From survival hopes to the WWE: The man behind Preston's wrestling company celebrates ...

It was 10 years ago this week (September 10) that a newly formed Preston wrestling company took a leap of faith and entered the world of professional wrestling.

The man behind the organisation - then called Preston City Wrestling (PCW) - was Steven Fludder; a man who is now proudly looking back on a decade of entertaining thousands of people on a weekly basis.

Now known as Pro Champion Wrestling, it is one of the country's leading wrestling outlets with shows using the country's best wrestlers - as well as stars from around the world.

With 10 years of experience, passion and success under his belt, founder and manager, Steve says the biggest highlight of his career is that PCW is still here 10 years later.

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Preston-born wrestling fanatic Steve started PCW in his home city back in 2011 after years of travelling to watch his favourite wrestlers around the globe.

"There was nothing in area and as far as the North West goes, there was only about 20 shows a year at that time," Steve told LancsLive.

"I was a super wrestling fan but the only shows near were down London and abroad. Back then I was travelling to places miles away to see shows and I was running bars and catering teams and thought, I can put events on, I can do this.

"I gave it a go and really we sort of hit the ground running."

Starting off in Preston was a no-brainer for Steve who knew that he would be able to draw in crowds with the promise of a budget friendly way to enjoy wrestling shows.

Steve said: "Preston's perfect- back then we had the one pound buses from Glasgow or London. The Travelodge to book a room was £9.99 and the venue I used [Evoque] had one pound drinks.

"So all those factors came into play and made it this massive budget event and half of our fans would travel from Glasgow and London to see PCW. "

Even after witnessing the rapid growth of PCW within its first year, Steve never thought he'd see it through ten more years of its success.

Founder of PCW Steven Fludder
Founder of PCW Steven Fludder

Playing it show by show, he believed if nothing else, his passion would keep the business going but for how long, he never knew.

"I had no idea - if you were to tell me back then that it would last ten years, I would've only thought it would have lasted two," Steve said.

"Every show I was running show to show to see what happens and now it's crazy."

PCW has gone through a lot of development in recent years and the company managed to secure themselves two TV show deals with Sky TV and On Demand deals.

Knowing his love for wrestling has helped take the company further than he ever thought, even ten years later, Steve says he is in disbelief at his achievements with the company often teaming up with the WWE with many of its superstars making guest appearances at PCW shows.

He said: "It's weird what we were and what we are now.

"We've achieved so much and we've been partners with massive brands and worked with WWE- if you watch a WWE show I'd say around 70% of people on there are ex PCW wrestlers which is surreal.

"It's amazing to see these people who are nobody's when they start and even they don't believe in themselves but I see something in these people."

In the early days of PCW as it started to get it on its feet, Steve says he experienced some of his harder days during that time throughout his career.

The team at PCW with WWE Superstar Kevin Owens
The team at PCW with WWE Superstar Kevin Owens

Back then, the shows relied on the "fans at the door" to bring in money and help keep the business afloat.

Even the people closest to Steve showed their support, backing him all the way to help him achieve his goals.

Steve said: "It's a different product now because we've got TV we don't necessarily need thousands of fans on the door. Back in the old days, I'd get to a week before the show and look at the books and I'd think oh no I need another £10,000 to pay wages.

"In my early shows a lot of my friends and family came by, buying tickets to support me and they helped me get off the ground as well. You just had to take a chance on your product and have the passion to see it through."

Naturally, one of the toughest moments for PCW was the temporary closure of the events industry due to the pandemic.

As the nation was told to stay at home for the first time in March 2020, no one could have predicted just how much of an effect that would have had to some many people.

Steve said: "It's been hard, just hard because I lost all my momentum - we had just been pushing all our TV shows and everything was coming together.

"Then I had 18 months of nothing."

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