British wrestling returns to FreeSports after the unceremonious collapse of 5 Star Wrestling in March 2018. Now, stepping up to the challenge, are the already established and hugely successful Revolution Pro Wrestling, one of the more desirable wrestling companies in the United Kingdom, with a reputation for putting on quality shows featuring the pick of UK and global talent for a rabid fanbase.
With TV tapings taking place during September, RevPro is eschewing 5 Star Wrestling previous model of a weekly three-hour live television event for pre-recorded instalments that will give them plenty of content to stripe across a season, instead of worrying about producing a rolling programme of content.
Andy Quildan, the owner of RevPro, has set out his vision, keeping many of the finer details under wraps, for both RevPro and FreeSports, along with his vision for British wrestling and how his product fits into the ever-changing landscape. He knows that the fans got the company where it is today and that fans have different views of what constitutes “good wrestling”. He wants to create a strong representation of British wrestling for the industry on a national platform.
You can hear his interview with Total Wrestling Show here
Quildan can certainly turn his vision into a reality with a product that will evolve over time, just like the company that he’s built so far. He will be working with a production company, which certainly stands him in good stead for creating a solid, accessible and contemporary television product with his focus being solely on the area that he excels – quality wrestling.
There are a few things that RevPro can do to succeed where 5 Star Wrestling struggled:
A One Hour Show
Having a three-hour block of television time was a blessing and a curse for 5 Star Wrestling. Having to fill three hours of television per week, every week, regardless of audience numbers and talent availability was always going to be a big ask and plans can be easily derailed by injury or travel issues for these independent talents.
RevPro is going the WOS Wrestling root – filming a series of shows in a block so that they’ve got the talent, they’ve got the television cameras and they’ve got the control over what the final product looks like. Hopefully, the editing will be a touch tighter than WOS Wrestling whilst the talent will continue to be a showcase for wrestling on a national platform.
Ideally, instead of trying to give us a three-hour block (roughly 150 minutes excluding adverts), they’ll give us a solid hour (45 minutes excluding adverts) of television that’ll mix live action, backstage shenanigans and interviews. Imagine it being a cross between WOS Wrestling and WWE NXT, that would be something.
The benefit of RevPro, as with many of the successful local companies, is a returning fan base. It’s a fanbase that doesn’t just want quality wrestling, but quality storytelling. There’s a reason for the men and women to be in the ring, other than they’ve been paid to be there, and this is something that RevPro can capitalise upon for the TV format. Unlike WOS Wrestling, which has a higher level of broadcast regulation thanks to its presence on one of the “big five” TV channels (let alone in a prime-time weekend slot), RevPro’s show will be much further down the programme guide (Channel 95 on Freeview). Whilst there’s no news of a time slow yet, it’d make sense for the programme to broadcast as close to the 9pm watershed as possible, allowing for more mature content; not necessarily hardcore wrestling or storylines (this isn’t likely to be ECW or Attitude Era WWF), but to push the creative envelope and what can be shown to the audience.
If 5 Star Wrestling and WOS Wrestling was anything to go by, the presentation of the TV product will be criticised for the way it looks. For a live product, there’s one chance to get it right and WWE has managed to turn that into an art form. For pre-recorded, there’s a lot more opportunity to get the balance right before broadcast. Whether wrestling fans watch WWE products or not, they know what good televised wrestling looks like and what the better on-demand services offer, too. Professional editing and camerawork are more than just employing professional editors and camera people, it’s understanding the shorthand of wrestling and why some things are captured in the way that they are for the home audience. The same will apply to the product that RevPro produce for television. They’ve had years of practice for the mainstream, now it’s time to put it all out there.
Capturing the audience
British wrestling fans are sometimes a fickle bunch. For many, British wrestling is the local promotion and nothing else matches that. RevPro fans are often seen at PROGRESS shows and vice versa, and fans travel the length and breadth of the country to attend York Hall. They’re part of an atmosphere at RevPro that makes it distinctive, it’s a discerning customer base and it’s an audience that has grown to regularly sell out that venue and others. The relationship with NJPW has reaped rewards and introduction of breakout and new talent hasn’t gone unappreciated either.
RevPro is in an enviable position – it can change the mind of the local wrestling fans who may not be familiar with this brand of British wrestling. They’ll see names they may recognise but in a whole new light.
Getting and keeping the audience
Being so far down the EPG, Freesports isn’t a channel that you’re going to stumble across whilst idly browsing. Sports fans may know it exists, but casual wrestling fans may need a bit of direction. Hopefully, RevPro’s management will spread the word far and wide, especially given how hot British wrestling currently is. Getting the talent in front of the television cameras on programmes such as This Morning, BBC Breakfast, even Loose Women, would be a good move to get that brand recognition out there. Even if someone thinks “I’ll record that”, it’s a step in the right direction not just for RevPro, but for British wrestling in general.
Quildan has made it clear that he’d like to be at the top of the British wrestling mountain, but he is more than willing to learn from what others are doing. He doesn’t see RevPro as comparable to any other British wrestling company, and nor should it be. With existing recognition from fans and talent across the world, his RevPro stands proudly alongside the best of British wrestling, with its head held exceptionally high. His vision doesn’t seem to be limited or tempered by the success or decline of others and he certainly has the ambition to make RevPro on Freesports a huge event with a long future.
Wrestling fans across the UK are no doubt waiting for the broadcast date announcement with anticipation.