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

Like so many kids in Ireland & the UK, I was swept up in the early 90s WWF boom fuelled in a big way by the rise of Sky Television. American culture was the in thing over here at this time, and if you watch any old adverts promoting WWF on Sky from that period they really emphasised the Americana of it all. Of course, this ate up what was left of interest in the UK wrestling scene, and the World of Sport heyday was very much in the rearview mirror.

My earliest memories are, fittingly, a couple of major angles—Macho Man getting his arm bitten by the snake, and Shawn throwing Marty through the barbershop window. However I also have a very vivid memory of a localized Earthquake promo which may have been even earlier where he screamed, shouted and bounced his way into delivering the message that he was coming to “YOUR TOWN!” to cover all bases of a UK tour. I took this to literally mean MY town and I was shook! This behemoth was going to wreak havoc on me, my school, my friends and probably my toys. I ran out to the front garden where my Dad was trimming the hedges. I told him of my concerns and he likely told me at that point right there that wrestling was fake.

I paid no heed to this nonsense talk from my Dad, I mean these athletes and fighters were obviously the real deal. So I kept watching just to keep my eye on them in case Earthquake and his mates did arrive at my front door. I needed to be prepared. I likely tuned in the next week, and well …. 30 years later I’m still keeping an eye on them. Although the concern is now less about gargantuan monsters wrecking the local school, and moreso skeevy Scottish wrestlers hanging out in a van beside it with a camera.

Sky One left our basic TV listing in Ireland for about a year in 93/94, and that was the first big test of my fandom. I stuck with it though, purely by buying WWF Magazine every month, and trying to make friends with as many kids as possible who had Sky. When it came back on my TV, I was doing cartwheels. I was glued to every minute of WWF programming that would air. Even when we went to Spain on family holidays I still had it on my mind. I’d have timer recorders set to record stuff in Long Play, I remember calling my friend back in Ireland to get results, and I distinctly remember the magical May 17, 1993 Raw with 123 Kid and Marty’s upsets over Razor and Shawn happening and it being on in the hotel lounge.

When I discovered in April 1997 that I could “watch” Raw on Friday nights in scramble vision I was buzzing! I did that all through the great Summer Of ’97 stuff and into the Attitude Era. I bought my first Powerslam Magazine in September ’98 and this opened my horizons in a big way to “smark culture”. That would be my gateway into the wrestling internet and promotions like ECW, Ring Of Honor, TNA and the Japanese scene. The Wrestling Channel coming along in 2003 took that to the next level, and my time in college (2004 to 2008) was accompanied way more by Zero 1 Max shows and Best Of comps than it was the standard wild college activities of a 21-year-old. I didn’t go traveling during the summers, opting to stay home and run tennis camps instead. That meant I was available to head over to the UK with my friend Duan for shows like The Wrestling Channel International Showdown, ROH in Liverpool and NOAH in the Coventry Skydome where I got to meet one of my heroes Kenta Kobashi. These live experiences were incredible and I saw so many great matches.

Little did I know, my live wrestling experiences were going to becoming a lot more of a regular occurrence in the following decade.

Between 2009 and 2019 I went to wXw Germany so many times I can’t count. I got to see my beloved Dragon Gate many times in the UK, along with all the big British indy promotions which exploded a few years later. Most out of left field was the emergence of OTT—a viable, exciting promotion at my doorstep in Dublin! All this essentially became the bread and butter of my live wrestling diet with the main courses being the amazing trips I had to the US (six times) and Japan (twice) all thanks to the encouragement of my amazing wife who made those trips so much better than they would have been if I planned them on my own.

We even snuck in a cheeky wedding during one of them!

The pandemic, various scandals, and a dip in quality in many promotions has tested my fandom for modern wrestling in the last year, but it’s still a huge part of my life. I mean I took a break from a full day of watching Paul Orndorff matches just to write this! I’m sure I’ll always find something current that I enjoy (Dragongate never lets me down and AEW is on fire right now) but I know I’ll always have an insane back catalog of classic stuff from around the world to dig into whether it’s for podcast content, a project like Greatest Wrestler Ever, or just to chill and watch some good wrestling.