THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne
When Stu Allen went to the UK Fan Forum to promote his latest pod cast he probably had no idea that he’d end up in a massive online argument.
Allen, well known in British wrestling circles as a presenter, commentator and writer was promoting his Women of Wrestling pod cast, in which he interviewed the mother and daughter duo of Sweet Saraya and Britani Knight before their debut in Shimmer this past weekend.
Almost as soon as the topic was posted the comments started, mainly regarding Saraya’s appearance. While several commented about how “nubile” Britani looked, one poster said Saraya looked like a “saggy gypo”. In case you don’t know gypo is slang for gypsy, a person of from Romany stock, a pikey. (I’m allowed to use the term pikey by the way, because I’m one quarter Romany.)
It’s not the first time Saraya has been referred to this way on the UK Fan Forum. A few weeks before, when Dave Prazak announced Saraya’s Shimmer debut someone said that she looked like one of the cast members of “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding”.
Step forward my erstwhile friend “Rowdy” Ricky Knight, wrestler, trainer, and founding father of the World Association of Wrestling, husband of Saraya and father of Britani.
It’s quite understandable that he’d want to defend his wife and his daughter, the manner in which he did it was quite unsettling.
Ricky got into a rather heated debate with the forum regulars. Personal insults were exchanged, with Ricky becoming quite aggressive at one point. I would quote what he and his detractors said, but I was away from the internet about 12 hours after the topic started, and during that time the majority of the posts were deleted, so I’m guessing the arguments got even more heated.
While it’s commendable that Ricky defends his family, it’s far from commendable that he does so in this way, coming across so poorly. It’s not the first time he’s done this either.
In 2007 Ricky publicly criticised then-UK Chickfight promoter Dann Read on his MySpace blog. When Dann lost his venue for his first all women’s show Ricky stepped in at short notice, allowing him to use one of his regular Great Yarmouth dates for the show, without charge.
Ricky was expecting Dann to book his female workers on his next Chickfight show, but when that failed to happen Ricky slated Dann in his blog, using several strong swear words, although he didn’t actually name Dann. (The relationship has since been mended, with Ricky and Dann working closely together on Dann’s Pro Wrestling EVE women’s promotion).
Last year Ricky and his family got into another heated argument on the UK Fan Forum following a court case involving his oldest son Roy, who competes as the Zebra Kid among other names. Roy had been in trouble with the police for assaulting an alleged drug dealer with a piece of tarmac. This wasn’t the first time he’d been in trouble with the authorities, Roy having served three prison sentences in the past ten years.
The story made front page news in the local press, not just because of Roy’s standing as a public figure, but because of the response or Ricky and his family when Roy was spared another jail term, openly applauding the verdict from the public gallery, only to be chastised seconds later.
This led to the forum regulars openly criticising Roy for his actions, with Ricky and various members of his family coming up with a myriad of excuses for his behaviour, including the post where young Britani said that people can’t criticise her brother because they’ve never met, a spurious piece of logic if ever there was one. Neither Ricky or his family members came across very well here either.
Ricky has been a professional wrestler for nearly thirty years, and as a public figure he should realise by now that he’s expected to act in a certain way. Getting into arguments on public forums does his image no good whatsoever, and in the long term it could actually harm the careers of other members of his wrestling family. Wrestling promoters may be put off hiring his wife, his sons and his daughter if they see him trying to intimidate fans and acting in an overly aggressive way on the internet. He’s more than happy to accept the praise of the smart marks, but can’t stand it when someone disagrees with him.
Ricky Knight is a prime example of just how professional wrestlers should not act on the internet. Like it or not they’re in the public eye, and while they may not be on the level of a Hollywood A-lister they should still act in a manner becoming of their status. Openly engaging in online arguments with fans isn’t the way to go, not if you want to portray a certain image.
A few years ago Shawn Michaels, when he ran his wrestling school, advised his students to “stay the f*** away from the internet”. It’s a piece of advice that should be taken by today’s wrestlers if they don’t want to hear anything negative about their careers.
As for Saraya and Britani’s debut in Shimmer, it apparently went very well, judging by some of the reviews I’ve read. However, a poster on the Shimmer forum said that Saraya looked like Kiss guitarist and singer Paul Stanley.
So far Ricky has yet to respond to this remark.