Scotland: Robert Florence and Greg Hemphill talk Kelvin Brawl

The Scottish wrestling scene has been as hot as anywhere in the UK over the past year, and on Friday the 21st of June, at the world famous Kelvin Hall, it goes nuclear. Comedians Robert Florence and Greg Hemphill are going into battle one more time with a loaded card at KELVIN BRAWL.

Following on from last year’s sold out ORAN WAR show in Glasgow, where Team Florence came out on top, Kelvin Brawl seems a little bit more personal. Both men have picked teams to fight for their cause, and both men will get in the ring to square off in the main event tag match of the evening.

Interviews with the two have been scathing, shocking in places – even the contract signing ended up in a violent brawl. A radio interview between the two descended into a foul mouthed exchange of threats and escalated to the point that Hemphill posted a video of him “paying a visit” to Florence’s mother:

Both Hemphill and Florence have been ramping up the trash talk on Twitter; this time, the stakes feel higher, and there’s a genuine buzz about the show, both online and off.

Added to all of this, the show marks the last major event at The Kelvin Hall before it closes to be revamped as a museum – and the special Kelvin Hall Trophy will be presented to the winner of the Noam Dar vs. Lionheart match by the legendary boxer Jim Watt, returning to the scene of his World Championship victory in 1979.

It’s sure to be a night to remember, and we managed to speak to both Robert and Greg, who both took the time to answer some questions, and we present both of their responses uncut and unedited.

So… Kelvin Brawl. Fill us in, why are we here?

ROBERT: Both myself and Greg, when we were still seeing each other socially, did nothing but talk about wrestling. We were keen to do what we could to get some new people into wrestling, to help support the growing Scottish scene, and so we decided to put together a show at Oran Mor in Glasgow. We just hoped we could maybe convert some curious punters into fans, and that it would do our wee bit to help the scene keep growing. But things got silly and personal at that Oran War event, and now here we are. We’re in the ring in the main event, and we’ll be lucky to survive.

GREG: It’s a sequel, if you will, to the Oran War. Kelvinbrawl is about saying goodbye to a Glasgow landmark and about some unfinished business.

Does it make it more special to be in the world famous Kelvin Hall one last time?

ROBERT: Definitely. It will be the last fight card of any kind at the Kelvin Hall. That’s a massive deal. A great honour. And all down the card there are wrestlers who deserve to be there on that night. I’m really happy we are able to make it happen. It’ll be a memorable night for sure.

GREG: Very much so, for all of us, I think. It seems strange that this venue is being mothballed, given it’s place in UK sporting history.

Robert, was Grado the first choice for your tag team partner?

ROBERT: First and only. I’ve known Grado since he was a young guy in the Scottish Wrestling Alliance, and he was in a tag-team when we first met. He’s a great guy. A funny guy, with a big heart, and the best personality in British wrestling right now. I’ll be proud to have him beside me on the night. We’ll make it through, I think.

Greg, how about you? Red Lightning is your choice – was that always your intention?

GREG: I’ve watched Red Lightning over the years and have been impressed at his speed, strength and mic skills. He’s going to shine on June 21st.

Red Lightning vs Grado from ICW’s Super Smokin’ Thunderbowl

Any worries about stepping in the ring and possibly having to face a professional wrestler?

ROBERT: Of course. Red was a great choice of partner, I’ll give Greg that. My only chance is to not let him get anywhere near me. I’ll have to leave Red to Grado, and find my opportunities whenever Greg is in the ring. It’s a major concern, I’ll admit, because Red is a serious individual and I doubt he takes too kindly to sharing the ring with a couple of guys who – let’s be honest – have no right being in there. The thing is, me and Greg are the ones who have to make the pins or submissions. There’s no hiding place.

GREG: If you were to characterise the wrestling Spectrum as light and shade, Grado would definitely be at the lighter end. However, I’m an actor and he’s a pro wrestler so yes, I’m very wary of him.

If you could have anybody on your team that you don’t have now, who would it be?

ROBERT: I think I have the best team I could possibly have. There’s no-one else out there I wanted or needed.

GREG: The German Psycho.

Explain the neutral match with Noam Dar and Lionheart, why is it neutral, why did Team Florence or Team Hemphill not try to claim either man?

ROBERT: When we realised that Kelvin Brawl would be the last live event inside Kelvin Hall, we knew it was a priority to do something special to mark the event. That’s why the Kelvin Hall Memorial Trophy will be there. And we wanted two giants to compete for that prize. Noam Dar is the future of British wrestling. He’s a star. And if we can secure Lionheart for just that one match, we’ll have something very special. We wanted to remove the guys from all the nastiness that this Team Florence/Hemphill thing has created. We didn’t want to sully the memory of the Kelvin Hall or the specialness of this match with all our bitterness.

GREG: We thought it important to have a match on the card that didn’t immediately benefit Robert or I, but instead the venue itself and fans of wrestling.

Noam Dar vs Spud from SWE’s Speed King 2012

Lionheart vs Kris Travis in a Last Man Standing match at PCW

Was there a Plan B if Lionheart didn’t agree to the match?

