In 2004 the United Kingdom Wrestling Alliance closed its doors and the employees were left jobless. From the ashes of that company Scott Mayo and Matt Montell formed a new company selling wrestling merchandise. Mayo, a former sports journalist, had been a commentator for UKWA and Montell, a former wrestler, was a road agent. Together these friends formed a successful business which grew to hire other UKWA employees like former referee Andrew Woodford.
In 2010 Mayo and Montell had a business meeting with Hanna Fox, an Australian born entrepreneur who re-discovered her love for wrestling after meeting the two men and talking about her memories of seeing Montell in a ring during her childhood. The three became firm friends and launched an idea to bring back the glory days of British wrestling.
The idea of Pro-Wrestling FRONTIER was born.
Montell and Mayo, with the financial backing of Fox, went about putting the band back together as they hired former UKWA colleagues Andrew Woodford and ring announcer Jenni Starr. While they tried to attract some of the UKWA’s in-ring talents they were ultimately unsuccessful, most of them had found fame in the MWA, GDW and other “big-time” promotions.
The pair managed to call in some favours, booking old friends Marcie du Toit, Mike Blackwood and The Betamax Kid to appear on the first few shows. They even talked Montell’s son, Tim Worthington, into making an appearance. And in June 2011 FRONTIER held a first show in Southampton, its spiritual home.
Once “Prologue” had been announced the wrestling world started to take notice. Before long bigger names signed on to appear, including Benedict Auslander, Kenchi Yamamoto, Kevin Hardaway, Jay Pride and Leanne Evangelista.
FRONTIER’s first shows, then held on a monthly basis, were small shows with only a few matches on each card. But the quality of those matches was bringing in fans and gaining respect the world over, especially Alex Jones joined the company and instantly caused friction with old adversary Kevin Hardaway in what would be the start of FRONTIER’s greatest early rivalry.
FRONTIER saw guests from HOW and MWA appear in the following months as the company began to make waves in the international scene. John Patrick and Sean McBride, two MWA Hall of Famers, came to Oxford where they were beaten by Jay Pride & Leanne Evangelista. Then HOW’s Mike Best and Christopher America came across the pond after a series of sneak attacks and at one stage being banned from appearing.
In August 2011 FRONTIER held their first annual GFC Invitational tournament. The tournament was held over two nights and saw Kevin Hardaway become a late entry after his previous exclusion, due to losing to Alex Jones. Hardaway defied the odds and won the tournament, becoming the first person to earn the title of GFC Heavyweight Champion in the process.
Hardaway became the flag bearer for FRONTIER, heading to the US and facing MWA Legend Steve Pinex on prime time TV. Alex Jones took offence and before long we had Jones vs. Hardaway II. That match took place in December 2011 and saw Jones defeat his nemesis and win the GFC Championship. The match would go on to win Match of the Year.
As 2012 started we were promised a big year, and FRONTIER delivered on that promise! January saw the first annual Open House show where any free agent wrestler is able to appear on the show. In February FRONTIER started selling DVD’s of their events and then in March moved from monthly shows to bi-weekly, doubling the amount of FRONTIER action on offer!
Also in January we saw another turn in the Jones/Hardaway saga as K-Hard was involved in Jones’ title loss to Kenchi Yamamoto. Yamamoto went on a dominant run as champion while Hardaway got caught up with MWA star Gabriel Gambino about just who was the best in the world! And at “Best in the World” we saw K-Hard beat Gabe in what was the start of another great FRONTIER rivalry.
Around the same time, March 2012, a mysterious series of videos began cropping up over the internet. These videos promised us a “REVOLUTION” and turned out to be teaser videos for FRONTIER’s TV show which would launch in August.
But before we could get to REVOLUTION we had Out-Hunted, a show which featured a spectacular un-announced main event which saw Kevin Hardaway defeat Kenchi Yamamoto to become the first two-time GFC Champion. But Hardaway’s glee wouldn’t last long as he travelled to the MWA once more to face Gabriel Gambino in a cage match, this time with the GFC Championship on the line. Gambino won the match and the title, now officially a World Championship.
With FRONTIER champion-less Scott Mayo organised a battle royal, ordering that Gambino come to FRONTIER and defend. Gambino did just that and almost survived the gauntlet that faced him, but it was new FRONTIER star William Wallace who bested him and became our first British GFC World Champion.
Wallace defended the championship against the likes of Jackson and Aaron Arcadian while former champion Hardaway once again got involved with Alex Jones, now back in FRONTIER. Hardaway put his career on the line and at Jones vs. Hardaway III he came away with the win and kept his job, ending their epic rivalry once and for all.
It wasn’t long before Hardaway found himself with another great adversary, FRONTIER GM Scott Mayo. Hardaway and Gambino had a third match which ended in controversial fashion. Hardaway complained, Mayo rebutted. And then K-Hard flattened his boss, leading to a suspension.
