ANALYSIS: The current state of UK wrestling

Defiant folding and Jim Smallman leaving PROGRESS have some worried for our scene, but Steven Wilson outlined how UK wrestling is as strong as ever.

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The landscape of UK wrestling has changed ever so slightly recently with two shock announcements.

Firstly, Defiant Wrestling revealed they were closing their doors after three years. This was followed less than 24 hours later by the news that PROGRESS co-founder Jim Smallman was stepping away from the promotion.

Both bits of news have seen many fans take to social media to question the future of UK wrestling, with some even debating whether our recent ‘boom period’ was over.

Opinion

In this writer’s opinion, the latter speculation is far from the truth. Being Scottish, we are currently spoiled with the amount of shows and talent we have at our disposal.

This is a thought that is shared throughout the whole of the Suplex Retweet team. However, we do understand that we represent just a small section of the UK wrestling fandom and scene.

As a result, we thought it was best to consult our listeners and following to see what they thought of what was proving to be the big talker of the day.

From 228 votes cast, over 70% believe that our boom is still strong. So despite the fears in terms of talent, the enthusiasm hasn’t dampened.

It is easy to see why the results are what they are. Here in Scotland, we are fresh off of Shug’s Hoose Party – one of the year’s top events. Something that was evident over that weekend was the focus on fresh, up-and-coming talent.

Stars such as Leyton Buzzard, Kez Evans, Krieger and The Purge shone bright amongst established names. 

Future stars

This is just one company as well. Outside of ICW, there is an abundance of talent making waves across the Scottish training schools. Alexander Darwin MacAllan, KOE, Emily Hayden, Luke Matthews, Angel Hayze, Craig Anthony just to name a few.

Based on this and what we found in our poll, it is perhaps south of the Border where some of the fear lies. Like in PROGRESS, where this article took shape from.

To many diehards of that brand, they have seen it take on a much more WWE-like identity in recent years. With one of their founders leaving for said company, it is natural that these fans may fear for the future of their beloved promotion.

However, these same fans should only look elsewhere in the country to see something to be optimistic about. Promotions like Rev Pro are now using prominently athletes not signed to NXT UK. Has this caused them suffer? Arguably not as this year has seen them produce some of their best shows. Whether you want to attribute this to their relationship with NJPW is entirely up to you.

But there is also the WE THE INDEPENDENT movement being led across the UK by David Starr. Looking at the sheer number of wrestlers supporting that, there is plenty to cheer for.

NXT UK

It is easy to see why many aren’t happy with NXT UK. It has resulted in several fan favourites being seen less regularly. However, it is also important to look on the flip side.

It is giving talent a chance to compete for the world’s biggest company, as well as getting close to achieving a full time living wrestling and getting world wide exposure they could only have dreamed of three years prior.

In my opinion, the UK scene will only get stronger. As our old favourites move to bigger things, we will find new stars to cheer. 

Yes, we may have just lost one of the UK’s favourite wrestling companies. But it’s hard to blame WWE solely for that. In fact, many believe other issues played a larger part in Defiant’s demise.

Either way, one thing has been clear conducting this research. That is, regardless what way you feel, those involved in the industry, in and out the ring, have an incredible passion for the sport.

That is something that will only continue to serve us well.

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