So where is British Wrestling in 2015? A pretty good place by the look of it!
The so-called "big three" PROGRESS Wrestling in London, Preston City Wrestling in erm...Preston and Insane Championship Wrestling in Glasgow are regularly selling out big venues. PROGRESS continue to sell out The Electric Ballroom in Camden in under an hour, PCW sold almost 3000 tickets across four joint shows with Ring of Honor last November and ICW sold out the 1600-capacity Barrowlands, whilst touring numerous cities around Scotland and England.
The best thing for fans of these promotions is that they are all offering different products, realising that not all wrestling fans want the same approach.
PROGRESS operate a strong style off hard hitting action, mixed with strong emotional storylines and a DIY attitude that has ingratiated the promotion with fans from Punk scene and elsewhere, a previous appearance at Sonisphere Festival cemeted this, whilst an appearance at this years Download Festival could send the promotion onto a whole other level.
PCW is known for mixing British talents with the best imports money can buy. By bringing in a mixture of former WWE and TNA wrestlers like Kevin Nash and Rob Van Dam, with Indy favourites Uhaa Nation and Adam Cole , PCW makes sure it covers a wide range of potential customers, from those looking to meet their old favourite, to those looking to catch the next WWE starlet in action. PCW utilities loose storylines, just enough to reward regular attendees, whilst not alienating those who might only be in for the first time.
Arguably the biggest of the three, ICW is a beast all upon itself. A veritable circus of wrestling, ICW borrows from a number of different influences to create it's very own unique blend. A fusion if you will. Known for it's hardcore elements and for allowing it's performers to break out of the confines of the ring, you're just as likely to see elements of comedy or technical wrestler from a roster that is deep with talent and choc full of colourful characters.
And of course, there's companies all over the country who are doing fantastically, building fanbases and creating their own identity. Just waiting to break out and become the next big company. Largely thanks to the wealth of talent in the country, and the hunger for wrestling that the British have honed over the decades.
But what next? What is that big step that will take British wrestling to the next level? We've seen a tonne of TV coverage over the last few years, from Insane Fight Club to TNA's British Bootcamp, even WrestleTalk TV has attempted to do it's bit.
That's what many see as the next step for Brit Wres. Breaking the television market. It's possible, I think. There's stations out there that would suit pro-wrestling, whether they'd ask for more creative control than the companies would like is a different story. And that could be the stumbling block, for the likes of ICW and Progress, their identity is what makes them special, if you strip too much back it becomes something the fans don't recognise. So maybe the rise of On-Demand is the key.
Many companies, including ICW and Progress offer services similar to the WWE Network, whilst PCW have titles available for individual rental. The subscription services will offer the companies a constant stream of revenue, if they can keep those customers coming back for more and produce enough content to have someone hold on for the next month. Could we ever see a more collective On Demand service with companies working together...possibly with them still operating their own services. Brit-Wres on Demand?
Brit Wres is growing and it's growing fast, more people are becoming aware of our deep talent pool, as well as the calibre of performer we attract from abroad. Not just in Britain but around the world. Who knows where it will take us, but let's go along for the ride!