LGBTQ+ wrestlers fight in special event for Norwich Pride

Brad Slayer, the reigning and defending WAW People's Champion, at Night of Champions 2021.

Brad Slayer, the reigning and defending WAW People's Champion, at Night of Champions 2021. - Credit: WAW Wrestling

A Norfolk-based wrestling promotion hosted a special championship match between two LGBTQ+ wrestlers to celebrate Norwich Pride.

World Association of Wrestling (WAW) presented a bout for the People's Championship at the WAW Academy and Performance Centre on Saturday, July 31.

The WAW People's Championship Belt

The WAW People's Championship Belt, which was created as a thanks to the supporters of WAW. - Credit: WAW Wrestling

Brad Slayer was pitted against his longtime rival, Keegan, in a contest for the vacant WAW People's Championship after former champion Benjamin was unable to compete due to an injury.

Brad Slayer, who is openly gay, said before the bout that he was thankful to fans who "are happy to support us for being wrestlers, not what we do outside the ring, not who we love".

"To you guys, love is love and wrestling is wrestling," he added.

The side plate of the WAW People's Championship belt.

The side plate of the WAW People's Championship belt. - Credit: WAW Wrestling

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In the match's climax, Brad Slayer successfully escaped Keegan's attempted tombstone piledriver, and won from submission by ankle lock.

"It's a huge honour to win the People's Championship," Brad said.

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"To the people who didn't have a role model in the sport they follow, I encourage to be the athlete you didn't have when growing up.

"The Knight family literally put their arms around me and told me I was a part of the family regardless of my sexuality.

"I'd like to say a special thanks to them."

Challenger Keegan, who is pansexual, came out early in his wrestling career.

Keegan, the wrestler

Keegan, son of British wrestling legends, Sandy Scott and Busty Keegan. - Credit: WAW Wrestling

"As soon as I realised fans and the other wrestlers were okay with my sexuality, I knew I could relax and just be who I am," Keegan said.

"To anyone with a dream, just go for it and don't let fear hold you back."

The side plate of the WAW People's Championship.

The side plate of the WAW People's Championship, which includes the list of donators who contributed to the creation the championship belt. - Credit: WAW Wrestling

"I would also like to say a big thank you to the Knight family. They gave me a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

"They help change lives. They certainly helped me change mine."

WAW founder Ricky Knight commented: "I am so proud of both boys.

WAW World Association Wrestling has moved from its home on Rose Lane to a new headquarters on the Vu

"Rowdy" Ricky Knight and his son, Zak. - Credit: Archant

"It's nice they're happy in life. We're a family. And regardless of sexuality, race, gender or ability, everybody is equal."

WAW are hosting free shows every weekend in Norwich throughout August.

Contact 01603 485495 for more information.

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