Paradise Loft

Punster that I sometimes am, I still didn't catch the pun. Not immediately. That Spotland Scrappers would allude to wrestler Lewy "Ripper" Paradise, and the loft space where the company trains and stages matches, and poet John Milton all in a two-word title is a pleasant surprise. But I caught on to it only after I finished watching this custom-made six-rounder between Paradise and Sam Smiler. (My dissertation analyzed seventeenth-century English literature, with special attention to dissenters like the notoriously prickly Milton, so it's doubly dim of me to have missed the wordplay.) 

A title card at the end of Paradise Loft dedicates the match to the memory of ITV World of Sport, which broadcast UK pro wrestling from 1965 to 1985. With a respectful nod to the legendary television program, Paradise vs Smiler celebrates the deliberate pace and emphasis on clean sportsmanship that was central to World of Sport. Tempers flare in the last fifteen minutes of the forty-minute contest, when (at last) the lads bust out some forearm smashes and corner tangles. For me, personally, the measured buildup of traditional British wrestling is ideal, almost always starting off clean and by the book (often but not always with some legit mat grappling) and gradually escalating into hot tempers and unnecessary roughness. Ref Nigel Crabtree keeps a tight rein on Lewy and Sam, even at the end, as the loser protests an accelerated three-count.

Paradise and Smiler are both babyfaces, so the distinctions between them are marked by their attitudes, wrestling styles, and shortness of temper. Bubble-butted Lewy is more prone to cut corners to get the win he's striving for. Cool, calm, and collected Sam keeps his focus on the technical aspects of the sport. They are well matched, even in their contrasts: Lewy appears to be the larger of the two, and Sam, the more confident in his command of wrestling moves. The action is give-and-take from start to finish. I like both wrestlers, but I'm rooting for the more sanguine Paradise, who also has a smartly angled bandage on his left eyebrow (to protect a piercing, but the Band-Aid falls off as the tussle heats up).

The match has what I like: good-looking and well-trained young wrestlers, colorful trunks, short fuses, long tight squeezes, and a decisive finish by pinfall. Deliberately old-fashioned by today's standards of flash, trash talk, and climactic knockouts, Paradise Loft hits the sweet spot with me. 


  1. Lewy has a family connection to that World of Sport era through his grandfather Ripper Collins and his father Danny Collins.

    1. Thank you, Polonius. Interesting detail. It certainly adds poignancy to the match.

    2. To riff on your Milton connection, the pun in the title is even more powerful if you recall that in the typography of the 17th Century, when the letter "s" preceded the letter "t" in the middle of a word, it was printed in type that closely resembled the letter "f." So, the printed title Paradise Lost would have looked almost inentical to the title of this video.

    3. Those Spotland Scrappers are clever lads, indeed!

    4. Polonius is only half right. Lewy's grandfather is indeed Derek "Ripper" Collins. He is not, however, related to Danny Collins in any way.


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