Having worked as a wrestler and manager, Steve Lynskey is one of the UK wrestling scene's proudest sons. Now refereeing across the country and a booking agent for wrestling Superstars in the UK and worldwide, he continues to contribute to the industry. We sat down with him to discuss the past, present and future of wrestling.
Steve has quite the CV. He's worked with WCW, Pro Wrestling Noah, Ring of Honour and TNA in the UK not to mention his experiences with British promotions. Having only recently returned from the funeral of UK wrestling Icon Drew McDonald, Steve explained to us that it was Drew that had helped him in building his CV. "Funnily enough it was Drew McDonald that asked me if there was a few of us that could do a WCW TV taping. So we all hopped in a car at 4 o'clock in the morning, went up to Manchester, did the tapings and then came back the same night".
The relationship with McDonald went far further back though, to his earliest days in the business. Steve's first steps in wrestling were as an in-ring talent for Max Crabtree and various other promoters. "I'm not going to lie, wasn't the greatest wrestler in the world!" he told us. However, Steve was not to be beaten and so made the transition from wrestler to manager where again his relationship with McDonald was key. "I did UWA and I was Drew's manager on TV".
Although his managerial career was more successful than his wrestling one, it was a chance happening that led Steve into his most natural and most prosperous role. "I'm good friends with Jonny Storm and he was in Portsmouth doing a show for the early FWA. He was staying at my house and suggested I should come down to the show" Steve explained. "Alex Shane was there and they didn't have a referee and so suggested that I do it. I was big and the early FWA guys were really small, so it was really weird!" It worked out well for Steve though, as he told us "I did such a good job that it just stuck from there and I've refereed ever since and it's taken me all around the world".
With a well-rounded view of the scene, we were keen to understand from Steve why the current UK product is considered so 'hot'. Taking a reflective position, Steve told us "wrestling always has and always will work in a circle". "There are really good, hot times, then you'll see it decline and then go up again and it's always done that for some reason" he said. "At the moment we're in the high spot, there's a huge resurgence and British wrestling is coming off well with it".
This renewed interest is bringing people to the sport but one still has to be clever about how to channel it. As the key booker for Showmasters, who run Film and Comic Conventions across the UK, Steve has to keep in touch with what fans want. "The popularity of certain wrestlers will draw in people in" he tells us. "The Showmasters event in London had 190.000 people going through those doors last year". This year, Steve has booked Rocky Johnson (the Rocks' dad), Brutus the Barber Beefcake, Animal of Legion of Doom fame and more. There's one more announcement but teasing us, Steve says "I can't tell you but trust me, it's big!!" It's not just the UK he's booking for though and Steve will be taking Tyrus (Brodus Clay), Alberto El Patron (Del Rio), Booker T and a host of UK and European talent to Qatar in April for a series of shows.
It's the UK that Steve knows best though but pushed on which promotions he rates most highly, he's keen not to pick favourites. "It's really difficult. Anyone that's doing well is good for wrestlers and good for business" he says. "RevPro have always put on really good shows, I've worked for them once or twice. All Star which is run by Brian Dixon, who I still work for now, run consistently great stuff all over the place. 4FW are also quietly building up and I'll start working for them in May". "Scotland is Buzzing at the moment too and ICW are coming down to Newcastle, so I hope to pop along to see them". The truth is that there are few promotions that Steve hasn't worked with and isn't respected by.
There is a reason that Steve has managed to achieve such longevity in the industry. His fun, friendly and easy going demeanour means that wrestling stars and hopefuls alike enjoy his company. His forensic knowledge of the UK scene and its various personalities makes him a go-to guy and his ability to deliver through Showmasters makes him a real asset. Steve will be working throughout the UK as a referee and booker this year, get yourself along to a show and see him in action.