Ten years ago this week, VoicesofWrestling.com was born.
Originally designed to be a website and podcast series where people would discuss how they became wrestling fans and why they are fans today, the website eventually evolved into what you see today. This week, to celebrate our 10th anniversary, we invited VOW contributors past and present to re-create that original concept with a twist: why did you become a wrestling fan and how has your wrestling fandom changed in the last ten years.
We hope you enjoy the #VOW10 series and encourage you to share your memories of VoicesofWrestling.com, our columns, our reviews, our previews, our writers and our podcasts by using #VOW10 on Twitter or jumping into our special #VOW10 Discord channel.
Thank you for a great ten years. Enjoy.
The story of how I became a wrestling fan is fairly well-trodden around these parts. It was something I wrote passionately about earlier in the year.
It was one of those things that was probably a natural familial step – both my maternal grandparents loved it, so it was almost a given that it’d rub off onto me at some point, especially given how much time I spent with them. Equally, it was a product of circumstance – when my grandfather passed away and my grandmother was gravely ill, wrestling filled a gap in my life and hooked in me such a way that I’d always enjoy it.
It’s said that people enjoy sports because they’re able to watch fundamentally the same thing over and over again without getting bored, and because they understand that these people can do something that they would love to but can’t. Wrestling does have that fundamental repetition to it but it’s the capacity for the spectacular, the drama, and the hot angles that make it captivating for people of all ages. As someone who loves most sports, probably because I’m a viewer and not a doer, it was probably always going to appeal, even if that appeal only lasted as long as my childhood.
Thinking back to my fandom 10 years ago as part of Voices of Wrestling’s anniversary celebrations, I’m profoundly disappointed to admit that the only promotion I watched with distinct regularity then was Impact Wrestling.
Peak Hulk Hogan/LOLTNA era.
It was sometimes good, often bad but always a staple in the Sinclair house. Random specials, weekly TV, PPVs. All of it was watched by me and my long-suffering mother. I’d dip into the WWE now and then but even 14-year-old me felt there was simply too much to follow every week. The YouTube highlights were the key to being informed.
At that time, as an angst-ridden but mostly quiet teenager, watching and enjoying wrestling was not something I’d usually publicly admit to. Not out of a sense of shame, but to me, it was a private hobby and as it was only one promotion, a relatively small one in the grand scheme of things. You’d always find much more common ground talking about football or rugby or popular TV shows.
My interest in wrestling expanded a few months before I turned 16. I remember the gateway drug, for want of a better expression, quite clearly – Joe Lanza’s review of Wrestle Kingdom 7. I had no idea who most of the people on the card were but I understood the star system and there were a lot of what I would now call ‘notebook’ matches. He wrote passionately, labeling it one of the greatest shows of all-time and saying how New Japan Pro-Wrestling was in the midst of a historic upswing.
I sought that show out and while the New Japan style jarred with me a little initially, being so different from the drudge Impact and WWE put out, over the next two years I went through the now typical content absorption process. I was like a content Pac-Man, eating up all the written output I could get on Voices of Wrestling and through Larry Csonka and then eventually migrating to the VOW Flagship, which remains appointment listening.
Voices of Wrestling, and I mean this wholly genuinely and not because of some peculiar sycophant complex, expanded my wrestling horizons. You can’t always find a causal link between things but for me, it was like the first domino that led to all the others coming down. It educated me about all the different things wrestling was around the world. I took an interest in wrestling history in the same way I’ve always devoured historical stats about the other sports. Perhaps most importantly, it showed me that wrestling could be so much more than whatever was emanating out of an Orlando studio.
It helped me appreciate the BritWres boom, and made me want to express my own opinions. I’ve always felt the need to express opinions on my hobbies and wrestling became the same, even if no one else cared what I thought or felt.
In 2017, I sent off an email to Rich Kraetsch, the good captain, asking if I could write for the site. For some reason only known to him, he said yes and after a few columns of dubious quality, I was invited to the hallowed grounds of the VOW Slack.
Since then I’ve been able to interact with some fascinating, intelligent people who care about wrestling just as much, if not more, than I do. People whose writing ability puts me to shame and inspires me in equal measure. People, like Andrew Rich, who I’ve been able to podcast with and rather regrettably waffle on about Scottish wrestling to.
In 2018 I was asked to take over the mantle of Garrett Kidney as VOW’s weekly Impact reviewer. It’s the only show the site actually reviews on a weekly basis and attempting to fill Garrett’s shoes remains an onerous task – no one could ever hope to know more about Impact, or be more Mr. Impact, than him. In a sense, though, it’s brought me full circle. I still watch Impact every week, just as I did 10 years ago, but now with a much more profound approach and open-eyed view of the wrestling world.
I’ve had my ups and downs with wrestling over the last 10 years, and the pandemic era has felt like a slog at times, but I always come back to it. It’s always a comfort and a passion and a lot of that is because of Voices of Wrestling.