Tea & Tights – Exclusive Brit Wres Special: “Wrestling in the UK” with Franco Varga

On the 12th of February of this year at local wrestling show in Lancashire, the LWF Lancashire Riot I got to see to American Wrestler Franco Varga in action live. Varga, an Independent Wrestler in the US had become a cult like figure in the North West of the UK, following 3 previous tours of the UK starting with PCW Road to Glory in 2019.

Varga has been working as an independent wrestler in America for the past 10 years first getting his start in Puerto Rico under the watchful eyes of Carlos Colon. Varga like many independent wrestlers made appearances all across the US via various independent promotions most recently in 2021 working with the likes of Xtreme World Wrestling in North Carolina.

Franco Varga Photo by Tony Knox

Varga has just competed his 4th tour of the UK and we recently spoke with Varga via the Tea & Tights: A Great British Wrestling Podcast, about his most recent tour, why he has kept coming back to the UK and what has been like to get a cult like reception from the UK Crowds.

Speaking with Franco we discussed how he first came over to the UK, Franco would tell us that it was PCW who invited Franco Varga to take part of the PCW Road To Glory in 2019. It was also thanks to PCW for his second tour of the UK when he was asked to be part of PCW 10th Anniversary show thanks to fan support he had gained in 2019.

Franco on how he got his first UK tour thanks to PCW Road to Glory 2019 and what it meant to him to be invited back for their 10th Anniversary show;

“Originally I was bought over by PCW for the Road to Glory series that they do, the televised ones and all that and every year I’ve just added a couple of Promotions and then, you know the whole Covid thing, and I actually got to go, right after Covid I managed to get two quick trips in, you know I was floored to be invited for the 10 year anniversary for PCW, in that company that helped me to get my British start, I didn’t know that I meant so much to those fans, that they requested me to be there as part of that 10 year anniversary, So I was honoured and I did everything I could to get over, and I was actually the only American that got over, because a lot of the restrictions were still in place, I think our country was still considered Amber, so I stayed home for 10 days prior, I did everything I could and just followed everything to a T and I was the only one that got to go, so it was actually pretty sweet, that’s how much I love the fans over there, I took 10 days of doing nothing and stayed in the house for 10 days just so I could make sure I could make that show.”

Franco Varga on the Tea & Tights: Great British Wrestling Podcast

Speaking with Franco we discussed what it was like to become a cult hero following his 2019 and 2020 tours with PCW, Franco told what it was like becoming a hero and how he thinks that happened thanks to power of the internet giving independent wrestlers a platform to be seen by fans;

Franco on how the power of the Internet led him to becoming a cult hero in the UK;

“Yeah, so the power of the internet is why guys like me can have this career on the independentswithout having to be on TV, it funny to meet people from the internet that follow me from, you know like England or somewhere for example, especially like LWF and they come up to you afterwards like wow you’re a lot bigger in person, so I don’t know if that’s a compliment or what but its cool, as soon as you come out of the curtain half the room knows who you are and hopefully the whole room knows who you are when you’re done, but yeah I credit that to the internet, and just kind of just all those instant cheers, and they’re looking me up, or already know who I am so yeah its pretty cool.”

Franco Varga on the Tea & Tights: Great British Wrestling Podcast

Franco continued on later whilst we were discussing him running seminars during this most recent tour, that it was actually PCW that once again brought him over, this time to be a guest coach throughout the month of February

Franco on coming back to UK to be a guest Coach at the PCW academy;

