Wrestling is a brand of entertainment that is known all over the world. The World Wrestling Entertainment, better known as WWE, is a well-known company, even for people who don’t know the industry at all, and has over 2.1 million paid network subscriptions as well as over 40 million YouTube subscribers. Despite this local wrestling seems to suffer in popularity, particularly here in Scotland.
Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW) is Scotland’s biggest wrestling promotion and probably the only Scottish one people will know of. Even with their popularity, their crowds for their flagship event, Fear and Loathing, had dropped from over 6000 attendees in 2016, to around 4000 in 2017, and then down to 2000 in 2018. Despite their being so many promotions and talented athletes it seems that Scottish wrestling is continuing to drop in popularity.
With this in mind- we decided to check out a local wrestling show- one far smaller than both WWE and ICW. We attended Live Family Wrestling which was hosted in the Maryhill Community Centre Hall. The venue was something I was completely unfamiliar with, having been to, and watched, wrestling events in much bigger venues. Tickets cost just £9 for children and £11 for adults.
The event consisted of six matches; there was a set of three, an intermission, and then another three. Despite the family-friendly aspect of the action, the matches proved to be of a high standard and showed that there is a huge amount of talent just waiting to shine, even in front of such a small crowd.
For many people that are into wrestling but don’t watch local shows, including myself, this was a real-wake up call. Seeing stars give their all just to entertain a local crowd, in a show that is unlikely to skyrocket their career, shows the passion these athletes have and the commitment they have to their craft. While the majority of the names I was unfamiliar with, there were a few big names at the show.
Two superstars currently signed to WWE in their NXT UK brand, Isla Dawn and Kenny Williams, competed at the show. Alongside them, former ICW champion Jack Jester was there and competed in the opening bout. While it is unfair to assume mega companies like WWE can make time for their fans to meet wrestlers after shows, considering there are thousands at each show and the athletes compete several times a week, seeing these performers do just that gave me a new level of respect for local wrestling.
This included Isla Dawn and Jack Jester, who were more than happy to stay behind, chat and take pictures with those who attended the show.
Every match was a decent standard, with the opening having a large amount of crowd interaction, in fact, they all did. The second was more wrestling focused with a WWE superstar involved, and the third went back to the very crowd heavy style with an attack before the match had even started. The fourth match, once again, had a heel playing to the crowd like the opening, the fifth was a more standard tag match however we did see blood in this one. Finally, the main event went all over the hall with action taking place right next to our camera.
Each match did their part of keeping a good atmosphere and forcing the crowd to remain invested. Another nice touch was the raffle, which had prizes such as tickets to the next show and action figures.
Overall, the show was extremely entertaining. With so many promotions out there it asks the question: why bother with local wrestling? To boil it down, you get to see top quality action for a fraction of the usual price, some shows even contain wrestlers from the biggest wrestling company out there; ultimately you’re supporting the industry. The likes of John Cena, and even large Scottish names like Drew McIntyre, had to start somewhere and these shows slowly help competitors become stars. It is unlikely that these shows alone will get people signed to the bigger companies, but it allows them to slowly progress and allows fans to enjoy the journey.
By Kyle Mcleod