Riptide Wrestling can’t claim to have been around that long, it celebrated its first anniversary this month but is already becoming a regular feature on the social media feeds of wrestling fans.

Over Pride weekend, Riptide will be hosting its first championship tournament.

It’s a bold move to be hosting its biggest event of the year in the middle of one of Brighton’s biggest annual festival.

But Josh says it’s something that he hopes will push wrestling as a must-see attraction: “I’m always trying to put an emphasis on Brighton with Riptide, and Pride is quite a big part of Brighton’s culture.

“I thought it would be great to show the wrestling community how wonderful Pride is, and vice-versa. It is going to be great to have a city of people doing things they wouldn’t normally do. Maybe they’ll come along as well.”

It’s obvious from talking to Josh that he’s not only passionate about wrestling but passionate about Brighton as a city.

That would then explain why, while most wrestling promotions have a world title, Riptide will be crowning the winner of August’s tournament as the first Brighton champion.

“A lot of what’s good about Riptide is good because it’s in Brighton,” Josh says.

“That’s where the true meaning is.

“When you talk about pro wrestling you talk about a suspension of disbelief and a fabricated set of circumstances. You can’t make anything truly mean what you say it means, but you can layer meaning behind what people are doing.

“The Brighton Championship is easier to believe; there’s a lot of world championships, but there will only be one Brighton Championship.

“Brighton’s an incredible place and there’s a lot of value there to put into the championship.

“If the roster gets to have a good time in Brighton and enjoy being here, then for whoever holds the championship, it’s going to mean something.”

The idea of having a champion that the city can be proud of and get behind, whether they’re a devoted wrestling fan or not, sounds very nice indeed.

However Josh has far more on his mind than just the people of the city he loves so much.

He says that the Riptide team is regularly on hand, thinking of ways to make people visiting the city for its events feel welcome.

He does this using links with other local businesses, for example The Hope and Ruin which is used for Riptide after parties and which helps provide vegan hotdogs from Beezlebab.

He said: “What it’s done, for me, is it has provided a link to the city. They provide a sense of place, a welcome and an integration.

“It’s about belonging, and that’s mainly for travelling fans.

“People from Brighton already feel at home in Brighton.

“For people who are travelling we want them to feel at home not only in Riptide, but make them feel welcome in the town.”

Riptide’s Championship Tournament will run over three days, from Augst 2 to August 4, and will involve 16 competitors compete to be Brighton’s first champion.

Those combatants are: Chuck Mambo (winner of the Riptide Rumble), Candy Floss, Walter, Jonah Rock, Mark Davies and Kyle Fletcher (Aussie Open), Jordan Devlin, Cara Noir, Millie McKenzie, David Starr, Angelico, Spike Trivet, Chris Ridgeway, Damon Moser and Charlie Morgan.

It’s a stacked card which is sure to throw out plenty of epic matches and surprises.

Speaking of surprises, a couple of weeks ago Riptide made an announcement that had the internet buzzing.

That announcement was that 1990s TV star Dave Benson Phillips will be appearing at the weekend.

Not only will he be appearing, but he will be WRESTLING.

The former host of CBBC show Get Your Own Back, in which children and adults competed to throw the other in a tank of gunge.

Dave will be tagging with Irish star Session Moth Martina, one of my favourite wrestlers and the leader of the #fanciesmartina movement, against the Anti-Fun Police.

Josh is excited to see the TV personality take to the ring and make sure the police don’t stop the fun: “He’s an incredible entertainer and a hero to most of the roster and audience – we really can’t wait to see him go head to head with the Anti-Fun Police – they will certainly have a few charges to raise against him.”

It’s a credit to Dave that he’s willing to get in the ring with trained professionals.

The 53-year-old made the rounds last week as he appeared on a wrestling show at a Horsham Fair.

He says it reignited his passion for wrestling and he can’t wait to get to Riptide.

You can hear more from him over the page.

Riptide has seen something of a rapid growth in popularity.

The first year anniversary of the debut show has been and gone, and since then hype surrounding the promotion has only grown.

For Josh, it’s an almost unbelievable journey: ”It’s been crazy.

“It’s hard to get perspective on it really, just because it’s been so busy.”

It is this frantic schedule that has meant, for Josh, Riptide has still not reached its full potential: “We’ve been doing this a year, but it’s only ten days of work with all the crew together.