“Yeah, I was actually the guest trainer for the month of February at PCW and it was really interesting, you know in the beginning, I do like a little formula where it doesn’t matter how new you are or how long you’ve been in there, I force you to do a promo and I force you to do a match and then by the time we’re done we do another promo and a match and we kind of see the improvements over time, there’s a lot of homework, a lot of the kids are like homework? This is wrestling, but no there’ll be homework, there’s going to be some things, so I got them into the habit of doing homework, and actually training isn’t something you just turn off, you know you can really take things from movies and TV shows and all sorts, you can really be thinking about character improvement 99% of the time, so that’s kind of something that I got them used to, a lot of those guys went from barely bumping to being able to do like a 6 minuet TV style match all in the span of a month so I’m super proud of those guys, there was about 8 of them that were consistently there as far as students and all that goes, but yeah super proud, super proud of those guys. And I did other seminars and stuff throughout the country but I was there every Tuesday and Thursday with those guys, doing the homework and giving them stuff to do, and hopefully it will stick with them and you know, they’ll know that formula and the formulas work, once they get so good that they can break the formula, redo the formula on their own, hopefully it’s one of those things that sticks with them for a while.”

Franco Varga on the Tea & Tights: Great British Wrestling Podcast

When speaking we naturally discussed some of the opponents that Franco had faced during his time in the UK, when discussing if he had a particular favourite match or opponent during this most recent tour, Franco did not hesitate in stating British Wrestling legend Martin Kirby

Franco on his favourite match during his most recent tour;

“Myself vs Martin Kirby was a match, I mean probably my favourite one on the tour and it didn’t feel like a lot of pressure, it just felt like it was one of those things where it was just another match we were just trying to have fun but most importantly I always try to do anything I do for the fans and he felt the same way and it was just like one of those magical things and fans really ate it up and it was one of those that was originally scheduled for another promotion and when it became available it was picked up by Top Rope in Burnley and it was a sold out show and man what a match, I think that one was good.”

Franco Varga on the Tea & Tights: Great British Wrestling Podcast

As a true heavyweight wrestler we discussed the British Heavyweight scene, the UK has mostly become known for their lighter weight wrestlers, however the Heavyweight scene has had some what of a renaissance, we asked what Varga thought of the current heavyweight scene in the UK.

Varga on some of the guys he sees as top heavyweights in the UK scene;

“Yeah, I mean I think you’ve got some really good heavyweights, like Will Kroos, you know, he’s out there as a true heavy, Shreddy, I would call him a heavyweight, he can definitely hang, you got the Iestyn Rees’ and Eddie Ryans, you guys got some good talent out there as far as the heavyweights go, but your heavyweights look a lot different to our heavyweights, I stood next to shreddy I was definitely the bigger guy in that match but those guys are strong, I can lift a man up from his knees and I’m sure a lot of those guys can do really great things, they just tend to cheat when they’re outsized and I think that’s the trend with that they tend to get desperate and cheat and you can’t really blame them.”

Franco Varga on the Tea & Tights: Great British Wrestling Podcast

Finally as we we discussed if Franco would back for another UK tour, to which he said yes, he will be back once again and hopefully for longer tour working for promotions and hosting more seminars,

Franco on returning to the UK;

“Yeah I’ve been like shoved in a corner and threatened I better come back, so yeah I’ll be back in August, and it already sounds like it might even be a longer tour, again don’t tell my wife that, a lot of new companies, a lot of the same companies, it should be fun and hopefully a lot more shows, I’ve already been asked to do a lot more seminars and things like that so, I’m all about it. The first part of the seminar is done and then we come back and kind of see how they’ve progressed and maybe do like a follow up, that would be fun to do. So yeah, I think there’s no secret I’ve already been threatened I’m coming, so I’m coming back, August is the month, so I will be back.”

Franco Varga on the Tea & Tights: Great British Wrestling Podcast

Meanwhile, Franco will of course be busy working matches on the American Independent scene, on the 5th of March Franco faces of against NJPW Strong superstar T.J.P for First Time Ever in Tulsa and on the 9th of April he will face PCO for North Star Pro Wrestling in Maine.

You can hear the full interview either on Youtube or Spotify.

Written by Andy More of the Tea and Tights Podcast

You can follow the Tea and Tights team on Twitter Andy @GBOtaku82 and Dan on @BigDaddyDanTT as well as Tea and Tights page @TeaandTightsPod

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