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Irish Wrestling: A struggle to find a new home

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For years, the Tivoli has been home to many different events. District 8, concerts, and other social events, all graced the stage of the theatre. It was also the monthly home of Over The Top Wrestling: the premier wrestling promotion in Ireland. The Tivoli had become synonymous with the OTT for four years; with some of the greatest Irish wrestling moments, and some of the best wrestlers in the world having phenomenal matches within its walls.

The Tivoli kicked off what would be known in wrestling circles as the ‘venue crisis’. While often OTT would run shows in other venues, such as the National Stadium, or the Good Counsel GAA Hall, they were usually only annually. The Tivoli was monthly and had always been reliable to provide a home for Irish wrestling.

The news of the Tivoli being knocked down has more of a negative impact than one would think. The lack of other regular venues that are a reasonable price to run is an issue. Joe Cabray, owner of OTT, spoke candidly on the issue. “This is becoming a massive issue for Irish Independent Wrestling” he explained. “Not just Dublin, but nationwide. This Country needs venues, not just hotels and car parks.”

While wrestling may seem alternative if you are not involved, it is proving to be more successful than other sports. There is a basketball arena in Tallaght, which did not draw half the attendance an OTT wrestling show did in that same arena on February 17th. The OTT shows held in the National Stadium shows twice a year easily fill up the 2,000 seat capacity.

OTT does run smaller shows in the small Ringside Club area of the National Stadium. However, those events are meant for the ‘contenders’, the younger and newer wrestlers attempting to break out onto the scene.

Carbray has mentioned he has looked into various other alternatives, but finds that  nightclubs and hotels are not built for sporting events. “Academy seems to be a little small,” Joe elaborated. “The Helix is too expensive to run monthly, and Vicar Street is hard to get dates.” The Tivoli was ideal, he explained, because it could hold a couple hundred people, which is usually the attendance for the regular shows. Because of its closure, the OTT has now become bi-monthly.

Wrestling is a sport that has become a part of Irish sporting entertainment, and without the Tivoli, it seems the sport has become less accessible to those who enjoy it.

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