Well, a week after my Progress review, there I was again, heading into London for wrestling, this time to Apollo Championship Wrestling! A different experience all round, with Progress being a massive, sold-out, packed club full of people yelling swear words, and ACW being a small village hall with tickets available on the door and no alcohol allowed. I won’t say I wasn’t expecting much, as I knew two of my favourites would be there – Jimmy Havoc and Jack Sexsmith – and also some strong names – Chuck Mambo, Damon Moser, Paul Robinson, the Bhangra Knights, the London Riots. But let’s just say that I wasn’t quite expecting the slick running of a promotion on their 60th show. I want to add that the names I didn’t know on the card? Also amazing. But that’s for a later review!
There’s something about big organisations that always makes it seem like it should be better at access, that things should be easier, and I was interested to see whether this was the case or not, swapping Progress for ACW.
Early on, I was told that the venue was entirely flat, with ramp access, and that the toilets were therefore easily accessible. I was given all the information I needed, given early access into the venue via the back entrance – which is starting to make me feel a bit like the crippled mistress of BritWres, being taken in via the side door like I’m being smuggled in secretly! – and given the option of using Twitter DMs or a mobile number as methods of contact.
Discussion of Access
This all happened via Twitter DMs, and was prompt, simple communication, made easier by the venue already being accessible. Information was readily available, and I felt like my needs were accepted and not questioned whatsoever. 10/10
Physical Access – Discussed
I was informed that the venue was flat, there was ramped access at the front, and that letting me in ten to fifteen minutes early was no problem. I was told that the toilets were accessible, and that there would be food and drink available to purchase on site. 10/10
Physical Access – Actual
Everything was as had been discussed, there were no surprises, there were no issues with anything that I had asked about, and ACW lived up to their promises.
As the crowd composed of people’s nans, small children, and teenagers, everyone was happy to move out of the way, everyone was courteous about the stick, and the small venue meant that I didn’t feel hemmed in.
I would say that if I’d had a collapse or a seizure on site, I don’t know how that would have gone, or who would have attended to me, and that I’m not sure they were in a situation to deal with that, but as that didn’t arise, I can only cast aspersions, rather than deal in actual facts. 8/10
Going The Extra Mile
When we arrived in Bermondsey, very, very early, my left hip had decided it wanted to be out of joint, which then meant that, due to walking on it, my left knee decided it wanted to be out of joint as well. I messaged that we were really, really early, got a quick message back that they were delayed setting up, and told when we could arrive. Around that time, we sent a DM, were led in, told to head for any seat we wanted, and settled in to watch the wrestlers plan/warm up/generally be marvellous while we waited for everyone else to be let in.
Since the show, I’ve been contacted by ACW, who wanted to make sure everything had gone okay, that I’d had the desired experience, and if there was anything else they could have done. I replied that I already had tickets for the next show, and was told I could have the same early entry as before! 10/10
The next show will be at the same venue, and I’ve already been offered the option of going in early round the back. Simple and easy! 10/10
Overall, ACW offered not just a really interesting, fun show that let me suspend my disbelief so thoroughly that I was left gasping, with small children booing the heels and a kid in a Jimmy Havoc mask who was clearly the coolest human being I’ve seen in a long time, but they gave me access without ever once asking why things were needed, without ever making a fuss, and even asked how they could do better. Their score comes to a whopping great 9.5/10, making them the ones to beat!
Sure, you can argue that it’s easier to control smaller shows and venues, but big events should have everything in place to make access easy, and could probably even afford/manage to have someone whose only job is to ensure access – so well done ACW, and I’m looking forward to being back on 5th August!