Nathan Cruz - 10 years of stealing the show

By Greg Lambert
Posted On 30-04-2018 10:28 GMT



You may know Nathan Cruz as the brash and trash-talking NGW Undisputed Champion. But get ‘The Show Stealer’ talking about the 10th anniversary of New Generation Wrestling coming up on May 6 at Hull City Hall and you discover a very different side to the home town boy whose career has grown alongside NGW’s over the past decade. Here are Nathan’s Top 10 memories from 10 years of stealing the show…

2008: THE FIRST NGW SHOW

“I was part of the very first show. Back then NGW was run by Luke Ingamells, my tag team partner when I first broke into wrestling in 2007. Luke wanted to be a promoter. So myself and my best friend Matt Myers, we decided to support Luke with it. Those early shows weren’t the best shows by any stretch of the imagination but there was a definite ambition there from everybody. You could tell that NGW, because of the crowds, the location of the Eastmount Centre, it had the potential to become something big. But at the time, and I don’t mean this as disrespectful to Luke, it didn’t have the right people behind the steering wheel. Luke didn’t have the experience as a promoter to really push it. He had one or two people who helped him who didn’t really have a clue about wrestling. But it was still exciting and had that potential."

2) 2009: NGW ETERNAL GLORY – LAST MAN STANDING MATCH vs MATT MYERS

“Going into 2009 I was a heel but there wasn’t really much direction for me to do anything. So I pitched the idea of myself versus Matt Myers in a feud, coming out of the First Anniversary Show where I would congratulate him for being the biggest star in NGW and for getting us through our first year, then say I’m the biggest star right now.

“When we were 10 years old Matt and I were wrestling in our back gardens, dreaming of being wrestlers. We used to go and watch All-Star Wrestling at Hull City Hall. Now we’ve main evented Hull City Hall. And every time we’ve had those main events it’s always been a record crowd for NGW, I guess because the city has become so attached to our characters and our story. I’m so proud of those matches. I think if you watch them back to back they tell a great story. I think myself and Myers have been a big selling point for NGW."

3) 2010: SECOND ANNIVERSARY SHOW- LAST SHOW STEALER STANDING MATCH vs ALEX SHANE

“Alex Shane had seen me at a seminar in PWA and he says to me now, that I was the guy in that group who stood out to him. Rich Dunn was Alex’s apprentice at the time, and he told Alex that he was interested in expanding NGW and there was this guy called Nathan he should look out for. I think Alex was already a fan of mine and I think this helped move things in the right direction to get a few opportunities in FWA and XWA at the time, to break out into a few places outside of Hull and the Yorkshire region.

“When I wrestled Alex in the Last Show Stealer Standing match in NGW, we drew the biggest crowd we’d ever drawn to that point. It was really exciting. It was a clear sign we were moving in the right direction. More than anything, I think of it being in the Top 10 matches of NGW, it’s because it was such a pivotal moment and people were thinking, now we should pay attention to NGW.”

4) 2011: THE GREATEST YEAR

“2011 was one of the best years of my life. I turned full-time professional wrestler that year and I was wrestling the most matches I’d ever wrestled, that year. I captured the NGW Championship from Sam Bailey that February and then we had a streetfight which was really memorable. At that time when I was carrying the championship, every single show we were doing bigger numbers. I had a title match with Dean Allmark, the story being that he was the leader of the last generation and I’m the leader of the new generation. That match meant a lot to me because as a kid I was a fan of Dean and the story was so organic and real. The crowd was so invested it.

“2011 was a big important year for NGW. I think a lot of special things happened during that time period and some of the most captivating storylines we ever had.”

5) 2012/13: THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL

“The back story to my character originally was that he was a teenage celebrity. He became the NGW Champion and all the success went to his head, then he lost it, so it was a case of what’s next?

“Matt and I had this epic match again at the Fifth Anniversary Show, then Rampage Brown came out, making his return to NGW, and aligned himself with Richie West and The Proven, who had proven themselves on the Proving Ground shows to take a spot on the main roster. The idea was they would be the main heel group and I would go away for a year because by that point my character had done everything, the only thing left was for me to turn babyface.

“But I felt if I was to turn babyface effectively, I needed to have a break and have some anticipation to build for my return. And it went well. The crowd sympathised with the character. They saw me as someone who’d done all these main events but was now a mess and they wanted to see me turn it around – then just as we started to give them it, we had the new heel group take it away from them. It was good.”

