Something I love about pro wrestling is that it gives me an excuse to explore new places I wouldn’t otherwise visit. I’ve witnessed the delight of live grappling in cities across the country and even abroad, in a variety of different venues, with everything from nightclubs, pubs, community centres, music venues, and an art gallery, to an 80,000 seat stadium, ice rinks belonging to professional hockey teams, and the world’s most famous arena. However, I’m about to cross off the most unique location I will probably ever experience pro wrestling inside
Breed Pro Wrestling is an independent promotion based in Sheffield set up in 2018 by dedicated, travelling fans that were sick of the lack of local companies in the city. Breed describe themselves as a young and hungry promotion with an equally hungry roster that aim to offer something a little different to the norm, right down to their choice of venue. Their first show took place inside a 1920’s ballroom converted into a cinema, but clearly that wasn’t distinctive enough for their liking. In celebration of their one year anniversary, Breed will be taking the concept of underground pro wrestling to another level.
For the first time ever in the UK, a pro wrestling show will be taking place inside a cave. And I don’t mean some kind of kayfabe, specially-constructed cave or the Dungeon of Doom complete with confused Hulk Hogan, this is an actual cave carved out over centuries by mother nature herself. And perhaps the most glorious detail of all, the show is called Starrcave. Bonus points for that.
So how did this all come about? Well, you may be surprised to know that the cave in question, Peak Cavern, otherwise charmingly known as The Devil’s Arse (they’ve even proudly put up a sign with the nickname on), is not only a charming tourist destination located in the Peak District, it’s also a music venue and pop-up cinema. Who wouldn’t want to go and see an ABBA tribute band beneath a ceiling of stalactites? Well, the team behind Breed (who are regulars at the venue) thought if it’s good enough for Pete Loaf, The Rolling Clones and Fake That, surely it must be good enough for a spot of wrestling.
So on Sunday September 8th, Breed will make history by putting a wrestling ring inside a freaking cave located in the village of Castleton. But what exactly can a setting like this add to the atmosphere of the live event? Well, how often are you going to get an opportunity as unique as this? That alone has got to be worth the £20 ticket price.
Just imagine venturing deep inside the chambers of a cave, looking around the stunning natural beauty of flowstone and stalactite formations crafted over thousands of years from the comfort of your seat, and right in the middle of all this picturesque splendor, in the midst of this organic setting, there’s two half-naked men chopping each other’s chests to a bloody pulp inside a wrestling ring. Truly stunning (plus it’s going to make for some fantastic photo opportunities).
Other than provide an awesome surrounding visual, the unusual setting will also make for some incredible acoustics. With an intimate crowd of 500 people, a low ceiling, surrounding cavernous walls, and extensive pathways for sound to travel through, the echoing soundscape of bodies hitting the mat, fans chanting songs, and hands clapping in applause will sound tremendous. Not to mention live music will also be provided by The Ogdens during the show for everyone to enjoy.
This natural auditorium will provide a peculiar yet spectacular audio experience unlike anything else. Strikes will seem more impactful as they reverberate throughout the cave, your cheers will ring louder as they bounce back at you, the glorious tones of a pro wrestling show amplified. Good job WALTER isn’t appearing at the show, the echo from one of his chops could cause the whole cave to collapse (although I’m sure Mark Davis will give it his best shot too).
The combination of all of these wonderful, exclusive elements of the venue, combined with the feeling of, “Holy shit, I’m in an actual cave right now” is bound to make for an incredible atmosphere. Just knowing you’re one of a small group of people that get to be a part of that will no doubt create a special tone in the audience that will hopefully ensure a great crowd on the day. Plus, being able to say you got to watch pro wrestling inside a cave is one of those great anecdotes we smug wrestling fans love to bust out whenever we can.
And it’s not just audience members that are intrigued by this entire concept. According to Breed, the wrestlers already booked seem to dig the idea of doing their thing inside a cliff to the point where talents from around the world have been in contact to try and get booked on the world’s first cave wrestling show with a WCW-based pun for a name. So far, the performers confirmed for the stalactite supershow (who didn’t have to slide in the DM’s to do so) are Schadenfreude (Chris Brookes, Mark Davis and Kyle Fletcher), Speedball Mike Bailey, Chris Ridgeway, and David Starr, all of which are spectacular talents who I am a huge fan of.
What’s more, Starrcave will include the finals of Breed’s six-month long Woman of Steel tournament to crown their first female champion (finalists yet to be decided), and a fatal-four way elimination main event for the Breed Championship, currently held by the fantastic TK Cooper. Chris Ridgeway is the only man confirmed for the main event so far, yet if TK can hold onto the championship until then, I’m sure Spike Trivet and Chuck Mambo (his Escaping the Midcard teammates) will be hanging around in the cave somewhere too. The rest of the card will be populated with Breed regulars that have helped them get to where they are today, as well as one more big name they have yet to announce.
Thankfully for those not lucky enough to live in the glorious North of England, the event will be filmed and posted online. Currently, Breed upload some their shows in-full onto their YouTube channel for fans to enjoy for free, so it seems as though Starrcave may be available for all to watch for absolutely nothing!
Now, although this is a first for the UK, it isn’t the first time grappling has gone underground to this extent. The Japanese indie company Ryukyu Dragon Pro Wrestling have held shows inside a cave in the past, yet outside of Japan, this is a first (as far as I’m aware). So unless you’re willing to travel Okinawa any time soon, this is a completely one-off experience.
If you’re interested in attending Starrcave, Breed will be running coaches from Sheffield and Manchester for the event, but the venue is actually surprisingly simple to reach via car, you know, for a cave that is. Peak Cavern is easily accessible via a walkway, and is also weelchair accessible. Starrcave is a family-friendly show that starts at 6pm with cave doors opening at 5pm. At the show, you can expect a specially-built stage to accommodate the ring (shoutout to the ring crew that will have to carry all of that in), and yes, don’t worry, there is a bar. Tickets are £20 and available at breedwrestling.co.uk.
Starrcave (aka This is Where the Big Boys Cave) isn’t just a gimmick or an excuse to use a pun, it’s a spectacle. An opportunity to witness a form of entertainment you love in a completely foreign yet stunning environment that should enhance every aspect of your experience. So, if you’re anywhere near the area and you’re wondering whether you should ‘cave in’ to curiosity and buy a ticket, let’s just list the reasons:
- It’s in a fucking cave.
- Extremely talented wrestlers.
- Great acoustics.
- Unique experience.
- WCW puns.
What more could you want?
Starrcave is an event that just reminds me of why I love pro wrestling, particularly independent wrestling. It’s an entertainment medium that offers so much diversity and wonderful ridiculousness. Watching companies get as creative as this is what will always keep me attending shows and supporting the indie companies that I love. Whether your local indies are putting their products inside giant mounds of earth or not, make sure you still check them out and show them the support they deserve.
I’m lucky enough to be attending Starrcave on September 8th so if you see me there please feel free to say hello.
If you’re the Sheffield area, Breed will be putting on three shows leading up to Starrcave, the first of which is on June 9th with tickets priced at £12 for each event. For concerts and cinema events at Peak Cavern, click this link. Check out full Breed shows over on their Youtube channel.
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