As a wrestling fan, I’ve enjoyed watching WWE for a long time, even during it’s more frustrating periods. In recent years, the company has been able to listen to their audience more by bringing in independent wrestlers from all over the world, and the independent scene in England has never been hotter. At the start of 2017, WWE introduced the UK Championship and it’s opened up the door for many British wrestlers to get the attention they deserve. British strong style is alive and well and here’s why you should be paying attention to the British indie scene.
There’s always been a hunger with English wrestlers to steal the show no matter what company they’re wrestling on. Promotions like Progress, Lucha Forever and FutureShock are great at providing varied rosters and giving the guys and girls an opportunity to prove themselves.
In particular, Lucha Forever have an adult-oriented approach, giving their wrestlers the chance to perform crazy spots. At a recent Lucha Forever show in Manchester, I watched Drew Parker leap off a balcony and get caught in a high-impact counter from Omari. It’s a throwback to the Attitude Era or classic ECW days and it’s pure entertainment. What makes Lucha stand out as well is the fact they can put women against men and make them look like legitimate competitors without it looking corny. It all goes back to the spirit of British strong style.
What the hell is strong style?
I’m glad you asked. Strong style refers to a type of wresting that involves full contact. This makes a match look more ‘realistic’ and it’s designed to increase the excitement of the crowd. Also known as shoot wrestling, this style was popularised in Japan and has become a big part of the UK scene.
Three English wrestlers who embody this type of wrestling are Tyler Bate, Trent Seven and ‘The Bruiserweight’ Pete Dunne. Collectively known as British Strong Style, the trio are the cream of the crop when it comes to English stars. Bate’s aerial style makes him one of the most exciting young performers out there, while Seven has a methodical style that echoes back to classic wrestling.
Dunne’s gimmick is one of the most over I’ve ever seen. The Bruiserweight has blurred the lines between a face and a heel, attacking anyone he feels like and even using members of the crowd as weapons. His smashmouth offense is a highlight of every show he’s on.
Earlier in 2017, Dunne and Bate put on what could be the Match Of The Year at NXT Takeover: Chicago. Bates was the first UK Champion and Dunne beat him after an epic contest.
Dunne, Bate and Seven all make regular appearances at Lucha Forever, which is more than enough reason to check out the event. British wrestling has been taken to the next level by all three of them.
In many ways, the UK wrestling scene is a lot more entertaining than WWE. Any wrestling fan should tune into it if they want to see the wrestlers leave it all in the ring.