1) To aid in the running of professionally organised and safe wrestling shows and schools in the UK and help those in the industry who require assistance For over two decades, after its 33 years on ITV, pro wrestling in the UK had been receiving a black eye from many shows with unsatisfactory safety standards and unprofessional conduct not befitting of an industry that was once a national institution, watched by the Royal Family. To change this the BWC offers those who wish to set up new promotions and wrestling schools or those who currently run them, the correct assistance, guidance and support they need to operate as safely and professionally as possible. We believe that by doing so the BWC will continue to increase both the safety of all involved as well as the public perception of British wrestling around the globe. The free use of our national training syllabus, event risk assessments and advice on insurance and safety measures from members of our council has allowed British wrestling events to take place at prestigious venues such as the Birmingham NEC, London Excel Centre and Thorpe Park in the last 3 years alone.
2) To help British wrestling find its rightful place alongside other forms of entertainment and athletic endeavour for the betterment of the industry and its public profile. With the recent link to Europe’s biggest entertainers union, Equity, the BWC helped to get pro wrestlers in the UK recognised to be at the same professional level as actors and stunt men for the first in wrestling history. Additionally, the nationwide implementation of our free to use wrestling syllabus and grading system in around 14 UK schools, made the BWC, the first ever collective body to aid students in locating the training correct insurance via Sports Cover Direct. Our next aim is to become wrestling training a recognised sport by working with Sports England. As unobtainable as this goal may seem, the BWC Council has devised and experimented with a way that they believe makes this possible and have already made great head way with this seemingly monumental task. The BWC believes that Pro Wrestling increases physical activity, has a positive impact on mental health and provides a unique opportunity for social interaction, particularly amongst many who are not currently attracted to the sports sector or physical activity.
3) To help UK wrestlers finally receive nationally recognised accolades in return for their hard work and aid them in making life as a professional wrestler better in all areas. If we succeed in our mission to help in the establishment of a recognised independent national governing body for pro wrestling, the BWC wishes to someday be able to award both students and industry professionals alike, a national qualification adhered to by the top promotions and schools in the UK. We believe that by doing this we can both improve the safety of those involved but also aid them in securing the right level or personal insurance for what they require, in turn encouraging others worldwide to do the same. In a similar vein, the BWC worked with the Grapple Group from 2009 to 2011 to provide both accident and life insurance to the country’s top professionals, working under the FWA banner. As a result, the WWE recently made this type of insurance mandatory just 18 months later. A move that no other wrestling company has done before the BWC implemented its policy using the FWA as a template! This move safe guard’s both the promoter and the well being of the wrestlers themselves and helps improve the public image of British wrestling. It also clearly illustrates the positive effects we believe British wrestling can have on the world stage through proactive action. The link with Equity also means that British professional wrestlers now have a Union, pensions and free legal advice for the first time ever.
4) To help schools and promotions locate funding and gain more coverage in the local and mainstream press. By aiming to help independently regulate pro wrestling as a sport, the BWC would finally be able to help the UK industry receive Sports Council funding. An intervention that would greatly benefit schools and promotions all across the entire country. Being a professional and self regulating industry would also allow us to begin to become fully accepted by the national press which in turn will help all those involved benefit from safer working conditions, better insurance and increased public interest. So far the BWC has been successful in getting funding from the Old Vic for free training and live events in London in February 2011 as well as being featured heavily in a worldwide BBC documentary later that same year. It has also seen members of its council and affiliated wrestlers gain more mainstream press coverage for British wrestling in the last two years than at any time since its removal from UK TV in 1988. Wrestle Talk TV has allows multiple UK promotions to receive worldwide wrestling specific coverage and the upcoming BritWres-Fest 2012, run by BWC Council members will see eight UK promotions present matches on the biggest all British wrestling show in ten years.
5) To help educate new wrestlers about the British wrestling heritage that came before them and to increase their respect for our domestic industry. By educating the new generation of UK wrestlers about the wrestling history and performers that came before them, we aim to help produce a wrestling scene that is proud of its heritage. We want its new stars to have respect for those stars whom came before them and have pride in the amazing heights British wrestling once achieved, in order to create a wrestling scene that has harmony between the past, present and future stars of the industry. This was reinforced by the BWC’s Hall of Fame, in which we inducted wrestling legends Bret Hart and “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith for their 1992 match at Wembley Stadium in front of 82,000 people. 2010 BWC Scarlo Scholarship winner Gil Elkin presented the award personally to Hart, who was Elkins childhood hero, at the Birmingham NEC in November 2010. It has also been added by the involvement in BWC projects of British wrestling legends such as Dave “Fit” Finlay, Robbie Brookside and Drew McDonald, who is the UK talent agent for the WWE.
