1. When did you decide to get involved in wrestling?
Around March, in 2005. I’d gone to an Irish Whip Wrestling show in Dublin, and they were plugging their training school during it. I’d been watching wrestling since I was eight, and it was something I always wanted to try. Up to that point, I didn’t know there were opportunities out there to train in Ireland, so once I heard about it, I had to give it a shot. I didn’t start training until a few months later, as I was in the middle of studying for college exams, but once I got cracking, I took to it like a duck to water. I loved it.
2. When was your debut and were you nervous at all?
I debuted, actually, three weeks after I’d started training with IWW, in a battle royal. I was picking up the basics pretty quickly, and they gave me a shot on a Gym Wars show- one of the shows held in the training school. I was definitely nervous, yeah, but I had a blast. I had my first singles match, I think, about three weeks after that, and it took off from there. I was really lucky that things seemed to click so soon after I began.
3. How much traveling has wrestling allowed you to do?
A good bit, actually. Prior to starting wrestling, I hadn’t really had much cause to be outside Dublin much, but over the last eight and a half years, I’ve been all over Ireland, and seen so much of the country. It’s been a great experience, and I’m extremely fortunate to have had the chance to do it, and in good company, for the most part. Along with that, I’ve also had the chance to travel to different parts of England, Scotland and Wales, along with Germany, too, on a few occasions. Though the physical act of traveling can be a bit grueling at times, especially after a show, it’s definitely worth it, for all the different places and things that I’ve been able to experience.
4. What has been the highest point of your career so far?
I’ve had a few favourites. Anytime you’re chosen to win a Championship, it’s a great compliment, and nod of approval, and I’ve been lucky enough to hold a few over the years. Becoming IWW’s first Zero Gravity Champion in 2007 still holds a place of great sentimentality with me- I’d gotten my start there, had worked hard there, and to have been chosen to win a tournament with so many other fantastic wrestlers in it was a truly humbling experience, and a bit surreal, frankly! Last year, I became CCW’s (Celtic Championship Wrestling, in Cork, Ireland) first Heavyweight Champion, which was a pretty massive surprise, as well- definitely not something I was expecting, but it was (at the time) certainly a much-needed confidence boost, and it was a great night. WrestleZone, in Aberdeen, is somewhere I’ve really enjoyed working, and I held their Undisputed Title for a short period in 2012, which was cool, as well. Though it mightn’t be one of the highlights of my own career, perse, I greatly value getting the chance to train and work with others, and watch them improve and progress. I was the Head Trainer in Irish Whip for a few years, and to have been able to step into the ring with guys I’d trained and helped along was fantastic. I still love the chance to do classes and seminars around the place. I definitely don’t consider my own learning to have concluded, but I do enjoy being able to share a few things I’ve picked up along the way.
5. Who have you enjoyed working with the most?
Off the top of my head, from Ireland, I’ve had some of my more enjoyable matches with the likes of Bam Katraz, Red Vinny, The Ballymun Bruiser, Vic Viper, Shawn Maxer, Jordan Devlin, Bonesaw, Nicky M, Brother Skelly, JC Williams, Keith Connolly and Andy Barton, amongst others. Outside of Ireland, I’ve enjoyed working with- again, amongst others- PAC (now Adrian Neville), El Generico (now Sami Zayn) El Ligero, Bubblegum, Stevie Xavier, BT Gunn, Joey Hayes, Bernd Foehr, Scotty Swift, Martin Kirby, CJ Banks and Cameron Kraze. I’ve been really privileged to have gotten to work with such great talent over the years.
6. Which promotions have you enjoyed being a part of?
I enjoyed being part of Irish Whip for a good while, though considerably less so in my last year or thereabouts. From 2005 until mid-2008, there was a pretty good atmosphere amongst the workers, and it was cool to get to work with such a great group of guys and girls. It was fun to be a part of, and everyone worked hard on the shows. Wrestling.IE, Wrestlezone (in Scotland) and CCW have also been fun to work for, and also DPW, who operated out of Yorkshire, but are unfortunately not running anymore. Wrestling for 1PW was a pretty interesting experience, as well.
7. Where would you like to work in the future?
My focus is on things back home at the moment, but I’d love to get over to the States, at some point, and over to the UK a bit more regularly over the next while, if I could. I got a decent enough amount of bookings there between 2007 and 2011, but I took my foot off the pedal a little, so to speak, over the last few years and lost momentum; it’s tougher now, as a male wrestler of my size and style, trying to get promoters outside Ireland to take a chance on you when there’s plenty of amazing talent at their disposal, and on their doorsteps. It’s understandable, though. I’m just gonna keep plugging away, and trying to make the best of any opportunities that come my way.
8. What is the difference between wrestling in Ireland to wrestling in England if any?
There’s not much difference, to be honest. Same strengths and weaknesses as the English scene- just in a more concentrated area. There are great workers, poorer workers, and guys with tons of potential, on the way up. There are well-run promotions that use good talent and attract good audiences, and ones that are badly organised, use cheap talent, and don’t draw. The Irish scene seems reasonably healthy at the moment, and there’s better cooperation between promotions, but there are still a few issues that need to be ironed out, and people with a little more influence than they really ought to have; things seem to be getting better, though, and it’s encouraging to see.
9. Is there anybody on the indy scene that you would love the chance to work with?
To be honest, I’m disgracefully out of touch, I have to say, with the UK indy scene. A lot of guys have come up over the last few years, and I’ll catch names in passing, but I’m not overly familiar with what’s been going on. I’ve no one to blame but myself for that- I’m more focused on what’s going on over here.While there’s no one specific I can think of, off the top of my head, I always enjoy working with different guys, so getting a chance to work with lads I haven’t previously would be cool. Working the same guys over and over, and doing the same thing, doesn’t really appeal to me.
10. What does 2014 have in store for Bingo Ballance?
At the moment, I’ve appearances lined up for Wrestling.IE and Wrestlezone, along with the odd training class for Main Stage Wrestling in Dublin, but as for how the year will go? No idea! Heh heh. Genuinely, I haven’t a clue, but that doesn’t worry me too much. Whatever happens happens, and I’ll make the best of it. I treat every show I do, and every match I have, like an audition, and I try my best to make the best possible impression I can. All I want from this year is that I’ll keep getting opportunities to make those impressions. I have a few personal goals for this year, and a few things that I’m determined to prove to myself. I guess twelve months from now, I’ll know whether or not I managed to do that.
Thank you very much to Bingo for his time, was a real pleasure to to this interview with him, I wish him nothing but luck for the future and I hope to see him back down wrestling in West Yorkshire again. You can follow him on Twitter, @Gary_Ballance