The Big Guide To BritWres
British Wrestling is the place to be to see some of the best wrestling in the world, and the BritWres boom has led to companies opening throughout the UK. Here I will be giving you a guide to which companies to watch depending on what you want to see.
BritWres: The Big Three
Made up of PROGRESS Wrestling, RevPro and Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW), the big 3 of BritWres is the place to go to see elite level international stars mix it up with the best local stars from each region.
PROGRESS, the biggest company by far, uses mainly their own talent from their famed ProJo as well as the occasional guest star from WWE and other international names such as WALTER, Matt Riddle and Jeff Cobb. Presented as “Punk Rock Pro Wrestling”, it has built an image of being anti-WWE and presenting a product for the hardcore fans who are turned off the WWE product
RevPro is the Pro Wrestling Guerilla (PWG) of the UK and features a ton of dream matches such as Tomohiro Ishii vs Keith Lee (thanks to their relationship with NJPW). It consistently puts on fantastic matches and while it lacks in storylines, the matches more than makes up for it.
Last but not least we have the originator of the BritWres boom, Glasgow, Scotland’s ICW. ICW is a great mix between the other two companies as they feature alot of local talent such as the immensely popular Grado, Kay Lee Ray and many more as well as big names like Kassius Ohno and Rey Mysterio Jr. The company is solely responsible for the BritWres boom as their hardcore over 18 product made them a modern day ECW which saw hardcore fans and mainstream media pick up on British Wrestling again and recognize the talent on display.
BritWres: The Cult Faves
These are the companies that don’t have the international acclaim of the big three but certainly have their fans, who are always treated to a good show no matter who is booked. Companies like Pete Dunne’s ATTACK! Pro Wrestling (ATTACK!), Trent Seven’s Fight Club Pro (FCP), the Knight family’s World Association of Wrestling (WAW) and Ireland’s own Over The Top Wrestling (OTT).
Cardiff, Wales’ ATTACK! is a true breeding ground for BritWres, having seen the rise of Pete Dunne as well as Mark Andrews and being the birthplace of CCK. It is one of the most important and unique companies in all of BritWres, as it is a place that wrestlers can try different things such as Damian Dunne becoming Chief Deputy Dunne and PROGRESS alumni The Hunter Brothers becoming the Construction Brothers. ATTACK is a great company to watch if you want to get in on the ground floor of the next Will Ospreay or Tyler Bate.
FCP is a company with a unique style to other BritWres companies following owner Seven’s less flippy more striking mantra and being a good place to see bigger names in a different environment. With Tommy End (now NXT’s Aleister Black) and Sami Callihan as former champions, it is a very different promotion to any listed before.
WAW out of Norfolk, England is the home promotion run by Ricky and Saraya Knight, better known to many as the parents of WWE Superstar Paige. One of the longest running promotions in England, founded in 1994, the company is a niche product that mixes local talent, including sons The Hooligans UK (Roy and Zak Knight), with top indie and former WWE stars.
OTT offers something completely different, the Irish company features its own talent such as Jordan Devlin and the Session Moth Martina mixed with huge names like The Elite (Kenny Omega, Nick & Matt Jackson) and British Strong Style (Pete Dunne, Trent Seven & Tyler Bate). OTT offers comedy and the chance to see Irish Wrestling at its best, as well as some dream matches bu also features UK guys well being one of the first companies to get behind Pete Dunne. It is a company that is knocking on the door of the big three, as it looks to sell out the 2000 seater National Stadium for a second time this year. All three companies are known for having passionate fanbases who are invested in seeing these companies feature newer talent and something different to the more mainstream companies.
BritWres: The Newcomers
WhatCulture Pro Wrestling(WCPW)/Defiant and Will Ospreay’s Lucha Forever promotions make up the big additions to the scene. Never has there been two companies with such different fortunes. WCPW despite having huge money and name recognition has been luke warm received by UK fans, despite a huge international following, despite featuring such huge names as Marty Scurll, War Machine (Hanson & Rowe) etc. frequently. The company is on the verge of rebranding to Defiant Wrestling in December, following the departure of their creative team from WhatCulture and them seemingly taking their promotion with them.
On the other hand Lucha Forever has gone from strength to strength, recently hosting its Ultimo Battle show which drew big numbers in London and was a critical success. LF has as you would expect a high paced, athletic ring style and features a wide array of talent. Has provided TV time and a big stage for the increasingly popular Aussie Open/Assault(Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher) as well as future star Omari. Lucha Forever could very quickly find a niche role between the big 3 and the cult favorites with its mix of dream matches and unknown talent.
BritWres: The Avoidables
5 Star Wrestling is renowned for blaming a terrorist attack for cancelling its 128 man arena tour tournament. It recently gained a TV deal with Freesports in a decision that was widely panned by fans of British Wrestling. Hasn’t run a show since January and if they intend to run a show near you, do’nt go they will more than likely cancel it. This company is well and truly avoidable.
BritWres: The Women
There are two main all female promotions in British Wrestling, the first, Bellatrix, is run by the famous Knight family (as a sister promotion to their WAW). This company trains its talent in traditional catch style wrestling and runs 4-5 shows a year. Mainly features its small roster as well as guests from around the UK including Ireland’s Rhia O’Reilly and Jetta, a veteran of the UK scene. A good company to watch out for to see younger talent or if you are a huge fan of Sweet Saraya.
The other all female promotion is Pro Wrestling: EVE. EVE is a great promotion that features some of the top names in UK wrestling consistently with Viper, Kay Lee Ray and Session Moth Martina appearing regularly, as well as recent WWE signee Nixon Newell and Mae Young Classic Competitor Alpha Female/Jazzy Gabert. EVE consistently puts on great matches and really fun shows and is older than most current BritWres companies having formed in 2010 this is the place to go to watch your UK Joshi action.
BritWres: The Others
A collection of companies that relies on local talent and the occasional visit from a mid tier indie guy to draw. These companies offer something different and rely on building their hardcore fanbase and really feel like they have heart. IPW:UK is one such company it has a long history having been around since 2004 and puts on consistently the best shows in the UK while also giving other stars a chance to shine such as their current champions being Adam “Flex” Maxted, Johnny Storm, Livvii Grace and many more this company pushes people that dont get pushed elsewhere and offers something completely original which in the overcrowded market of BritWres is really hard to do.
New Generation Wrestling is a company that has been around since 2008 and is one of the only family friendly companies in the UK. It has had many different phases including when every match had a 15 minute time limit when they were shown on WrestleTalkTv, they present stories over in ring matches and feature wrestlers who are bigger in Manchester and the surrounding area as a promotion it does its job in niteresting kids and families and familiarizing them with UK wrestling.
Celtic Championship Wrestling (CCW), running out of Cork it is Ireland’s number 2 promotion and offers what OTT did in its first shows, Over 18 shows with local talent putting their all into it with unique guest stars like Sabu, Will Ospreay and Jimmy Havoc coming in and being treated as legends by the rabid fans. CCW is famed from its Botchamania spot where Pastor William Eaver won a ladder match by pulling a whole tile out of the roof. CCW features mostly its own talent trained in their school with everyone having a gimmick that they play fantastically well much like OTT it offers something quite Irish in comparison to the British companies companies. CCW is must watch as it is starting to gain a reputation and put on fantastic matches.
British Wrestling is full of dozens of different companies and this guide is only to single out those that offer something worth watching that sets them apart and something that is for every taste be that womens wrestling, superindies or just plain good pro wrestling. Are there any other companies you think deserve recognition here?