I did a lengthy introduction in part one of this series, but in short with match of the year season in full slow I’m putting together an extensive list of the most hyped and my favourite European matches of 2018. The first part covered the Big Three UK companies (PROGRESS, RPW & ICW) as well as US companies making their trips over here. This part will cover the great contests which occurred across the rest of Britain’s wonderful cornucopia of wrestling companies.
The matches listed below will be a combination of the most hyped matches by the scene (even if they didn’t blow me away personally), as well as a few favourites of my own that I feel somewhat slipped under the radar and deserve more credit for their brilliance and to be in contention for the title of European Match of the Year.
I won’t be listing every match that I thought was great from Europe this year; there’s simply too many of them. I will however be creating an accompanying forum thread with an extensive list of every match I personally had breaking the four star barrier from 2018.
The successor to What Culture Pro Wrestling is in a weird spot in the current BritWres ecosystem. They book a lot of the hot names on the European scene, draw more than respectable crowds and are easily accessible digitally, yet among the proverbial bubble they consistently have next to no hype. The one man who managed to prove the exception to that rule, as ever with this series of articles, was WALTER. His run with the company produced a stellar trio of matches against through the middle of the year against his forever-rival David Starr, Travis Banks and Zack Sabre Jr. in a triple threat, and his wrestler of the year rival Will Ospreay. Plus all three are available for free on YouTube to boot!
The UK’s premier women’s wrestling league had a big year in 2018, most notably running the York Hall for the first time drawing a four figure crowd. At said show, wonderfully titled Wrestle Queendom, Kay Lee Ray and Meiko Satomura faced off and set the buzz-o-meter off as much as anything from the Super Strong Style 16 tournament which the show shared the weekend with.
Kay Lee Ray was also a part of the other match from their year which stood above all the rest in her July bout against Killer Kelly at Slayers in Spandex.
Fight Club Pro
British Strong Style’s home promotion Fight Club Pro is another one which has had a weird 2018. They go from strength to strength in terms of bringing in crowds with consistent sellouts through the whole year, put together some tremendous looking cards due to their myriad of international relationships, and everybody who attends the shows always comes back with positive things to say. However, no individual matches ever seem to get hyped, with everything seeming to land in the very-good-not-great area with a lot of comedy mixed in, and this is only exacerbated by very few people following them (or at least talking about following them) on demand.
For the second time in this article though it’s time for me to say that one man broke this rule of thumb: WALTER. One of the many chapters in his rivalry with David Starr towards the beginning of the year was yet another great showing from the two as we have come to expect from those two wherever they face off. The only other match that got any sort of talk was Tyler Bate going up against Daisuke Sekimoto, although not nearly as much as you’d think for such a wonderful match on paper. You can check out their 2018 offerings here.
ATTACK! Pro Wrestling
ATTACK! wrestling isn’t a place that usually leans into what is generally thought of as your typical great matches. They’re a place which focuses more on their super creative wacky and wonderful storytelling and show themes. However right at the beginning of the year the Wild Boar had two big opportunities against Will Ospreay and Zack Sabre Jr. and it’s safe to say he knocked them out of the park putting on a pair of excellent bouts.
Best of the Rest
Starting down on the South Coast, Riptide has received a lot of praise for their cinematic style of shooting wrestling. The pinnacle of the work done there last year was Mike Bailey taking on Travis Banks and later WALTER.
In London, Will Ospreay’s start up promotion that brings a Japanese vibe to European wrestling put on a tremendous match between Chris Ridgeway and Pro Wrestling NOAH’s Kenoh. A match only made all the more impressive when you find out Ridgeway got injured mid-way through the hard hitting contest.
Moving up to Milton Keynes and GOOD wrestling Mike Bailey added to his resume by having a much praised match with Gene Munnay.
Up in the North of England, the return of 3CW saw Keith Lee have a tremendous match against one of the most under the radar talents in the entire world Justin Sysum. Then over in PCW Zack Sabre Jr. and Matt Riddle had another hyped match to add to their resumes.