Progress Wrestling

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Progress Wrestling
Acronym Progress
Founded 2011
Style Professional wrestling
Sports entertainment
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
Founder(s) Jim Smallman
Jon Briley
Owner(s) Jim Smallman
Jon Briley
Glen Joseph
Website ProgressWrestling.com

Progress Wrestling (stylised as PROGRESS) is a British professional wrestling promotion that was established in 2011 by comedian Jim Smallman and events and comedy promoter Jon Briley, later to be joined in management of the company by actor Glen Robinson (professionally known as Glen Joseph).

History[edit]

The company was conceived by Jim Smallman and Jon Briley in 2011, who were both massive wrestling fans. Smallman is a big fan of "strong-style" wrestling, Japanese in particular, and Briley was Smallman's agent.[1] The pair decided to put on a wrestling show in London, as not many shows were being put on in the capital itself, featuring the type of wrestling that they would both like to watch. The pair then spent seven months putting their first show together. Smallman is also a huge fan of punk music, and the pair decided to emphasize the fact that it would be a London-based promotion with a punk rock vibe. They also were keen not to be import-heavy, like other promotions, but to promote British talent. The pair eventually settled on The Garage in Islington for the venue, because of the size and also having a great reputation as a music venue. The Garage were also very supportive of what Smallman and Briley wanted to do, and the pair ran their first show on 25 March 2012.

After eleven consecutive sell out shows at the Garage, with the later shows drawing 350 fans, the promotion moved to the 700-capacity Electric Ballroom in Camden from Chapter 12 in March 2014 for their second anniversary show where the sell outs have continued. To date, Progress has sold out all London Chapter shows at The Garage and Electric Ballroom. For Chapter 36 in September 2016, Progress staged their largest ticketed show at the Brixton Academy, to an audience of 2,400 and announced that they would return the following September. Though they have run most of their shows in London, in 2014 Progress held three shows at The Satellite Stage at the Sonisphere Festival, and in 2015 they appeared for five nights at Download Festival.[2] In December 2015, they began running regular shows at The Ritz in Manchester.[3] In 2017, Progress will begin to promote shows in Birmingham. For Chapter 55 on September 2017, Progress held their first show at the Alexandra Palace to an audience of 2,000. During the show, they announced that they will be holding their biggest event in their history as well as the biggest British independent wrestling event in the last 30 years on September 30, 2018 at the SSE Arena in Wembley.

The promotion have been reluctant to use imports (wrestlers for which the UK is not their home or one of their homes). Colt Cabana was the first wrestler to be included on a show as part of the debut show, Chapter 1, in a losing effort to Loco Mike Mason. Ricochet has appeared twice for the promotion, losing to El Ligero at Chapter 6 and in a triple threat with Mark Haskins and Zack Sabre Jr. at Chapter 11. Adam Cole was the first non-European wrestler to register a win in Progress, defeating Mark Haskins at Chapter 10. Prince Devitt also appeared twice for the promotion, defeating Zack Sabre Jr. at Chapter 13 and losing to Jimmy Havoc at the Progress World Cup, his final match in the UK before signing with the WWE. Other talents that have appeared include Samoa Joe, Roderick Strong and Tommaso Ciampa; though Ciampa has established himself as a Progress regular with seven Chapter show appearances.

In 2016 the company began working with other promotions. At Chapter 29 on 24 April in London, Progress hosted two qualifying matches for the WWE Cruiserweight Classic.[4] In 2017, Progress wrestlers such as Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate, Trent Seven, and Mark Andrews participated in the WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament, culminating in Bate being crowned the first ever WWE United Kingdom Champion.

International expansion[edit]

In June 2016, the Canada-based SMASH Wrestling had its title defended at a Progress show, ahead of three co-promoted shows between the two in Ontario in September.

January 2017 saw Progress promoting a show for Germany-based Westside Xtreme Wrestling in London, with wXw helping with Progress' début German show in Cologne in July.