ROBERT: There is no Plan B. Lionheart is the man who SHOULD be competing for that special trophy. I know it, Hemphill knows it, Noam knows it and I think Lionheart knows it too. I hope we can get him on board. The Kelvin Hall deserves special people on that special night.

Lionheart agrees to the match at Kelvin Brawl

I noticed on Twitter that Robert was giving Greg some stick for not picking Kay Lee Ray for his team – so why didn’t Robert pick her if she was available?

ROBERT: I am fiercely loyal to my team. I have the great Nikki Storm on my team for that night, and she’s a champ. She’s the best. She put Kay Lee Ray down last year, and she’ll put Carmel down this year. There’s no-one on my team I have more faith in. Nikki’s ability is second to none.

GREG: Kay Lee Ray is an amazing talent but she was beaten at Oran War and for that she has been punished by being dropped from the team. Plain and simple.

Is it a problem with Kid Fite being on Team Florence, and his tag partner, Liam Thomson, being on Team Hemphill?

ROBERT: These nights are special, I think. The usual alliances and rivalries are put on hold for an evening, because the crowd that attends our events are not a typical wrestling crowd. They are people who are curious about what’s going on, and every wrestler in every match is keen to impress in their own right. Believe me – every person at Kelvin Brawl is desperate to win, no matter who they’re facing, no matter what team they’re on.
GREG: For them, perhaps. It really comes down to a question of loyalty. Liam stayed loyal, Fite did not. I’ll be using Kelvinbrawl as an opportunity to persuade Liam to think about his own career and chose his future allegiances with more care.

Is this the final showdown between Team Florence and Team Hemphill?

ROBERT: Absolutely. It can’t possibly go any further. Too many lines have been crossed. One way or another, it all ends at Kelvin Brawl.

GREG: I believe it will be, because Robert will have to disband his team after June 21st.

Greg, any further comments on your controversial radio interview?

GREG: I was set up. It’s history. Black Sky radio is dead to me.

Can we expect any surprises from on the night?

GREG: I will do whatever it takes.

Robert, you’ve promised an entrance to remember… any hints?

ROBERT: The way things have been recently, I haven’t even thought about it. “Entrances” are great fun when you’re involved in a fun event, but it’s all taken a sinister turn lately. I just want to get out there and get back safely with a win.

Apart from your own, what’s the standout match you can’t wait for on the card?

GREG: Mossy v Fite. I have personal issues with Fite and I can’t wait to see Big J turn him into road kill.

Wrestling seems to be a cyclical beast, it comes and goes in popularity, but never truly goes away – will Kelvin Brawl put wrestling firmly back in the mainstream?

GREG: That’s what we’re trying to do. The Scottish wrestling community must now look outward and grow in confidence it itself. It must believe in itself that it is a viable and unique brand and be prepared to show the whole country what it can do.

Is this show another step to making Scotland one of the hottest wrestling markets in the world?

GREG: I believe that to be true.

ROBERT: I think all that good work is being done already by the regular promotions. Our goal is just to make more non-wrestling fans take a look at the scene. If we come out of Kelvin Brawl with 100 new people who want to follow wrestling in Scotland, we’ll be happy.

Any plans to stay involved in the wrestling scene after Kelvin Brawl, win or lose? A show at the Hydro next?

ROBERT: I have a Blueprint for the future of pro wrestling. Once this is all over I will go back to that blueprint and make it a reality. Does anything in my blueprint resemble what we’re doing now? Well, that would be telling. I’ve always believed that just when people think you’re going to head in one direction, you should head in another. Zig when people expect you to Zag. What I will say is that I will always do my best to help steer people towards wrestling. The good work our Scottish promotions are doing shouldn’t be ignored. There’s something to be proud of here. Anything I can do to help out I will always do.

GREG: No plans. I will always be a fan first. I would like to see the different regions come together and work their own tour. This would help build a better relationship between the in ring talent and its audience.

What’s your thoughts on TNA running a live Impact taping from the Hydro next year? Greg in particular, any plans to get involved again after your guest referee shot a couple of years ago?

GREG: If they need me, I’m there. It says a lot about TNA’s ambitions in Europe and also sets up the Hydro as Glasgow’s new home of wrestling.

Thanks for your time guys – any last thing you want to add?

GREG: See you on June 21st, Florence. Oh and how’s your old mum?

The Kelvin Brawl card

  • Robert Florence & Grado (w/ Adam Shame) vs. Greg Hemphill & Red Lightning (w/ C.P.T.)
  • Neutral Kelvin Hall Memorial Trophy
    Noam Dar vs. Lionheart
  • Kid Fite vs. Johnny Moss
  • No DQ Match
    James Scott vs Jack Jester
  • Nikki Storm vs. Carmel
  • Wolfgang vs. Liam Thomson
  • Davey Blaze vs. BT Gunn

KELVIN BRAWL takes place Friday June 21st at the Kelvin Hall, Glasgow. Tickets are selling fast, get them at Ticketmaster. For more info, see the official Facebook page.

Twitter: Robert Florence is @RobertFlorence / Greg Hemphill is @GregHemphill69

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