It’s strangely fitting that in the week of WWE’s flagship event WrestleMania former Blackpool boxer RP (Ryan) Davies made his pro wrestling debut.
The retired boxer made a surprise appearance for Grand Pro Wrestling (GPW) in Hindley (near Wigan) on Friday night, setting up his first match next month.
It was the first time the 31-year-old had stepped into a ring since 2017, when Davies announced his shock retirement from boxing on medical grounds.
The former pro stepped out from the crowd at GPW’s Northern Soul event to defend an injured wrestler on crutches from a group called the ‘Bad Lads’.
Davies proceeded to take on two of them before challenging the third member, fellow Blackpool wrestler Mickey Barnes (real name Tymon Helsby), to a match on Saturday, May 18.
It was a whole new experience for Davies, who won 12 of his 13 fights as a boxer, but it was certainly one he enjoyed.
“It was nerve-wracking to be honest, because there’s showmanship to wrestling which is more than I was used to with boxing,” Davies told The Gazette.
“There was definitely a bit of stage fright but it was really good, really enjoyable. I loved every minute of it.
“I’ve been a fan of wrestling my whole life. The fans were great and they really took to me - I think there might have even been quite a loud ‘RPD’ chant at one point, which is good. It was like living out a boyhood dream.
“Getting on the mic and talking was more nerve-wracking than fighting, because when I was boxing I knew what I was doing in there. I was used to it.
“This was the first time I’ve been required to do a bit of showmanship, because it’s not just talking on a microphone - I wish it was as easy as that - I had to get a message across.
“But it went better than I expected it to and the crowd seemed to enjoy it.”
Davies admitted to feeling sceptical when the idea of becoming a pro wrestler was first pitched to him.
But now he’s made his debut, Davies is excited about what the future holds.
“I’ve been passed a little baton so I’m going to run with it now for as long as I can,” he said.
“It feels like some things fall into place for a reason. This has certainly been a curveball, it’s come out of nowhere, but I’m just going to run with it and see where it goes.
“It’s very enjoyable and it’s different. No one I know locally does this sort of thing, but it’s certainly something I can focus on.
“When I left boxing I really missed it. I’m not saying this gives me the same feeling as boxing, but it certainly fills a gap I didn’t know existed.
“There must be something about me that likes the feeling of entertaining people because I like being in front of a live crowd.
“I know this is very different but at the same time it’s very enjoyable.”