2017's Wrestlemania Weekend saw Progress travel to the United States for a number of shows; including their own Orlando show, a joint show with WWNLive, and contributing talent - including ring announcer Jim Smallman - to WWE's WrestleMania Axxess events. Progress returned to the States in August for two shows - one in New York City and one just outside of Boston - as well as announcing they would be running two shows as part of Wrestlemania Weekend 2018 in New Orleans.

In April 2018 Progress Wrestling co-promoted a show with Australian independent professional wrestling promotion's Explosive Pro Wrestling, Melbourne City Wrestling and Pro Wrestling Australia.

Demand Progress[edit]

In March 2015, Progress launched Demand Progress, their own video-on-demand service.[5] January 2017 saw the first episode of Freedom's Road, a new series from Progress which would feature matches taped specifically for the show and have a heavy focus on characters and plots.[6]

Events[edit]

Championships[edit]

Progress World Championship[edit]

Progress World Championship
Details
Date established 25 March 2012
Current champion(s) Travis Banks
Date won 10 September 2017
Other name(s)
Progress Championship

Unlike conventional wrestling championships which are generally represented by a championship belt, the Progress championship was initially represented by a large staff with an eagle head piece. At Chapter 16, the staff was replaced by a more traditional title belt. The title has been defended in the United States at the Wrestlecon Supershow in Dallas, Texas, and subsequently defended in Italy on 30 April 2016[7] and Ireland on 16 July 2016.[8]

As of 23 May 2018.

Reign The reign number for the specific champion listed
Location The city in which the title was won
Event The event promoted by the respective promotion in which the title was won
+ Indicates the current reign is changing daily
No. Champion Reign Date Days held Location Event Notes Ref.
1 Nathan Cruz 1 25 March 2012 245 Highbury, London Chapter 1: In the Beginning Defeated Marty Scurll, El Ligero and Mike Mason in a tournament final to crown the inaugural champion.
2 El Ligero 1 25 November 2012 245 Highbury, London Chapter 4: The Ballad of El Ligero
3 Rampage Brown 1 28 July 2013 119 Highbury, London Chapter 8: The Big Boy's Guide to Strong Style
4 Mark Andrews 1 24 November 2013 <1 Highbury, London Chapter 10: Glory Follows Virtue As If It Were Its Shadow Successfully cashed in his Natural Progression Series title shot.
5 Jimmy Havoc 1 609 Used the open contract given to him by Jim Smallman to make an immediate title match.
6 Will Ospreay 1 26 July 2015 182 Camden Town, London Chapter 20: ThunderBastard: Beyond ThunderBastard Successfully cashed in his Super Strong Style 16 title shot.
7 Marty Scurll 1 24 January 2016 154 Camden Town, London Chapter 25: Chat Shit, Get Banged
8 Pastor William Eaver 1 26 June 2016 35 Camden Town, London Chapter 32: 5000 to 1 Successfully cashed in his Natural Progression Series title shot.
9 Marty Scurll 2 31 July 2016 56 Camden Town, London Chapter 33: Malice in Wonderland
10 Mark Haskins 1 25 September 2016 35 Brixton, London Chapter 36: We're Gonna Need a Bigger Room Again This was a triple threat match also involving Tommy End.
Vacated 30 October 2016 Camden Town, London Chapter 38: When Men Throw Men At Men Haskins vacated the title due to injury.
11 Pete Dunne 1 27 November 2016 287 Camden Town, London Chapter 39: The Graps of Wrath Defeated Jimmy Havoc, Matt Riddle, Sebastian, TK Cooper, Travis Banks, and Trent Seven in a seven-way elimination match to crown a new champion.
12 Travis Banks 1 10 September 2017 255+ Haringey, London Chapter 55: Chase the Sun Successfully cashed in his Super Strong Style 16 title shot.

Progress Tag Team Championship[edit]

Progress Tag Team Championship
Progresstag.jpg
The Progress Tag Team Title
(April 2017 — Present)
Details
Date established 24 November 2013
Current champion(s) Zack Gibson and James Drake
Date won 25 February 2018

It was announced at Chapter 9 that beginning in November 2013 there would begin a series of matches to determine the first Progress Tag Team champions. The champions were crowned at Chapter 12, the second anniversary show, in March 2014. As with the Progress Championship not being a conventional championship belt, the Progress Tag Team Championship was originally represented by a shield with the Progress eagle on the front. The shield splits into two, one for each championship holder.

