A few years ago, I took it into my head to start going to professional wrestling shows. Local shows. Indie shows. My first proper experience of pro wrestling had been at a caravan site near Scarborough, and I think I always enjoyed it more live than I did on TV. Certainly, I was eyeing up posters for local shows while I was at university, a good three years before I started watching TNA Impact on Bravo (as it was when I became a wrestling fan again). I went to a show or two alone before I started finding that I could drag friends along with me – initially Shaz and Ian. And then a guy called Matt Bayliss (Indy Corner Podcast listeners may remember him) became my boss and suddenly my wrestling posse became a rotating cast of characters including friends of friends, work mates, and old university mates.
Nearly two years ago, Tom Pratt, who I’d known from my master’s degree course, introduced me to an internet friend of his, Niko Adilypour. We three rapidly became partners in crime at wrestling shows, drinking before and after cards, often with Shaz and others in tow. Bad jokes, twisted humour and intellectual discussion made (and continue to make) these pub sessions a lot of fun. And one day we decided to share the love.
Everyone thinks they can make a podcast. Everyone with two pennyworth thinks they should make a podcast. Tom and Niko had once had the “let’s make a podcast” discussion. And if you’ve got a mad-bastard plan, I’ve got the will to carry it through. Heck, if I could cat-herd a rock band through three-plus line-ups, I could get three guys into a room with a voice recorder. And, essentially, that’s how Oh Dear was born. The title came from our responses to each other’s worst jokes (and we find ourselves saying it a lot during recording), and the subject matter became wrestling because it was the only sphere of knowledge all three of us had (general comedy being a saturated market in the podcast world).
We made two pilots (which will probably never see the light of day) so as to settle on a format and get our heads around technical issues. I had aimed for our tone to be similar to The Last Leg, but we soon found that our analytic/journalistic instincts started to come out so much that we seem to be closer to Top Gear. More serious content, but still fun – I could live with that.
So here we are. Six episodes in. Success is not a high bar – we just want it to pay for itself. We’ll see if that happens in a year. If it doesn’t take off enough, no biggie. My life in wrestling’s been a hell of a ride so far, and I don’t think it’s going to stop being that just because of a podcast. Somehow, I think the maddest part of the ride’s still to come…