The Current State Of British Wrestling
Now, i’m sure many of your readers may be aware of my background within British Wrestling, but for those who are not, allow me to introduce myself. My character “Harvey Dale” wears a number of hats (and tassels) across a number of different promotions all over the UK. I work either as a “Manager” in the old 80’s style of Bobby Heenan or Jimmy Hart, as a Ring Announcer or as a Commentator. I believe I work at some of the finest run promotions in the UK and am truly blessed to be surrounded by such talents wherever I go. Recently though, I have begun to wear a different ‘hat’ so to speak, the hat of a promoter having taken up the challenge to help move one of the finest training academies in the UK, The House Of Pain, based out of Nottingham, to the forefront of British Professional Shows. We have named this product “House Of Pain : Evolution” or “HOPE” for short.
Now that the introductions are over, I shall move swiftly on to the point of my article. I am not a writer, nor do I ever think I will be, but I am passionate about what I am attempting to write about so let’s just hope that carries me through and I manage to get the message that I am going for across to people. British Wrestling is something hugely close to my heart, I don’t watch the American stuff anymore, haven’t sat through an entire WWE or TNA PPV in well over a year if not longer. I have attempted to watch parts of some of them but they just don’t hold my attention the way they used to back in the early 90’s or up until about 2005. I often wonder “Why is this?” and then I remember what made me fall in love with wrestling all those years ago…it was the characters, the larger than life persona’s and the in depth storylines that used to play out across a few PPV’s per year, feuds that lasted over a year and had some real time and money invested in them, nowadays we are lucky if an actual feud lasts 3 months.
Fast track through to today and my passions lay within British Wrestling, seeing these feuds that I have spoken of, stand the test of time, seeing live audiences rise to their feet or stand open mouthed at what they are witnessing. Let’s take Southside Wrestling as an example, with it being a product that I am proud to work for and have some knowledge about, I shall use the El Ligero vs “Ego Dragon” Martin Kirby feud as an example. This storyline began over 18 months ago and has been built and built, show after show after show, the 2 guys involved have been to hell and back in their encounters, often going above and beyond the call of duty to give the fans that little something extra. It is seeing this kind of commitment to a storyline that has really spurred me on when going into bat as a promoter, the production values, the little touches used and the way in which there has always been ‘one more step’ to take with this whole feud has kept everyone on the edge of their seat since it began all of those months ago and it is full credit too Ben Auld, Ligero and Kirby for making this feel so special. The whole thing will culminate inside a steel cage later this year and this, was the only logical step for what could be the ‘pay off of all pay offs’ within a British promotion. It is production values like this and commitment to a story that has helped us rebuild some credibility after the damage done by places like 1PW.
This brings me nicely on to the actual point of my article (yes, I did have one in mind and it wasn’t just going to be a ramble), anyone who follows my facebook or twitter will probably already know that I rarely hold back when it comes to speaking my mind and will probably have witnessed my attempts to ensure that people who want to be ‘wrestlers’ attend a proper training facility before being put into show environments and that anyone wanting to play ‘promoter’ has the relevant insurances, experiences and production values in order to make his/her product reach a suitable level.
EVERY British Wrestling Promotion that is advertised or seen by a casual fan is representing us all, the entire scene is forced to answer for anything sub-standard that makes it onto the internet or into the public eye. Let me use ‘Youtube’ as an example, now, I am not going to open up old wounds or start dropping names in but I have seen a number of ‘promotions’ who want to air their entire shows in youtube format. These are readily available to anybody in the country, or for that matter, anywhere in the world to see whenever they type “British Wrestling” into the search engine. If, for example, the product that comes up is one that is not upto scratch or has terrible production and structure, then any casual fan who sees it, will probably not bother to go along and see any British Wrestling as they will assume that all of our products will be of the same standard. To me, this is unacceptable, you have promotions like Southside Wrestling, like PCW, like NGW in Hull, like 4FW down in Swindon, setting the standards in production and booking top quality shows, trying their hardest to pull in new audience members and boost their numbers and they have to be viewed in the same light as some of these questionable promotions plastering their product all over the internet and turning some ‘would be’ spectators into ‘non believers’ before they have even had a chance to sit down and take in a British Show. For me, British Wrestling will never be able to get back to the ‘Glory Days’ of old until we can rid ourselves of these promotions that are causing so much harm to the scene as a whole. I may often come across as ‘outspoken’ but all I can say is that I am passionate, more passionate about British Wrestling than I can even put into words and when I see something that I consider to be hugely detrimental to the entire scene, keeping quiet is not something that I am very good at.
With all of this being said, I honestly believe that we are on the up, for the first time in years, we have a thriving set of promotions that are bringing the standard to new heights and LONG may it continue. If you are at all interested in British Wrestling and are looking to expand your horizons and check out some new promotions then I would thoroughly reccomend the following, most of these are easily accessible by typing the promotions name into Facebook.
Scotland : Premier British Wrestling (PBW) & Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW)
North West : Preston City Wrestling (PCW), Futureshock Wrestling, Grand Pro Wrestling (GPW), Infinite Promotions or the “Hardcore” Over 18’s environment of HXC.
North East : New Generation Wrestling (NGW), Real Deal Wrestling (RDW)
Midlands : House Of Pain (HOP) & House Of Pain : Evolution (HOP:E), Kamikaze Pro, Pro Wrestling 4U (PW4U), National Wrestling Community Alliance (NCWA), Leicester Championship Wrestling (LCW), Pro Wrestling Kingdom (PWK), Attack Pro Wrestling, Fight Club Pro (FCP), Next Level Wrestling (NLW), Triple X.
South & London : Southside Wrestling Entertainment(SWE), Full House Wrestling, Progress Wrestling, Future Pro Wrestling (FPW), Revolution Pro Wrestling (RevPro), International Pro Wrestling (IPW:UK), 4 Front Wrestling (4FW), CAWS Wrestling, NBWA (New Breed Wrestling Alliance).
Wales : Welsh Wrestling, Britannia Promotions (BWP).
I apologise to anyone that I may have forgotten, i’m sure there are a number of other decent and credible promotions within the United Kingdom, whose names have escaped my memory at this time.
Should anyone have any further questions for me they can reach me on facebook “Harvey Dale” or on twitter @TheHarveyDale.
I thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings.
Lockup would also like to thank Brett Hadley for the use of the photograph and if you like Brett’s work please head over to https://www.facebook.com/bretthadley?fref=ts.