Whenever a British wrestler is signed oversees, there’s a rumble of concern that they’ll be missed in the UK scene and, in a sense, this is true.
Take Rockstar Spud as an example – hugely popular, the archetypical small guy with attitude, incredibly talented in the ring and deserving of the opportunity that TNA gave him. Sure, for many, he’s missed and continues to be missed, despite his TV presence. However, he hasn’t left a vacuum.
The same can be said of Zack Sabre, Jr. If anything, his absence has increased the hunger of fans for his brief returns ot the UK scene. Phenomenally talented and getting better all the time, Zack Sabre Jr. impresses the UK crowds whenever he’s booked, no matter who he’s up against. Again, his absence hasn’t left a vacuum.
One of the reasons for this is plain and simple – modern British wrestling is built on hunger. It appears to be a system where the guys at the top – names like Nathan Cruz, El Ligero, Rampage Brown and Mark Haskins – are willing and able to work with the upcoming guys. They don’t, it seems, lock guys out to keep their spots; they’re hungry to see guys develop and will spend time, as many an interview with these names can attest, helping the upcoming guys improve.
Look at Tyler Bate – Mark Haskins, Doug Williams, Noam Dar, El Ligero, Zack Sabre Jr have all stepped into the ring with Bate and he’s just 17! He’s shown incredible promise and prowess with a style that isn’t often seen with guys his age. He’s dedicated to the business and has a bright future. Even with that list of opponents, he’s not a marquee name, though that day will come.
Noam Dar was in exactly the same position. A young guy who had developed an almost cult following that saw his cachet rise and the list of high end opponents grow. Injuries aside, Dar has found himself riding the crest of that wave in promotions throughout the country – people want to see Dar. Progress Wrestling fans went wild when Dar returned after months away – they’re a law unto themselves, Progress fans, and show who they love with such incredible vocal passion.
There are other guys, many of them, who are gaining recognition for their hunger for the business – Mark Andrews, Pete Dunne, Robbie X, Josh Bodom, and many more have been wrestling professionally for years and being seen by discerning crowds (it’s no surprise that they’ve all been won praise in front of the most critical of crowds at Progress!) They’re not the Tap Out gear wearing kick pad brigade that Nathan Cruz is rightfully concerned about; those guys will vanish when they get bored or don’t get booked. They’re guys that are willing to listen to other wrestlers, learn from their mistakes and develop their own take on a style. They’re the guys who attend the quality wrestling schools around the UK, run by the modern-day veterans of the scene and don’t expect to be on shows within weeks. They’re the guys who take the opportunities that they’re given and want to prove they deserve more.
These guys are surrounded by the best support network possible. Guys like Rampage Brown, El Ligero and Nathan Cruz are trainers in NGW- http://www.ngwuk.com/training, you can’t go a month without hearing that a wrestling school is doing a seminar with a well-known independent wrestler and schools like House of Pain – http://www.houseofpainwrestling.co.uk/index.php/become-a-wrestler – and the ProJo – http://progresswrestling.com/training/ – continue to develop the high calibre of training that the industry needs to succeed. It’s not only because the trainees want the best training, it’s that the trainers know exactly what bad training is – just ask Cruz – and don’t want to see the trainees suffer! It’s all because these guys, these professionals, are willing to train the next generation because they want to see the next generation be better than they are. They want to see the already high bar raised even higher.
So, when the days comes that some of the world’s biggest promotions take a look at the UK and snap up its biggest names, we’ll be in safe hands. The very names the big promotions are seeking will take their chances and make their money, but we’ll be able to see the next generation step up and fill that temporary void and British wrestling will go on, safe in the knowledge that the new names have had the best grounding that they could ever hope to have.
To quote a character from an Alan Bennett play “Pass the parcel. That’s sometimes all you can do… Not for me, not for you, but for someone, somewhere, one day. Pass it on, boys. That’s the game I want you to learn. Pass it on.”