Promotional Consideration is an on-going series at Last Word on Pro Wrestling that sheds spotlights on some of the top indie promotions around the world for your consideration, discovering their stories, the struggles, and their triumphs, directly from the promoters and owners mouths themselves. This week’s spotlight is on Lochwinnoch, Scotland’s Respect Pro Wrestling with an exclusive interview with Respect Pro owner/wrestler, Bobby Roberts.
In 2016, a new company burst on to the Scottish wrestling scene as Respect Pro Wrestling (Respect Pro) was born. In the three years that have followed, the company has gone from strength to strength, providing a platform for some of the UK’s best and brightest stars. Tonight (November 23rd), they make their debut at the Walker Memorial Hall in Kilbirnie, Scotland for their third anniversary show, The Walker Brawl. We spoke to Bobby Roberts, a veteran of the Scottish wrestling scene, about the story of Respect Pro Wrestling thus far.
Last Word on Pro Wrestling: After being a wrestler yourself for many years, you launched Respect Pro Wrestling in 2016 I believe it was. What made you feel like that was the right time for you to start your own promotion?
Bobby Roberts: I started Respect Pro Wrestling in 2016, I decided to do this because the area in which I live (North Ayrshire) has little to no entertainment of this type and for wrestling fans in the area to see a show they had to go to Ayr or Glasgow, which for those who don’t have the money or means it meant a lot were missing out. I felt that I had many ideas that I wanted to be able to follow through with and the only way I could see this happening was to start my own promotion. I was very lucky at the time to have the right people giving me the right advice such as James St James, Jam O’Malley, and Christopher Saynt.
The majority of your shows take place in the likes of Lochwinnoch and Kilbirnie. Considering there weren’t many (if any) wrestling shows in these areas, did that make it an easy decision for you when choosing where to have the promotion based?
In short, yes. I grew up in the Garnock valley and run the Lochwinnoch Community Annex, this meant I was in the right place to start a base of operations for the promotion. The lack of shows in the area at the time meant we could bring a new and exciting product to the area with little repetition while giving new and upcoming talent a fresh audience to perform for.
Right from the start, Respect Pro has been about using some of Scotland’s best talent mixed in with names from around the UK but unlike other promotions, you’ve brought in talents that are perhaps unfamiliar in this neck of the woods, guys like Matt Fox and NXT UK enhancement talent Jack Starz. Do you feel that using these perhaps lesser-known names is something that attracts fans to a Respect Pro show as they’re unlikely to see them anywhere else in the country?
Yes, plain and simple. Each of our shows provides a well-rounded cast of talent that attract
fans, we have regulars of course but the new talent, or lesser-known in this area talent
draws the crowd as they won’t see the same thing at every show or even at other
promotions they may attend. We like to try and provide our audience with diversity and
giving new and exciting talent a chance to shine in an area they maybe wouldn’t have had
the opportunity in before.
Speaking about the stars you’ve utilised over the years, we’ve also seen some of Scotland’s top names compete in Respect Pro, including Aspen Faith, Lewis Girvan, and the current Heavyweight Champion Joe Hendry. It’s fair to say that using these names has added a bit of star power to the shows – is there anyone else who you’ve been wanting to bring in?
Of course, we are always looking for the best talent we can. Our wish list would include some of the country’s best such as Wolfgang, BT Gunn, Stevie Boy, Liam Thomson, the list goes on and on really. The UK has the best talent in the world in my opinion.
In more recent months, we’ve seen what appears to be a working relationship formed between Respect Pro and England’s Upbrawl Championship Wrestling, in the sense that we’ve seen the UCW Women’s Championship defended in Scotland, while some of their regulars have also appeared on Respect Pro events, such as Joseph Biggs and The Social Order. Is this something we can expect to see more of in the future, or was it more of a one and done situation?
Respect Pro Wrestling aims to forge relationships with lots of companies from around the
UK. We have some fantastic talent coming through the ranks at our training school and we
feel they would be a benefit to anyone’s show as well as welcoming other companies to
work with us in the same respect.
You recently held your first Showcase event at the end of October, which featured a few of your very own trainees such as BIG Bennie and Rubi Roberts. I noticed you recently posted on social media that there had been some new trainees taking that all-important first step through the door, so in saying that, is there a plan to make these Showcase events a regular occurrence further down the line?
