2017: The Year I Fell In Love With Wrestling

Added by Jenna MacDougall

Picture Credit: The Ringside Perspective

I attended my first show of this year in the form of Fight Club: PRO’s WRESTLEHOUSE. This was a collaborative effort between both FCP and ATTACK! Pro Wrestling. The show featured the top talents and champions from each promotion as well as some top international talent including Keith Lee and Angelico. They also announced that the third night of their Dream Tag Team Invitational would be held at the N.E.C Arena in Birmingham. After attending the show it made me want to reflect on the past year of British and Irish independent wrestling that I’ve been lucky enough to attend and watch. For this article I’ll be focusing on Over The Top Wrestling, Fight Club: PRO and ATTACK! Pro Wrestling, as these are the promotions I attend throughout 2017. I’ll be talking mostly about the shows I was able to attend but I know so much incredible stuff happened at these promotions before I started going or watching. So, please, join me as I look back on the past year of wrestling from three of the most popular independent promotions in this part of the world.

I live in Ireland so OTT is the promotion I’m able to attend most often. OTT has been growing rapidly since the company began in 2014. However, 2017 saw the company reach new heights. OTT ran its first show in Dublin’s National Stadium, a venue which seats over 2,000 people, in April for Scrappermania 3. This show still remains a highlight of the year for OTT as not only did they manage to sell out a 2,000 seat arena, a huge increase from the approximately 700 person limit of the Tivoli, but they also managed to secure some incredible international talent including Jigsaw, Jay White, Jurn Simmons and a main event involving Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks. From here on OTT would manage to hold two more shows at The National Stadium before the end of the year, Wrestlerama and Being The Elite, once again showcasing some of the best wrestlers in the world. Wrestlerama was my favourite of OTT’s stadium shows, yes even though CCK lost. Though the Stadium shows were a huge success, OTT never neglected bringing incredible shows and matches to the Tivoli. OTT’s year opened incredibly with Martina’s Gaff Party: Back in the Dr. Dre, which saw an incredible main even and emotional NLW title change between Pete Dunne and Ryan Smile. OTT also held some increible tag team matches throughout 2017, with Kings of the North and The Angel Cruzers (Angel Cruz and B. Cool) really shining through in matches against the likes of British Strong Style, CCK and many more. Between the inclusion of top international talent, elevation and showcasing of local talent and the selling out of The National Stadium TWICE, 2017 was a truly incredibly and transformative year for OTT.

What OTT have also managed to achieve in 2017 is the showcasing of incredible homegrown talent. The OTT Contenders shows give younger Irish wrestlers an opportunity to showcase their talents and have become just as much must-see events as the monthly Tivoli shows. Through OTT’s commitment to showcasing and trusting younger local talents with the spotlight, the Irish wrestling scene has been growing exponentially and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. Talents such as Nathan Martin, Valkyrie, Curtis Murray, Debbie Keitel, LJ Cleary, Raven Creed, 2 Unlimited, Scotty Davis and many more have been consistently giving excellent performances on both Contenders and non-Contenders shows. I was only able to attend one Contender’s show in 2017 but the main event of Contenders 4, involving the team of Jordan Devlin and Scotty Davis vs Aussie Open, was one of the best OTT matches I saw last year.

Another promotion I watched and managed to attend quite a bit this year was ATTACK! I attended my first ATTACK! show (which was also my first UK independent show) in April, Soundtrack To A Head Drop. I had watched ATTACK! for a while before that and this first show was everything I had wanted from the promotion. Their shows are always fun and weird while at the same time showcasing incredible wrestlers and matches. My personal highlights from last year for ATTACK! were the Kris Travis Tag Team Invitational, (Thank God It’s Not) Winterslam 2, Press Start V (undoubtedly the most fun show of the entire year to watch) and MistleTour. MistleTour was one of only two of these shows I was able to attend but it was an absolutely amazing weekend of shows, with the main event of Chris Roberts vs Shay Purser being one of the best, most emotional and most enjoyable matches from any promotion throughout the entirety of 2017. ATTACK! have mastered the art of storytelling in wrestling and Roberts vs Purser was an example of this. The other show I attended was (Thank God It’s Not) Winterslam 2, which again was a fantastic and fun night of wrestling and storytelling. I also managed to attend two of ATTACK!’s midweek shows in collaboration with Dragon Pro Wrestling. These shows, similar to the OTT Contenders shows I’ve mentioned previously, feature a lot of younger wrestlers and give them the opportunity to showcase their talent and ability. It’s always great to see fresh faces and to see deserving talent get a proper platform. I’d highly recommend checking out both these shows and the OTT Contenders shows if you ever get the chance. ATTACK! always deliver and I am excited to see what they do in 2018.

Finally, I get to my promotion of the year: Fight Club: PRO. I attended my very first FCP show in June for Stranger Than Fixxion and since then I’ve only missed two shows (this doesn’t sound that impressive but when you have to travel from Ireland it’s pretty good.) I only started watching FCP in April of last year and I can honestly say I have never been disappointed by a FCP show. What initially drew me right in and what I absolutely have to mention is the match between Nixon Newell and Chris Brookes at Rise Against. It’s still one of my favourite matches of all time, that I constantly go on about, and it’s what made me want to go. My first ever FCP show was also the show on which Millie McKenzie debuted and anyone who knows me knows how much I love Millie McKenzie. In such a short amount of time she has made such an amazing name for herself and continues to impress everywhere she goes. Just like ATTACK! and OTT, FCP have introduced us to some incredible talent this year but Millie is, without doubt, the breakout star of 2017. FCP put on so many incredible shows last year but nothing will, for me, beat Project Mayhem VI: Open The Dragon House. The Project Mayhem weekend was, without doubt, the most incredible wrestling shows I have ever been to. It was a weekend I will never forget, from DEATH HOUSE, to Millie suplexing literally ALL the lads, to Omari’s and Shane Strickland’s absolutely phenomenal match, it was absolutely incredible from start to finish. This year’s Project Mayhem looks like it’s going to be a three night event….. and I am going to be there no matter what because it was the stad out wrestling event of 2017 and I cannot wait to see what happens in 2018.

2017 was an incredible year for wrestling and I absolutely cannot wait to see what awaits us in 2018. And please remember, always be kind to each other. Keep each other safe. Wrestling should be our happy place. If we always all work together to make our community better and safer, I know we can do it.