Ashley Reid enters the ring, he is overwhelmed. He sees his friends and family surrounding the ring but knows he has to concentrate, his head is buzzing. This is his wrestling debut.
The 26 year-old father of one of Rayners Lane, Harrow, is sports coach by day at St Teresa’s Catholic Primary School and Nursery in Long Elmes, Harrow Weald. He only started training to be a wrestler in October last year.
However, he has already had his first professional LDN Wrestling match in his home town and starred again on Sunday in Chingford, Essex.
Ashley’s debut was at Harrow Borough FC’s Earlsmead Stadium in Carlyon Avenue, South Harrow, on April 19. The night started with a tag team match when Ashley fought alongside as the protege of current heavyweight champion, and coach, Alan Lee Travis against tag-team champions Team Hate.
Ashley may have lost in the tag team battle, but won the Over The Top Rumble - an elimination round where the winner is the last man standing because everyone else has been tossed out the ring.
Ashley said: “It was amazing. I didn’t know the outcome, so it was a surprise when I found out I won the rumble.”
Ashley’s favourite move is the drop-kick, which involves a wrestler jumping up and kicking the opponent with the soles of both feet. He also favours the clothesline, where you run straight into your opponent with your arms held out to the side at throat, hoping to knock them over. He explained those are his best moves as he is a well-built guy and it is a good way to take people down.
The 26-year-old said the best tactic is to try to last until the last minute of each round. It means you have more time to show off all your moves to the audience.
Ashley went to his first first WWE wrestling match when he was 10 years old, the same time a wrestler nicknamed The Rock (the actor Dwayne Johnson) was up-and-coming in the wrestling world.
“For me it was all about The Rock who I grew up thinking I was,” Ashley said. “He inspired me a lot as a child.”
However it was only in October 2013 that he began training to be a wrestler at the All Saints Arts Centre in Totteridge, north London.
There he practises and perfects his technique with his wrestling coach, Alan Lee Travis, current LDN British heavyweight champion, who along with his promoter, Sanjay Bagga, nominated him to participate in the LDN Wrestling match.
“I was more humbled and excited to be given the shot,” Ashley said. “Alan pushed me forward and I took the chance and ran with it.”
Ashley said he is not ready to take a shot at the heavyweight title yet, out of respect for his coach, but says he now needs to build up his publicity. His next competition will be on Sunday April 27 in Chingford, Essex, where he will participate in a single, one-on-one match.
Ashley described the feeling after his debut fight was all over: “It was a relief of nerves but I am buzzing to get back into the ring.”