If any of the quotes from this article are used, please credit the PWTorch Dailycast with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcription.
The #SpeakingOut movement has been at the forefront of the discussion when it comes to the wrestling scene in Europe. Promotions in England and Ireland were halted by way of the COVID-19 pandemic but had to or are planning to install new elements, rules and regulations within their promotion as the #SpeakingOut movement continued/continues to grow and more women in wrestling share their stories of harassment and/or abuse in the industry.
Rich Fann and Will Cooling of PWTorch welcomed Revolution Pro Wrestling promoter Andy Quildan onto the PWTorch Dailycast to discuss the Speaking Out movement, Marty Scurll and Will Ospreay having their respective allegations against them, how WWE has reacted to the situation at hand and a plethora of other topics were covered during the four-hour interview. To start the conversation off, they went back to the root of the movement which began with multiple allegations against David Starr. Quildan stated that he communicated with OTT founder Joe Cabray and they both agreed that they were gonna strip Starr of the Southside and OTT Titles. In regards to the order of those announcements, Quildan clarified that it was not a reactionary matter as far as RevPro making their move later in the day.
“So, I made the decision earlier in the day that-that’s what we were gonna do. Again… it’s just difficult at the moment, because while we’re in lock down, it’s tough to do stuff. So I had-had a conversation earlier in the day with Joey Cabray from OTT and we both agreed that’s what we’re gonna do. So, I feel like Joe from OTT is someone who I get along with, someone who I feel like has similar values to myself, and yeah, we had that discussion but we both agreed that-that’s what we’re gonna do so the timing of the announcement is — it wasn’t a case of, ‘Oh, other people have come forward and therefore I need to come forward.’ It was a timing of the announcement was the timing of the announcement. I’m sure some people announced stuff about David Starr after us, and you can draw your own conclusion if you want as to whether that was in reaction to the earlier announcements or whether that’s something they felt they had to do but like, ultimately, I can only tell you my reason by doing stuff and I can assure you it wasn’t reactionary to what other people we’re doing. It was a personal decision for us.”
One name that Quildan got in contact with in the midst of the Speaking Out movement was former WWE United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne. Quildan considers Dunne a friend and believes he wants to be a part of the change in the European wrestling scene but mentioned that Dunne is in that WWE bubble. What Quildan means by that is Dunne wants to be involved in the process of change but his opinions are influenced by way of the company he works for.
“In addition to that, with me reaching out, I did reach out and I was just told that, ‘Put your ideas on a piece of paper and I’ll speak to the girls.’ That’s what I was told. I then reached out to Pete Dunne who I consider to be a friend. I consider him to be someone who wants to be a part of change, but is within that WWE bubble and I make no apology for saying that because I believe there is a WWE bubble. But I believe Pete has tried to remain as objective as he can be in the whole of this thing, and with his opinions but it’s influenced which is why I believe there should be many voices and I guess it’s great that we have that voice from within that WWE bubble, but it’s not like, ‘Let’s let Pete in because he’s a famous name.’ You know what I mean? It shouldn’t be like, ‘Let’s let him in because he’s a famous name and everyone else can do one.’ It should be a logical conversation that should be being had and Pete was gonna come back to me with the notes of a phone conversation, an early phone conversation which was had and get my input but unfortunately he hasn’t done so. I don’t know if he’s received the notes or whether he hasn’t but I genuinely — I believe there’s a lot of talk at the moment. I don’t feel there’s a lot of movement.”
Andy Quildan was candid about his thoughts regarding fans consistently asking for accused wrestlers to be dealt with in a legal manner. He’s of the thought process that it can lead to a mistrial with the mass amounts of outside influencing. Quildan feels that the legal portion of the movement should be handled by a governing body or the U.K. Trade Union, ‘Equity’.
“And I think it’s also important , you may be smarter than me on this but, I know that for example in a court case, if there’s all this outside influencing, influencing an opinion, it could lead to a mistrial.
So in many ways, I feel that’s why it’s important not to have this immense fan pressure saying, ‘This guy’s been accused of this, therefore he has to go.’ However, I do certainly believe there should be an outside representative and be that someone from Equity or be that someone from another governing body, but I’m not talking about someone who’s just a wrestling fan who wants to have an opinion on this, who wants to stand for justice. I’m talking about someone who’s accredited in that role. But again, it may need to be someone from Equity because again, no one’s doing anything for free in this world.
So with Equity, there is a financial incentive, in the sense of they are wanting people to sign up for Equity.”
Quildan expressed that he feels that the weight of this situation has been placed upon the shoulders of multiple promotions in Europe but not a great deal has been placed on WWE, specifically their NXT U.K. brand. Quildan feels that WWE’s strategy is to ignore the situation until it goes away and those who have been let go such as Jack Gallager and Travis Banks, or penalized like Joe Coffey have only had action taken against them because there was either irrefutable evidence or they admitted their wrongdoings.
Andy Quildan also touched on the topic of the shirt that WWE released for ACH which had a racial undertone to it. Quildan was critical of how WWE handled that and compared it to how they’re handling the #SpeakingOut movement.
