For many reasons, Paul Robinson is one of my favourite professional wrestlers. I don’t want that to be in any way unclear or understated. I don’t use the word favourite with any disposable sentimentality. I don’t mean it as in, “everyone’s my favourite, I love British wrestling and we’re all mates.” I mean favourite as in, I believe he is a one of a kind, totally timeless character. There isn’t a wrestling card in this country that couldn’t be improved by having Paul Robinson’s name attached to it.
To give you an idea, in 2014 when I asked wrestling’s most intimidating character Jimmy Havoc, about who I should approach to be a part of this project, he looked at me with a cold stare and said “Paul is unquestionably the hardest bastard I know. He’d be up for it.” It was one of the best recommendations ever, as I’ve never taken a bad image of the man from Essex.
My first exposure to a Paul Robinson match was as a fan, watching him put on a clinic with Will Ospreay. He was aggressive and brutal, whilst being graceful and sharp around the ring with a style that was so believable and true to his character . It’s the honesty of Paul Robinson that makes him truly unique. When he walks onto a stage, you get it, every time. I’ve written before about his Hardcore match with Jimmy Havoc at Progress Wrestling, about how the fans tried to turn him face and about how Paul Robinson just played his part right down the line and never gave them an inch. This commitment, this honesty, this believability is what makes good wrestlers great. Whenever a Paul Robinson match was announced for a chapter show, I’d always make sure I wasn’t taking pictures to come ringside and watch.
It’s fitting that his send off was done with the most understated of British values. A final match that was unannounced, humble and above all else true. Paul went out by doing what he always does best, making others look great. Post match, as he sat crouched in the ring he groaned “The fact I’m crying and 700 of you are still calling me a c*nt means I did a pretty good job, don’t you think?” was true to the end. His speech was short, heartfelt and thoroughly emotional. For a character so hated, there was a lot of love in the room.
On a personal note, I’m going to miss seeing Paul backstage. He always took time to say hello, always greeted me with a big grin and a hug and never said “no” when I asked him for a photo opportunity. Thank you Paul, may you always be the nicest hard bastard I’ve ever met.