Independent wrestling hero David Starr has hit out at “billionaires” as he urged indie wrestlers to unionise ahead his title massive match for PROGRESS Wrestling.
Every time Starr enters the ring he proudly displays the simple slogan “Independent” in black and white across his chest.
The 28-year-old, originally from Philadelphia, has taken it upon himself to defend the indie scene amid huge swathes of talent being scooped up by firms like WWE.
And this weekend he will be taking on PROGRESS Wrestling Unified World Champ, and the current WWE United Kingdom Champion, WALTER in a headline bout at Alexandra Palace.
In the main event of the show dubbed Still Chasing, Starr has promise he will defeat “everything [the champion] now represents”.
It isn’t the only big stake Starr has this weekend however, as his pick for the Natural Progression Series breakout tournament The OJMO will be looking to outlast seven other wrestlers to claim the cup.
The OJMO is one of the fastest rising stars in British wrestling, and should he win the sixth annual running of the series of Sunday he will get a title match of his choice.
Heaping praise onto The OJMO, Starr said the grappler from Hackney is a “tough MFer that will take a beating with everything he his”.
Asked why he nominated him, the grappler said: “His heart, determination and will to win. His passion shows through his work and he connects with every audience.”
Starr went on: “Its a very different group this year but, even speaking to OJMO about it, it’s hard to miss that this is the hungriest group of guys put together.
“Young guns looking to break out and wily veterans who’ve been working for a long time finally getting their break.
“Should be a great tournament.”
The OJMO will be breathing down Starr’s neck if he manages to win NPS6, and Starr manages to dethrone the seemingly invincible WALTER.
“I refuse to lose to him,” he said.
The 5ft 11in, 211lb, Starr has connected with wrestling fans in recent months thanks to his celebration and defence of the independent scene.
Known as The Cream In Your Coffee, Your Favourite Wrestler’s Favourite Wrestler, The Jewish Cannon, The Physical Embodiment of Charisma, The Most Entertaining Man in Pro Wrestling, Mr Americanrana, Davey Wrestling, The 104 Minute Man, The Main Event, The King of Taunts and The Product – Starr earned his latest title shot by winning the UK’s biggest wrestling Super Strong Style 16 back in May.
“[Independent has connected] because its based in reality,” Starr explained.
“People understand the way the world has been operating. Governments have been focusing on the needs and well being of the elite class while our middle class is shrinking.
“We can all feel the wealth disparity and recognise that this is rooted in the lack of labor protections and rights. It’s easy to see that there’s been someone who has become a billionaire on the backs of labourers who aren’t afforded fair financial recourse.”
Starr has wrestled around the world for promotions like TNA, Evolve, Rev Pro, wXw, Ring of Honour, and earlier this year spoke about turning down a contract with WWE.
His slogan and brand has since been picked up by other grapplers, including The OJMO, who celebrate their independence amid and increasingly crowded wrestling scene.
History was made this year when the union Equity began to offer support to wrestlers in the UK to help them protect their livelihoods.
“It’s huge,” Starr said “Equity is a well established union with strong infrastructure.
“Them offering wrestling disability welfare, contract advice, legal backing for claims, and so much more legitimises wrestling in so many ways.
“Equity is helping to give us the security that we need to have true freedom of choice. If you’re a wrestler in the UK, joining Equity should be a top priority. It makes sense on an individual basis as well as creating a collective strength.”
Starr will be hoping his NPS pick The OJMO can add his name to a list of previous tournament winners including WWE stars Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster, PROGRESS mainstays Pastor William Eaver and Mark Davis, and former NXT UK women’s champion Toni Storm.
He will be hoping he can outlast grapplers including the enigmatic Cara Noir, the powerhouse Dan Moloney and the charismatic Scott Davis during the tournament on Saturday at the Electric Ballroom in Camden.
And elsewhere over the weekend, PROGRESS will be crowning their first ever Proteus Champion with a 30 person battle royale at Still Chasing.
WWE stars Matt Riddle, Keith Lee, Trent Seven and Tyler Bate will also be returning to their roots for a massive tag team match at the show on Sunday.
Tickets are still available HERE for the double weekend showcase on September 14 and 15.