"You do know it's fake right?" That's the first question most non-believers turn to when pro wrestling comes up in conversation. A hardcore wrestling fan will probably reply: "so what?" For many it's all about the spectacle, the storylines, and suspending one's disbelief.
British wrestling was huge the '70s but lay in the doldrums for decades, until a revival in the past few years. Many companies put on incredible shows in London using homegrown talent, so here's a guide to the major ones.
Progress was one of the first companies to kickstart the wrestling renaissance. Its founders were unhappy at the dearth of quality in the British wrestling scene, especially hating on the lack of faith put in local talent. So they decided to start their own vehicle for change. Progress.
Each of the major shows is a chapter, but unlike a novel, don't be afraid to dive in midway through. Wrestling shows have a lot in common with long-running soaps — you'll find it easy to pick it up as you go. Make sure you grab tickets early for this on, as big venues such as Alexandra Palace sell out long in advance.
Lucha Britannia goes for a campier style than some of the others on this list. That's not to say it isn't physical — the photo above is proof of this — but consider it a slightly more self-aware option, that plays up the comedy side of wrestling. Bright colours and bolder characters are the order of the day.
Lucha Britannia subscribes to the Mexican Lucha Libre school of wrestling, which means more flips and high flying action than your usual show. And masks. Lots of masks.
Pro Wrestling EVE
Women's wrestling has undergone something of a renaissance in recent years, partially thanks to the Netflix show GLOW. For a long time, female wrestlers were presented foremost as sexual object for male fans to lust after. No more.
The female wrestlers of today hit just as hard as the men; if not a little harder. The best place to see quality women's wrestling is Pro Wrestling EVE. Most of its shows are in the cramped Resistance Gallery in Bethnal Green, but the closeness of the crowd to the show just notches the atmosphere up.
Again there's a fantastic diversity of characters on display at EVE, with wrestlers such as Session Moth Martina and the Vixen of Violence.
Revolution Pro Wrestling
For those who want to buy into incredible athletic moves and hard hitting matches, then Revolution Pro Wrestling is for you. Rev Pro's selling point is the high quality of matches with wrestlers from around the globe. They showcase British talent alongside the very best from America, Japan and Mexico.
They regularly run shows in Bethnal Green's famous boxing venue York Hall, and they're packed to the rafters.
When most people think of wrestling they immediately think of WWE. Despite the first W standing for world, it's primarily an American based company. WWE does tend to make it over to Blighty about twice a year, usually in April and November. The shows tend to run at either Wembley Arena or the O2 Arena. There are building rumours of a Wrestlemania — think WWE's version of the Superbowl — taking place here sometime in the near future. If that happens, expect London to go wrestling mad for a weekend.
WWE isn't the only touring company that rolls through. Others are more irregular, but still definitely worth checking out, especially when they come to historic venues like the Royal Albert Hall.
Have we missed any of your favourites? Let us know down in the comments.