“You can look at the way WWE’s dealing with the situation, and you say, ‘Well, WWE’ — I can tell you WWE’s strategy on this is to stay quiet and it’s all gonna go away eventually, and it will. I’m sure it will. They stay quiet long enough, it’ll go away and you know what? They don’t care if there’s a few voices on Twitter. They don’t care, they’re WWE. They’re this big machine and that’s how they’ve operated for years and like, you look at the guys who’ve been reprimanded from NXT UK, it’s gonna be people who either have proof or people who have openly admitted something to them and there’s a number of people they’ve just said nothing about who have accusations against them and I can guarantee they’re just gonna keep quiet about it and nothing’s gonna happen, because that’s WWE’s way of dealing with something. Never admitting you’re wrong. I look at the ACH t-shirt as a big example of where WWE, they f*cked up. You know what I mean? They f*cked up. They put out this stupid f*cking t-shirt. They thought in their college humor it was hilarious. The term from Triple H, ‘Make it more toothy.’ Like f*cking ludicrous, right? And their way of getting around it was first of all, vilifying ACH and I agree, ACH, certain ways he went about things were wrong, but I’m fully aware of that fact but their way around it was to discredit ACH and move on. Let’s not address the fact that we launched this shirt, we pulled this shirt because they pulled the shirt from sales so they clearly knew that it was wrong, but rather than acknowledge it was wrong, they just moved on and, ‘Let’s not even put an apology in writing’ because that’s what gets you in trouble. Let’s put our apology… verbal apology which we skip over. You’re not gonna see anyone from WWE or NXT UK doing podcasts like this, because at the end of the day, this is just an inconvenience to them. The Speaking Out movement is an inconvenience to them, so…”
Ring of Honor co-booker Marty Scurll had an allegation made against him. Scurll was accused of sexual assault on June 22nd by Twitter user @mystickttn, who worked for the promotion IPW:UK at the time of the alleged assault. She was 16-years old at the time and ran into Marty Scurll at a post-show party. Per the story, she was drunk and Marty asked her to go back to the hotel and when they got there, he pulled out his penis and asked her to perform oral sex which she did. Before the situation escalated further, a friend of hers showed up and told Marty to leave.
Scurll did release a statement on the matter and he was of the belief that their encounter was consensual and legal because the age of 16 is considered legal in the UK. ROH announced on June 25th that they are conducting an investigation into the matters at hand. Andy Quildan was asked if Scurll was to be let go from ROH, would he allow Marty to come work for RevPro and while initially hesitant while giving his answer, Quildan explained why he was hesitant to outright deny that he would allow Scurll to work with his promotion.
“I don’t know. I think probably no would be the answer, but I think we’d have to have a — the same way Ring of Honor — it would be no. It’d be the wrong message to send out to people.
No,” Quildan responded when asked was his hesitation to say no to the question money-related. “Again, anyone who thinks that, no, no. Yes it is he deserves to be there because… it’s such a horrible case and I feel that it’s really one that would need to be discussed. But I just want to reiterate, it has nothing to do with money. It’s not a case of me being like, ‘God, if I put that match, that’s gonna sell out.’ Don’t care. I believe in long-term. I believe in doing what’s right. I would absolutely, certainly not book guys in the future based off the back of investigations. No questions asked. So there’s no financial implications on anything that come into it.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Quildan touched base on the Will Ospreay/Pollyanna situation. Ospreay put up a message on his Instagram story and revealed that he contemplated taking his own life after he received a great deal of social media backlash because the story came to the light that he prevented Pollyanna from advancing in her pro wrestling career. Quildan doesn’t think Ospreay can use mental health as a way to combat the allegations against him but he made mention that Ospreay has reached out to a number of people within RevPro to further educate himself on the subject.
“The crazy side of this is people saying he posted about contemplating suicide which obviously is the last thing that anyone wants. But, the one thing that I hated about that is you can’t use mental health as an excuse and to me, what this has come down to is it’s almost like, ‘You’re not allowed to use mental health as an excuse if we decide you’re guilty. You’re not allowed to have these dark thoughts if we’ve decided you’re guilty’ and some of the stuff that I’ve seen written about Will and targeted towards him is quite frankly disgusting and you can say, ‘Well, now he knows what Polly felt like’ and he still doesn’t know what Polly felt like from experiencing these tweets because it’s still not as bad as what he put her through, but what kind of society do we live in when we’re trying to make two wrongs make a right and I just genuinely believe that the instincts behind Will — there’s just simple instincts behind Will that tried to protect his friends has led him getting into this horrible, horrible mess. This horrible situation and is it a situation he needed further understanding on? Yes it is. Absolutely. Now I know for a fact, off his own back, and this is privately. Will’s not told me this in his defense, but obviously — I think it’s become quite clear by now that I speak to a lot of people and try to get a full understanding and full context of things, right? But Will’s been going to other members of our roster and female members of our roster and Will has been asking them questions in order to try and better educate himself on the subject, and I’m saying this now, this is not an ass-covering exercise from Will going public and saying, ‘I’m doing this.’ This is not an ass-covering exercise from Will, coming to me and saying, ‘Well listen Andy, I’m talking to these people.’ This is from me having people — people come forward and tell me, as well as me asking people and them saying, ‘Yeah, Will’s been in touch privately. We’ve had a discussion.’ So, that’s someone trying to educate themselves. That’s someone that’s trying to do better.”
The full interview can be heard at this link. POST Wrestling’s own Jamesie, Benno and Martin Bushby have covered the #SpeakingOut movement at great length on their British Wrestling Experience podcast and the archives for that podcast can be found here.