I love wrestling. I’m guessing if you’re reading this you probably also love wrestling. If not, I hope by the end of this you can at least understand why it means so much to so many people. It’s not an exaggeration to say that wrestling means the absolute world to me and that’s only been a fairly recent occurrence. I’ve only been properly watching wrestling for just over a year and a half, and independent wrestling for even less time than that, and in such a short amount of time it has become the thing that makes me happy no matter what. No matter what mood I’m in, no matter how bad I feel, it’s my happy place.
I got into wrestling, like most people, originally through WWE (ORIGINALLY originally I started watching Total Divas but we’re just gonna gloss over that part entirely.) I wasn’t instantly hooked like some people but the more I watched it the more I connected with it. And that is what’s so special about wrestling: that connection. The characters, the moves, the showmanship, the passion. I never really realised it but it was kind of everything I loved rolled into one with some extra fun crazy stuff on the side. I didn’t start watching independent wrestling until a good bit later and, again, I wasn’t immediately hooked. It wasn’t really until I started going to OTT for the first time that I really just fell in love.
Before I got really into indy wrestling, I loved lots of stuff about wrestling but indy wrestling made me fall in love with the art of wrestling itself. It made me feel things that nothing else ever really had and still it makes me happier than anything else. So Imma just break down some of the things independent wrestling has done for me and my life.
It provided me with positive role models. I’m not saying that every indy wrestler is an amazing human but a lot of them are. They are hardworking, driven, committed and, above all, passionate people who work immensely hard just to do what they love. Being truly, completely passionate about something is the characteristic I find most relatable in a person because it’s a huge part of who I am as a person too, whether I am conscious of it or not. Wrestling is absolutely full of passion. Indy wrestlers, promoters and fans are almost overwhelmingly passionate about what they do and that’s something that I find really beautiful. Whenever I go to OTT I am never not amazed by just the sheer passion and happiness in the room, emanating from every single person, wrestler and fan. Even when you’re not at a live indy show, just watching it, you can feel that same feeling. Atmosphere is part of what makes wrestling so special, and that atmosphere of so many people in the presence of something that just makes them so incredibly and almost uncontrollably happy… it’s just really special.
The women in indy wrestling, in particular, gave me people to look up to. It gave me strong women who I can admire in so many different ways for so many different reasons. They prove that women do not have to fit into a certain shape or mould to be strong and beautiful and happy. From people like Manami Toyota, Aja Kong and Sara Del Rey to people like Toni Storm, Io Shirai, Nixon Newell, Kay Lee Ray, Viper, Katey Harvey and, of course, my girl, ‘The Session Moth’ Martina, all of these women embody what, to me, is the most important thing in the world: they embrace themselves and who they are in every way. (There are so many other incredible women I could have mentioned but these are just the ones who I have kind of connected with personally… it doesn’t stop there though… not even by a little bit.) Wrestling in general provides amazing female role models for girls and women but indy wrestling is special because it allows you to connect with those women in a different way.
Indy wrestling encourages so many positive qualities in me and I’m sure to so many others. It encourages me to never give up on something I love. It encourages me to work hard at what I love and become the absolute best at it that I can be. It encourages me to be healthy (minus the cans). It encourages me to embrace who I am and to be an individual. Some of these things are things I struggle with but they’re always things I think about when I watch indy wrestling.
It’s not just all about the wrestlers though. Thanks to indy wrestling I’ve met some pretty fantastic people. Whether it be my Twitter grapples pals (you know who you are) or just random lovely exchanges with people I’d never even seen before, the atmosphere at pretty much every show I have ever been to has just been one of excitement and friendliness. I know not everything about every promotion, event and person isn’t perfect but as a whole, it’s been nothing but a positive environment for me. It’s an environment where I can be myself. A place where I don’t feel like I’m being judged. And if that hasn’t been the case for any of you, I’m sorry…. And I’ll fight anyone who was mean to you. I’ve always been a pretty painfully shy person but going to places like OTT and other indy promotions has made me feel happy and comfortable and they make me want to speak to new people and make new friends and I’m pretty certain that I can say I have (love my grapple pals).
All in all, indy wrestling provides an escape. Like I said before, it makes me feel a way that nothing else ever has. I specifically remember when I watched my first ATTACK! show. I was in a really really bad mood. I can’t even remember why, maybe it was just one of those days but I was not feeling it. Then we turned on ATTACK!: Press Start IV and, literally, within five minutes of turning it on, I was smiling and happy. All it took was a couple minutes but it lifted me out of the negativity I was feeling and, even though I wasn’t actually physically there, it exposed me to that atmosphere and I just couldn’t help but smile… it was also the first time I saw the Anti-Fun Police…. And Pete Dunne dressed as Wario… so y’know… how could I not feel all warm and fuzzy inside?
Basically, I love indy wrestling. I love all wrestling… but indy wrestling gives me something to look forward to almost constantly. No matter what, OTT is the highlight of my month every single month and there are so many amazing promotions that I cannot wait to visit…. ATTACK!… you know I’m coming for you. With this little piece of writing, I just wanted to express the love I feel for something that’s just… just so great. And I also wanted to say thank you. Thank you to all of the indy promotions all over the world who put on amazing shows and give amazing talent opporutnities whist making us fans extremely happy. Thank you to every indy wrestler who has followed their dreams and stepped inside a ring. Thank you to every wrestler who has ever taken the time to talk to me… I know I am the most awkward and unsubtle fan girl alive so it really means so so much (not a mark though). Thank you to every single indy wrestling fan who goes and keeps the thing we love alive. Thank you to everyone who has ever come over at a show and said hi. Thank you to every person that follows me on Twitter and puts up with my far too liberal use of repetitive humour and dots… see… I’m doing it again…. Thank you to The Indy Corner for letting me write this and share it with you lovely people. And thank you so much to anyone who reads this.. Yeah.. I mean YOU! You da best. You know what else is the best? Wrestling… love the graps. <3