A Castle of Hugs
Ohio Based Wrestler Climbs Wrestling’s Ladder
By Stephen Cravak
Three hundred and thirty pounds of furry flesh stalks its prey. Men gaze while little children scream at the emerging behemoth. The beast lifts up its colossal arm and bellows… “Hi!”
The crowd is stunned. “What the?”
It’s just your friendly neighborhood goofball, Bryan Castle, better known as “The World’s Most Huggable Wrestler.” Smiling, he enters the ring wrapped in black and red spandex armor topped off with a sprawling beard, bandana, and gelled faux hawk.
What makes a mammoth man adopt such a jovial demeanor? “For four years, I got nowhere as a serious wrestler,” says Castle who felt the wrestling universe needed more characters. He decided to give it a massive teddy bear. The original idea began as a Chris Farley type gimmick, as suggested by fellow wrestler Benjamin Boone at a Pro Wrestling Ohio show in Cleveland.
In 1991, Castle was in attendance at an untelevised WWE event at the Sports Arena in Toledo, Ohio, . All it took was Ted Dibiase and the Ultimate Warrior in the main event for him to realize that one day he too would enter the squared circle. “I knew right then and there that’s what I wanted to do.” Growing up, Castle idolized the “big guy characters” from Bam Bam Bigelow to Dr. Death Steve Williams and Vader, who were not only huge but also light-footed. Recent inspiration comes from former ECW, WWE, and TNA superstar Rhyno. Castle feels it’s a travesty how Rhyno doesn’t currently have a position with one of the top federations.
Financially speaking, Castle can’t call wrestling a career, though he clearly understands the wrestling business. “My name is Bryan Castle because it looks better on a T-shirt than my real name.” It’s funny to think how the name originated just four minutes before his debut match against Dick Nasty, and six years later it still serves him well. “It’s a rough business, and if you’re not ready for it, it’ll tear you up. It’s all about whoring yourself out,” says Castle who admittingly if called up by the WWE would be willing to do anything or become any character. However, if he had veto power would not be in favor of following in the masked Ding Dongs’ footsteps.
If Castle could give advice to anyone just before their debut match it’s to “relax, the main thing is that you’re having fun. If you’re not, it shows.” Though, fun for Castle comes at a price. Over the years he’s had to pass up better paying jobs and has seen relationships deteriorate due to his commitment to sports entertainment. While he desires to build it into a career, he’s happy playing the part of a on-the-road warrior. Castle knows his job, despite winning or losing, is to entertain the crowd. “I always fear the fans are not enjoying it.” Not only do audiences enjoy his wrestling prowess and silly hijinks, but also the organizations he works for.
On Saturday, April 7th at his debut for Buffalo Championship Wrestling in western New York, Castle dazzled the crowd with his goofball antics in a three-way dance against Jeremiah Bradley and Evan McCloud. Castle playfully hi-fived not only his opponents, but also the referee and the fans into an uproarious state of laughter. Based on the overwhelmingly positive response, BCW officials decided to bring him back just one month later. “Bryan has the total package; a great and agile wrestler for his size plus his personality and character is unique and speaks to the fans,” says BCW Announcer Chris Gullo.
Castle has also worked hard to impress his fellow wrestlers and coaches. “The wrestling school I met him at there were probably 9 or 10 guys there and he was the only one who seemed like he wanted it,” says trainer “The Homeless Avenger” Dick Nasty, who has wrestled Castle an estimated 100 times and regards him as one of his favorite opponents. “As long as he sticks with it and keeps working hard there will be no limit to what he does and where he goes.”
While Monday through Friday, Castle finds himself in the back of a restaurant cooking for others, on the weekends he serves up a delightful dish of sports entertainment. If he happens to be in your neck of the woods, be sure to check him out in action, and while you’re there give him a hug.
Name: “The World’s Most Huggable Wrestler” Bryan Castle
WEIGHT: 330 pounds
EXPERIENCE: 6 years
LOCATION: Toledo, Ohio
FAVORITE MOVES: his versions of the Vader Bomb and the Perfect-Plex
FINISHER: a running crossbody
COMPARISON: Bam Bam Bigelow meets Colt Cabana
WRESTLED FOR: PWO in Cleveland; CIW in Adrian, Michigan; XICW; Big Time Wrestling; Metro Pro Wrestling in Detroit; Buffalo Championship Wrestling; and others
TRAINING/TRAINERS: In Toledo by ”The Homeless Avenger” Dick Nasty. Additional training by Mr. Main Event, CK3, “Amazing” N8 Mattson, and Rhyno.
Special thanks to Ivy Imagery, Dick Nasty (@DickNasty2000), Chris Gullo (@ChrisGullo), and especially Bryan Castle (@Bryan_Castle) for committing his time for an extensive interview session.
“Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life.” - S.D. Gordon
For devout Christians, Easter is all about resurrection, and for children it’s about finding a basket full of goodies. On Saturday, April 7th BCW’s Easter Weekend Extravaganza was not only a resurrection with in ring performances by living legends Tommy Dreamer and “The Franchise” Shane Douglas, but the event also made it easy for children, ages 5 to 99, to find a squared circle full of goodies. Buffalo Championship Wrestling made sure to put its mark on quality sports entertainment with a well balanced card full of surprises. Click here to watch the action packed show finish. With Empire State Wrestling’s loaded BrawlFest held less than a week later, there’s no doubt that Western New York wrestling fans are benefiting from the two feds apparent “Monday Night War”-esque competition. According to BCW officials, the 3 hour show boasted over 200 fans in attendance. Its success has prompted BCW to promise a future appearance by ECW alumni Johnny Swinger and also wasted no time in announcing the next event for Saturday, May 26th at the Lake Erie Italian Club in Lackawanna.
***Heels (bad guys) are listed first, followed by faces (good guys)
Match #1: Bobby Stone VS Rip Impact
Looking like a miniature Big Show, Stone was quickly gained heat from the crowd. While a face, Impact relies on his arsenal of moves to get the crowd into the match. By far one of the best worked matches of the night and a well-chosen opener for the card.
Winner: Rip Impact via pinfall.
Match #2: Jeremiah Bradley VS Evan McCloud VS “The World’s Most Huggable Wrestler” Bryan Castle
By far, the best ring psychology of the night. These three wrestlers were able to effectively play off each other while consistently eliciting cheers and jeers from the crowd. Bryan Castle is like Bam Bam Bigelow meets Colt Cabana, and is certainly one to watch. Bradley boasts Mark Henry sized stature and McCloud is a cross between Fit Finley and Hornswoggle.
Winner: Jeremiah Bradley via pinfall.
BCW Heavyweight Champion “Big League” John McChesney w/ Caesar & Waylon Reavis (lead singer of metal band Mushroomhead) incited Tommy Dreamer to setup the night’s non-title, hardcore rules main event.
Match #3: The Yankee Outlaws (Nick Paradise & H.C. Loc) VS Iron Clad (Frank the Tank & Ron Falco)
Lots of personality in this match. With his experience in ECW and Ring of Honor, HC Loc knew how to work to the crowd. Frank the Tank moved the crowd with his ariel antics, and Ron Falco was arguably the best fit of the roster.
Winner: The Yankee Outlaws via pinfall.
30 Minute Intermission
Match #4: T-Rex Express (Troy Buchannan & “Retro” Rex Atkins) VS “Sik” Rik Matrix in a handicap match
A slow paced match. Matrix has been feuding with T-Rex Express for months, and following the close of the match he stated it’s just beginning. Atkins and Buchannan exemplify tag team chemistry and work well together as heels. Overall, the match was one of the longest of the night and had a classic ’80s feel to it.
Winner: ”Sik” Rik Matrix via pinfall.
Match #5: Krimson VS Mean Marcos
A considerable mismatch in size, but Marcos was able to flawlessly showoff his elaborate technical and high-flying repertoire. A 10 year plus veteran on the circuit, Krimson’s “dark” gimmick gave the crowd something to taunt. Chants of “Vampiro,” “Sting,” and “Papa Shango,” rang throughout the match as a commentary on his facepaint. Some of the most exciting moves of the night were committed in this match.
Winner: Mean Marcos via pinfall.
Match #6: “The Franchise” Shane Douglas VS “Buffalo Bad Boy” Brian Jennings
Chants of “You still got it” rang from the start. Certainly Douglas is a master of the mic. He went from crowd favorite to despised heel in less than 60 seconds. This was a well booked match. Jennings, the hometown hero matched up well in size and experience against the seasoned veteran.
Winner: Brian Jennings via pinfall.
Match #7: “Big League” John McChesney VS “The Innovator of Violence” Tommy Dreamer
As soon as this non-title match added the “extreme rules” stipulation, the fans expected weapons, outside the ring action, and interference from McChesney’s entourage. They weren’t disappointed. Dreamer geniusly took advantage of his surroundings to deliver a truly hardcore yet comical match. Highlights included him shoving McChesney into a hockey net while proceeding to celebrate the goal. The true victim of this match were the refreshments. Countless assortments of soft drinks and snacks were snatched from the audience and used as weapons and at one point Dreamer drowned himself under a box of popcorn for a mid-match energy boost. Filled with plenty of spots, and chemistry, this match was worthy of main event status. Following the match Dreamer celebrated with interuptions from the locker room. Click here to watch the show’s finale.
Winner: Tommy Dreamer via pinfall.
Be sure to check out BCW, announcer/comedian Chris Gullo, and of course Tommy Dreamer, and Shane Douglas.
Follow Crave on twitter @cravevsworld
*** All images and video used with permission from Buffalo Championship Wrestling. Unauthorized use of media is not permitted. ***
“The Innovator of Violence” Tommy Dreamer celebrates his victory over “Big League” Brian McChesney in a hardcore rules, non-title match from Buffalo Championship Wrestler’s 1st Annual Easter Weekend Extravaganza on Saturday, April 7th in Orchard Park, NY.
For fans of RingWriters in the Western New York, stop looking for your Easter basket and come find extreme legends Tommy Dreamer and Shane Douglas kicking arse the old fashioned way at Buffalo Championship Wrestling’s first annual Easter Weekend Extravaganza on Saturday, April 7th in Orchard Park, NY. RingWriter’s own Crave Cravak will be there abstractly and in person covering this epic event.