Ah The United Kingdom and Professional Wrestling. They go together like my American friends would say peanut butter and jelly. Wrestling is and has always been a very serious sport around the UK, most notably during the World of Sport days which featured the likes of Big Daddy, Giant Haystacks, Kendo Nagasaki and others. Of course they were very local, except Giant Haystacks. He would wrestle all over the globe and the man from Camberwell even graced and appeared on WCW in 1996 as Loch Ness.
Obviously there are many other British exports to name, some I won’t even mention especially one who was then proven to be a predatory sex offender after his passing in 2011. Brits will definitely know who I mean 😉
It is hard to describe at times how BIG Wrestling i.e. the WWE then WWF became in Europe in the 1990s, it was all over the place, be it merchandise or even on TV. Even when they weren’t televising any, they were advertising it often. The advent of Sky TV had a lot to do with it and when Sky Sports launched in 1991, it was a hit. Prior to that, I am old enough to remember them televising their PPVs on Sky Movies! That makes me feel old.. We always got their weekly programming at odd times, most notably on Sky One but it worked and my brother and I never missed anything unless we went out with our parents. Be it Superstars, Wrestling Challenge, All American Wrestling and then later Mania which was OUR only way of watching Monday Night RAW as Sky never did start to televise the full show till I believe 1995 and even that was on a Friday afternoon.
If you speak to most fans from the UK, you will find that SummerSlam 1992 is always part of the conversation and rightfully so. It was such a big deal and the fact that The British Bulldog won the Intercontinental Championship against Bret Hart in a classic that still stands the test of time 30 years later speaks volumes. I was only 4 years old at the time but I remember the buzz about it and sadly I never got to watch it until my Dad bought my brother and I the VHS! No complaints but I have later found out that my brother and my Dad had watched it already when we were holidaying in Portugal that weekend of the PPV.
There is no doubt that the UK is WWE’s second biggest market and whenever they travel, you can tell how much they care for the UK fans and how much they have contributed.
Clash In The Castle I dare say is a test. A test to see whether or not there is a market to host another big time show. Admittedly I wish it was at Wembley Stadium again but Cardiff is a beautiful city and no doubt they’ll be loud and won’t be afraid to voice their dismay!
From a British Gibraltar,
The Rocket signing off..