South West Rising Part 3

By Ciaran James @TheCiaranJames

With the summer now upon us more eyes than ever are looking at independent wrestling, from the North to the South, across Europe and back again, the business is rapidly changing once more. When I last reported on the South West wrestling scene, the hype machine was in full throttle for the latest Pro Wrestling Chaos offering “UnBrolievable”. Featuring a main event between Matt Riddle and Mike Bird, which personally is one of the greatest matches I have ever seen, plus a highly infectious undercard of sublime talent, I will come back to that show later. In the months since I last reported, the regional wrestling scene the landscape has again changed, both Chaos and ATTACK wrestling have sky rocketed to the top while 4FW has continue to fall behind. Pro Evolution Wrestling in Gloucester has rebranded as ‘Evolution Wrestling’ and is gaining even more traction, however they will soon be encountering competition as RCW (Rebel Championship Wrestling) is set to debut in October at the ATIK Club.

Month to month Pro Wrestling Chaos continues to be arguably, the premier wrestling company in the South West, featuring the best storylines, intrigue, drama and action it is head and shoulders above the rest. UnBrolievable on June 3rd 2017 may have one of the finest wrestling shows this year; with a mix of new talent, prominent British and international wrestlers the event ticked all the boxes. From Twitter to Facebook the jubilant fans let the world know what they had just witnessed, plus the match between Matt Riddle and Mike Bird was broadcasted on Progress Wrestling’s On Demand service, therefore the world got to see it. Since February Flash Morgan Webster has held the King of Chaos Title and he continues to flaunt it for all to see, I personally think Webster has done an amazing job of raising the profile of the Championship during his reign. Webster, since returning from injury has catapulted him into the limelight, there is no denying his draw as champion and it seems the decision to put the title on him was a great business move by Chaos Wrestling.

Chaos continues to evolve and trump its competition, at Heir 2 the Throne 2 on July 8th the management announced that on October 28th the company will crown its first Maiden of Chaos. Featuring two shows on one day, Chaos will first stage the inaugural women’s tournament, and then at the second show in the evening will crown their first Women’s Champion. It is sure to be an event to remember and a moment that further pushes Pro Wrestling Chaos ahead of the game. After a very successful event on July 8th Chaos now looks ahead to August, Unleashed at Yate Leisure Centre next month is already selling extremely well, with international talents Paul London & Shane Strickland, a cage match and the challenge of Alex Steele for the King of Chaos championship. If you live in the South West Chaos really is the No1 promotion, for continuity, drama and wrestling it excels, the roster changes to suit the times and the acts themselves grab the opportunity by the neck. After recently speaking with the 3 Chaos owners it was clear that for right now an event would not be held at Colston Hall, however I think if Chaos find another venue similar to Yate and Thornbury or even somewhere outside of Bristol there is no doubt in my mind why they couldn’t get more than a thousand fans attending.

4FW based in Swindon have been through a tumultuous last few months, this was largely based on the Cody Rhodes saga stretching from January to June. When he first cancelled, the promotion bounced back with Kenny Omega, plus the reason behind his absence was understandable, however when Cody cancelled the June super-show it left a bitter taste in the mouth. Throughout the winter and spring the promotion suffered with the cancellation of shows, talent and the lack of fans at certain events, the decision to move to Portishead on a Sunday was ill conceived. As I said previously, the over reliance on the same roster members hurt 4FW as over a two show weekend you could see exactly the same talent participate in exactly the same show. The cancellation of shows especially for those who purchased season tickets was another let down, this on top of a lack of relatable storylines and bigger names made for a gloomy outlook. There then came the promise of 30 shows between September and December 2017, I for one found this hard to believe. I have also spoken to a number of former 4FW fans that have lost faith in the company; they blame the lack of new talent and marketable British stars as the reason.

4FW has now taken a summer break, their shows will resume in the autumn with a fresh start. With new acts plus Kingdom Rising scheduled for October hopefully the company can get back on track. It’s never good for a wrestling promotion to suffer, with the industry the way it is right now there is space to manoeuvre, plus the talent pool in the UK is only getting better. I hope 4FW can recover the form of 2016, during the summer Chaos, ATTACK, Dragon Pro and Lucha Forever are all promoting shows, let’s just hope when 4FW returns they haven’t been forgotten about.

4FW wasn’t the only company to suffer in early 2017, it seems that both Pride Wrestling and LDN cancelled shows at short notice, which understandably caused annoyance. CFS who operate between Weston Super Mare and Bath are still running shows, they along with 4FW recently ran shows with former WWE wrestler Jack Swagger. UPW are a company that seem to be promoting in the south west more than ever, worth keeping up with what they have planned for the remainder of 2017.

ATTACK Pro Wrestling’s popularity seems to be increasing from show to show, whether it’s BSS, CCK or Dragon Pro graduates performing the events sell out way in advance. ATTACK has also been compared by many to be as good as Progress wrestling, if not arguably better. Their shows feature the best talent in the South West and from around the UK, there is also a heavy influence of West Midlands wrestlers such as Moustache Mountain, Hunter Brothers and Damian Dunne. From great wrestling to wacky segments the promotion usually delivers a show to remember, and it seems based on social media activity after shows that the quality of their events just keeps improving. Similar to Chaos the promotion has great continuity show to show, feuds build and conclude and new talent continuously debuts. Arguably the top act right now in ATTACK is the AntiFun Police, headed by Chief Deputy Dunne, who flanked by Travis Banks, Hunter Brother and Federales Jnr they are intent on putting an end to the fun the promotion, talent and audience are having at events. Alongside BSS & CCK, the AntiFun Police have quickly become the most prominent stables with the UK wrestling scene, recently taking their act to OTT in Ireland and Progress Wrestling.

The wrestling scene in the South West is looking pretty exceptional right now, with promotions thriving and talent from the same promotions receiving try-outs from WWE, touring with AJPW and getting invited to Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, the future is definitely bright. Over the next few months much more will happen, from the first Chaos Steel Cage match to the first Maiden Of Chaos, history will be made. ATTACK will be staging their annual Winterslam event in August at Walkabout Cardiff, plus the weekend of Friday 21st July – Sunday 23rd July ATTACK talent will be appearing at the inaugural Amplified 2017 event in Gloucestershire. A special mention must also go to Dragon Pro Wrestling and Academy, situated in Newport/Cardiff; the now infamous company has blooded a majority of the talent working in the South West. They have a small number of events per year to showcase their own talent and occasionally have the odd mainstream guest; the academy is without a doubt one of the best in Europe. Returning back to the Gloucestershire/Bristol area, a new promotion will be débuting in the autumn. Rebel Championship Wrestling (RCW) will be kicking off their first event at the ATIK nightclub in Gloucester on 21st October, using a plethora of Dragon Pro and local talent event is sure to be a memorable event.

I will be back with another report later in the year to catch up on the entire goings on, for further information on wrestling in the south west check out or follow me at Twitter @TheCiaranJames.

For further information on the companies mentioned above please follow the links provided below.

Credit to Jim Maitland @Jim_TurningFace for the header image. All images used in my articles and reviews can be viewed on the below link

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