfilled. A story about the birth of Mark Blake…..


Sunday March 19th, will be a special date to me. Along with my children’s birthdays, my wedding anniversary, the date I had my first date with my wife…..March 19th will be one special date. It is the day I stood in the middle of my church, the squared circle, and helped entertain a wrestling crowd for the very first time.

As you all know, us Academy students were being given the opportunity to showcase our talents at the very first Academy show, Hustle & Heart. Apart from Will Power!, MeatHead, and “The Original” Conroy who had performed on a few of the “main roster”shows (man, we sound soooo WWE 🙂 ) the rest of us were going to perform in front of a live crowd for the very first time! Now the last time I spoke to you all, it was roughly three weeks ago. The nerves weren’t there, the place was still abuzz with excitement about the show, who was matching up with who etc etc. March 19th? The day of the show? It was a totally different mood for myself.

I started the day with a lay in. Training before the show wasn’t beginning until 09.30, later than our usual 08.00 start time. So how did I spend my lay in? By waking up at 05.30 and worry about my performance. You see, Head Coach Matt sent me the run through sheet a few days before. Basically showing me the match card, the segments where I would speak and promote the show, next event, academy etc. I made my own version that included a few bullet points I made for my segments. And at half five in the morning, a full EIGHT hours before the show, I began bricking it.

So I made myself busy and did the housework, made my lunch for the day, shilled the event on all social media I could find. Looked at the clock and it was 07.00! Damn it! No other thing for it, I had to wake the wife up to talk to me about anything to take my mind off things and relax! I woke her up and we talked about mundane things like work, school, you know usual couple chats. Before I knew it, it was 08.00 and time to pack my bag and get my suit ready. Yes, you did read that right, SUIT. I was asked by H/C Matt to be professional and look the part, so I did. You can see how dashing I look (Hey there Cody!) in the featured image of this blog, right at the very top of this page.

Bag packed, suit ready, butterflies at the ready, and it was 09.00 and Conroy was outside with his son, waiting to take us to training.

I’m sure Conroy was speeding (for any police officers that read this blog I’d like to say thanks and he wasn’t, it was just my perspective of time) as we were in Hawkinge in what felt like a few minutes. Eventually the entire Academy pupils arrived and tat excitement I told you about from three weeks ago? Well it was back with a vengeance! The place was rocking as we were setting the ring up. There was such an electricity about the place that I forgot how nervous I was, and was excitedly looking forward to everybody’s matches.

Around 10am my step-daughter Tasha arrived. I had asked for her help in taking pictures and setting up a few weeks before. Within a few minutes she was just as excited as the rest of us, the emotion and passion was that infectious. After a few moments of saying hello to everybody, Tasha asked me for the camera. So off I went to my bag to give her the camera to start documenting the events of the day. But guess what complete idiot forgot to insert the memory card back into the camera? Yup, the guy whose blog you’re reading! Couldn’t believe it! I was hoping to share the photos with you, true believers (😉), but I effed up. Sorry folks 😦

Just a quick break in proceedings to shill some social media bits and bobs. I actually have a page on Facebook totally dedicated to this blog. It’s cunningly called “Diary Of A 30 Something Trainee Wrestler”, and you can find it at this link right here. I’d also like to plug mine and South East Wrestling social media too as I have your undivided attention.  Click the links, have a gander and if you’re feeling particularly nice, maybe gives us a like and a follow too 😉

South East Wrestling website –

South East Wrestling Facebook –

South East Wrestling Twitter –

My Facebook –

My Twitter –

I’ll now hand you back over to your regularly scheduled reading material…..

With my major faux-pas out of the way, Tasha helped set up the chairs as the students began to pair off and run through their matches later that afternoon. I was lucky enough to be involved in one of the matches, a kinda “angle” before the match started.

Slated to be match four of the six match card, and the first match back from a ten minute interval, Chris Castle with his real life brother Karl as his cornerman, would square off against Van Wicked (or Mr Wicked as he would like to be known) with Will Power! as his cornerman in an old school traditional World Of Sport era type of match. Six three minute rounds with the winner after two falls or submissions. By the time this match took place, the crowd would have got used to me introducing the competitors as they walked to the ring. But being an old school match, I would introduce them from opposing corners. Now this is where my “part” took place…

Luis, or Will Powers! as he’s known to you folk, asked me before the match if he could help me get over with the crowd and at the same time, gather some heat for himself and Mr Wicked. Being totally honest here peeps, I hadn’t given a second thought about “getting myself over” with the crowd. I saw myself as the ring announcer and nothing more. For Luis to suggest this was a major surprise to me, and as the events unfolded (which I’ll tell you about a bit later on), gave me one of the happiest moments of my life. Thank you Luis!

Before we knew it, the ring was up, the chairs laid out, the sound and light guys were all set up and it was time for the boys to go backstage to get ready and keep out of the way as the crowd began to file in. I went back with them, all suited and booted at this stage, to experience what it felt like back stage. Yes, I wasn’t technically performing with them, but we had all worked our butts off to get to this point, and I wanted to be with my SEW family for as long as possible to feel all of this, together as one. Now as luck would have it, when this picture was taken, I had left to go walkabout ringside, damn it! Frickin awesome photo though, without Mr Blake 😉

showday pic

The buzz and electricity at the beginning of the day didn’t hold a candle to what I felt backstage, with 25 minutes to show time. It was that much, that I didn’t know whether to jump around like a lunatic, scream and shout like a beast, or cry my eyes out! My emotions were so out of whack that I didn’t know what to do, so I left them to it and went out ringside to work the crowd.

Out at ringside, I just walked about talking to members of the audience, generally making myself approachable as possible. It worked as I had members of families asking me questions, if I was nervous and just generally being nice. It was a change of pace from being backstage and just exactly what I needed to calm down before show time, literally just minutes away now.

I quickly made my leave and went through my notes for my first segment. Name check the show? Check! House rules? Check! Plug the Academy social media outlets? Check! Promote the next event? Check! Introductions and weights for the first bout? Check! Everything was in order as far as I was concerned, I was prepared and ready to step foot inside the ring and wow this audience…….

Now, I’ve realised that I’ve written nearly 1700 words at this point, and I don’t want to swamp you with more. So with that in mind, I’m going to cut this blog in half. You’ve all read about the run up to today, how I felt, how the locker room were doing. Next part will be about the show itself. More about myself (my blog my rules 🙂 ), the boys, the atmosphere, the matches, everything else from the day. It will be up this time tomorrow, I promise you all. No more slacking.

I hope I’ve whetted your appetite for more 😉


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