Jimmy Havoc, 30 Professional wrestler and Progress Wrestling champion
Photography ©Rob Greig
Why did you become a wrestler instead of, say, an accountant?
‘I saw my first match at six years old on TV: Ultimate Warrior against Hulk Hogan. I thought Ultimate Warrior was the coolest thing ever. Everyone goes through that period where they stop watching wrestling because they think it’s stupid, but I didn’t. Then I found a wrestling school, gave it a go and never stopped. Turns out I’m not too bad at it. I love the performing; I love going out there and getting reactions out of the crowd, getting all those people booing me. I’m very good at being an utter cunt.’
You could’ve chosen any character, why go for the mopey goth?
‘For the first few years I was a good guy, a sort of plucky underdog who could get the shit kicked out of him and not die. There was nothing I wouldn’t do to my body to win a match. Then I turned bad guy and went emo and goth. There’s that stereotype that a goth just wants to cut themselves and kill everyone, that they hate the world. That’s what I’m going for. But you just pick whatever character works for you.’
How much do you have to train to hit someone else with a chair?
‘As long as you’re training two or three times a week, you’ll be competent within a year. I do weights three times a week, wrestle at the gym in Camberwell twice a week and then have at least two or three matches every weekend. It keeps me in good shape, and in lots of pain.’
How dangerous is it?
‘It’s as dangerous as anything. You can get hit by a bus walking down the street. Bu professional wrestling is performance art. We’re trying to make what we do look real, but without hurting each other at all.’
Do you ever accidentally smack the bejesus out of someone?
‘That happens more than I’d like. It’s all about communication, and sometimes your timing’s a bit off. I mean, I’ve seen people break bones, break their necks. It’s definitely not the safest job in the world, but it’s only as dangerous as you want to make it.’
Fancy something a bit more peaceful? Why not become a horticulturist.
Interview by Eddy Frankel