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Scottish Wrestling - Then and Now


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Inspired by the thread asking about the current whereabouts of some of the guys hanging around the Scottish scene, I decided I'd quite like to reminisce about the whole scene in general from 10-12 years ago and look at where it's at in the present.



I'm not 100% sure when BCW got started but I'd guess it would have been around 2002 when Jake Roberts was helping train guys like Jack Jester, Drew Galloway, Kid Fite, Wolfgang, Red Lightning, Darkside and Lionheart out in East Kilbride.  Colin McKay and Jay Phoneix were also invovled in BCW at this point but the elss said on those two the better  SCW was started in 2003 but quickly went tits up and there was a falling out between head trainer Conscience and promoter Kenny Morrison that ultimately led to the formation of the SWA with Rebirth being held sometime around August 2004.


The first Scottish show I attended was in 2005 and was the SWA's inaugural Survivor Series style 'Clan Wars'.  Despite the smaller ring and sports hall setting I remember being quite impressed with the size of the crowd and the fact that there was angles running throughout the night with Eric Canyon Vs. The Sinners being the most prominent.  I kept going to SWA shows regularly with my two nephews (they'd have been 10/11 at the time) until about 2007/08 and throughout that time they mainly used the Matt Busby centre in Bellshill and the Clydebank Town Hall with an annual show being added at the Kelvin Hall.  The draws in Bellshill used to be really strong and there was angles that made sense and were easy to follow which helped sell the next show and so on. 


However, for me the first sign of a problem was when they tried to run angles that were progressed in both Bellshill AND Clydebank and then made no sense to about 90% of the crowd as only the UKFF type crowd would go to both venues.  I distinctly remember Doug Williams unmasking in Clydebank in front of about 150 people and about 10 of us knew who he was.  I seem to remember the first 'Gathering' show at Kelvin Hall selling out but I don't think the subsequent ones did and the Bellshill crowd started to drop a bit as well, with SWA then moving in to other venues in Govan and Bellahouston.  BCW seemed to stick to Kilmarnock/East Kilbride, and still do actually, but I didn't drive at that time so never went to their shows.  There was a rivalry between SWA and BCW that was pretty petty tbh and actually had a bit of a negative effect on the scene for a while before they started doing cross-promotional angles that again only 10% of the crowd understood.



On the whole I think the role Conscience, and Adam Shame and Eric Canyon to a lesser extent, played in developing a scene up here is sometimes overlooked.  I used to hear a lot of criticism of Conscience (on here mainly to be fair) but his act never, ever failed to get a reaction.  At worst I'd say he was guilty of maybe overreaching his limitations in the ring at times but there's no denying that his act was a big draw on the shows that he booked.  A lot of the folk who now attend shows weren't attending back then so it's likely they've only seen Shame doing his Coach Trip gig in ICW, which is excellent and for me better than anything he did before.


PBW and ICW then started up in 2006 and Ross 'Kid Fite' Watson and Mark Dallas both faced hassle and opposition to their shows.  I heard Kid Fite mention on a podcast that SWA guys were told not to work for him when he started promoting and that's the kind of mentality that could have killed the scene dead had it not been overcome IMO.



Unquestionably the strongest the Scottish Wrestling scene has ever been is happening right now.  Grado (I remember him when he was dreadful and we actually had a laugh about that when I booked him for an appearance last year) has exploded and there are more than half a dozen companies putting on good to excellent shows, that are selling out, almost every couple of weeks if you're willing to travel a couple of hours.  Glasgow and surrounding areas have SWA, PBW, BCW and ICW.  Ayrshire has BCW and PWE.  Even up in the north of the country WrestleZone and Rock 'n' Wrestle are putting on good quality shows that are selling out and look incredibly professional by comparison to the efforts in the early days.  East coast wise I can't really comment on quality but I know W3L, SSW and Discovery are running the Edinburgh and the Lothians and seem to be drawing well with Discovery having had a few big name imports on their shows.


Outside of that there are a few groups who look more like quality of 2004/05 SWA, and in some cases not up to even that level.  I don't want to comment too harshly without having been at a show but the likes of Reckless Intent, Firestorm and Caithness (?) Pro Wrestling don't seem to have the polish that the others do.  SWE are another matter entirely.  Their setup looks good but I've always been put off their shows by reports of how poorly run they are.  Plus they booked Chris Duke in an actual wrestling match, so yeah, fuck them.


Anybody else got any particular memories or stories of the last dozen years or so?

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