Sad news today for wrestling fans, particularly of those who love the independent scene. One of the world’s most successful small-scale promotions has announced it will be officially closing its doors.
DEFIANT Wrestling has served as a great place for independent talents in their native United Kingdom, and from around the world, to showcase their skills and springboard their careers. DEFIANT had been in business for three years, though it went by multiple names during its lifespan.
The promotion saw huge stars of the business compete, such as Alberto Del Rio, Kurt Angle, Rey Mysterio, and many more. It also saw some lesser-known talents get the spotlight, like Joe Hendry and David Starr.
Despite having a roster stacked with talent, the promotion is finally ending. Some may wonder if the company had the financial backing necessary to continue with its schedule of streaming shows and flying in top-name talents to pad their cards.
Before it was DEFIANT, the promotion was known simply as WhatCulture Pro Wrestling, named after the YouTube channel WhatCulture Wrestling. The channel itself was one of many under the WhatCulture banner, with many different series dedicated to the wrestling industry.
They had countdowns, pay-per-view reaction streams, and even a newsletter. The channel was booming with popularity in a competitive industry. YouTube has many other popular wrestling-based channels including Wrestlelamia, Steve & Larson, Slat Rock, Wrestling with Wregret (sic), and many more.
WhatCulture Wrestling flourished largely because of the financial backing of its owners, but also because of the colorful on-screen cast of presenters. These included Adam Blampied, who was the channel’s unofficial leader, Adam Pacitti, Ross Tweddel (better known as King Ross), and Jack King (better known as Jack the Jobber).
The channel would eventually see all the major players besides Simon Miller leave, citing creative differences with the managers. The group would form their own channel, Cultaholic, minus Blampied who left YouTube altogether due to personal reasons.
Cultaholic would quickly develop a strong fanbase of its own, and while WhatCulture Wrestling hired a new cast, they’d never achieve the popularity they had with the original group. The originals had already established inside jokes, memes, and catchphrases that regulars had gotten used to. Though the new presenters had plenty of talent, they weren’t the faces fans of the channel had come to know.
Eventually, the promotion would change its name to DEFIANT. They’d continue holding shows, though their ability to do so was hampered by YouTube’s reduced monetization options following the restructuring of their advertisement system.
The fall of the promotion is sad for multiple reasons. For one, it’s rare to see a wrestling-focused YouTube channel have its own promotion. The fact they were able to pull it off and run it for years is hugely impressive.
It’s also sad that the independent scene is losing a place for wrestlers to work. Hopefully, more promotions will rise to bridge the gap.
What’s the best memory of DEFIANT/WhatCulture Pro Wrestling? Can it be replaced?