Oriental Wrestling Entertainment has expanded rapidly since it was founded two years ago, but it looks like it’s experiencing growing pains with the strange cancellation of events in the UK that featured wrestlers from OWE, AEW, and the British scene.
OWE began in 2017 as the only professional wrestling promotion in China, training an entirely new crop of wrestlers. It initially gained more attention and some valuable, more experienced talent when it entered a relationship with Japanese wrestling promotion Dragon Gate. Since former Dragon Gate stars Cima, T-Hawk, El Lindaman, and Takehiro Yamamura committed to OWE and moved to China, they’ve been essentially been the international faces of the promotion, performing not only in China but around the globe representing OWE and their #Stronghearts faction.
The promotion gained more exposure when it announced its partnership with the even newer American company, All Elite Wrestling, in February 2019, promising to bring their exciting new “kung fu pro wrestling” to AEW fans. While Stronghearts (Cima, T-Hawk, and El Lindaman) performed at Double or Nothing and Cima wrestled on AEW’s next two shows, the OWE-AEW partnership has yet to bring Chinese pro wrestling to the U.S. According to OWE, visa issues have been to blame.
But this setback hasn’t stopped OWE’s international expansion. In addition to their shows in China and Japan (which you can watch here and here for free), they held their first events in Toronto on SummerSlam weekend that featured AEW wrestlers, as well as Japanese and Chinese OWE talent. Their next big move was OWE UK.
Unlike the company’s events in Canada and Japan, OWE UK was promoted as an international branch of OWE, similar to the now-inactive Dragon Gate USA and Dragon Gate UK, the international branches of Cima’s old home promotion. In June, they stated on social media that, “OWE is pleased to announce this September we will be launching OWE United Kingdom and will be crowning OWE UK Champions and Tag Team Champions. This is an open challenge to the world and to the United Kingdom to bring your very best, your elite, to compete against OWE China in the UK as East meets West.”