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

Ten years is seemingly an eternity, in hindsight. I was in my twenties in 2011, and in 2021, I am nearly forty. I started a wrestling blog in 2011 because I wanted to write about the business. It evolved into a site covering classic wrestling and it played a role in shaping me as a future author. Voices of Wrestling gave me an opportunity to cover classic wrestling for the site. As a wrestling fan, I could not be any more different now than I was in 2011. My views and preferences concerning the business have changed drastically in the last ten years, and I think I am okay with that.

I began watching and following wrestling in 1990, as a young child.

By 1990, the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) represented the clear “major league” of pro wrestling, and I gravitated towards the product. Stars like Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior were my initial favorites, and I even dressed like the Warrior for my first house show in Youngstown, Ohio. I watched WWF Superstars and All-American Wrestling every Sunday after church, and loved every minute of it. I even sat through angles like the curse put on the Ultimate Warrior by Papa Shango. I enjoyed every minute of the WWF including after Hogan and the Warrior departed. Nothing could break my unwavering love for the WWF.

World Championship Wrestling (WCW) introduced Monday Nitro and changed the wrestling industry going forward. WCW offered pay-per-view quality matches every week, as opposed to the bland WWF product of boring squash matches with one main event. I still loved my WWF though but I watched both companies every Monday. One of my cherished memories is watching Scott Hall first appear on Nitro on Memorial Day 1996. I still believed wrestling was authentic and cheered him as he appeared to “invade” WCW. I stuck with the WWF as their product evolved and improved, and as business picked up for the company. By 1999, however, I grew tired of “crash TV” booking and short matches with bad finishes, and I switched to Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) until they shut down. I still followed the WWF as they became the WWE and that continued until around 2014, when my views began changing.

Over the last twenty years, the desire for an alternative to the WWE, for me, persisted. I watched the product, and generally followed it but it was difficult to love it. Total Nonstop Action (TNA) was the only national alternative, and at times, I disliked their product more than the WWE. As the WWE Network emerged, I often watched more older matches than the newer product. By 2014, I only watched the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania and I almost felt disenfranchised. I wanted to connect with the product but the booking made that very difficult. The half-hearted elevation of Daniel Bryan and the subsequent rise of Roman Reigns caused a further disconnect.

By 2017, I stopped watching any of the major events, and my overall wrestling viewing decreased. I still followed the storylines online but I rarely watched. Modern wrestling was no longer fun.

The rise of All Elite Wrestling (AEW) as a viable, national alternative has brought me back as a wrestling fan again. I have not missed a Dynamite or a pay-per-view, and I am a major part of their ecosystem. For the WWE, however, I have grown to actively loathe the product as it has become increasingly predictable, boring, and in the case of Monday Night Raw, bad. The lack of new, young stars has turned me away, as the company embraces nostalgia more and more. Also, I support smaller companies like Ring of Honor and Impact, usually buying their major shows. I still watch older wrestling but I actually spend more time reading about the business than watching it.

I recently graduated from school with an MA in History and I am currently writing a book on wrestling history.

Much has changed with my viewing habits since 2011 but I still love the business and hope to see it grow in the coming years.