British Invasion: UK Wrestling is on the Rise

The lights went out abruptly inside the Hammerstein Ballroom at ROH War of the Worlds. Kenny Omega appeared on screen & made the surprise announcement that “The Villain” Marty Scurll was the newest member of the ever-popular bullet club. The crowd cheered with excitement as the lights came back to reveal Scurll in the center of the ring, bullet club umbrella in hand.

The audience went wild as The Villain & The Young Bucks beat down Adam Cole & posed in the ring as a new united bullet club. There aren’t many wrestlers who could have made an impact like Scurll did that night. Marty Scurll is quickly becoming one of the most popular performers in wrestling today. His “Villain” persona is dripping with charisma & marketability.

Scurll has built up quite a bit of momentum over the past few years & is coming off an impressive run as ROH Television Champion. 2017 may very well be the year of The Villain; he just joined the hottest faction in pro wrestling & entered the prestigious Best of the Super Juniors Tournament in NJPW. Scurll, a Cambridge native, seems poised for superstardom in 2017.

Marty Scurll isn’t the only UK native making waves in the professional wresting scene today. Look no further than Scurll’s first opponent in the Super Juniors Tournament: Will Ospreay. Ospreay has made a name for himself through unbelievable athleticism & an aerial move set that is truly one of a kind. “The Aerial Assassin” made headlines due to his incredible yet controversial match with Ricochet at last year’s Best of the Super Juniors.

Ospreay & Scurll are natural rivals and have put on some great matches. Ospreay’s style is the perfect foil to Scurll’s villainous persona & tactics. Both performers are symbolic of the renaissance that is happening today in UK Wrestling. Promotions all over the UK & England are putting on great shows. WCPW, Progress, Revolution Pro Wrestling, & ICW in Scotland just to name a few. The Independent Wrestling scene in the UK is phenomenal & some truly great talents are emerging.

England has always been a special place for Wrestling & some of the best wrestlers ever hail from the UK. The British Bulldog, William Regal, Fit Finlay, & Nigel McGuiness immediately come to mind. It is undeniable though that this is a special time for UK wrestling.

The boom in British wrestling isn’t confined to the Independent scene; look no further than WWE’s recent expansion & recruitment in the UK. The match that stole the show at NXT Takeover Chicago was between two British wrestlers; Pete Dunne & Tyler Bate. Dunne is cunning & ruthless while Bate, only 20 years old, is filled with untapped potential. Both are fantastic wrestlers & put on one of the best WWE matches of 2017 in Chicago.

Dunne & Bate are being positioned as the faces of WWE’s new UK division. Both men are products of the British wrestling scene but they aren’t the only UK wrestlers who have garnered interest from WWE. Trent Seven, Tommy End & Nikki Cross are just a few more notable names from UK wrestling to sign with WWE. There is a multitude of great wrestlers making a name for themselves in the UK.

Not everyone needs to end up in WWE though. Any article about British wrestling would be remiss in not mentioning Zack Sabre Jr. ZSJ is one of the best technical wrestlers on the planet & possibly the best overall British wrestler today. WWE made Sabre Jr. an offer during his appearance in The Cruiserweight Classic but, “The Technical Wizard” chose to continue performing for promotions like EVOLVE & RPW. The continued success of performers like ZSJ, Ospreay, & Scurll on the independent scene & NJPW shows just how much the wrestling industry is evolving. Just the fact that these wrestlers have choices on where to perform is refreshing.

It is hard to say exactly why UK wrestling is experiencing a boom period. Do quality promotions give way to exceptional performers or vice versa? In the end, it really doesn’t matter. The future is bright for UK wrestling which means the future is bright for all of wrestling. The independent scene is thriving & more stars than ever are emerging from the United Kingdom. It is a good time to be a wrestling fan.

 

 

Images used are courtesy of WWE & NJPW. Follow me on twitter at @jjohnanderer

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