Note: This interview and story was completed before the news on Thursday that Pacific Pro Wrestling’s show scheduled for Saturday will NOT be occurring due to the COVID-19 situation.
PPW management stated that they hope to bring Simon Gotch back for a future show.
The next event on the calendar for PPW occurs on April 11.
He’s performed in front of over 75,000 at Wrestlemania 33, captured NXT tag team gold in New York and now stars for Major League Wrestling – but one accolade has eluded pro wrestler Simon Gotch – a win in Abbotsford.
Gotch last competed on local soil back on Feb. 6, 2017, when he was in town with the world’s largest pro wrestling organization World Wrestling Entertainment.
Gotch lost to WWE star Mojo Rawley at the Abbotsford Centre that night, but he returns to Abbotsford on Saturday with local organization Pacific Pro Wrestling. The former NXT tag team champion takes on Adam Ryder inside the Abbotsford Arts Centre.
The California native has had a storied career, working his way through the independent scene for over a decade before signing with WWE back in 2013. Gotch reported to WWE’s developmental territory NXT, which is located in Florida that June. He went on to form a successful tag team with Aiden English known as The Vaudevillians – portraying early-20th century characters.
The duo reached its pinnacle in Aug. 2015, when they won the NXT tag team titles in front of a sell-out crowd in Brooklyn at a special event. The team received a call-up to the main roster in 2016, but for a variety of reasons the pair’s momentum stalled.
Gotch was released from his contract in April 2017, and now spends time with MLW and working a number of independent promotions all across the globe.
He said he enjoys the less restrictive nature of being outside the corporate bubble.
“Honestly it’s the artistic freedom I can now have in my matches and I get to decide when, where and with who I’m working,” he said, speaking to The News after hosting a training seminar in Quebec. “You never dread going out on a show and I guess that’s the biggest difference. There are times with WWE where you absolutely dread a tour. I just get to show up and be happy and work, I don’t feel the stress of my contract or how I’m being used on TV.”
WWE’s intense travel schedule often sees wrestlers away from home for five days a week and travelling all across the globe. Gotch said time on the road sounds glorious, but often only consists of driving to the venue, going to the gym and moving on to the next town.
Gotch began working for MLW in early-2018 and now is part of the villainous Contra Unit faction. MLW is broadcast every week on the beIN Sports network and is also available on YouTube. He said he has enjoyed his time with the organization.
“It’s a lot of fun and there are a lot of people on that roster that I really enjoy working with,” he said.
He said it’s been exciting to see the independent wrestling scene grow so much in the Pacific Northwest over the past five years. Gotch said he initially heard about PPW from second-generation star Davey Boy Smith Jr., who he works with in MLW. Smith, the son of WWE legend The British Bulldog, spoke highly of the PNW scene and Gotch said he’s looking forward to returning to Abbotsford.
“For so many years it was promotions telling fans, ‘Hey come and see the same local guys you see every month doing the exact same matches they’ve always done’,” he said. “But bringing in talent from other companies gets more and more people to look at the local guys. It grows your audience and that’s one of the main reasons why the Pacific Northwest has been able to grow so well in the last few years.”
Gotch said he and Ryder are going to put on a show on Saturday.
“I’ve always prided myself on being one of those guys that, if you bring me in, whoever you put me with I’m going to test them, push them and make them work hard,” he said. “It’s going to be a very interesting match and we’re going to give something good for the fans.
Gotch vs. Ryder is one of two announced matches for Saturday’s PPW Reclamation show. The other sees the return of women’s star KC Spinelli as she takes on Scarlett Black.
Others scheduled to appear include: Matt Xstatic, Danni Deeds, Vance Nevada, The Cook Brothers, Jayce D’Arcy, Carl Randers, Chase James, Nick Wayne, Marty Sugar, Alex Prestige, Todd Quality, Jack Stevens, Camaro Cope, Ryan Orion, Jordan Oasis and Nicholas Radford.
Doors for the event open at 7 p.m., with a bell time of 7:30 p.m.
For more information, visit facebook.com/ppwcanada.