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Canada’s ‘Speedball’ Mike Bailey sees independent wrestling as purest form of the art

You can’t hide the excitement in “Speedball” Mike Bailey’s voice when he talks about wrestling in front of a live crowd rather than a TV audience.

“Oh, man, that’s my favorite question in the world. And that’s my favorite part of pro wrestling to talk about it,” Bailey said. the fight.”

A mainstay of nationally televised Impact Wrestling, Bailey is a former X-Division champion who won laurels in 2022 as X Division Star of the Year and half of the promotion match. year against fellow Canadian Josh Alexander. He headlines against Kellan Thomas at Fight Life 9 in East Greenwich, RI on Wednesday, the independent promotion’s first time on FITE+, the combat sports streaming service.

Bailey, of Laval, Que., said he’s thrilled the smaller promotion will have commercial-free airing because it will allow fans to see professional wrestling in its purest form.

“When you watch it on TV, you’re watching a TV show, it’s really a production. Sure, there’s a live crowd. But for the most part, it’s a TV show, right?” Bailey said, “You see a drop coming, don’t you? One, two, then there’s a kick and what happens? The action stops, which is necessary for television.

“The producers will do a close-up of the guy who got fired, his shocked face at the kick, then we’ll hear the commentators tell the story of what’s behind the move that just happened, and then we’ll cut to a shot of the audience which may or may not have been taken live, then we’ll come back after about 30, 45 seconds to the wrestler.

Live wrestling that doesn’t have to respond to TV cameras and the whims of directors and producers or commercial breaks is more exciting, says Bailey.

“Indie wrestling is made for live audiences. Wrestling as an art form is and always has been about having a live crowd there,” he said. “It’s about changing the script in favor of the public.

“You get direct feedback on whether what you’re doing is good or bad from the audience reaction. I really think the art form of pro wrestling is for the live crowd.

Bailey, whose wife Veda Scott is also on Wednesday’s card, said he was very happy to be part of Fight Life Wrestling’s move to a streaming service.

“I am a strong believer and supporter of independent wrestling. So much so that I don’t think we should use the term independent wrestling,” Bailey said. “I think indie wrestling should just be wrestling and wrestling that’s on TV or in some other format should be the one that qualifies because the majority of wrestling that’s going on right now is indie wrestling.

“Fight Life is just a fantastic example of an indie promotion doing it right. It started small, it slowly grew organically and now seeing it on a bigger platform just means the system works.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on March 14, 2023.

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