Rocky Horror Show

School of Hard Notts: Gabriel Kidd – Butting Heads

19 July 19 words: Chaz Wright

Kidd is Nottingham’s very own GOAT (greatest of all time) a tough young grappler destined for the top. We caught “The Young Bull” fresh off the plane from a gruelling training camp at the legendary NJPW* dojo. Wearing his new battle scars proudly, Kidd pulled no punches in a forthright interview.

So, you are just back from training at the NJPW dojo in Los Angeles renowned as one of the best training facilities on the planet (except Nottingham’s own House of Pain of course). Could you tell our readers about training in the world’s toughest gym?

It was a hell of an experience, my body is still recovering from the training regime which was proper punishing but I just wanted to take myself to the limit. I am a huge fan of the Japanese style and to spend time working with legends like Katsuyori Shibata* was such an honour. I have never worked so hard or learned so much. I just wanted to soak it all up. Shibata keeps a kendo stick handy to keep us motivated and he doesn’t mind using it! 

Japanese wrestling is renowned for its tough style, stiff strikes and brutal submissions. Will this influence your approach in the ring going forward?

Oh, no doubt, I am a different wrestler now than a couple of years ago. I am much more focused on the striking and the matt-based catch style and have cut out most of the aerial manoeuvres. I used to do a pretty rubbish moonsault* you won’t be seeing that from me anymore. There are some Japanese influenced manoeuvres I won’t be taking on. The penalty kick* for example, one of Shibata’s signature moves. I think I would genuinely hurt people if I tried that. 

You are a Notts boy through and through so two questions. County or Forest? Also, would you say the Notts wrestling scene has improved in the last few years?

First off, Forest – ‘nuff said. Second, 100%, the scene is way stronger than it ever has been, in Notts and the UK as a whole. I am pretty lucky to be wrestling now but at the same time it’s the wrestlers who make the scene and Nottingham is as good as it’s ever been because we have trained so many great performers in the city. I am excited to work with the new promotion Wrestlegate as well as Paradox and the other promotions Notts has going right now.

You also had national TV coverage on your CV after a good run on ITVs World of Sport. Memorably you played David to WOS’ resident Goliath, Crater. A monster billed at 600 pounds! How was WOS?

Yeah, I really enjoyed it, I like their style and the British influence. The matches with Crater were fun and I gave them my all. I actually thought WOS was a lot better than it was given credit for. A lot of critics at their keyboards really seemed to have it in for the show. There is so much wrestling to chose from right now and I don’t get why some people were so keen to bury it. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it - stick to a company you enjoy. It’s good for the scene to have different styles especially if it gives the kids something they can enjoy.

You have faced a bunch of top guys from across the world - who is the opponent you feel most privileged to have wrestled?

Well, I have had a few great matches with Zack Sabre Junior he can do some amazing things. I am a big fan of his rejuvenated catch-as-catch-can style so he is up there. I think I would have to say “The American Nightmare” Codey Rhodes is probably the guy I enjoyed working with the most, a real legend in WWE and the indie scene. Getting in the ring with him was an honour. 

Following on who is would be your all-time dream opponent, if you could face them in their prime?

Oh tough, its hard to pick just one, but probably someone from the old-school like Billy Robinson, or Johnny Saint. I love watching that style and it’s a big influence me, so learning a few tricks from one of those guys would be amazing.

Now, I know it was only for a single night, but you were a temporarily a member of “Bullet Club”, the world’s most popular wrestling faction. How did that come about and was it as cool as it sounds?

Ha, not really, it was just one of those things, Cody couldn’t make a match so I ended up in a four-man team with Adam Cole and The Young Bucks against four of the top ICW guys like BT Gunn and Joe Coffey. Don’t get me wrong, I looked around the competitors in that match and felt very privileged to be there and I enjoyed performing with them but I don’t think they are going to offer me a life-time membership.

So, no pension or gold watch for former Bullet Club members?

No, I was only a member for about 20 minutes. In fact, we lost the match and then the rest of the club turned on me and gave me a bit of a beating so that’s about as good as it gets…

What is the funniest thing you have ever heard a crowd chant and conversely, what is the most annoying?

Well, it’s not really a chant, but the most annoying was one guy used to come up to me at every show and point at my lunchbox screaming Tinky-Winky! I have no idea where that came from. The funniest, actually come to think of it, that was probably also the funniest.

What are your views on a good old-fashioned wrestling dance-off and if it came up would you have the “moves” to triumph in such a contest?

No definitely not, that sort of thing works well for some guys, but it’s not for me. If I was challenged to a dance-off I would probably just batter them with a good stiff lariat*!

 

You heard it here first folks – Kidd will not be featuring in “Strictly” any time soon. Though if he did, that sounds like an episode I might watch.

 

Flexicon

New Japan Pro Wrestling- A top international franchise

Shibata - legendary Japanese Wrestler and MMA fighter who sadly was forced to hang up his boots after literally head-butting himself into retirement – one of the ‘ardest man on the planet

Moonsault a great big backflip from the top rope

Penalty Kick – A big boot in the chops

Lariat – A forearm smash...in the chops

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