South West Rising – Part 2
In January I took a look at the wrestling scene in the South West, this was a few weeks before the inaugural WWE UK Championship Tournament. As some of you may know I am a keen supporter of wrestling in the South West, I also report and review 4FW (Swindon) CHAOS (Bristol), I also, with assistance report results from ATTACK Pro & ProEvo. Since the UK tournament took place the spotlight has been stuck on all promotions across the country, the world is now looking closely at what the UK has to offer. In the past eighteen months British based talent has exploded onto the scene, Will Ospreay & Zack Sabre Junior are now permanent fixtures in Japan and Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate and Trent Seven are WWE contracted talent. They all still appear regularly for UK promotions, but to see them you have to be there, WWE UK contracted talent are prohibited from being recorded for On Demand services.
As more people clamour to see the stars of tomorrow independent promotions are growing, with that comes competition. Competition fuels the wrestling business, without competition a product can become stale and dull and eventually the audience turn off. In terms of growth Chaos Wrestling in Bristol is leading the pack, within a few years the company has gone from strength to strength. Attracting the biggest names outside of WWE & Japan, Chaos has succeeded at perfecting the perfect blend of wrestling. From comedy to violence, betrayal and anguish, the Bristol based promotion ticks all the boxes. With the last year I have seen a great change in the way they operate, attending my first show I was at first conflicted with the product I witnessed. I was mistaken at first for thinking the product was played for laughs, my first show was crazy, but beneath it all a tale was being told. As you become embroiled in what’s going on you realise Chaos is something special, it has storylines, characters, violence, comedy, betrayal, plus the wrestling in near perfection.
The one promotion that could rival Chaos is 4FW, the Swindon based company offers a different taste when it comes to wrestling. Usually catering to the WWE type viewer 4FW excels at delivery a first class show, when at the MECA in Swindon their presentation is top notch with production values that any independent company would want. 4FW really promotes itself when performing at Swindon’s MECA venue, it’s there that the big guns come out, in the last year international superstars Kenny Omega, Ryback, Kotaro Suzuki and James Storm have all performed there. It’s those names that attract the big crowds, but it seems sometimes 4FW then falls short with continuity outside of the Swindon home base setting. As previously reported by myself, smaller shows in Emersons Green & Portishead in Bristol have only attracted a handful of people. At Wrestleution in January 4FW were saved by Kenny Omega and Bubblegum, who gave the audience something to remember with two amazing performances, it was this that saved it from being a mediocre show. Since then 4FW has survived with a skeleton crew that can thankfully work out of their skin.
What brings me to highlight these two promotions is what is happening on June 3rd 2017, on that day both Chaos and 4FW are going head to head in the city of Bristol. Not since the days of regional promotions in America has this happened, two wrestling companies will be vying for supremacy only a few miles apart. Both have gone all out to attract the audience, 4FW have in advance advertised some big names including Cody Rhodes & Mark Haskins, whereas Chaos have confidently advertised the most sought after independent wrestler on the planet Matt Riddle. It’s a great sign of the times that two premier wrestling companies in the region are promoting such big shows, 4FW it seems are really trying to attract that hardcore audience that usually attend the MECA, and in Bristol I believe that fan is out there. It also seems evident now that wrestling audiences demand more for their money, no longer will they accept a basic evening of wrestling, and they want death defying, hard hitting action. They look for ultra-stiff competition from the talent and they expect the promoters to book the best talent available, it appears that if a company doesn’t book a worthy name the interest won’t be there.
Another company which if it wanted to could pose a threat to 4FW is ATTACK Pro, founded in 2011 ATTACK has grown exponentially in the years since. There roster is made up of the best talent in the UK, they boast great storylines with wonderful continuity and their shows never disappoint. They promote across three cities, Cheltenham, Bristol & Cardiff, as well as attracting fans from those areas they also have a loyal fan base who go where they go. As with most companies who are currently thriving the promotion sets a serious tone when it needs to, they appeal to the mature nature of the fans but throw in that comedic twist when required. Current and future talent of major promotions are in their ranks, most notable Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate & Mark Andrews, just below them is a plethora of British talent, who respectively could all headline a promotion.
In recent months Chaos has again grown, events are selling out and interest is growing, following these sold out events fans have called for Chaos to take that next step. The next logical step appears to be a bigger venue, the favoured one is the infamous Colston Hall in Bristol. I have numerous times in reviews and on twitter stated that Pro Wrestling Chaos has the same aura that Progress Wrestling has, it’s not just a wrestling promotion but a movement, a brand. Progress took the next step and sold out the 02 Academy in Brixton last September, Chaos in time can do the same at Colston Hall.
For further information on the companies mentioned check out the following links, for further Independent wrestling news, previews, reviews and updates check out Kayfabetoday.com.