Wrestling fans – unite! Or at least listen up, because if you haven't yet heard of Hooked on Wrestling, you’re going to want to rectify that… immediately 😌💪.
Even if you’re not into wrestling, we reckon you’ll be impressed by the subject of our latest Ticket Tailor community interview. Paul Benson took his passion for WWE and turned it into a thriving events business that brings like-minded wrestling enthusiasts together to enjoy major WWE events in a truly intoxicating atmosphere. Ten years into their endeavour, and they’ve proven that there was a giant Hooked on Wrestling-shaped hole in the fandom world of WWE… and that they were the ideal candidates to fill it.
So, what’s it all about? Mainly – gathering wrestling fans together in super-cool locations (like Croydon’s BOXPARK) to watch major WWE events as a fun-seeking collective. There’s a giant screen for watching, obviously, plus games, wrestling tunes, food and drink and (of course) the occasional wrestling pub quiz.
What’s even more impressive is that Paul and his Hooked on Wrestling team seamlessly run multiple sell-out events like this at once… proving that with enough hard work and dedication you can turn your passion into something much, much bigger than a hobby. Inspirational, to say the least.
Keep scrolling for our interview with Paul. It’s well worth the read.
✅ Key takeaways
💪Trust, communication and a great team are essentials when it comes to running events across multiple venues simultaneously.
🔍 Leaving no stone unturned when preparing for an event is the best way to make sure things run smoothly on the night – ___ makes a point of making sure every single potential issue and pitfall is anticipated and planned for.
✨ Premium tickets are a fantastic way to cater to those who want ‘premium experience’ while knowing everything is included in the price of their ticket.
💰PayPal Pay Later can make a huge difference to an event’s success where ticket prices comes in at a particularly high price point, as this makes tickets accessible to eager fans – while helping to secure your revenue as an event creator.
Ticket Tailor: How would you describe Hooked on Wrestling to someone who’s never heard of it?
Paul: Hooked On Wrestling is Europe’s number one promoter of fan events for wrestling crowds including watch parties, club nights and speaking events all run by wrestling fans, for wrestling fans.
Ticket Tailor: Take us back to the beginning… How did Hooked on Wrestling first come about; what was the inspiration behind it?
Paul: It started in 2013 when the two flatmates who used to host our annual WWE Royal Rumble party for our little group moved out and we couldn’t find anyone else willing to host. So I decided to rent a bar and throw the invite open to every wrestling fan in London.
10 years, hundreds of events, thousands of guests, three countries and a whole host of wrestling legends later and here we are with 2023 being our biggest year for events and sales yet.
Ticket Tailor: Impressive! How did things develop from those early stages? Biggest milestones and challenges?
Paul: From running small events in London initially, within a couple of years we had launched events all over the country and in 2019 we got to the point where we were running 20+ simultaneous events across the UK. Our biggest obstacle by far was the COVID-19 pandemic which hit just weeks before WrestleMania and what would have been our biggest set of events ever. This setback came very close to crippling us but luckily, as the world started to open up again, fans’ appetites returned and we began to run some of our most lively events yet.
I think one of our biggest triumphs came in January 2023 when we hosted our 10th Anniversary Party for WWE Royal Rumble at the iconic BOXPARK Wembley which we filled with 700 screaming and happy fans. The event was hosted by one of my childhood wrestler heroes, Adam Bomb and it felt like the culmination of 10 years of hard work. A phenomenal night.
If you are a wrestling fan in the UK and you haven’t watched WrestleMania, Royal Rumble or similar with Hooked On Wrestling then you haven’t done it properly!
Ticket Tailor: We’re sure you’ve convinced any fan who’s reading! Tell us a bit about the logistics of running so many events at once…
Paul: We usually run our events from six plus locations simultaneously, and the ability to do that boils down to trust and communication. I have built a brilliant team who fully understand what needs to be done to make these events run well. It’s important to have proactive staff at each venue who understand what we need in terms of support.
For me, the hard work comes in the run up to the event to ensure every single potential issue and pitfall is anticipated and planned for. If you communicate the execution plan and contingency plans to all relevant parties then you can go into the events with confidence. Once the customers start coming in then it’s simply a case of reacting quickly and calmly to any issues that arise. Follow the plan and keep communication channels open.
Ticket Tailor: Now let’s talk ticketing – how do you determine which is the best strategy to use for your events?
Paul: Our ticketing strategy varies for each event depending on the needs of the customers and the venue. Often wrestling fans will want the option of a premium experience so we try to facilitate this by throwing in extras such as merchandise from our partners, guaranteed seating and pre-paid drinks. We find that many people like this idea of an all in one price to make the most of the night.
Ticket Tailor: Have any of the logistics around ticketing proven particularly challenging for you?
Paul: Our biggest challenge is always seating. Our events are held in bars which often have their own reserved seating system and it is always a challenge to dovetail with this. We work sometimes with Ticket Tailor’s excellent seating charts but sometimes it is easier to just have a separate booking form. The right solution varies from venue to venue and we haven’t quite hit that sweet spot yet.
Ticket Tailor: Why choose Ticket Tailor as your ticketing partner? Are there any features that you find particularly useful?
Paul: I’ve used Ticket Tailor for approximately seven years as I just find everything about it so easy both as an event promoter and putting myself in the shoes of a customer. It is so easy to organise, manage and communicate with customers as well as managing on-sale dates, special offers and upsells. I also like the flexibility of payment options for customers and the ease of being able to read the data round each of our events.
I often say to other ticket sellers that the thing I like most about Ticket Tailor is that if I think I need my platform to do something to help me in my efforts then in the vast majority of cases, I find that Ticket Tailor can do it.
Ticket Tailor: That’s great to hear! Glad to be of service 😀. We can see that you’re utilising PayPal Pay Later for some of your tickets – any thoughts on this new feature?
Paul: This year we have had a few events with significantly higher ticket prices including one with a very high price point of £750. PayPal Pay Later was crucial for this event to succeed – it gave people that flexibility on payments whilst keeping our revenue secure. Given our price point it is never going to be the dominant payment method of choice but it is a fantastic tool to have as and when we need it.
Ticket Tailor: You’ve got some cool merch on your site! What made you decide to make this part of your offering?
Paul: We started offering merchandise mainly to meet the needs of the most dedicated guests who love to wear the brand at our events. The profit from merchandise is minimal in the quantities we offer it but being able to offer that as part of the ticketing process has been a brilliant addition over the last year.
Ticket Tailor: Finally, what does the future hold for Hooked on Wrestling?
Paul: Well at the end of August we hold our first ever in-ring wrestling event. We said we never would… but our 10th year felt an appropriate time to scratch that itch so on 28th August we present Hooked On Wrestling: Shake It All About in London. If the event is a success, we would love to do more of this and ensure that, as wrestling gains in popularity (which it really, really is), more people know that the very best way to experience the biggest WWE events of the year is with a building full of their fellow fans at a Hooked On Wrestling Watch Party.
Ticket Tailor: Love it! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us, Paul.
To find out more about Hooked on Wrestling, and book tickets for one of their truly immense events – head here.
And to find out how Ticket Tailor can support you with all your ticketing needs (and then some), just head here >