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

Life on the road can be difficult.

Don’t get me wrong, trucking is a great career, with potentially great pay, and a good way to see the country on someone else’s dime. You see cities and towns you hadn’t even heard of, some of those cities become some of your favorite places, and you have stories and cool memories that stick with you.

On the other hand, it is an unbelievably rough way to live your life. It isn’t a secret that truck drivers often have back issues.

For me, the mental and emotional toll is much harsher than the physical toll. Weeks away from home, being isolated from your family and friends, and being alone with your thoughts can really affect your mental health. Things that normally wouldn’t be a big deal are magnified when you’re on the road. Running out of hours on your clock and missing your favorite truck stop with your favorite meal (shout out to the Loves in Idaho Falls with the mac & cheese) can send you into a severe depression lasting days. You sometimes go days without taking a shower. It didn’t take me long to realize that music alone wasn’t enough to lift my spirits. I realized podcasts were absolutely vital to both my mental health and my success in my chosen field.

Sometime in 2015, not long after I started driving, I discovered Voices of Wrestling. I don’t remember exactly when, or how, but I remember thinking that three hours would eat up a decent chunk of my day, so I gave the Flagship a listen. It was unlike any wrestling podcast I’d ever listened to, Joe and Rich weren’t afraid to criticize what was bad, but also not overly negative for the sake of being controversial. It was interesting, nuanced, and most importantly, honest conversation. It instantly became appointment audio for me, and really helped me in some of the loneliest days of my life. It gave me something to look forward to every week. It kept my spirits up when I needed it the most.

Fast forward a couple years to 2017. By this point, I decided trucking wasn’t for me. Those long lonely days were thankfully in the rearview mirror. I was a lot happier. I was in a much better place, and I was looking for a new challenge.

Sometime in the summer of that year, Scorpio Corp. released his article “Australian Wrestlers To Keep An Eye On.” Around this time I started following Australian wrestling closely, and Scorpio’s article lit a fire in me. I was inspired. I had to start writing. The only problem was the only writing I had done since high school was as a guest writer for my friend’s project, the WCW style BOLA cards. I may not have had the skill as a writer, but the short paragraphs I had written on those cards was all the motivation I needed to write my own article. I figured if small niches like Australia were being covered then why not my local scene? I didn’t have skill, but I had passion, and I had a voice. After about a year of anxiety I decided to finally release my first article, “California and Nevada Wrestlers To Keep An Eye On.”

In the early days of COVID-19, my depression came back and hit me pretty severely. On top of everything else, my love of wrestling almost completely died out around that time. For whatever reason, I decided to binge-watch Stardom. I fell in love with the promotion almost instantaneously. After hours upon hours, and more matches than I can count, my depression began to slowly go away. My fear was replaced by excitement, I couldn’t wait to watch more Stardom. I had found my passion for wrestling again, and more importantly, that passion gave me hope and helped me remain optimistic during the pandemic. It also inspired me to completely leave my comfort zone, and write my article on my new favorite wrestler, Natsuko Tora. This was the first and only (besides what you are reading right now) real article I’ve ever written that wasn’t a list, or match by match breakdown. I poured my heart and soul into that article, and It is something I am incredibly proud of.

It is 2021, roughly six years after I discovered VOW, and from the bottom of my heart, I want to say thank you. Thank you to every podcaster who put out audio when I needed it. Thank you to every writer who wasn’t afraid to share your unique opinion. And to anybody thinking about contributing, I think you should go for it. You never know how powerful your voice is, or who it can touch.

Even if that voice is talking about The Fiend.