Around the same time we witnessed an “Uprising”, lead by Aaron Arcadian. Arcadian and Cody Williams felt they were being mistreated by the FRONTIER management and decided to make a stand. They introduced the Uprising Tag-Team Championships and deemed that no-one in FRONTIER was worthy to challenge them. Arcadian even defeated the new GFC Champion Jackson in a non-title contest.
At Gold Rush, a special event held during the London 2012 Olympics, Hardaway and Gambino were forced to team together to face the Uprising. Hardaway & Gambino were the victors, but after the bell Hardaway turned on his partner while Arcadian turned on Cody Williams! The new Uprising was born, Hardaway had aligned with Arcadian and blamed it all on Scott Mayo!
That same night Jackson lost the GFC World Championship to CJ Osborne, who then lost at a REVOLUTION TV Taping to Gabriel Gambino. REVOLUTION was cancelled after only a four episode run on Premier Sports.
By now it was October 2012 and the second annual GFC Invitational was upon us. This was FRONTIER’s first foray into the iPPV market. GFC Chairman Alan Galpin invited stars from around the world to come to FRONTIER and compete. FGA, GDW and SVW were all represented on the card. And it was FGA’s Ben Hanson who came out victorious, earning himself a GFC World Title shot.
Scott Mayo, by now not well liked by the FRONTIER fans, came out and issued an open challenge to the Frontier Grappling Arts promotion in the US. He felt they had infringed on the Frontier name and made threats against them. FGA would not back down and after weeks of sneak attacks and heated words the two promotions clashed on an epic scale in late November 2012.
While in the US FRONTIER also had a special joint show with the stars of WARPED, a much more friendly contest that went down well with the fans of both companies. But this was not enough to save Scott Mayo from the ire of the FRONTIER fans and locker room.
Kevin Hardaway, outraged by Mayo’s actions, said that if Mayo didn’t leave the company then he would quit. The deadline came and Mayo refused to quit… but then suffered a stroke and was forced to step down from his position. Matt Montell stepped up to take over and his first order of business was to fire Hardaway!
2012 was over, and what a hectic year it had been.
2013 began with The New FRONTIER, a re-launched website and a new management regime. It also saw the return of Jay Pride and Leanne Evangelista, this time with Laurel Anne Hardy by their side. Evangelista and Hardy, known collectively as the UK Dragons, represented FRONTIER as they accepted a challenge from WARPED’s tag-team champions the CarnEvil Connection.
There was also the second annual Open House show, this time featuring a battle royal open to any wrestler. 20 superstars entered the match, including FGA’s Pat Gordon Jnr & Chandler Scott, MWA legends Tim Worthington & Lito Kruz and GDW’S Angelica Jones. But it was Madman Szalinski who won the GFC World Title shot, and a lot of new fans, as he won the match. But Madman declined the prize money and the title shot. The £10k prize went to charity while the GFC Title shot went to Chandler Scott.
Scott was keen to get his hands on Gabriel Gambino, who had now joined forces with Andreas Lasiewicz to form the Godfathers of Wrestling. But before Scott could get to Gambino Jay Pride won the GFC World Championship at the Frontline iPPV in February, with a little outside interference from one Kevin Hardaway. Hardaway didn’t really cost Gabe, but he did even the scores when Lasiewicz tried to attack Pride.
That same night the UK Dragons lost to CarnEvil Connection, who they previously beat on a WARPED show. The third match came in WARPED where the UK Dragons won the WARPED Tag-Team Championships. UK Dragons were keen to add more gold to their collection and when Go Strong won the GFC Tag-Team Championships in Japan they began a campaign to topple the champions and bring the belts to the UK.
The future was looking bright for FRONTIER at this point as several new young stars joined the company and FRONTIER also joined the United Wrestling League in March 2013.
Chandler Scott had his shot at Jay Pride but the GFC Champion retained the title. Madman Szalinski was then once again named number one contender for the GFC World Title, but again he declined. He declared that he didn’t want a shot at the GFC World Championship, he wanted to activate the GFC Commonwealth Championship. Montell agreed and Szalinski defeated his old friend Jason Talbot to become the first Commonwealth Champion.
With Szalinski declining the GFC World Championship shot the chance again fell to Chandler Scott. On May 5th 2013 Scott defeated Pride and won the title, adding it to his FGA Pride Championship and becoming the first person to win World Titles in both FRONTIER and Frontier Grappling Arts.
Gambino and Hardaway had long been craving a fourth chance to prove which man was best, but Matt Montell continued to deny them the chance by refusing to re-sign K-Hard. Enter CJ Osborne, who arranged a two night spectacular in June 2013 which would be free of contracts, it would be Unsanctioned. CJ pulled in favours from across the world to put on two nights of great action, topped by Hardaway vs. Gambino IV.
Hardaway still pushed for a FRONTIER contract to be on the line, Montell refused. But on May 5th he was overturned and a contract was put on the line. The man who overturned him? A returning Scott Mayo, alongside his daughter Charlotte.
[to be continued…]