6) 2015: ULTIMATE SHOWDOWN - REGAINING THE TITLE FROM RAMPAGE BROWN

“While I was away NGW stopped running the Eastmount Centre and started running what was then the Gemtec Arena in Hull on a regular basis. We carried on though with the story I’d pitched which was that I’d come back, fight The Control, and it would build to me and Rampage.

“We had a title match at Hull City Hall and that personally meant so much. Rampage had a big hand in helping me when I joined All-Star Wrestling in 2010 and took me under his wing.

“He was like the big brother I never had.

“To be able to do that main event with him in my home town, again in front of one of the biggest crowds we’d ever had, all the stars aligned. I captured the title again and it was amazing.”

7) 2015/2016: FEUD WITH ZACK GIBSON

“The first time limit draw I did with Zack, in 2015 in the Gemtec Arena, was one of my favourite matches if not THE favourite match I’ve ever had. We were both so hungry. We’d both come out of a WWE try-out and this was one of our first big matches since then and we both had so much to prove. We were rivals to get to that top spot.

“All of those matches we did, the one where we did a double pin in Keighley…we had such good chemistry. Then we did the time limit draw and then we did the final one which was a double countout which got restarted and I ended up going over Zack. The promos we did, the entire story, I loved it all.

“With regards to everything Zack does and his approach to wrestling, his mentality to his character and promo work, to be able to work with somebody like that was awesome. We have such great respect for each other.”

8) 2017: BECOMING UNDISPUTED CHAMPION at ULTIMATE SHOWDOWN

“At this point I’d done everything as a babyface that I could do. I’d recaptured the championship and held that for 18 months, then lost it and then we had this chase of redemption to try to get the title back. But if I’d won that title back as a babyface, I don’t think it would go down very well. So we needed something else. Villain is what I’m best at. It was the best decision at the time.”

9) 2017/18: NGW AT BUTLIN’S HOLIDAY CAMPS

“I think NGW’s growth wouldn’t have been possible if we didn’t go after the family friendly market. Outside of All-Star Wrestling, there is a big gap in the market to attract a family audience.

“A typical week doing Butlin’s shows would be Monday in Skegness, Tuesday in Minehead, Wednesday off, Thursday in Bognor, Friday is Bognor and Skegness so we have two teams, then Saturday back to Minehead and then Sunday off, although nine times out of 10 the boys have other jobs at weekends as well. Think about that geographically. Travelling the country, Bognor, Minehead, Skegness, on a weekly basis. These are long trips, especially when I live just outside of Hull. From here to Bognor usually takes me about six hours, Minehead about the same. So you get to the venue, set the ring up, get some food, come back, get ready, do the show, take the ring down, and then you’re either hopefully staying overnight or sometimes we have to travel through the night to the next place. Then you wake up next day, go to the gym and it starts all over again. It’s a lot of travel, a lot of bumping, a lot of ring setting up, not much sleep, but it’s fun! I love it. I go stir crazy when I’m at home!”

10) LOOKING AHEAD TO THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW

“I get so passionate about NGW because of what it’s achieved. It’s from my home city. Hull sometimes gets a bad rep and I don’t understand it. Growing up here and travelling as much as I have and seeing all these different cities, I can definitely say it’s one of the better places I’ve seen to spend time in. I absolutely love it here. I’m very proud to be from the city. To say we have this company that’s come out of this city that doesn’t necessarily have the best reputation, and is broadcast all over the world and we regularly sell out the Hull City Hall…think about that alone. Four or five shows a year selling out that venue which I think holds about 2,000 people. That’s amazing. Without a single import. That’s all based on what they’ve built up with British wrestling talent. I think that’s incredible. I’m immensely proud of it. People ask me how things are going in my wrestling career and NGW is always the first place I’ll mention.

“After the epic cage match between myself and Myers at Eternal Glory 2017, I think my character is now well entrenched as a villain. I’ve got the whole story with Chardonnay joining me, I’ve got this group around me, so how the character is presented, that’s exciting for me to see how the crowd’s going to react to me going into the 10th Anniversary Show.

“We have this amazing one-night story with the gauntlet that people can get invested in, with so many of NGW’s regular faces and well-established characters within that match. Matt Myers, Rampage Brown, Justin Sysum, Screwface, El Ligero and a few more to be announced. That match alone will be a good treat for the audience that night. You’re going to see every star in NGW in one night at this big celebration. 10 years is a huge milestone.”

For tickets to NGW’s 10th Anniversary Show on Sunday, May 6 at Hull City Hall, go to http://www.ngwuk.com/event.php?id=138

And for the full interview with Nathan Cruz go to https://wrestletalk.com/nathan-cruz-10-years-of-stealing-the-show-in-ngw/