British wrestling has had a boom in recent years. There has been a steady growth in the number of independent promotions and more showing an interest in attending shows. And as it has grown here in the UK, more performers have got exposure in the bigger promotions abroad – the current WWE Champion is Scottish, for example.
Not only has the independent scene grown, but WWE set up the NXT UK brand with its own weekly show, and opened a performance centre in Enfield in London. ITV recommissioned World of Sport Wrestling in 2018 on prime time Saturday night, even featuring British Bulldog Junior.
However, in the last week, British wrestling has perhaps begun a new era, following the rise of the #SpeakingOut movement. Over the course of 48 hours, women across the UK who have been or still are wrestlers began to share in increasing numbers their stories of being victim to sexual assault, harassment, intimidation and bullying at the hands of male performers. Allegations were also made against coaches and trainers working with young women.
The movement is global – wrestlers across the world, both male and female, are telling their stories about what they’ve experienced. Promoters who run the companies and events have been quick to respond and offer to make theirs safe spaces again.
The scale of what is being alleged is significant, and if the industry had a union or professional body, there would be calls for an inquiry. There has to be one.
In the last week, I have encouraged victims to speak to their local police force and highlighted where support services are available – so that justice can be done and help provided.
If you know someone who needs help, please point them in the direction of the links above.
I hope that people get the support they need.