Ask around the internet these days, and you’ll quickly find a strange and wonderful fact that wasn’t the case a few years ago. Wrestling is cool again.
Heck, just ask Kings of Leon bassist Jared Followill, who was publically lambasted on Twitter recently for suggesting that people shouldn’t watch it. The times have changed, and with it our perceptions of the weird and delightful world of professional wrestling.
Independent shows sell-out quicker than ever before and there is a genuine and heartfelt passion for human beings in tights throwing around other human beings in tights. It is a wonderful time to be alive.
Hey, adults. Let’s maybe not watch professional wrestling. Ya know?
— Jared Followill (@youngfollowill) 8 May 2017
That wasn’t always the case, mind. Ten years ago, you’d be lucky if even 20+ people showed up to a show at a local leisure centre. To have a chance of even half a crowd, promoters would need to call upon the pulling power of imported overseas talents and hope the international attraction would help them break even.
One of the people who worked through that time was none other than Marty Scurll: a man who has transformed with the times, going from a ‘Party’ loving phase and Take Me Out contestant, to a worldwide superstar, Bullet Club member and Villain.
While he’s no stranger to the UK scene (once upon a time, you’d be hard pressed to find a show in the UK he wasn’t on), 2016 and 2017 has seen ‘The Villain’ rise to global acclaim. A former Revolution Pro Wrestling Champion, and the first-ever two-time Progress Wrestling Champion, Scurll’s stock skyrocketed in winning the prestigious PWG Battle of Los Angeles tournament in 2016, after coming up short in the semi-finals to long time rival and tag partner, Zack Sabre Jr, the previous year.
The Villain, known for sporting an umbrella (long before WWE had Jack Gallagher use one) made a huge impact when he joined top US company Ring of Honor, winning the ROH Television Championship on the final day of a three day tour in the United Kingdom, when he defeated another long-term rival, Will Ospreay.
His success has not been limited to purely in-ring, though. Last year, Scurll was one of the top-twenty merchandise sellers on Pro Wrestling Tees, along with Stone Cold Steve Austin, Ric Flair, Edge, CM Punk, and fellow Bullet Club members Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks.
The only Brit in that top twenty, Marty’s charisma and ring work has far exceeded our small shores. In addition, Scurll has recently teamed up with fashion line Topman, acting as their spokesperson for their new line of ‘Muscle Fit’ suits.
As a British fan, it’s both fascinating and exciting to see his development – in the UK we’ve seen him transform from ‘Party Marty’ to the fully-formed character of The Villain. We’ve been invested in the process seeing a good wrestler become truly great. We’ve seen a man who worked his ass off in a time when there was no wrestling scene, become the face of a resurgence and eventually a phenomenon.
He’s not just any villain. He’s our villain.
Hell, he made the Chicken-Wing, a move that’s not been used -at least, all that effectively- since the days of Bob Backlund, one of the deadliest and most popular submissions in all of wrestling today – an impressive feat in of itself.
He shocked the world when Kenny Omega introduced him as the next member of wrestling powerhouse stable, Bullet Club (a move which had been hilariously teased during recent episodes of The Young Bucks web series ‘Being The Elite’). Any wrestling fan worth their salt knows about The Club, and for Scurll, this is another huge achievement to superstardom in what is already shaping up to be his year.
And now Scurll has broken into the Japanese market when he made his debut for New Japan Pro Wrestling during this year’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament. As a Bullet Club member (the first English addition to the group) and with the over-the-top, electricity that The Villain moniker provides, it won’t be long before Scurll is propelled to stardom in The Land of The Rising Sun.
Marty Scurll is a unique blend of talent, showmanship, excitement – a figure you love to hate. Anytime he grabs an opponent’s fingers and shushes the crowd, then you know what’s coming – a vicious finger snap that you can’t help but watch, every time, no matter how many times you’ve seen it.
He’s the complete package necessary to be successful in a business where it is so hard to stand out.
Scurll once said:
“I was meant to be an entertainer. I’ll have friends or girlfriends who say, can you come do this or that and I’ll say ‘the wrestling world needs me.’ I have a responsibility to the fans.”
He couldn’t be more right. The world needs Marty Scurll. The world needs The Villain.
And by the end of the year, we’ll all be in agreement when we say that 2017 was always going to be his year.