“It will be great one day, but we’re still grinding out a lot of stuff. There’s still a lot more we want to be doing, but don’t have the budget to do.”

As with any start up company, a budget needs to be set or it can’t run functionally.

To Josh’s disappointment, Riptide has already had to cancel its scheduled shows in September and October due to financial reasons.

He admits the experience has taught him how to take the company forward in a better way.

This means there may be some changes to Riptide in 2019.

“Our expansion from here is consolidation, operation, and building a proper base. Now that we’ve had a year on the job we want to properly set up camp in Brighton,” Josh says.

“This next year is going to be a lot less furious than the past year. We’ve established something and we can run to it.

“The core roster will be the same people, with them constructing more of the shows.

“Those will be the people that the crowd want to see.”

Ultimately it is the case that fewer shows will give the Riptide team time to enhance the product, which will benefit everyone in the long run.

“Next year shows will be every six or eight weeks, and the product is going to benefit so much from that,”, Josh says

“At the moment we don’t get to push a show fully because once one ends the next is round the corner, we don’t have the time to get that hype out.

“We need to let the product breathe a bit. I’m really excited for it.

Josh adds that while the growth has been challenging, he has learnt a lot in the last year, “These last 12 months have definitely taught me patience,” he says.

It may seem like a simple thing but he believes it is what will truly help him develop Riptide in the next year.

Hopefully, his won’t be the only wrestling promotion growing.

Wrestling is back at the biggest it has been since the 1970s, when World of Sport dominated the screens of households across the UK.

Back in the days that Giant Haystacks and Big Daddy would fill out – literally – the entire TV set, wrestling was in its boom period.

Over in America the likes of Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior were making professional wrestling the must see attraction.

That flowed back into the UK market, where British shows would regularly see fantastic audiences.

Professional wrestling in the UK took a dip in the 1990s and 2000s.

The talent was always there but the exposure had gone, the bubble had burst.

That all seemed to change a few years ago.

A host of independent UK promotions set about rebuilding the scene on our shores, and today professional wrestling is back at a peak that British audiences thought had all but disappeared.

The likes of Progress Wrestling, found in 2011, have been making the sports entertainment extravaganza a must-see event yet again.

It is this rise in popularity that has seen the return of World of Sport to screens across the country.

By the time you read this we will be just one day removed from the glorious return of professional wrestling to a broadcast audience.

Josh hopes that this will help wrestling not only thrive, but also compete with other art forms: “Wrestling as a whole is, hopefully, going to start competing with other forms of entertainment. I want wrestling to be fighting cinema, and I want to be part of that, and I’m seeing other companies contributing to that.”

It’s the simple case that is one group succeeds then everyone benefits.

The growth of World of Sport will draw more people to wrestling and thus help independent brands grow.

Back to August and the Brighton Championship.

As I said before there are set to be some incredible matches.

When the crowd roars for a moment it’s unlike anything you’ll experience in any other sporting arena.

It’s a feeling that makes all the hard work worth it for Josh as he watches from the sidelines: “When you’re watching and you see someone jumping for joy it’s great.

“The Rumble was a great example of that, that’s my proudest achievement so far.

“When Mambo won the Rumble that was the biggest pop of the night and that means a lot to me, because it’s about the two performers and the audience.”

Overall it’s been 12 months of learning for Josh.

While in no way has Riptide hit a wall, Josh does admit that there has been a plateau in business: “For a certain period of time Riptide was growing as quick as I could grow it and now I’m finding stuff I need to work with and adapt to I can now understand how we can develop.”

You have to commend Josh for the job he’s done trying to develop a business from the ground up. The most eye-catching thing in the next 12 months – apart from the wrestling – will be to see how Riptide now adapts to the changes it has seen.

First though, it has the small matter of a tournament to settle.

It will be your last chance to see the Riptide crew until November, and if that wasn’t enough you’ll get to see Brighton crown its first wrestling champion.

Half of wrestling is about a great promotion, so in that spirit Josh has one final thing to say to get you down to at least a day of the Brighton Tournament.

“You won’t believe what a good time you’ll have.

“There’s nothing I can tell you that will describe enough how much of a good time you will have coming to watch wrestling.

“Whether it’s the quality of the athleticism, whether it’s wrestlers being hilarious or whether it’s camaraderie and community you’ll have a massive smile on your face. That’s live pro wrestling.”

There may have been some hiccups along the way but after a year in the business there is plenty the team at Riptide can be proud of.