At Chapter 46 the Tag Team shields were replaced with traditional strap title belts, with the design on the front plate of each belt representing the defunct Tag shields.

As of 23 May 2018.

Reign The reign number for the specific champion listed
Location The city in which the title was won
Event The event promoted by the respective promotion in which the title was won
+ Indicates the current reign is changing daily
No. Champion Reign Date Days held Location Event Notes Ref.
1 FSU
(Mark Andrews and Eddie Dennis)
1 30 March 2014 301 Camden Town, London Chapter 12: We're Gonna Need a Bigger Room Defeated Screw Indy Wrestling and Project Ego in a tournament final to crown the inaugural champions.
2 The Faceless/The Origin
(Nathan Cruz, El Ligero, Danny Garnell and Damon Moser)
1 25 January 2015 120 Camden Town, London Chapter 17: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger Danny Garnell and Damon Moser originally captured the title as The Faceless, before all four unmasked, renaming themselves The Origin on 24 May 2015.
3 The Sumerian Death Squad
(Tommy End and Michael Dante)
1 25 May 2015 188 Camden Town, London 19: Super Strong Style 16: Tournament Edition 2015 (Day 2) Defeated Nathan Cruz and El Ligero.
4 The Origin
(Nathan Cruz and El Ligero)
2 29 November 2015 182 Camden Town, London Chapter 23: What a Time to Be Alive Won in a three-way match also involving The London Riots.
5 London Riots
(Rob Lynch and James Davis)
1 29 May 2016 119 Camden Town, London Chapter 30: Super Strong Style 16 Tournament Edition 2016 (Day 1)
6 British Strong Style
(Trent Seven and Pete Dunne)
1 25 September 2016 82 Brixton, London Chapter 36: We're Gonna Need a Bigger Room... Again
Vacated 16 December 2016 Progress management vacated the title after Pete Dunne attempted to give his half of it to Tyler Bate.
7 British Strong Style
(Trent Seven (2) and Tyler Bate)
1 30 December 2016 177 Camden Town, London Chapter 41: Unboxing Live Won in a three-way match with The Riots and the LDRS of the New School.
8 CCK
(Chris Brookes and Kid Lykos)
1 25 June 2017 14 Camden Town, London Chapter 50: I Give It Six Months
9 British Strong Style
(Trent Seven (3) and Tyler Bate (2))
2 9 July 2017 63 Birmingham Chapter 51: Screaming for Progress Won in a six-man match featuring Pete Dunne, Trent Seven and Tyler Bate vs. Travis Banks, Chris Brookes and Kid Lykos.
10 CCK
(Chris Brookes and Kid Lykos)
2 10 September 2017 77 Haringey, London Chapter 55: Chase the Sun This was a tag team ladder match.
11 Grizzled Young Veterans
(James Drake and Zack Gibson)
1 26 November 2017 77 Camden Town, London Chapter 58: Live Your Best Life
12 Jimmy Havoc & Mark Haskins 1 11 February 2018 14 Manchester Chapter 63: Take Me Underground
13 Grizzled Young Veterans
(James Drake and Zack Gibson)
2 25 February 2018 87+ Camden Town, London Chapter 64: Thunderbastards Are Go!

Progress Atlas Championship[edit]

Progress Atlas Championship
Details
Date established 25 September 2016
Current champion(s) Douglas Williams
Date won May 20, 2018

The Progress Atlas Championship is exclusively for wrestlers over 205 pounds in weight—the cruiserweight weight limit. Rampage Brown was the first champion after winning a tournament. As of 23 May 2018.

