By Ryan K. Boman, Editor in Chief
In the early 1960’s, several popular English rock bands set ashore in America to change the music industry forever.
Playing modified delta blues, infused with amplified sound, these electric interlopers shocked the world as they shot up the charts. Their unique look and sound caught their American counterparts off guard.
The British Invasion was upon us.
What followed was an unprecedented time of growth in the music industry, both critically and financially. Our neighbors from across the Atlantic not only made big hits of their own, they influenced nearly every sound that followed them.
Over 50 years later, more innovators from the English Isle are on their way.
With the critical reception of the WWE’s recent UK Tournament, much of the American audience was exposed to a genre and feel that they had never seen before. The snug suplexes and tight twists of the British catch-as-catch-can wrestling style were showcased under brighter lights than ever before.
Perhaps this invasion began with Finn Balor, who arrived to WWE with the swagger of Mick Jagger and quickly became the first Universal Champion. Along the way, he seemed to mimic the stage presence of the Rolling Stones’ lead singer. His Demon King entrance even rivals the presentation of the band’s VooDoo Lounge Tour.
Balor went on the shelf quickly, and was forced to relinquish the title. But, make no mistake, when he’s ready to ‘tour’ again, a mob of fans will be waiting to embrace him.
Balor isn’t the only rock star who will arrive with a six-string on his back. While watching on The Network, fans saw fresh-faced 19-year-old Tyler Bate capture the first-ever WWE UK crown. He will no doubt become one of the front men of the company’s efforts in England.
Characters like Pete Dunne and Marty Scurrl have colorful personas that will win points with the viewers here in the States, as well. With the showmanship of Iggy Pop, they’re not afraid to cut loose and go wildly off script. But they’re definitely no Stooges. They’ve got the rugged ring skills to hit you with the force of a Clapton guitar riff.
And, let’s face it: We’ve had our share of unhinged characters before. But when you throw in the fact that they’re also British… that’s just makes them SUPER weird.
The incredible chain wrestling displayed during the UK Tournament will no doubt permeate WWE ring’s within a few years, as fans warm up to it. Jack Gallagher’s exhibitions in the cruiserweight division have done enough to convince fans that, if done properly, the British style can be just as explosive and entertaining as any other match.
Like any art form, the culture of pro wrestling evolves by borrowing from the best. The British wrestling invasion will be no different. Wrestlers, holds and angles will be woven into the mainstream of WWE, much like the Japanese and Mexican influences we’ve recently seen in the company.
As performers, like Bate, Dunne, and their British brethren make their way to America, brace yourself for a revolution. Just like back in the 60’s, the hits will just Keep… On… Comin’.