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Review: Breathe Wrestling – The First Breath [May 5, 2024]

By 7 May 2024May 10th, 2024Reviews

By Sam Owen

The majority of people wouldn’t expect much from a brand new wrestling organisation in a small town, hosted at a former nightclub on a Sunday afternoon. To the contrary, I was genuinely quite astounded by the talent put on display by the crew at Breathe Wrestling on May 5th and left the venue feeling it was one of the most exciting live events to hit the West Midlands in some time.

The Buttermarket in Shrewsbury, Shropshire was the chosen venue for the afternoon and it was undoubtedly a savvy decision, whilst the iconic establishment may have had flaws as a nightclub, it undeniably flourishes as a venue for events such as this. Everything about the environment worked for the show, the sound system was akin to a ferocious locomotive tearing down the tracks, shaking the very bones of hungry wrestling fans with the roar of bassline and beats used in each of the athlete’s entrance music. The use of lighting effects added an element of excitement without becoming overwhelming, the seats were comfortable and were arranged with small tables conveniently placed between every few seats, which meant attendees could set their drinks down instead of holding on to them. Production wise, I was floored at the level of creativity injected into everything from the use of smoke machines to the intricate intro-videos displayed for each act, with quality so excellent, it felt as if I was watching a high budget music video from a pop superstar.

The roster was packed airtight with impressive wrestlers from all over the country, ELIJAH, TJ Sky, Nico Angelo, Kid Lykos II, Kenny Temple, Jay Joshua, Joey Sanchez, Tommy Gunn, Templeton Cruise, Kieran Young, Woody Anderson, Myles Kayman, Charles Crowley, Luke Basham, CJ Connors, Ashley Dunn and Joe Black. It was announced that CJ Rawlings had to drop out last minute due to injury, which was a shame as I’ve witnessed the calibre of his wrestling. Nonetheless, there was still plenty of standout talent, Kid Lykos II showcased the stamina and skill of Rey Mysterio in his prime, whilst incidentally, crowd-favourite Nico Angelo reminded me of a young Jeff Hardy. Templeton Cruise, manager of CJ Connors and Joe Black, gave a phenomenal performance as a villain, the audience were fully engaged with his energy and it made for an entertaining back and forth.

It was explained to the audience that the contenders were all competing to stay in the ‘Championship Grand Prix’, a tournament accompanied by a Squid Game style board that would black out the losers of each match, thus eliminating them from the tournament. Not only was the idea interesting but it certainly captivated the audience, who began cheering or sighing when a respective wrestler would be taken off the board. The audience – entertainer relationship throughout the entire show definitely elevated the atmosphere, chants of “you can’t wrestle!” and “you suck!” kept the audience laughing and gave the heels on the roster a chance to feed off the energy. Tommy Gunn, as always, did an excellent job being a heel. Perhaps appropriately, Gunn entered the stage with a water gun and continually squirted it at the booing audience, hearing the guys yell “you missed me!” and simultaneously watching the ladies take cover to save their hair from getting ruined was highly amusing. Best of all though, this gave the children in the audience a huge burst of energy and they clearly thought it was brilliant. Gunn’s brother and rival, Joey Sanchez, was his opponent for the match, which was admittedly a genius idea given just how popular Sanchez is with audiences.

High-flying TJ Sky lived up to his name and delivered a brilliant performance in his match against the equally captivating “golden boy” Myles Kayman. The latter eventually went on to win the match after striking a low-blow, which led the audience to implode into a synchronised chant of “REMATCH!”. Surely enough, it was then announced there is to be a rematch between the two at the next event, which I think is enough reason to go to the June show based on that alone.

Upon hearing of an event in the local community, I was fortunate enough to speak to co-promoter and host Liam O’Rourke, who has previously had his own respective career in wrestling under the stage name Jayme Future. I asked him for the inspiration behind the show, which he explained quite eloquently. “When wrestling is done right, there’s nothing better, it’s such a unique form of entertainment. And I wanted to create something that gave the best elements of wrestling, the ones that make it special, to an audience that were ready and willing to eat it up”. He was of course spot on, the passion behind the project was quite evident from entering the venue. I could immediately feel that this concept was important to the former athlete and enquired about what it meant to him on a personal level.

“On a personal level, even though I left wrestling in 2019, it felt deep down like unfinished business because I never truly created what I wanted to. That’s why ‘BREATHE’ is alive. And a huge motivator was wanting to test the old mantra from the movie Field of Dreams – “If you build it, they will come.” If we went to The Buttermarket, put on a big production, brought in some of the best wrestlers from around the country and had an amazing show, would the people embrace it?”

The audience embraced the show with open arms, the room was full of positive energy and immaculate crowd reactions, although I had wondered how O’Rourke felt about the event, as he would have a much clearer perspective of how it was supposed to run – did it meet his expectations?

“I’m thrilled with how things went on our first show. The crowd was excellent, the venue was great to work with and the talent themselves put on an absolutely incredible show. So many times in life you envision something, and when that vision turns to reality it seems inevitable that it doesn’t look like that original image. But this did – from the production to the match quality to the atmosphere feeling electric, it was a show we’re all truly proud of, and it’s just the beginning. The key now is word of mouth. Growth. The first show was great. Now let’s make it even bigger and even better.”

With unwavering local support, Breathe Wrestling could very well be on its way to becoming the next staple in the industry. The organisers, promoters and of course all of the wrestling talent should be incredibly proud of themselves for putting on such an enthralling two hour production.

Breathe Wrestling returns for ‘Our Time’ on June 9th for another afternoon full of guaranteed entertainment at The Buttermarket, Shrewsbury – with the iconic Robbie X slated to fight.

Tickets are available at 

Images: One Fall