Reign The reign number for the specific champion listed
Location The city in which the title was won
Event The event promoted by the respective promotion in which the title was won
+ Indicates the current reign is changing daily
No. Champion Reign Date Days held Location Event Notes Ref.
1 Rampage Brown 1 25 September 2016 112 Brixton, London Chapter 36: We're Gonna Need a Bigger Room Again Defeated Joe Coffey in a tournament final to crown inaugural champion.
2 Matt Riddle 1 15 January 2017 175 Birmingham Chapter 42: Life, the Universe and Wrestling
3 Walter 1 9 July 2017 34 Birmingham Chapter 51: Screaming for Progress
4 Matt Riddle 2 12 August 2017 29 New York City
United States
Progress New York City
5 Walter 2 10 September 2017 238 Haringey, London Chapter 55: Chase the Sun This was a three-way match, also involving Timothy Thatcher.
Vacant 6 May 2018 Haringey, London Chapter 68: Super Strong Style 16 Tournament Edition 2018 - Day 3 Walter vacated the title.
6 Doug Williams 1 20 May 2018 3+ Manchester, England Chapter 69: Be Here Now Defeated Joseph Conners, Rampage Brown and Rob Lynch to win the title.

Progress Women's Championship[edit]

Progress Women's Championship
Progresswchamp.jpg
The Progress Women's Title
(May 2017 — Present)
Details
Date established 20 May 2018
Current champion(s) Jinny
Date won 28 May 2017

It was announced on 24 April 2016, that Natural Progression Series IV would crown the first Progress Women's Champion. The tournament got underway in October 2016, with the champion to be crowned during the Super Strong Style 16 2017 weekend from 27 May 2017, to 29 May 2017. At the conclusion of the tournament at Day Two of the Super Strong Style 16 event, Toni Storm was crowned the first Progress Women's Champion.

No. Champion Reign Date Days held Location Event Notes Ref.
1 Toni Storm 1 28 May 2017 357 Camden Town, London Chapter 49: Super Strong Style 16 2017 (Day Two) Defeated Jinny and Laura Di Matteo in a tournament final to crown the inaugural champion.
2 Jinny 1 20 May 2018 3+ Manchester, England Chapter 69: Be Here Now

Reception[edit]

Patrick Lennon, wrestling journalist for the Daily Star, has attended and reviewed Progress shows such as the acclaimed Chapter 7: Every Saint Has a Past, Every Sinner Has a Future.[9]

Carrie Dunn, founder and main contributor of wrestling blog "The Only Way is Suplex",[10] published the book Spandex, Screw Jobs & Cheap Pops: Inside the Business of British Pro Wrestling.[11] Progress Wrestling features frequently in the book including opening a chapter regarding London based wrestling promotions.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rehal, Sumit (26 May 2014). "Progress Wrestling – 'If we didn't have such talented guys in Britain, then the promotion wouldn't be doing as well as it is,' says co-founder Jim Smallman". The Independent. Archived from the original on 31 May 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 2 April 2015. 
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 1 July 2015. Retrieved 1 July 2015. 
  4. ^ "Another Indie Promotion To Host WWE Global Cruiserweight Series Qualifying Matches". Archived from the original on 31 March 2016. Retrieved 28 March 2016. 
  5. ^ "Progress Wrestling Launch Their On Demand Service". WrestleRopes UK. Archived from the original on 15 August 2017. Retrieved 14 August 2017. 
  6. ^ Perry, Ian. "Progress Wrestling: Freedom's Road Debut Episode TV Report". PWInsider. Archived from the original on 15 August 2017. Retrieved 14 August 2017. 
  7. ^ http://www.cagematch.net/?id=5&nr=1723&page=5&reign=7
  8. ^ http://www.wrestling-news.net/ccw-project-mayhem-2016-results/81341/
  9. ^ "Every Saint Has A Past, Every Sinner Has A Future show is a winner". Daily Star. Retrieved 2013-12-08. 
  10. ^ "The Only Way Is Suplex". Carrie Dunn. Archived from the original on 20 December 2013. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  11. ^ ""Spandex, Screw Jobs & Cheap Pops: Inside the Business of British Pro Wrestling" Amazon listing". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-12-08. 
  12. ^ Dunn, Carrie (2013). "Chapter 11: In the spotlight - London calling". Spandex, Screw Jobs & Cheap Pops: Inside the Business of British Pro Wrestling. Pitch. pp. 174–176. ISBN 978-1-909178-46-5. 

External links[edit]