Mark My Words · mark my words · Wrestling with Stairs

Wrestling With Stairs: XWA Accessibility Review

The start of August has been a busy time for me, with regards to wrestling! Doing three shows in six days pretty much slaughtered me, but before that, on July 22nd, I went to XWA 47 at Resistance Gallery, London, and once more, I brought Emmy with me for company, support, and because she books the tickets most of the time, and I just show up and go “I hope the venue’s flat”!

Gary and Dann were incredibly useful early on, giving me venue details, offering as much help as possible, and making sure that I knew where I was headed. I have to admit that I made some errors in asking for what I needed, which I’ll cover later, but they were polite, easy to talk to, and gave me the details I needed, including letting me know where I could head out for a break if I needed it.

Discussion of Access

As always, Twitter DMs are the go-to port of call for this, and all my needs were discussed simply and clearly, with no questioning of what was necessary. I felt like I was being listened to, and that it was no trouble to accommodate me. 10/10

Physical Access – Discussed

I was told the venue was flat, the route to the toilets was accessible, and that drinks were available on site. Despite it being a standing-only show, a seat was arranged for me, so that I was able to attend. We were also informed that arriving a little early so we could take our seats would be no problem. 10/10

Physical Access – Actual

The venue was as discussed, and a chair was indeed available for me, which was perfect. Unfortunately, due to torrential rain and a little confusion with door times, when we arrived, the venue was already pretty full, which meant being bumped a little on my way in, and that two guys insisted on being stood to block most of my view of the ring. I did ask them to move over a little, but was mostly given a look and a begrudging shuffle, though, of course, that’s no fault of the promotion. While the timing issues may have been unavoidable, it did make things a little more difficult. 9/10

Going The Extra Mile

There was no issue with having a free carer’s ticket so that I could feel safe attending. Unfortunately, I made an error in discussing my needs, and had neglected to mention strobe being an issue. And we had the Session Moth. I fell off my chair and into two seizures, which went almost unnoticed by those around me. Thanks to Ash, who was nearby, who messaged whoever was doing lights and told them to shut the strobe off, and who mentioned that at future shows, he could ensure there was no strobe usage if I was attending.

Once I let people know I’d had seizures at the show, they were very good about it, although I felt a little blamed when it was mentioned that my carer should have said something – while she was busy keeping my head from bouncing off the floor, and then checking that I was alright afterwards. She clearly wasn’t going to leave me after that had happened. While managing to forget to mention strobe was my own issue, I felt like, as I’d discussed seizures could happen, this could have been dealt with a little better. 5/10

Other Shows

XWA seem to do a couple of venues, but I’ve no doubt that they’d make the same accessibility efforts for me wherever we were. I trust them to make the effort for me, along with their sister company, EVE. I don’t think we’d struggle with the strobe issue again, and I don’t believe I’d have any trouble at another show. 10/10

All in all, it was a fantastic show, and the fact that two seizures wasn’t enough to make me not climb back onto my seat and watch the main event, which was spectacularly amusing, says a lot for the quality of the show beforehand. I’m also giving points to Jimmy Havoc, who let me know that there was going to be a spot in his match which might set off my PTSD, thus giving me a point at which I should look away.

I’m excited to get to an EVE show, especially with my wife, who much prefers women’s wrestling, and I’m sure we’d have just as brilliant a time as Emmy and I did at XWA. We’re finishing off with an overall score of 9/10. Can’t wait to go back!

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