It is currently 1.17 am on Saturday 25th January and I’m watching a Twitch stream of the SchadenGraps show from Tuesday.
I am trying to put into words why it is that a small capacity venue in Manchester is one of the most sought after and popular shows currently running in the indy scene?
I’m going to investigate this mystery and phenomenon that is… Schadenfreude and Friends.
It’s been known before as ‘Tuesday Night Graps’ and run under the companies of Lucha Forever and IPW, but for a few reasons, they couldn’t continue. Now the boys of Schadenfreude didn’t want to end the tradition of watching wrestling on a Tuesday night in a cramped and sweaty Mancunian comedy club. Schadengraps was born.
Tuesday Night Graps has always been known for being a little bit ‘out there’ and some of my personal favourite matches have been in The Frog and Bucket in Manchester.
The death of Tuesday Night Graps came on 11th of June 2019, which saw The Sexy Cops (Aussie Open) vs The Undertaker and Paul Bearer (The Anti-Fun Police). There was a stand-off, with the guns being pointed at The Sexy Cops, Chief Deputy Dunne saying ‘you’re Dunne-ahhh!’ The whole room went dark and the final sound was a gunshot. All of the TNG roster members tweeted ‘TNG IS DEAD’; the heartbreak of fans in and around Manchester was strong when the tweets where posted and the news passed around the room. With everyone still so confused, the ring crew started taking down the ring and disgruntled fans left the building.
And so begins Schadenfreude and friends…
So who are they I hear you ask? Chris Brookes, Kyle Fletcher, Mark ‘Dunkzilla’ Davis and Kid Lykos. Two of the best tag teams to have ever graced the British Indy Wrestling scene, known as CCK and Aussie Open.
It was at the show on Wednesday 23rd of January when I decided to write this, surrounded by likeminded fans and enjoying the madness that is Schadengraps. With the chants of ‘murder, murder, murder’ coming from the friendly and welcoming fans, you know it’s all about the fun and normal life outside of the venue just doesn’t exist for a few hours.
After the show I asked Chris Brookes why he started Schadengraps, his answer was:
“All the other wrestling was boring.”
The guys have made wrestling all about fun whilst incorporating talent and skill into matches. With some surprise appearances from NXT UK star Tyler Bate and a shock return to the Frog and Bucket from Zack Sabre Jr making the ‘Obligatory Actually Good Pro-Wrestling Match’.
As well as the amazing talent, they have had the most incredible matches with inflatable wrestlers, such as Lykos, Suzuki and not forgetting El Phantasmo VS Invisible El Phantasmo.
The ideas behind some of the matches are just brilliant, with a personal favourite being ‘BanderMatch’ in which Chief Deputy Dunne and Gene Munny had a match where the action was dictated by people voting on Twitter polls for the winner and everything else that happened, which included questions like ‘Damien dives’ or ‘Crowd throw shoes at Gene’, in which the room was filled with various shoes being thrown around the venue due to the voting results and Gene Munny force-feeding Dunne with butter! This was the first taster of Schadenfreude’s debut show and from then, the shows have sold out in minutes with the last show selling out in 47 seconds!
I took to Twitter to ask fans about what Schadenfreude means to them and their favourite moments. I found myself smiling at the responses I received, thinking ‘oh my god yes that was pure genius’ with some of the storylines they have told.
This was said by Josh Parker which refers to #Schadengraps2 where the main event – ‘Definitely not a deathmatch’ – was Charli Evans & Rickey Shane Page vs Gene Dunny & Los Federales Santos Jr. with weapons such as feather pillows, pool noodles and Gene Dunny being thrown into a polystyrene table.
The end of the show was a cloud of feathers after the pillow fight between Santos and RSP and fans leaving the venue covered head to toe in feathers.
One of my favourite responses was from the lovely Charlie Thomas, who said:
The wrestling is incredible, sure, but my favourite part of Schadenfreude and Friends is just the atmosphere and the people that go: it feels like a family, small and really into murder, but, for me, it encapsulates what it means to be a fan, and how it feels to be one’
When talking about who the guys want to book, they have said that the clue is in the title, Schadenfreude and Friends. They are a bunch of friends putting on shows and want to involve their friends on the shows which have seen appearances from newcomer Aleah James who is set to do amazing things in the wrestling world.
Schadenfreude and Friends is exactly that: four friends putting on wrestling shows to a group of like-minded fans who are there to have a good time.
I would suggest – if you can – getting tickets to one of their shows. It’s near impossible as they sell out in less than a minute, but it is an experience unlike any other.
Schadenfreude put their shows on at The Frog and Bucket in Manchester every month or so. Follow their Twitter for updates and their Big Cartel store for merch.
Thanks for keeping it fun, guys.
Schadenfreude is definitely a cult and we are all part of it.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @MsLucyOpenshaw. Thanks for reading!