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.

-Rich Kraetsch

Voices of Wrestling 10th Anniversary

As I sit in my room, surrounded by many wrestling DVDs, t-shirts and overpriced merchandise, I try to envision my life without wrestling and I just can’t do it.

I’m sure the story of how I started watching wrestling is quite similar to many who are reading this. Having two older brothers who were teenagers in the height of the WWF Attitude Era really says it all and of course, I had to get in on the action.

My youth was spent watching Raw with my brothers on Friday evenings and watching old tapes on the weekends, acting out as many moves as possible using my parent’s bed as my wrestling ring. I wouldn’t go as far to say that wrestling was all-consuming but it was pretty close. Having what felt like a WWE Network back catalog of shows in my house was incredible and further fueled my love of the sport. I’m sure I wore the tapes to the bone with how often I replayed them. I tuned in every week to see my favorite Chris Jericho on the TV but popped in my tapes to watch the wrestler who captivated me from the minute I watched him, Owen Hart. Owen passed away before I started watching wrestling (something I didn’t know until I accidentally watched the recording of Over the Edge 1999 that we had on tape) but I felt a kinship to him. Even at a young age I never understood why he wasn’t a bigger star! He did all these cool moves that no one else was doing, why wasn’t he world champion? I can really say that watching WrestleMania X was the big game-changer for me and to this day his match with Bret is my favorite of all time.

In the mid-2000s is when wrestling really blew up in the schoolyard for me. At age 10, teachers would have to tear my classmates and I apart as we all competed in Masterlock challenges and debates would be flying around the classroom as to who the best wrestlers are. Of course, as we got older, the interest waned and wrestling became the dreaded word. Uncool.

I still watched and kept up with all the latest news on WWE.com but no one else seemed to care and at this stage, my older brothers couldn’t care either.

Everyone had moved on, but me.

If we fast forward, the past ten years have been the most important years for me and my wrestling fandom. Ten years ago I was sixteen years old, heading into my final year of Secondary (High) school and again I was still utterly obsessed with wrestling but instead of only tuning into just WWE weekly television, my evenings were consumed by watching any sort of wrestling product I could get my hands on.

All of my friends’ fleeting interest in wrestling had been and gone but with the discovery of independent wrestling in the Flann household, there might as well have been another wrestling boom. I can’t ignore just how big of a role social media has played in my fandom. Being able to connect with like-minded individuals across Twitter, message boards and of course Chris Sabin fansites, exposed me to the vast amount of content there is out there to be consumed. It also really made me want to travel the world to attend wrestling shows.

My bucket list of locations varied from Reseda to Tokyo, aspiring to see all corners of the vast wrestling world.

I’ve been so fortunate that present-day me has been able to execute younger me’s dreams. I’ve been to countless shows in the UK, many wXw weekenders, filled with incredible wrestling, laughs and copious amounts of McDonalds. Being able to experience this with so many friends I’ve met online and my older brothers is beyond what I could have ever expected. I also delivered on my promise to 16 year old me by venturing to Japan in 2019 for the greatest experience in my life and it is something I will never forget.

Wrestling, though at times makes it hard for you to love it, is something I can never envision my life without. It has given me so much. Amazing friends for life. Getting to see the world and the joy I take from it far exceeds any other form of sport or entertainment.