6) To help encourage British wrestling to embrace a role as charity and community leaders and assist them in doing so. We believe that wrestling has a huge role to play in helping improve the lives young people and local communities and intend to aid those who work with us to be able to do so. This is highlighted by members of the BWC Council assisting in the formation of the “Wrestling With Ethics” campaign, which will see free shows being run for local families in poor areas, with donations and sponsor contributions going to Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital. This will be backed up by wrestler visits to the hospital and their assistance in other community based projects around the UK.
7) To offer assistance to young wrestlers via training scholarships, financial aid and mentoring. Each year the BWC selects one student to receive subsidised training and mentoring via the prestigious Scarlo Scholarship. This is an attempt to make sure that truly talented students who simply cannot afford their training or would progress faster with financial aid will receive such help from the BWC. Each school puts forward those students that they think deserve such aid and then representatives from the BWC select several to form the short list. The BWC has so far awarded two scholarships in the last two years with Gil Elkin of XWA in Morecambe and Xander Cooper of Futureshock in Manchester winning the 2010 and 2011 awards respectively. The BWC plan to offer one scholarship to each school in 2012 and continue to increase the level of assistance new UK talent has at their disposal. BWC Council members also offer free mentoring to many young wrestlers around the UK and are about to extend this worldwide with a new video mentoring service.
8) To offer UK wrestling schools the maximum promotion and publicity at the minimum cost and effort. By working with so many schools, the BWC can split the cost of magazine advertising in the top UK wrestling publications enabling them to receive increased media coverage which would have previously been out of their financial reach. This helps increase the revenue of each school and in turn enables them to flourish more than ever before. Currently the BWC Council of Advisors have made collective donations towards this cause, allowing over 90,000 flyers promoting BWC schools to be handed out in the last 2 years. These have also been added to with adverts in FSM Magazine, along with extensive coverage via the BBC, Daily Star, Wrestle Talk TV and many local newspape at no cost to the schools who received them.
9) To create a union between UK wrestling schools and promotions in order to help each other grow and to gain recognition for this united industry by promotions worldwide. By now working with so many schools and promotions, the BWC now works as an established middle ground for multiple companies around the UK in order to begin a chain of cooperation between each other. This chain has helped them achieve things that would have been extremely difficult before, if not impossible. As a result of this cooperation, the BWC and its students have been enlisted by American wrestling giant “Impact Wrestling” (formerly TNA) to work as crew for their massive UK tours. Additionally Impact Wrestling have worked with BWC Council members to select UK talent to receive try outs, training and tour matches. Similar to Joint Promotions many years ago, we wish to become a united front as an industry. A scene that can be the pride of the world by putting the interests of the whole industry above the interests of its individual parts, for the betterment of wrestling’s public profile and continued growth. This cooperation is of huge benefit for UK students who wish to get work with promotions around the UK and abroad. To further their quest for more experience from promoters, students can now illustrate their experience level with the BWC grade that they achieved during their training, which is logged on the Honour Roll via the BWC website.10) To create a proper community between UK wrestling trainees and accredited professionals and promoter to help teach and nurture UK talent. Since 2009 the BWC has organised large numbers of coach trips to live shows, days out for group leisure activities like our BWC training Expo and social events, with the aim to bring together trainees and professionals from all over the country. The purpose of this is for wrestlers both young and old to get to know each other and to break down the walls of divide that have often come between people who are all working towards the same goal. This has been combined with the BWC’s “Between The Ropes” training articles which started as a newsletter and are now going to be a regular feature in FSM Magazine from April 2012. Additionally the advent of the BWC Youtube Channel, run by 2011 Scarlo Scholarship winner Xander Cooper as part of his university degree, allows students from around the world to watch informative videos from top wrestlers, free of charge, in order to increased their knowledge. Such a new feeling of community has massively advanced the UK wrestling industry and the new talent within it since the BWC’s inception.