Yes, as the Respect Pro Wrestling school grows and goes from strength to strength, our
trainees will be given more opportunities to perform on these showcase events, as well as
being featured more regularly on our main shows.
The training school itself, based in Lochwinnoch, has seen the students have the opportunity to learn from a number of Scotland’s best, including Andy Wild, Christopher Saynt, and the newest full-time member of the training team Jayla Dark. What is it that’s made you choose those specific people to train the next generation of Respect Pro Wrestling stars? Do you believe they each bring something different to teach the students?
Having personally worked with each of the full-time coaches at Respect, I have learned so
much from working with each of them and knew that each trainer had a unique skillset and level of experience they could impart on our trainees. This upcoming year 2020, we have two further trainers joining our team at Respect and we predict it will be our best year yet.
Last November, the Respect Pro Tag Team Championships were introduced, with the first champions crowned in the finals of a tournament this past March. Considering how incredible the tag team scene is in Scotland right now, did you feel it was an easy choice to add a second championship to the company? In addition, are there any teams you’d like to bring in to challenge for the doubles gold?
Yes, I feel it was a great time to introduce a tag team championship. As you said, there is a
plethora of fantastic tag teams in the UK just now and we would love to have them on our
Respect Pro Wrestling has quickly risen up the ranks of Scottish wrestling, with fans flocking to the venues time and time again. At what stage did you feel like you had accomplished something incredible with your company?
Since starting Respect Pro Wrestling, I feel I’ve achieved a dream by giving wrestlers a
chance to perform where they may not have had the opportunity before. Respect is about
giving people chances and making opportunities and I feel we have done this at every show
we have put on and will continue to do so.
You’ve got your big show coming up on November 23rd at the Walker Memorial Hall in Lochwinnoch, titled The Walker Brawl. How big of a deal is this for you as a promoter?
As a promotor, this is a huge deal for me. I grew up in Kilbirnie, where the Walker Hall was in its day, second only to the Barrowlands Ballroom for entertainment even hosting wrestling back in the ’70s. I am so proud to be able to bring wrestling back to this historic venue as well as achieving a personal goal by not only putting on our biggest show to date, but performing at such an important local venue. We have also nearly sold this event out meaning that it is our biggest audience to date.
That show will see matches such as Paul Tracey vs. Glen Dunbar, Emily Hayden vs. Ayesha Raymond, and a huge Fatal Four Way Match for the Respect Pro Heavyweight Championship. You’re also booked for that show alongside BMD partner JD Bravo against The Sensational Scenebirds, but from a fan’s perspective, which of the announced matches would you say you’re most looking forward to?
Personally, I am most looking forward to seeing Glen Dunbar and Paul Tracey. Having
learned from both of these legendary wrestlers as well as working with them both, I am
excited to witness this match as they have never competed against one another before. This is set to be an absolutely smashing match with a wealth of experience from both of the veterans.
After Billy Kirkwood revealed he was stepping back from his duties as the Respect Pro general manager, it was announced that the recently-retired Jayla Dark would be taking his spot. With Kirkwood adding Tag Team Championships to the company, would you say there’s a possibility Jayla could also add a title, perhaps a Respect Pro Women’s Championship?
This is a possibility but the decision is ultimately up to our new GM Jayla Dark. We have had some excellent female talent come through the Respect ring so watch this space.
What can we expect to see from Respect Pro Wrestling in 2020?
Respect Pro Wrestling in 2020 will be capable of anything and everything, the sky is the limit. We hope to continue to provide the same high-quality entertainment and fantastic talent we always have done.
The Walker Brawl takes place tonight at the time of writing. Here’s what fans can look forward to at the show;
- Joe Hendry defending the Heavyweight Championship against Lewis Girvan, Robert Wishart, and Alexander Darwin MacAllan in a Fatal Four Way Match
- BMD (Bobby Roberts & JD Bravo) challenging The Sensational Scenebirds (Christopher Saynt & Darrell Costello) for the Tag Team Championships in a Kilbirnie Street Fight
- The Sensational Scenebirds’ Emily Hayden taking on Ayesha Raymond
- Glen Dunbar facing “The Lord of the Manor” Paul Tracey
- Two Respect Pro debutants squaring off as Lou King Sharp collides with Saqib Ali
- Krieger, accompanied by “Big Money” Matt Shaw, going up against Frank X. Cross
- Dave Conrad and James Scott facing off in a huge singles encounter
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.